Dear tattoo enthousiast, we know the tattoo industry might seem scary and not that inclusive when it comes to welcoming new people. This is due to multiple reasons that we’ll go over today.
Having been through, and still going through it, I (the writer) can speak from personal experience. A lot of it is simple luck, but there are certain ‘short-cuts’ you can take.
In this article I’ll write some of my personal experiences and journey on how to start a career as a tattoo artist. Every apprentice and every mentor is a different person and personality, so while these thoughts are all true for me, they can different for other people. You can take out the bits that are valuable for yourself.
So, if this has been your dream career for as long as you can remember or you’ve only now realised this is your true calling – you might want to stick around. Starting off with a new career is difficult and scary. We’re here to guide you through it.
Table of Contents
Before you jump in with both feet and you get yourself hyped up, there’s a few things you’ll have to keep in mind and be educated on. If you want to get somewhere, that is.
Once you’ve been able to prepare yourself mentally, take action! It sounds scary when you have no idea what you’re getting into and it might sound scarier once you do know. We fully realize this. You just have to keep reminding yourself it’s going to be worth it!
Hard work DOES pay off.
You won't become a millionare
The first few years are hard. If you’re in it for the money, we don’t think that’s your best bet. You might actually lose money for a while.
There’s tattoo equipment, hygiene courses, rent for your booth in the tattoo shop, you’ll need an accountant, etc… You’ll need to make sure you have a plan to survive until you build up your clientele, because this isn’t a profitable profession. At least not for the first 2 years.
The culture and history of tattoos
If you’re not big on cultural and historical topics, sorry… You’ll still have to learn it if you want to be taken seriously by tattoo artists. So, you’ll have to become somewhat of a historian.
Tattooing dates back as far as 3300 B.C.! Look up Otzi the iceman if you don’t know about it.
This being said, there’s bound to be new inventions, tattoo styles, evolution in tattooing in general. We know what happens with time: society changes. When society changes, so does its culture, value, belief system, etc… Art = culture and what are tattoos? Art.
You’ll have to learn about the industry’s history in order to understand the culture. Once you do that, you will be more educated in general as well. The influential artists that changed the tattoo world entirely, the evolution between styles, how and why it became such a thing, etc…
There is no way around this! How are you planning on becoming a tattoo artist yourself if you don’t know where it all comes from?
This will not only help you personally, but it will show other artists that you care about the job. You’re open to learning stuff on your own and it tells them you’re really passionate about tattooing.
If you know a thing or two about industry changing older artist, it shows you have respect. And respect gets you in.
Here’s a few topics you can do research on, to get you started. We also have an article about a few of them:
The history of tribal tattoos
History of Japanese tattoos and the tebori technique
Tattooing isn’t just taking a tattoo machine and inking a design on someone’s body. You need to be a great artist first before you can even think of touching a tattoo ‘gun’ (PSA: not all tattoo artists appreciate the term tattoo gun).
You don’t want to be a pinterest artist, do you?
Pinterest artist = A tattoo artist that’s lazy and unoriginal. Tattoo artists like this only have the skill set of a copy machine, because they like to steal other artists’ artwork.
Assuming you love drawing, this shouldn’t be a problem for you,… but passion for drawing won’t be enough. You have to present an actual portfolio with your best artwork. We’ll go over this topic in more detail further down.
The least fun one (at least for me), the social skills. You need to know how to communicate with people if you want to be in this industry. Not only will you have to reassure potential clients, but your potential mentor will be looking for this too.
If you’re an introvert, just like me, don’t freak out! I promise you, it’s less scary than it sounds.
Before I got my apprenticeship, I came from the fast food industry. This in itself required a lot of socializing and communicating. Whether it was between clients, coworkers or managers. I didn’t even fully realize how good my communication had become thanks to working in McDonald’s. My point with this is, you don’t have to be an extrovert or a sociologist in order to have the social skill set. There are multiple ways to acquire these skills and more often than not, many people have them without even realizing.
Nonetheless, it’s important for you to get communication skills one way or another. There will be times you wont agree on your client’s vision . Knowing what the best way is to go about it, will ensure the situation de-escalates and that there’ll be agreement on a compromise, much faster.
