Learning to tattoo can be a fun and rewarding experience. People of all ages and walks become tattoo artists but the main thing they have in common is they are passionate about what they do and they live and breathe their art. If you want to learn to tattoo you have to start at the bottom and both your attitude and groundwork can make the difference on if you even get your foot in the door. Learning how to tattoo is not an easy process and you can often fail before you even start if you aren't prepared.
Before you even ask for an apprenticeship you need to understand what you are in for. Apprenticeships are hard to get and require hard work so it is important to go prepared and with the right attitude. You are asking for someone to teach you their job, ask nicely and realize that you don't know anything. Coming in to a shop and asking for a job while telling them you already know how to do it is not going to win you any points and certainly won't get you an apprenticeship. If you want to learn how to tattoo you have to learn to be both humble and respectful. Those who are devoted to this job view it with a certain awe and any implication that you aren't both committed and serious will generally not be in your favor.
Learning to tattoo requires a lot of drawing and being able to show off your drawing skills to your prospective mentor is key. Quality over quantity is really important with this and 5 great drawings are worth 100 mediocre ones. If you aren't good at drawing then why do you want an art career? If you don't feel your drawing is up to standard then practice, take some art classes or maybe you need to really decide if learning to tattoo is for you.
Once you've done the groundwork you are ready to take the step and ask (beg) an experienced artist to teach you how to tattoo. There is a huge chance they will say no, so don't be offended; they just get asked at least once a week by people who really aren't serious. Treat this like a job interview, show them your effort so far and then if they still say no you will have to prove your worth. Proving you really are worth teaching can be as little as coming to the shop and spending time, ask questions and generally show that you are committed to this path. Finding an artist who is as good as you aspire to be and willing to teach you can be tricky and often this can be a disheartening process.
If you get the gift of an apprenticeship you apparently have some raw talent and potential. You've probably just taken the most difficult step in learning how to tattoo because nothing is as hard as getting that apprenticeship in the first place.