how much does a good tattoo artist make in a year

How Much Does A Tattoo Artist Make In A Year? [2023 Update]

Tattoo artists can make $61,898 annually on average in the United States. However, based on several factors such as experience and location, this number will vastly change. While the lowest-earning tattoo artist in 2023 can make $39,000 a year, the highest-paid artist can generate a yearly income of over $260,000.  

To know more about the determining factors and other details on how much a tattoo artist makes in a year, continue reading the full article. 

Key Takeaways

  • Tattoo artists make $61,898 on average per year in the United States. This number can change based on several factors such as the artist’s experience and his working location.
  • The tattoo business is growing very fast. It generates a yearly sum of $3 billion in revenue.
  • A tattoo artist can increase his salary by increasing his skill level and building a good reputation. 

How Much Does A Tattoo Artist Make In A Year?

How Much Does a Tattoo Artist Make in a Year?

Recent Indeed job statistics show that the average yearly salary of a tattoo artist is $61,898 in the United States. 

Another report made by ZipRecruiter showed that tattoo artists’ salary in 2023 starts at $39,000. On the other hand, many people even generate an income of over $260,000 yearly. So, a tattoo artist’s salary can change based on many factors such as experience, reputation, and work location. 

Based on where tattoo artists operate, the salary fluctuation is noticeable. For example, tattoo artists in Texas make $66,088 yearly. On the other hand, someone working in Massachusetts can earn $155,943.

The following table shows the different incomes of tattoo artists from different cities in the United States. 

Name of The CityYearly Salary of Tattoo Artists
Boston, MA$155,943 
Portland, ME$76,852
Miami, FL$72,463
Los Angeles, CA$68,383
San Antonio, TX$66,088
Orlando, FL$64,369
Las Vegas, NV$62,496
New York, NY$62,303
Tampa, FL$57,149

While the working location is important, there are several factors that have a direct impact on how much a tattoo artist makes in a year. 

Factors That Affect The Earnings Of The Tattoo Artist

Some artists earn more, while others earn less. Several factors determine how much a tattoo artist makes in a year. Some of these factors are:

Level Of Experience

The level of experience directly impacts the earnings of a designer. Usually, beginner artists make approximately $10,000-$20,000 annually.

However, people prefer experienced tattoo designers to achieve their desired body art. So, a professional designer can earn almost $60,000-$65,000 per year.

But beginner artists still get work. They can easily get clients if they have a unique set of skills.


The skill level varies from one artist to another. It also affects the income level. And, an artist with a high skill set and mastering of tattoo machine definitely will be going to earn more income than a starter.

Artist’s Popularity

Artist’s popularity also decides how much you can earn by tattooing. The more popular the artist, the more chance of the clients and increase in earnings. Many famous designers have the highest income due to their fame.

Artist’s popularity
Source: Typing Adventure


A portfolio is the best way for artists to show their talent through. And a strong and well-defined portfolio helps to engage more clients. Plus, it also helps in increasing your salary. 

So, constructing a portfolio is the best way to showcase your work and impress clients to get high pay.

Educational Background And Certifications

When we talk about an artist’s income, education is a point that should also be considered. Clients mostly prefer fully-trained designers.

Before you begin your career as a tattoo artist, you must have done considerable practice and be fully aware of the tattooing equipment like tattoo machines. 

It is because people usually trust an artist who knows safety measures. It is also necessary to prevent the transfer of germs while using the equipment. Therefore, it is necessary to get some relevant education and certification before starting the tattooing journey.

Distinctive Working Style 

The average salary of body art designers can rise by offering unique tattoo design ideas and services. So, if you provide intricate and unique designs, people will pay you more. Also, uniqueness in work will catch the client’s attention and let you make more income.

Demand Of Work

The more clients you attend each day, the more income you can make annually. The number of clients you come across depends on your working speed. Also, if you have extra tattoo equipment, you can hire other professionals and address more clients.

Working Location

As discussed already, the location of the work can affect how much an artist can make in a year. The professionals running their shops in large cities have high salary rates.

In contrast, the professionals in small towns have a lower salary rate. This is because large areas have higher living costs than small areas. So total income depends on the place selected for work.

Is Tattooing A Profitable Business?

is tattoo business profitable
Source: Next Luxury

Based on the industry trends and market data, the tattoo industry in the US remains strong, showing no signs of decline. The increasing popularity of tattoos among celebrities and their greater visibility in society have made body ink more mainstream. 

MarketResearch reports that the revenue generated by the tattoo industry has almost doubled since 2007. It is now generating a yearly sum of $3 billion in revenue. 

Given the relatively low initial costs for tattoos and body piercing businesses, more people are considering this a viable career choice. So, industry experts believe that tattooing will continue to thrive for the foreseeable future.

How Can A Tattoo Artist Increase His Salary?

Increase Skill Level

Tattoo artists who have extensive experience and exceptional skills often charge higher fees for their services. With a growing reputation and expertise in the field, they can demand premium rates. 

To illustrate, celebrated tattoo professionals such as Kat Von D and Ami James have achieved prosperous careers. For that reason, they have earned substantial incomes from their tattooing talents.

As you venture more into developing your skills, you can expect to demand a premium rate for your services. 

Find Your Specialty 

Tattoo artists who focus on a specific style or niche often charge higher fees. As they provide distinctive expertise, they are very popular. 

For instance, artists skilled in detailed geometric patterns, traditional Japanese tattoos, or lifelike portraits can draw in clients who are prepared to pay extra for their specialized abilities.

So, building your own niche can be a great way to earn extra money in this sector. 

Build Up Your Reputation

The potential income of a tattoo artist can be vastly influenced by their customer base and standing in the industry. Tattoo artists with a substantial social media following tend to draw loyal clients. As a result, they can demand premium prices for their services. 

Favorable feedback and referrals from satisfied clients also play an essential role in building a financially lucrative career in tattooing.

If you are planning to survive long-term in this industry and earn more than others, building a strong reputation is the key.

Try Alternative Income Streams

Several tattoo artists boost their earnings by diversifying their income sources. They might sell merchandise like prints, apparel, or accessories featuring their artwork. 

In addition, some tattoo artists offer online or offline workshops that can generate a lot of income. Also, organizing conventions, or joining tattoo competitions can provide additional income.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Do Most Tattooists Charge Per Hour?

A tattooist can charge almost $100-$250 an hour. But in certain areas, some professionals charge even more due to their high demand and reputation.

Is It Hard Being A Tattoo Artist?

Being a tattoo artist comes with many challenges. The industry is highly competitive and you need to dedicate several years to master tattooing. The most effective approach to learning the craft quickly is to go under the guidance of an experienced tattoo artist.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Tattooing?

It may require approximately three years to learn tattooing. This time is required to acquire the essential skills and experience for becoming a proficient tattoo artist. Also, it ensures that you are confident in your abilities and can minimize the likelihood of errors.


Being an ink professional is hard but is in demand also. If you have gained experience in tattooing, then it will be a high payoff. You can earn a handsome amount per year as a tattooist. On average, a tattooist can earn $60,000-$65,000 through this career.

Several factors affect how much a tattoo artist makes in a year. Mastering the skill is one of them. Other factors include the reputation of the professional, location, unique work, and certifications.

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