Tattooing Tips From One of LA's Most Successful Tattoo Artists

Updated on February 14, 2019
ViieraMonica profile image

I have about thirty tattoos and I like to get them all done in different styles, depending on my mood and current inspiration.

Artwork by Frank Lopez aka Joker. Tattoo artist based in Los Angeles, contact
Artwork by Frank Lopez aka Joker. Tattoo artist based in Los Angeles, contact

I have about thirty tattoos, and I like to get them all done in different styles, depending on my mood and current inspiration. When I'm looking for an artist to do my next project, it's always interesting how many artists say, point-blank, that they don't feel comfortable doing art like that.

My most recent tattoo artist, Frank Lopez, a.k.a. Joker, isn't like that at all. Although his favorite thing to do is jokers, he also realizes the importance of having an expansive style to accommodate his clients. This is how he became so well-known and respected as a tattoo artist. If you're a tattoo artist, it's something to take note of as well.

Tattoo Artist Tip #1: Be as Versatile as You Are Unique

Even if you feel nervous about doing calligraphy or portraits, work on them as much as you can when you aren't tattooing so you can expand your customer base (and abilities).

To truly stand out as a tattoo artist, you have to have both your own brand or style as well as the ability to tattoo other styles: black-and-white, portraits, old school, realism, full-color, and more. Eventually, you may be in a position where you can just tattoo the kinds of things you like, but to survive as an artist, you're going to have to expand.

Tattoo by Joker.
Tattoo by Joker.

Tattoo Artist Tip #2: Be a People Person, Anticipating Your Customer's Ideal Experience

Many people who go to the tattoo shop want a barber shop-like experience: comfortable, familiar, and relaxed. Especially if they're regulars, they want to feel as though you are easy to talk to and open up with.

If you're particularly shy or not really good at adapting to different personality types, tattooing will teach you to be more social because you're literally forced to do hour (or more) sessions on people who may be very different than the kinds of people you choose as friends.

Being a people-person will also bring you more business, and that's ultimately what you want as a tattoo artist—more and more canvasses to ink your legacies onto.

Follow @ta2joker on Instagram to see more of his art!
Follow @ta2joker on Instagram to see more of his art!

Tattoo Artist Tip #3 Attend Tattoo Expos and Come Prepared!

Another great way a tattoo artist can nurture his or her career is to attend tattoo expositions. Although it is an investment of time and money to register and set up, the return can be great—but only if you are prepared. There are many tattoo artists who just show up unprepared and end up losing money because they don't have a good portfolio put together, they run out of business cards, or they aren't adding personalized touches to their marketing like other tattoo artists do—such as bringing tattoo models.

Do I need to bring tattoo models to a tattoo expo?

A tattoo model can simply be a customer of yours who agrees to get a few big pieces done by you and walks around the expo passing out your business card, promoting you as they show off your art on their body. Or even having them sitting around where you're set up is a great conversation-starter when prospective customers ask who did the piece.

What else should I bring to a tattoo convention?

But first and foremost, you must be sure that when you enter that tattoo convention, you have ALL of your best work available for prospective customers to see. Don't bring half of your portfolio—bring your sketchbook and paintings, too, to give customers a sense of your range.

Put up personalized and priced flash art and practice beforehand so you can do as many tattoos as possible in the short amount of time you have. Of course, it would be great to get a few big pieces in, but sometimes a couple of small flash art pieces can help you recover from the tediousness of working on a larger piece.

Phoenix Body Art Expo 2019

Frank Lopez aka Joker will be featured at the Phoenix Body Art Expo February 2019! Be sure to register for the convention as the date is quickly approaching!

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)