As you probably know yourself, tattoos can be a form of therapy for some. This means there’s a lot of clients that will feel the need to talk once you’re tattooing them.
If you don’t mind and your social battery wont be drained by such clients, no problem! However, if you couldn’t handle it you’ll probably have to learn how to speak up for your own piece of mind. Or learn to be a therapist.
Just remember, this isn’t actually on your job description. So, don’t be scared to speak up and tell them: ”Hey, I’m enjoying, but I really need to focus right now and talking is a bit distracting.” Most should understand.
This job is all about multitasking and hitting deadlines. I know.
Speaking for myself, this was and still is a huge challenge, but I love every bit of it. If you’re anything like me and had issues with multitasking and hitting deadlines during highschool, you get a second chance!
This time it’s also way more fun because you’re doing something you love or at least you’re working towards it. So, not only will you learn dedication, you’ll also get your sh*t together in general. Once you’ve figured out how to manage time and multitask, it’ll help you on other areas of your life aswell.
I will add that having this skill set beforehand will make your life easier. The sooner you start working on your bad habits, the smoother your sail will be later on.
Have a great portfolio
As we’ve mentioned before, you’ll need a great portfolio before you can even think about touching a machine. Most of the times, though, you wouldn’t even get a tattoo apprenticeship without a professional portfolio.
This isn’t art school or art classes you’re going to take. It’s an apprenticeship for becoming a tattoo artist. You need to be a great artist before you start tattooing otherwise you’ll have to learn 2 really difficult skills all at once. I don’t know if you guys have ever heard this, but my mentor always says I need to focus on 1 thing at a time. It’s better mastering 1 thing instead of trying to learn 2 things and ending up not that great at anything.
I’ll explain the ideal way of building up one!
Be a great artist on paper first!
If you haven’t been drawing/painting your whole life on a REGULAR basis (on and off is not good enough, unless you’re megamind) you’ll have to learn how to draw and how to make a daily habit of it. This comes easier for some than others. That does not mean anyone who doesn’t isn’t a good artist. It just means the more self-discipline you have, the more trained you get and the better your results become.
Self-discipline and self-motivation is key.
You can do this by either taking art classes or winging it. There’s no right or wrong. For me, art classes twice a week were the perfect way, until I started seeing them as a task and stopped after 2/3 months. Now I have to wing it and I’M STRUGGLING.
If you decide to wing it and do it on your own, here’s a few tips:
Although books can be boring for some, give them a try!
Youtube till you die. A great artist on there that simplified anatomy and helped me out a lot is Richard Smitheman, look him up!
Pinterest and Instagram hashtags are the perfect source for inspiration. Don’t copy though, unless for practice!
Plan out your days and what you’re going to draw.
Yes, art is something you’re passionate about and it usually comes when you feel like it. However, you’re trying to get a career out of it that’s filled with deadlines!
The sooner you start making a habit out of keeping yourself on a schedule, the easier your life will be once your apprenticeship starts. I promise.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Challenge yourself, yes, but stay kind to you and take care of you.
Reach out to tattoo artists you’ve gone to or really admire and ask them for advice. The worst thing that can happen is getting a no.
If you don’t feel like drawing, challenge yourself to sketch at least a bit. Even if it’s a tiny sketch.
The tattoo apprenticeship portfolio
When it comes to building up a portfolio, there’s a few things to keep in mind. The first thing you’re supposed to do is, well draw. But we know this isn’t a linear process.
Get yourself a portfolio binder/folder. If you’re anything like me, thick sketchbooks and books and anything like that, are intimidating. Buying a thinner one might be a better idea in this case.
Now you’ll need drawings to fill it up! Assuming you’re unlike me, you should have at least a few finished drawings to put in there.
Start and finish with your best artwork!
Have some variation in it.
This will also mean you’ll have to try out different things. Experiment with different styles, use different inspiration sources (not only from tattoo artists), different art media, etc…
Don’t see this as a task, try to think of it more as a challenge to learn new things. This will help you improve your drawing skills and help you long term. Doesn’t mean you can’t draw in your own style at all, just switch it up occasionally.
