About.com Tattoo explains that becoming a tattoo artist takes practice, perseverance, time and money. The steps required to become a tattoo artist, include developing drawing skills, building a portfolio, working with a skilled tattoo artists and obtaining any state-required licenses to work as a tattoo artist.
Aspiring tattoo artists need both talent and skill. Learning to draw is important for being a successful artist. Taking fine art classes or reading books to learn perspective, proportion and how colors complement each other is a must. One way to improve is to practice daily. Use design samples to build a portfolio.
Becoming an apprentice to a tattoo artist is also required. An apprentice must learn how to use and clean the instruments, determine good placing of the tattoos and deal with customers. The apprenticeship is not an actual paying job, so an apprentice requires some source of income to sustain himself.
Once the apprenticeship ends, the student is qualified to tattoo customers with minimal guidance from a his teacher. A new tattoo artist often works with his teacher before finding work at a competing tattoo shop. Many states require that tattoo artists apply for and obtain a state-issued license to work as a tattoo artist.