How do you become a tattoo artist

Posted by Dragon Tattoo on

If you want to become a tattoo artist you have to have an apprenticeship. Those who choose not to and want to learn at home risk fines, shunning, and imprisonment if they're caught. Anyone can buy cheap equipment off the internet but it does not mean that it will make them a tattoo artist in the same way that buying a car makes you a professional driver. There is no such thing as step by step instructions in this industry only hard work and a lifetime commitment. It is not something undertaken as a hobby since it can be dangerous to both artist and client if not conducted properly. For this it is important if you decide you want to become a tattoo artist that you do it right.

            You can start becoming a tattoo artist by being creative. If you like drawing that's a good start but you'll need a portfolio of your best work. This can be a sketchbook, painting, graphic portfolio, anything really as long as it showcases the best of your art skills. There's nothing saying this has to be huge, but if all you have is two or three 5 minute sketches then it really doesn't seem like you're much of an artist. The same thing goes for having hundreds of sketches, after a while it's redundant so you're better off picking out a few of your best pieces to show to potential mentors. There is no set number or type of drawings you need to bring, in fact you might get hired for one drawing alone simply because the artist can see the potential in it to make a great artist out of your raw talents.

            Once someone has hired you you will be expected to complete a form of training known as an apprenticeship. This is rather like going to college only it is usually free and you are essentially donating your time and work to your career. Good shops never charge for an apprenticeship and it should be months before you need to consider buying any of your own supplies. Your apprenticeship will differ based on both your skills, how fast you learn and how your mentor teaches. Some can be more old school than others, there may be hazing if you make mistakes, and some may put more emphasis on the technical aspects than actually drawing. Each state has its own requirements for tattoo certification but it is important to know you're not simply wasting your time so be sure to look around and find a shop you respect and trust before asking for an apprenticeship.

            If you manage to survive the apprenticeship process chances are you will be taking some form of exam. This may be mandated by the state or it may be something set by your mentor just to make sure that you are finally ready to be let loose. Most artists do feel though that even if you pass your apprenticeship that you will still spend your career learning and improving.

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