Once you start tattooing, there’s a big chance you wont be able to do the stuff you want for quite a while.
Avoid messy, unfinished sketches. The work in there needs to be clean!
Unless you want to be a sketchy tattoo artist, of course. Though, the chances that you’ll change your mind about what direction you want to go in are pretty huge. So, another tip i’ll give you: don’t get ahead of yourself! Focus on creating artwork and less on the end goal of tattooing.
Ofcourse, your sketchbook by itself (with almost no finished drawings) can be a nice addition to your cleaner portfolio.
A page or two with ‘pretty’ sketches that have some character in them is fine! This is an art style of its own, so, it’s ok!
Set a goal for yourself and be realistic with it. E.g. one page per week, 3 months to fill in the thing, etc…
Psst, we also have an in-depth article about building up your portfolio. Click here to read!
What to expect from the actual tattoo apprenticeship
Something many tattoo apprentices don’t seem to get is, that it’s another form of ‘school’. You wont be there to have fun and make friends. Yes you’ll have fun and make friends, but it will happen overtime. Try not to get carried away and don’t forget to focus on what you’re there for: to learn.
It will take a lot out of you! But, so will the job itself. It wont get any easier, you’ll just learn how to manage things with time.
You should also know that everyone’s experience is different. A big part of this is the devision between the old school mentors and the new school mentors.
The right of passage
Back in the day, when the tattooing industry wasn’t such a blooming business opportunity, things were different. You had to prove yourself to the people you wanted to learn from. This meant that not only would you have to have an amazing portfolio filled with art, you’d also have to work your butt off. From working at front desk, setting up artists’ stations to cleaning. This could last multiple years depending how ‘lucky’ you were.
It was the traditional way of doing it and in many cases people still do it this way. This is due the reason of people (apprentices) not taking the job as a professional career and thinking it’s all fun and games. Therefor your mentor wants you to prove you’re serious and dedicated first. In reality, it’s a job that takes A LOT from you and you need to be hard-working in order to get anywhere with it.
New vs old school mentors
Nowadays, some tattoo artists from the newer generation are a bit more easygoing. Some expect money up front, others will just take you on if they see potential in you and wont put you through years of cleaning before you can start tattooing. Kind of like paying your dues.
You shouldn’t focus on whether you’ll have to work your butt off to earn it or not, though. If you’re really dedicated the motivation will come easy. Focus on choosing a shop that you like and see yourself working in!
Yes, there’s a chance you’ll have to put all of your energy into working there for essentially ‘nothing’ in return, at least not right off the bat, but you need to realize something. Teaching someone new how to tattoo is a whole other time and energy consuming job on top of your main job. So, you’ll have to repay your potential mentor up front one way or another. Whether it’s with actual money or work hours.
Even more drawing
In the meanitme, you’ll be expected to still keep on drawing and show progress. In reality you’re doing two jobs at the same time aswell. Just try not to see the drawing part as a job or you’ll ruin it for yourself.
This is a job where you’ll never stop learning. If you feel you’ve become stagnant or learned everything you can, there’s something you’re not doing right and you need to figure it out.
Next step: fake skin
Once your mentor has decided you are now allowed to touch a tattoo machine, it’ll be time for you to put in endless amount of work on fake skin.
I might be exaggareting a bit, though. My mentor for example keeps this at 4 weeks max. Why? Because there’s no better way to learn other than on actual human skin. Tattooing on fake skin for too long can teach you certain bad habits that will be harder to ‘unteach’ later on. Since you might have to go slightly deeper on fake skin then in most real cases, for example. Kind of like if you start tattooing on your own at home, without a mentor.
There’s a big chance you’ll still have to do your other tasks at the shop in the meantime…
…And you’ll still have to draw. To be fair, drawing is 50% of the job, so don’t expect it to stop.
In the meantime you’ll learn about proper sanitation, how to present yourself in a professional manner in front of clients, making stencils, etc… You need to acquire the technical knowledge AND the business knowledge before you start tattooing.
On to humans!
Now that you kind of get the gist of how a tattoo machine works, how you put on a stencil, etc… It’s time to practice on the real thing.
