Airbrush tattoos are an attractive, temporary alternative to permanent tattooing. Popular at parties, the beach and with teenagers, a temporary tattoo artist specializing in airbrushing can easily be in demand.
What Is an Airbrush Tattoo?
An airbrush tattoo is a temporary tattoo created with an atomizer, stencils and special body paints. A stencil in the desired design is placed on the skin. The atomizer directs the paint through a special applicator, blowing a thin film of paint over the stencil and skin. When the stencil is removed, the design remains.
Airbrush tattoos can be simple or complex depending on the number of colors and stencils used to create a design. Stencils can be purchased readymade or can be created from original designs.
Becoming an Airbrush Tattoo Artist
Airbrush tattoo artists can work part or full time, either through a studio or by attending parties and private events. While there is no formal certification process for becoming an airbrush artist, a good portfolio and your own equipment will go a long way toward getting started.
When just starting out as an airbrush artist, consider purchasing an airbrush tattoo kit. Various levels of kits are available, from basic to deluxe, although most will have the basics of what you need to begin practicing.
Some kits will include a training DVD or book to help you get started, as well as the atomizer, starter paint kit and stencils. If you are unsure if airbrushing is something you wish to do regularly, start with a lower end kit and build from there as you gain experience and confidence.
While most kits provide some degree of instruction, you may also find classes available at local tattoo parlors. Many tattoo parlors that offer airbrushing will frequently hold small classes in getting started with airbrush tattoo equipment. Call your local tattoo parlor to see if classes are offered in your area.
Build a Stencil Supply
To be a successful airbrush artist, you need to have an adequate supply of stencils. Stencils are readymade designs your clients can choose from, which helps produce consistent and quick results. The more stencils you have for a potential client to choose from, the more likely you'll be to get repeat business.
Build a Portfolio
Stencils and portfolios go hand-in-hand. While the stencils can show potential clients what designs are available for them to select from, your portfolio of finished work will help them visualize what the final tattoo will look like.
Because stencils are colorless cutouts, and frequently multiple stencils must be layered on top of one another to produce a detailed design, examples of the finished work are imperative. This can be done by airbrushing and photographing your friends, or simply by airbrushing directly onto some cardstock. Either way, keep a book handy for clients to flip through to get ideas for the design they want.
Determine Where You'd Like to Work
While some tattoo parlors offer airbrush tattoos on site, many do not permit anyone under the age of 18 on the premises. This means that teenagers looking for a temporary tattoo will be going elsewhere for their paint.
While it may be less convenient, you may find that traveling to special occasions such as parties or Bar and Bat Mitzvahs will allow you to practice your trade with more regularity. More established artists may want to set up temporary stands at the beach or city parks; check with your town or city to see what permits may be required to set up a temporary tattoo stand.
Practice Makes Perfect
While anyone can purchase an airbrush tattoo kit and call themselves an artist, those who are successful at their trade will also offer unique designs, freehand body painting and a colorful portfolio. If you want to try your hand at becoming an airbrush tattoo artist, practice your art diligently until what you can offer is the best someone can get.