Tattoo Artist Annabelle Vaudrin’s Creative Journey Unveiled


Choosing a career can be complicated and overwhelming. Still, Annabelle Vaudrin, a 2019 graduate of Chateauguay Valley Regional High School (CVR), has recently discovered a new passion that has become an exciting career opportunity. She is now working as a tattoo artist at Salon HERA in Valleyfield.

Though she didn’t always know she wanted to be a tattoo artist specifically, she says she’s “always had an artistic side.” After graduating high school, she studied graphic design at CEGEP at John Abbott. Vaudrin loved the program but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after school. While there, she applied to work as an apprentice at Salon HERA, but at the time, she was still in school and working for FedEx, and the timing didn’t work out.

Vaudrin says she lacked creative freedom due to the time devoted to her FedEx job. “I was never drawing as much, and it was tough on me,” she explains. Later, when she saw that Salon HERA was looking to hire tattoo artists with experience, Vaudrin decided to shoot them a message to see if they would still be open to providing apprenticeships. There was enough interest for the studio to open up interviews, and Vaudrin was one of four people selected for the apprenticeship program.

The program’s first month was devoted to teaching safety and sanitary practices, including the medical side of tattooing and how to prevent infection. Then, the apprentices moved on to drawing their potential tattoo designs, but Vaudrin already had a good idea of her style. “I already had a lot of drawings because I’ve been drawing ever since I was young,” she says. Her graphic design background also helped her excel at this.

20 WATN Annabelle Vaudrin
Tattoo artist and graphic designer Annabelle Vaudrin concentrates on inking a client. She enjoys the flexibility, freedom and creativity that her job offers. PHOTO provided

About her style, Vaudrin says, “I’m intuitive. It’s a bit minimalistic, but I also have other [designs] that are cartoonish. It’s mostly all patchwork, like what I have on my body.” The first person she tattooed was herself; she says, “I wanted to make sure that I had the right needle depth. And I don’t want blowouts and stuff like that on my clients. I’m just such a perfectionist.” Vaudrin has now moved on to tattooing clients.

The studio where she works is a woman-owned business, though men traditionally dominate the tattoo world. Vaudrin emphasizes that having spaces where women can come and feel comfortable is extremely important. She says that at the studio, “We just want to spread the positivity.” She adds that the atmosphere makes people want to stay: “People come in, and they’re in love with the shop and the environment.”

Vaudrin’s favourite part of the job is how it keeps her excited and passionate. Plus, seeing her clients’ happiness is a bonus: “My clients have the same excitement as me!”

Being a tattoo artist means that Vaudrin has control over when she works; it offers excellent flexibility. But it can also come with stress. “It’s scary sometimes because clientele could go low at one point and then boost at one point,” she explains. However, it is worth it for Vaudrin to have those freedoms.

When she’s not tattooing, Vaudrin is still working on other projects where she is putting her graphic design experience to good use. But another passion project right now is organizing the summer basketball camps at CVR. Vaudrin played basketball throughout her time at the school and wants to give back and help others with similar experiences. “Being involved in the community is important,” she says. She now feels her life is more balanced, and devoting some of her time to other passions has made her feel like her life is “coming together.”

Anyone can book a tattoo with Vaudrin now, and checking out her Instagram account, @bellaa.inks can help you better understand her style. She also has a separate account for her graphic design, @designervaudrin.

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