Some mentors might expect you to tattoo yourself first. Others will leave it up to you to decide, but will probably expect you to do freebies on people. For a lot of people, including me, giving out free tattoos at the very start of your career is a given.
To be quite honest, I think this is normal. You are going to mess up and do some shitty tattoos before they start looking okay, so why would you charge anyone? I like to think of it as if their skin is my payment, because essentially, it is. A tattoo is permanent, therefore I’m more than grateful for people willing to offer up a place on their body just so I can learn!
Some tattoo shops will just ask the amount of money required for the materials, other will ask cheap prices instead of for free. It all depends on your studio’s system, who provides the stock materials, etc.
Sometimes you’ll get a share immediatly, sometimes the shop keeps it all, again depending on the system.
Usually the shop take a high percentage of said price and give the rest to you.
I think as long as the system is transparant to both parties, it’s all fine.
Around this time, usually, you should be done with the rest of your tasks like front desk.
Keep in mind that cleaning and hygiëne will always stay a part of your job. It might be depending on how many days you’re in and how much clients you have.
Once you’ve progressed enough, your mentor will let you know and you’ll be able to work more independently.
Expect a lot of monitoring from your teacher before that! After all, they’re there to make sure you don’t mess up someone’s skin.
Ok, now how do I get a tattoo apprenticeship?
There are multiple ways to go about this. You can either be sneaky or up front. Let me specify.
Network, network, network: get tattooed
One way of doing it is, go out and get to know artists. Get tattooed and start asking questions.
Don’t necessarily tell them up front, that you want to get in the industry. Just show interest. Get technical and ask them questions.
What are those needles? What kind of machine are you using? Do you have to apply a lot of pressure? How did you find your style? Etc…
Some will ask you right then and there if it’s a goal of yours to learn how to tattoo. Be honest but don’t overexplain yourself. Be humble!
If you can, build a friendly relationship with the people working in the shop you’ve chosen. It’s important that you go to a shop you really like the vibe of! This might be your potential future workplace. When a position opens up at that specific shop, you might just be the first person they think of. No matter the position.
It’s also worthy to mention that there are very few tattoo artists without having some ink themselves. Unless because of a medical condition or financial reasons, it just doesn’t make sense. If you’re into tattoos and want to give others some body art, why the heck are you a blank canvas? So go get tattoos!
I personally wouldn’t judge right off the bat and would try to be understanding, but there will be tattoo artists that won’t take you seriously.
Get a part-time job at a tattoo shop if possible
There are some shops that list job vacancies from time to time. It might be a front desk position, shop manager, social media manager, whatever it is. Apply!
The country I’m from, we have a certain thing called student jobs. It’s basically a way to describe part-time jobs for students, because we have more benifits than someone who’s not a student.
At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. I knew being a tattoo artist was my ultimate goal and dream, but I didn’t think I’d get the opportunity anytime soon and I also didn’t expect one. To be fair, my drawing skills weren’t on point (they still aren’t) as I’ve neglected them over the years, because my goal/dream seemed unrealistic… And I got discouraged.
I was working at Pizza Hut during this period, one day I had decided enough was enough and I was done getting treated like cr*p by the managment. I quit. Three days later to be exact, there was a student job posting on Indeed about a social media managment position in a vintage thrift shop.
After I applied, the same recruitment agency called me up and told me there’s another job posting. My local tattoo shop was looking for a student to do their reception on saturdays. I told the agency people to sign me up for both. Little did I know, a few days later I got an interview with the tattoo shop. Turns out, I had applied for the same position 2 years prior, but they went with someone older and more experienced. By now, I had the confidence built up and the shop owner ended up going for me!
During the interview however, they made it clear to me they are looking for a long-term student. Someone reliable. To be honest, at that time I was convinced I was going back to college in September (interview was in June/July), so I reassured them and told them it wasn’t going to be a problem.
I got hired, LOVED the job, did my best and the shop owner was happy with my work. Even though I had only worked fast food jobs in the past, they gave me a chance and I think I managed to prove myself – even if it was a little bit.
