There are many gifted tattoo artists who are overlooked because of their lack of experience. The tattoo industry is a competitive one, with many talented artists vying for the same clients. When you’re first starting out, you won’t be able to tattoo people right away.
As with many careers, you need to go through training. A residency is a training period required of new doctors, right? So apprenticeships for prospective artists would be like that.
Apprenticeships give you the chance to work closely with an experienced tattoo artist. You'll be able to practice and develop your skills while observing how the artist works. It takes a lot of persistence, patience, and dedication, but trust us: The hands-on experience is worth it!
Here are some ideas on how to get into the tattoo industry:
- Build a portfolio of impressive pieces of artwork.
- Apply to become a tattoo apprentice
- Give yourself the hands-on experience of tattooing.
Why Self-Teaching May Not Be the Best Option for You
It is possible to teach yourself how to tattoo, but it would be a mistake. Having a tattoo apprenticeship means having access to a wealth of experience and knowledge. Having an apprenticeship allows you to get hands-on experience and learn from some of the best artists in the industry.
It might be difficult to find a tattoo apprenticeship with the full 40 hours per week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get one with fewer hours. Ask around and see if any artists would be willing to take you on as an apprentice.
Here are a few things to think about.
When searching for the right tattoo artist to shadow, keep these things in mind:
The Artist's Experience
To get a good mentor, you want to find someone with at least five years of experience. Check out the portfolios to see if they have a good eye and an eye for detail. Make sure they have experience with mentoring others, too.
Your Mentor’s Approach
When you meet with a potential mentor or teacher, make sure that you feel comfortable with them and their work. You want someone who will push you but also inspire you. You want to be able to learn from them.
Do They Suit You?
When considering an artist for your project, remember that you’ll be working with them closely for a long time to come. It’s important that you get along.
It’s important to have a strong working environment and personal connections if you want to improve yourself. It’s not worth sacrificing someone else’s happiness just to be their apprentice.
Don’t Fall for a Scam
If an artist offers a free apprenticeship, that’s great. But if you’re looking for work and you find an artist who charges exorbitant amounts, be wary. They might just be trying to make a quick buck by taking advantage of beginning artists.
Unfortunately, some tattoo artists are more interested in making money than educating their customers. If you want to get a good tattoo, you need to find an artist who's not just well-trained but also has a price range that works for you.
Confirm your decision to work with a potential mentor by talking to people you trust.
How to Get a Tattoo Apprenticeship
A tattoo apprenticeship is the first step toward becoming a professional tattoo artist. To get an apprenticeship, you'll need to impress your potential mentor with your raw talent and earn his or her trust. You don’t need certification to get an apprenticeship — an artist could like what he sees and want to hire you without formal training.
Your Collection of Portfolio
When you meet with a potential mentor, it can be helpful to show him or her a portfolio of your artistic work. This can include paintings, drawings, or even sculptures if that’s something you do. This is the most crucial part so don't mess it up. Your portfolio is like a resume so make sure it's perfect.
Remember that no tattoo artist will want to teach you how to draw. They’ll only teach you how to tattoo. If you don’t have an extensive portfolio ready, start drawing every day and building your portfolio.
If you want to build up a portfolio of designs for tattoo artists, draw things you’d like to have tattooed and that reflect your style.
Why Apprenticeships Are Important
Apprenticeships are good for more than just learning the ropes of being a tattoo artist. They also enable you to legally work as one. They can make it easier to obtain a license, which is required in most states for tattoo artists.
Be sure to find a licensed tattoo artist to apprentice with. They will be able to teach you the proper techniques and help you develop your skills.
Persistence is Key to Achieving your Goals.
Now that you know what to look for in a mentor, go find someone who meets your criteria and get started on your apprenticeship.
Don’t get discouraged if your first attempts to find an apprenticeship are unsuccessful. Keep working and building your portfolio until you’re hired by an established artist.
How Much Does it Cost to Become an Apprentice?
When you’re an amazing artist and a shop wants to hire you, sometimes they’ll let you work for free as your apprenticeship. But this isn’t usually the case, so you’ll have to pay your way.
You may need to spend around $5,000 for an apprenticeship, so make sure you choose a suitable one.
Apprenticeships are an excellent way to begin a career as a tattoo artist. They offer hands-on experience and teach you about the tools and techniques needed for the job. In order to get a spot, you must be persistent and dedicated.
Take the first step toward becoming an artist by finding a good mentor. You can be a fantastic artist with great potential, but if you have the wrong mentor, you might get bogged down and give up.