OCCUPATION THESAURUS

TATTOO ARTIST



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HELPFUL TIP:

How your character makes a living is an important decision. After all, there’s probably a good reason why they chose this career. Think about how they pull on certain talents and skills, have positive or negative traits, and adhere to a specific work ethic to excel. Sometimes characters choose an occupation because of how they were raised, something they experienced, or even an emotional wound, so consider how all of these things will show readers who they are deep down, and why they do what they do.
OVERVIEW:
Tattoo artists are responsible for using needles and ink to tattoo a person's skin. They may copy a customer's design or render an original one based on what the client wants. These artists may work for a studio or be independent freelancers.

NECESSARY TRAINING:
While no formal education or training are required, most people begin their career working as an apprentice and grow their craft under the eye of a master tattooist.

USEFUL SKILLS, TALENTS, OR ABILITIES:

HELPFUL POSITIVE TRAITS:

EMOTIONAL WOUNDS THAT MAY HAVE FACTORED INTO THIS OCCUPATION CHOICE:
Negative past experiences can come into play in the pursuit of a career. Based on the type of trauma a character has suffered, they may (consciously or subconsciously) choose a job for the following reasons:
  • To avoid situations that might lead to more wounding events
  • Because they're believing a lie
  • Because past trauma forced them to acquire traits or skills that allow for success in this field
  • Due to a need to face past wounds
  • The desire to prove worthiness to themselves or others
  • As punishment for a perceived unworthiness or a past failing
Whether you'd like to show the character coping well with the past in this career field or you want to increase tension through workplace triggers, the following emotional wounds might tie in to this occupation:
A LEARNING DISABILITY, A LIFE-THREATENING ACCIDENT, A PARENT'S DIVORCE, BEING FORCED TO KEEP A DARK SECRET, BEING LEGITIMATELY INCARCERATED FOR A CRIME, FALLING SHORT OF SOCIETY'S PHYSICAL STANDARDS, GROWING UP IN A CULT, GROWING UP IN THE SHADOW OF A SUCCESSFUL SIBLING, HAVING A CONTROLLING OR OVERLY STRICT PARENT, BEING SO BEAUTIFUL IT’S ALL PEOPLE SEE

SOURCES OF FRICTION:
An indecisive customer who can't decide what they want
Overzealous health inspectors
A client asking for a design that's offensive to the artist
Customers with low pain tolerances
Tattooing a customer who has self-medicated in an effort to proactively manage the pain
Working for an unlicensed or unregistered parlor that takes shortcuts resulting in a client getting sick
A customer requesting a design that's too complicated for the artist
Tattooing a customer with an undisclosed health risk (hemophilia, specific allergies, etc.)
Contracting an illness from a client
Difficulties arising from working at a parlor in a dangerous part of town
Conflict with family members who are morally opposed to one's occupation
An underaged client lying about their age

PEOPLE THEY MIGHT INTERACT WITH:
Other tattoo artists, a landlord, administrative personnel, vendors, customers,

HOW THIS OCCUPATION MIGHT IMPACT ONE'S BASIC NEEDS:
Self-Actualization: Many tattoo artists choose this profession because it enables them to satisfy their creative needs. But this need could go unmet if their work situation requires them to do more commercial, standard work that doesn't allow them to flex their imaginative muscles.
Esteem and Recognition: While the old stigma regarding tattoos has largely gone away, there are still certain people and cultures who look down on the profession. This could be a problem if the naysayers are important or influential people in the character's life.

COMMON WORK-RELATED SETTINGS:

TWISTING THE STEREOTYPE:
Tattoo artists are usually fairly well inked themselves. But what about a character who couldn't get tattoos due to a health problem but pursued the job so he could be creative? You could also play with the kinds of tattoos an artist creates. Maybe their work is philanthropically based, such as turning scars into art, disguising old gang tats, or covering prison, slave, or concentration camp markings.

REASONS THE CHARACTER MAY HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO THIS PROFESSION:
Exposure to tattoos during one's upbringing (having a friend's parents own a parlor, hanging out in one as a teen because it was a place of acceptance, etc.)
A love of art in all forms, especially personally meaningful art pieces
Having a creative mind and artist's skill
Having role models with tattoos who shared the meaning behind them
A desire to empower people (reminding them of their inner strength, or to help them move past trauma) by designing and applying symbolic tattoos
Being able to move past one's own hate and bigotry and wanting to help others do the same (by specializing in tattoo removals or alterations)