September started getting closer and I still couldn’t decide what studies I was going to pursue… and to be fair the longer I worked there, the more I got motivated to just go for it. For once I was finally surrounded by people who actually help each other, share with each other and encourage each other.
I had warned my boss on the interview that I do see myself as a tattoo artist in a few years. If I remember correctly, one of the questions was where I saw myself in 5/10 years from now. Being transparant, I told them that was my ultimate goal, but I didn’t have the self-discipline nor the guts to start working on it.
Come September, my colleagues, my boss and seeing how fast I learned a job, motivated me to just stop procrastinating and work on my bad habits and just go for it. I explained everything to my boss/shop owner and I think they appreciated that, because they were now going out on a limb to keep me there and help me out. Despite the fact I did what they told me not to do: ask for an apprenticeship.
This is also why you’re reading me write this. Usually they ask apprentices to pay up front, but I was broke and was transparant about my situation. So, the shop owner gave me a position for a whole new job, I’ve also had never done before.
The thing many beginner artists in this industry don’t seem to get is, that sometimes you have to give everything before you recieve anything. Take this from me, it’s exhausting, but if you really want to get there this won’t be something that’d stop you. If it is, it means you don’t want it hard enough.
Let me be cringey for a while and say this: if there’s a will, there’s always a way. The last thing I imagined or hoped for to happen for me this year was; getting an opportunity. Regardless, I got it because I worked and still work my butt off. Be persistent and honest. If you aren’t getting anywhere, then it’s probably a sign your surroundings aren’t the best. Good teachers will see the effort you put in and will reward you. After all, any good teacher wants their students to exceed them.
Go around shops and simply ask them for an opportunity
Doing it this way might be discouraging, as you’ll get a lot of no’s. A lot of artists are also just very tired from people taking this as a joke. Be prepared for coming across tired artists that are unwilling to listen. Don’t give up, though!
Here are some tips to help you out on your journey:
Have a physical copy of your tattoo apprenticeship portfolio. Online portfolio won’t suffice 9 times out of 10. We’ve said this already but we’ll say this again: fill it with good drawings!
A tip: less is more. It’s better to have a ‘few’ good pieces of artwork in there, instead of lots of sloppy tattoo art attempts.
Be persistent. If the artists don’t seem interested in hearing you out or taking a look at your portfolio, show them you’re not ready to leave before they do so.
This will show them you don’t give up easy and are prepared to do anything. Fight your anxiety and stand your ground!
If they still turn you away, so be it. Onto the next shop. If that was your goal shop however, I’d advise you to return in 2 weeks – a month and ask again. Depends on the circumstances, of course.
Don’t give up on looking! Keep reaching out, keep visiting shops and keep networking!
The best opportunities usually come up when you least expect them, so don’t stop.
Things NOT to do when trying to get into the industry
We know it can be difficult to get into the tattoo industry, regardless of tattoo artists being more open to new people nowadays. Despite this, there are still things you shouldn’t do! We spoke about some short-cuts in the beginning, but we lied a bit.
The best short-cut is to just practice and unlearn your bad habits as fast as possible!
Don't order a tattoo kit online and don't experiment
In general, buying yourself a tattoo kit and experimenting on fake skin seems harmless, right? WRONG.
Yes, it can be a way of learning, since a big part of the learning process is figuring things out on your own. Howeverrrr, you should still avoid it.
People that choose for this route, tend to get ahead of themselves and forget about the art of it all. Walk before you run!Opportunities come when you least expect them, so don’t stop.
Not only is this detrimental to your learning process of tattooing, but you’ll get a bad reputation because of it as well. Tattoo apprenticeships exist for a reason.
If you try to learn on your own, you’ll essentially be teaching yourself bad habits. It’s impossible to get everything correct right off the bat, but that’s why you need to find a mentor instead of winging it. They’ll spot your mistakes and correct you right then and there, before it becomes a habit.
Once it’s already a habit, not many tattoo artists will be jumping to take you on. Why? Well teaching someone how to tattoo is already a hard job on itself, now they have to unteach you the bad habits you obtained!
It further shows them you’re impatient and want to skip steps, when in reality – if you want to be a successful tattoo artist, you can’t.
