Expert Tips for Successful Tattoo Artist Interview
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Make a Positive First Impression
  2. Showcase Your Portfolio
  3. Demonstrate Technical Knowledge
  4. Discuss Your Creative Process
  5. Highlight Experience and Training
  6. Talk About Customer Service Skills
  7. Ask Insightful Questions
  8. Convey Your Passion
  9. Be Professional and Respectful
  10. Follow Up After the Interview

If you're stepping into the vibrant world of tattooing, you've probably been brushing up your skills, perfecting your designs, and now, you're ready to face the challenge of tattoo artist interviews. You're not just showcasing your artistic ability but also your understanding of the trade, your approach to customer service, and a lot more. So, let's take a step-by-step approach to prepare for these interviews and make sure you shine.

Make a Positive First Impression

Walking into tattoo artist interviews, the first impression you make can set the tone for the entire interaction. Here's how you can ensure it's a positive one:

  • Dress Appropriately: While a suit and tie might not be necessary, a neat, clean, and well-thought-out outfit can show your professionalism. Remember, you're an artist, so subtle expressions of your unique style could be a plus.
  • Arrive on Time: Being late to an interview can reflect poorly on your reliability. Always plan your journey so you arrive a little early.
  • Be Polite: A warm greeting, a firm handshake, and a friendly smile can go a long way in making a good impression. Remember to extend your politeness to everyone you meet in the studio—not just your interviewer.
  • Confidence is Key: It's normal to feel nerves, but try to maintain a confident demeanor. Strong posture, eye contact, and clear, articulate speech can help showcase your confidence.

Keep in mind that a positive first impression is like a good tattoo stencil—it provides a solid foundation for the artwork that follows, which in this case, is the rest of your interview. So, take a deep breath, put your best foot forward, and make your tattoo artist interviews a success.

Showcase Your Portfolio

When it comes to tattoo artist interviews, your portfolio is perhaps your most powerful tool. It serves as a visual resume, showcasing your artistic abilities and style. Here are some tips to ensure your portfolio truly shines:

  • Quality over Quantity: It's better to have a smaller collection of your best work than a large collection of mediocre pieces. Choose pieces that demonstrate your versatility and skill.
  • Include Variety: Show that you can handle various styles. Include both color and black-and-white work, intricate designs, as well as simple ones. If you specialize in a particular style, make sure it's well represented.
  • Professional Presentation: High-quality photographs and clean, clear layouts are essential. If you're presenting digitally, ensure the platform or device you're using is reliable and easy to navigate.
  • Keep It Updated: Your portfolio should reflect your current abilities, so ensure it's up-to-date. Regularly adding new work can show that you're continually improving and adapting.

Remember, your portfolio is a reflection of your art and your commitment to the craft. Use it to tell a visual story of your journey as a tattoo artist. Make sure it leaves an impression that lasts long after your tattoo artist interviews.

Demonstrate Technical Knowledge

Being a successful tattoo artist is not just about creating beautiful designs—it's also about understanding the technical aspects of the job. In your tattoo artist interviews, you'll need to show that you're more than just a creative mind. Here's how:

  • Knowledge of Equipment: Talk about the different types of tattoo machines you've used, such as coil or rotary, and why you prefer one over the other. Discuss the types of needles you use for different effects, and how you maintain and sterilize your equipment.
  • Ink Choices: Explain your choice of tattoo inks, considering factors like pigmentation, longevity, and how they interact with different skin types. This shows you care about the quality and safety of your work.
  • Hygiene Practices: Discuss your hygiene and safety procedures. This could include how you clean the workspace, sterilize your tools, or protect your clients and yourself from cross-contamination.
  • Skin Knowledge: Each person's skin is unique. Discuss how you adapt your techniques to different skin types, conditions, or areas of the body. This shows that you understand the importance of customization in your job.

Remember, tattooing is as much a science as it is an art. Demonstrating your technical knowledge during your tattoo artist interviews can set you apart and show that you take all aspects of your work seriously.

Discuss Your Creative Process

Any form of art, including tattooing, begins with a creative process. In your tattoo artist interviews, dive into your unique approach to creating a design. This is your chance to let your passion shine through and show them what makes you different.

  • Initial Consultation: Describe how you communicate with your clients. How do you extract their ideas or visions for their tattoo? How do you manage their expectations and guide them towards a design that aligns with their desires and is feasible?
  • Design Development: This is where your artistry comes into play. Do you sketch multiple drafts or do you work digitally? Explain how you integrate elements like line, color, and form into your designs. Showcase your ability to balance aesthetics and symbolism to create meaningful tattoos.
  • Feedback and Revision: Explain how you handle revisions. How do you incorporate the client's feedback into your designs? Demonstrating your ability to take criticism and make adjustments is key in showing your flexibility and dedication to client satisfaction.
  • Finalizing the Design: Talk about the final steps before the tattoo session. How do you prepare the final design and the client's skin? This shows your attention to detail and your commitment to a smooth tattooing process.

Remember, every artist's creative process is different, and there's no right or wrong way. But being able to discuss it articulately during your tattoo artist interviews will show potential employers or clients that you're thoughtful, organized, and client-oriented in your approach.

Highlight Experience and Training

In tattoo artist interviews, it's crucial to highlight your experience and training. This not only establishes your credibility but also gives potential clients or employers insight into your skills and dedication to the craft.

