Making Money as a Tattoo Artist without Tattooing

June 12, 2014|Posted in: Uncategorized

Being a tattoo artist would be fantastic, because your art would be a permanent feature on another person’s body. If anyone loves your artwork enough to have it on their skin for the rest of their lives you can certainly take some pride in what you do. However, it isn’t for everyone. Learning to tattoo takes years of dedication and practice, you might have to work in a shop as an apprentice for years, receiving little (if any) money for the time and dedication you show before you even get to do some of the more basic things like filling in an already lined tattoo.

Regardless of whether you decided to stop at just being a tattoo designer or whether you decided to continue the road to becoming an artist and you’re not sitting in the apprenticeship stage there are things that you can do to earn a little extra money. At this point I’m sure any supplement to your income will be much appreciated regardless of how much you’re already earning; no one is completely averse to earning some extra money and when it comes to tattoos there are some methods that are just more effective than others.

Selling Flash

Shops and online websites are happy to sell your flash if it’s well made, and all you have to do is get out that book of doodles you’re always adding to and look for something that is worth cleaning up and selling as an actual design. If you live in a city or well-populated area you will often find that there are a number of tattoo shops around you, and many of them are looking for fresh, new flash that will attract their customers. Websites like and are great for selling flash and also provide opportunities for selling custom designs.

Temporary Tattoos

Just like selling flash except sending your designs to companies like allows your designs to be turned into stick-on temporary tattoos. Often these will also provide you with credit for the tattoo and link to your gallery or website if you have one for advertising your designs and tattoos yourself. There aren’t as many websites for creating these, but it can be a little more interesting and provide you with the opportunity of doing something a little different. InkWear will even send you some temporary tattoos with your designs, so you can wear your own tattoo designs yourself or give them to friends and family.

General Merchandise

What we love about tattoos is the beauty of the designs, the colours, the lines, the shades. We just generally love them. Of course these are just as attractive on accessories and clothing as they are on the skin, as was proven by Alchemy Gothic’s UL 13 range which I love. Websites like cafepress allow you to turn these into bags, t-shirts, phone cases, mugs and just about anything else that can be printed on.

Face Painting / Body Painting

Kids love face paints, but they also like tattoos. If you can tolerate children you can probably find some work at a fair or fun day. Get some face painting paint and set up shop, it gives you a chance to practice working with people and skin, and of course producing custom designs and so on and so forth, as well as giving you some extra work and potential income.


As a member of this website myself I can say it provides you with a fantastic opportunity if you market yourself right. You might not be ready to make yourself a website yet, that’s fine. With a dA account you can just upload pictures of your designs and even write ‘journals’ which is effectively the same as microblogging within your little gallery. The website gives you the option to sell prints, but you can also use it simply as a place to provide examples of your work and list your commission prices.

Of course regardless of what it is you aim for in the end, there are plenty of artists, regardless of whether they’re tattoo artists or hobby artists, who can benefit from these methods of ‘selling yourself’. These will of course come in handy in the future if you continue to produce them and market them, as they will all provide a way of getting your name and your work out into the industry, which will help to increase the chances of potential fans seeking you out.

Kate Critchlow is an enthusiastic young writer and hobby artist who recently developed a particular interest in the tattoo industry. She covers everything from tattoo chairs like these to the hidden meaning of tattoo designs.