In Focus: Tattoo Making

Posted on March 21, 2010 in Alternative Careers

Sahiba Singh:

Tattoos are not alien to Indian culture. For generations, people have been getting themselves tattoo of their names and gods. Tribes still use tattoos to identify their members. Mehendi or henna applied on the newly wed bride is nothing but a temporary tattoo. Surprisingly, today our parents try to discourage us from getting them.

Tattoos are mostly seen as a sign of rebellion and fashion accessory, while some have emotional reasons to get one. Whatever your reason, may be but finding a good tattoo artist can be difficult. Trained and professional tattoo designers are less but slowly increasing.

If you are passionate about design and tattoos then you can make a earning out of them.

Business Prospects

First of all, NOT all tattoo artists are school dropouts, drug addicts, junkies or rebels. Majority of them are trained artists. Starting tattoo parlours in metros is not difficult but sustainability is tough. Whereas in smaller cities starting and sustaining the parlour is quite a task.

The business is based on goodwill. If the artist is good, people will surely come back. Word of mouth is the best way to establish a good name in the market. Unlike the US the licensing norms are not so stringent. The hygiene of the parlour should be a priority for the artist

Skills Required

A tattoo artist must have a passion for tattoos but that’s not enough. Good sketching skills are required with in-depth knowledge of shading and compositions. A lot of time and energy is spent in drawing sketches, so having a good hand definitely helps. The designs cannot be copied from the net or a book; the artist should be able make to good and varied designs. Having knowledge of art, culture and history helps the artist create well thought and meaningful tattoos. Not to forget a very steady hand is a must. He cannot afford to create a tattoo with a shaky hands; it could ruin the whole design.

Not all are born artist, many youngsters work as assistants in established studios. This training period helps them understand the technicalities and improve their skills.


The money differs with artwork. They charge per square inch and the number of colours used. The average price starts from Rs 1500. Though the permanent tattoo brings in more dough, it’s the temporary that has the volumes. For the people who are less adventures temporary tats are the way to go. They are much lighter on our pockets, starting from Rs 200.

Stalls at school and college fest act both as a good source of income and network building block.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and covers alternative career options.