If you’re considering a career as a tattoo artist, one of the questions you’re likely asking is, “How Much Does A Tattoo Artist Make in a Year?”. While the income of a tattoo artist can vary depending on several factors, the average annual income for a tattoo artist in the United States is around $50,000 to $70,000.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the factors that affect a tattoo artist’s earning potential and provide a more detailed estimate of how much a tattoo artist can make in a year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average annual income for a tattoo artist in the United States is approximately $50,650. However, the highest-earning 10% of tattoo artists make over $80,200 annually.
6 Key Factors Affect a Tattoo Artist’s Salary
Tattoo artists are highly skilled professionals who create permanent works of art on their clients’ bodies. If you’re considering a career as a tattoo artist, one of the questions you may be asking yourself is what factors can impact your salary.
Following are some of the critical factors that can affect how much a tattoo artist makes in a year:
The demand for tattoos can vary greatly depending on location. In areas with a high demand for tattoo artists and a thriving tattoo culture, artists may be able to charge more for their services, which can lead to a higher salary.
Experienced tattoo artists typically command higher rates than beginners, as they have developed their skills and built a strong portfolio over time. As such, experienced artists can earn a higher salary than those just starting.
3. Skill level
Tattooing is a highly skilled profession, and the level of skill and attention to detail required can impact a tattoo artist’s salary. Artists specializing in complex, detailed designs may charge more than those focusing on more straightforward designs.
A tattoo artist’s reputation can significantly influence their earning potential. Artists with a strong reputation and a considerable following may command higher rates and earn a higher salary.
5. Studio or Shop
The studio or shop where a tattoo artist works can also impact their salary. High-end studios or shops may attract more clients willing to pay higher rates, which can increase the artist’s salary.
6. Marketing and promotion
Tattoo artists skilled in marketing and promoting themselves may attract more clients and build a strong reputation, leading to a higher salary.
It is alarming that some tattoo artists may earn more money by sacrificing the quality and safety of their work, such as using low-quality ink or not using the best wireless tattoo machines, which can result in health risks for clients.
7 Different Types of Tattoo Artists’ Earnings
Tattooing requires skill, creativity, and precision. Like any other profession, there are different types of tattoo artists, each with a unique style and specialization.
Let us explore the various types of tattoo artists, from traditional to realism and watercolor, and see how much they make in a year.
1. Traditional Tattoo Artists
Traditional tattoo artists specialize in creating classic tattoo designs using bold outlines, bright colors, and classic tattoo imagery. Their reputation lies in their meticulousness and expertise in producing a timeless appearance that will endure over time.
As a beginner, a traditional tattoo artist can expect to earn around $50 to $100 per hour. With more experience and a strong portfolio, they can charge upwards of $150 per hour.
2. Realism Tattoo Artists
Realism tattoo artists specialize in creating lifelike images that are highly detailed and realistic. They often work with portraits, landscapes, and still-life designs, using shading and highlighting techniques to create depth and dimension.
Realism tattoo artists typically command higher rates due to the level of skill and attention to detail required. A beginner can expect to earn around $100 to $150 per hour, with more experienced artists charging $200 or more per hour.
3. Blackwork Tattoo Artists
Blackwork tattoo artists create bold and intricate designs using only black ink. They often work with geometric shapes, mandalas, and other intricate designs that rely heavily on shading and contrast to create depth and texture.
Blackwork tattoo artists often specialize in intricate designs that take longer to complete. A beginner can expect to earn around $50 to $100 per hour, with more experienced artists charging upwards of $150 per hour.
4. Watercolor Tattoo Artists
Watercolor tattoo artists specialize in creating designs that look like watercolor paintings. They often work with bright, vibrant colors and use a loose, flowing style to create a soft, dreamy effect.
Watercolor tattoo artists typically charge similar rates to traditional tattoo artists. A beginner can expect to earn around $50 to $100 per hour, with more experienced artists charging upwards of $150 per hour.
5. Neo-Traditional Tattoo Artists
Neo-traditional tattoo artists combine traditional tattoo design elements with modern techniques and styles. They often work with bold lines and vibrant tattoo inks but also incorporate elements of realism and other contemporary art styles.
Neo-traditional tattoo artists often blend traditional and modern styles, which can make their work highly sought after. A beginner can expect to earn around $50 to $100 per hour, with more experienced artists charging upwards of $150 per hour.
6. Japanese Tattoo Artists
Japanese tattoo artists specialize in creating traditional Japanese-style tattoos, often featuring dragons, koi fish, and other Japanese symbols and imagery. Their distinctive style denotes their carefulness and preference for vibrant, striking hues.
Japanese tattoo artists often specialize in intricate, large-scale designs that can take many sessions. A beginner can expect to earn around $50 to $100 per hour, with more experienced artists charging upwards of $200 per hour.
7. Fine Line Tattoo Artists
Fine-line tattoo artists specialize in creating intricate designs using thin, delicate lines. They often work with minimalist designs, such as small, delicate flowers or animals, using subtle shading and detailing to create a delicate and intricate look.
Fine-line tattoo artists often work on small, delicate designs that require high skill and precision. A beginner can expect to earn around $50 to $100 per hour, with more experienced artists charging upwards of $150 per hour.
Considering “how much a tattoo artist can make in a year?” artists who specialize in intricate designs, portraits, and realism tattoos tend to earn higher salaries than those who do simple designs, with some earning over $100,000 per year.
How much does a Beginner Tattoo Artist make in a year?
While there is no set estimate for a tattoo artist’s salary, several factors can influence how much a beginner tattoo artist can make in a year.
The location can play a significant role in determining earning potential. In areas with a high demand for tattoo artists and a thriving tattoo culture, beginners may earn more than in areas where the market is saturated, or there needs to be more demand for tattoos.
2. Experience and skill level
As a beginner, you may have a different experience or skill than more seasoned tattoo artists, which can impact your earning potential. However, with time and practice, you can develop your skills and build a solid portfolio to help you command higher rates.
It’s also worth noting that many tattoo artists are self-employed, meaning they are responsible for finding their clients and setting their rates. It can be challenging for beginners just starting and building their reputation. Still, with dedication and hard work, it is possible to build a successful career in the industry.
FAQs – How Much Does A Tattoo Artist Make in a Year?
A general rule for “how much a tattoo artist can make in a year” is that experienced tattoo artists with strong clientele can earn a higher income. While establishing a prosperous career may take time and effort, the potential earnings can be substantial.
We expect our blog to provide valuable insights into a tattoo artist’s earning potential.