  • Apprenticeship: If you've undergone an apprenticeship, it's an experience worth mentioning. Talk about who you trained under, what you learned, and how it shaped you as an artist. This will demonstrate your commitment to learning and enhancing your skills.
  • Tattoo Experience: Discuss the different types of tattoos you've done. Have you done line work, shading, color, or black and grey work? Mention if you have experience with different styles like traditional, realism, or tribal. Your versatility can make you an appealing choice for a variety of clients.
  • Continuing Education: The world of tattooing is constantly evolving. Mention any additional courses or workshops you've taken to keep up with new techniques, materials, or industry trends. This shows your dedication to staying current and improving your craft.
  • Related Skills: Don't forget to include any relevant skills that could enhance your tattooing. This could be anything from painting and drawing to digital design. These skills can add depth to your practice and make your designs even more unique.

Remember, it's not just about listing your experiences and qualifications. It's about telling a story that showcases your journey, growth, and passion for the craft of tattooing. So, make it count!

Talk About Customer Service Skills

During tattoo artist interviews, your technical skills aren't the only thing that matters. Great customer service is also an important part of the job. Here's how you can highlight this side of your abilities:

  • Communication: Explain how you make sure to understand exactly what your clients want. This could be through asking questions, providing sketches, or using other methods to ensure you and your client are on the same page.
  • Patience: Tattoos are a big decision. Talk about how you respect this by being patient with clients who might be nervous or unsure. This shows that you value their comfort and satisfaction.
  • Professionalism: Discuss how you maintain a clean and organized work space, and follow all necessary health and safety protocols. This not only ensures the well-being of your clients, but also instills confidence in your abilities.
  • Aftercare Instructions: It's important for clients to know how to care for their tattoos after they leave your studio. Highlight how you provide clear, helpful aftercare instructions to ensure the best possible healing process.

In a nutshell, tattooing isn't only about the art—it's about the people. Showing that you understand and value this aspect of the job can make you stand out in tattoo artist interviews.

Ask Insightful Questions

In tattoo artist interviews, you're likely to be asked a lot of questions. But remember, an interview is a two-way street. It's also your chance to ask questions and find out if the studio is a good fit for you. Here are some that you might consider:

  • Studio Culture: What's the vibe like in the studio? Is it a competitive environment or more of a team atmosphere? The answers can give you a sense of how you'd fit in.
  • Client Base: Who are the studio's typical clients? Knowing this can help you understand whether your style and approach would be a good match.
  • Opportunity for Growth: Is there room for advancement or opportunities for further training? If you're looking to grow in your career, it's important to find a studio that supports this.
  • Work Expectations: What are the expectations around hours, bookings, and design work? Having a clear understanding of these details can help you decide if the role is right for you.

By asking questions, you show that you're serious about the position and engaged in the process. So don't hold back—ask away!

Convey Your Passion

Passion is the fuel that drives every successful tattoo artist. When you're in tattoo artist interviews, you need to let this passion shine through. You're not just looking for a job—you're looking for a chance to express your creativity and connect with people on a personal level.

So how do you convey passion? Here are some pointers:

  • Talk about your journey: How did you get into tattooing? What sparked your interest and what keeps you hooked? Share your story with enthusiasm.
  • Speak about your inspirations: Is there a particular style or artist that you admire? Sharing this can show your passion for the craft.
  • Express your commitment: Are you always looking to improve and learn new techniques? This shows a dedication that goes beyond the 9-to-5.
  • Show excitement for the role: Why do you want to work at this particular studio? If you're genuinely excited about the opportunity, this will naturally come across in your conversation.

Remember, passion is contagious. If you show your excitement and commitment, it's likely to resonate with the person interviewing you. So let your love for tattooing do the talking!

Be Professional and Respectful

When you're in tattoo artist interviews, professionalism and respect can make a world of difference. It's more than just showing up on time and dressing appropriately. It's about communicating effectively, respecting others' time, and demonstrating a solid work ethic.

Here are some ways to exude professionalism and respect:

  • Listen Actively: When others are speaking, give them your undivided attention. Show that you value their input and are interested in what they have to say.
  • Communicate Clearly: When it's your turn to speak, convey your thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely. Avoid using jargon that might confuse others. Keep it simple and to the point.
  • Show Courtesy: Simple gestures like saying 'please' and 'thank you' can go a long way. Also, respect the personal space and boundaries of others.
  • Be Reliable: If you say you're going to do something, make sure you follow through. This builds trust and shows that you're someone who can be depended on.

Remember, a little professionalism and respect can go a long way in making you stand out in a tattoo artist interview. You're not just showcasing your skills as an artist, but also your qualities as a person.

Follow Up After the Interview

After tattoo artist interviews, it's not a time to just sit back and wait. Following up is a key step that can set you apart from other candidates. It shows your continued interest in the role and appreciation for the opportunity.

Here are some suggestions for a successful follow-up:

  • Send a Thank You Note: A quick email or handwritten note expressing your gratitude for the interview opportunity makes a good impression. It's a simple act that shows your appreciation and can help keep you fresh in the interviewer's mind.
  • Reiterate Your Interest: In your follow-up message, restate your interest in the position and the studio. Make it clear that you are eager and ready to contribute to their team.
  • Stay Patient: While it's important to follow up, it's also important to give the studio time to process. Don't bombard them with calls or emails. If they mentioned a timeline for their decision, be patient and wait it out.

In the world of tattoo artist interviews, your follow-up can be the finishing touch that solidifies your chances. It's the final brushstroke on your masterpiece of an interview.

If you're looking to nail your tattoo artist interview and learn from the best, check out the workshop 'Meet The Artist' by Debbie Knox-Hewson. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights into the world of tattoo artistry and give you expert advice to help you succeed in your interview.