Try to stay away from shops/mentors with a negative mindset
You know how kids grow up to be like their parents? It’s the same way with a student and a teacher, especially in terms of tattoo apprenticeships. This is is basic psychology. The people we surround ourselves with is the person we’ll become.
Take a look at really successful people, we’ll give you the example of Sailor Jerry. He always wanted to surround himself with other artists of his level, or above. Why? Because being around people that are in ways better than you, will help you out in the long run.
We’re not talking strictly about skills here, but that’s also a part of it. Generally speaking, when you surround yourself with people that find joy in the simple things, you’ll start taking this trait over.
Those people also didn’t become happy, because of their successes. Their mindset was already like this and it’s a huge part of what got them where they are now.
If you find yourself around negative people, you’ll feed off of it and start taking it over. As human beings, it’s in our nature to get stuck in unhealthy mindsets. It’s easier to blame everything and everyone around us rather, than taking a look in the mirror and ask ourselves what we can do better. This happens unconsciously.
Shop owners that constantly blame external factors on why they’re not blooming as a business, are a red flag! Try to avoid those shops.
Don't be cocky, but still love yourself
Being confident is great! But there is a difference between being self-confident and obnoxiously arrogant. If you want to be a tattoo apprentice and become a professional tattoo artist one day, you’ll either need to turn it down a notch or work on being confident.
Being in the tattoo business isn’t for the weak-hearted. The people in it aren’t born yesterday and they’ll expect a lot from you. Those people decide essentially if you’re going to have your way in the tattoo industry or not. It might be a good idea to work on your self-confidence, so you don’t crumble underneath the pressure. Here are some tips:
Use your strengths
Some might’ve started out with a head start in certain areas e.g. drawing skills, but that doesn’t mean they were great at all of the other skills the job requires.
Find your own strengths and use them to the best of your advantage. Don’t forget to work on the weaknesses too!
Here’s my example. I am a good artist… whenever I’m able to start and finish my projects, that is. While growing up, drawing and art in general has always been my passion and to be fair, I always exceeded at it. My issue? Being consistent with it. I haven’t been able to finish one sketchbook until this very day! This meant, that if I wanted to make a living out of it I was now going to have to learn some self-discipline.
My strengths however? I can hyperfixate on a certain thing and learn how to do it in record worthy times. I showed this to my boss (overtime) and they saw the potential in me. Before I knew it, a doorway opened for me and it is now up to me to make sure I work on my self-discipline. I can also multitask under pressure and excel at things a regular person would crumble by when stressed.
Just, be tactical.
Remember EVERYONE started out somewhere.
Every single tattoo artist had their own issues at the beginning. Whether it was discipline, self-confidence, art skills,…
Just try to remind yourself of this whenever you’re feeling stuck.
Be kind to yourself and take breaks when you need them.
Being a hard-worker doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your physical nor mental health. Maybe just a tiny little bit from time to time, but don’t overwork yourself.
If you get burnt out, you’ll lose the passion and start hating everything about the job.
Always stay respectful and humble.
Just a few more tips
The more you stand out, the more people will remember you. This is a good thing! Here’s a few things u can do:
Be original with presentation, stay true to yourself
This is relatable to yourself and your tattoo portfolio. If you have a certain style, keep it – even if you’re not alternative at all.
Being really classy when it comes to your clothes, you’ll definitely stand out! There will be people that might gossip about you, but let’s be fair, those rotten apples are everywhere – no matter the industry.
If there’s a thing you’ve always wanted to try out, now is the time to do so! Go dye your hair flamingo pink and get that piercing.
When presenting your portfolio, it’s true that keeping the cover clean might be a good idea. HOWEVER, if you really want to slap some stickers on it, just do it! The right people will be able to look past it and if your work speaks for itself, it shouldn’t matter. If you want to be safe, do it on the inside of the cover. It’s a side of you, don’t hide it.
Staying true to yourself will automatically attract the same people in your life and push away those who don’t match with your values. This is a good thing when getting started.
Research the common tattoo styles
Trying out a few tattoo designs will only give you more creative ideas! This will also show the licensed tattoo artist you’ve chosen to teach you, that you’re aware of tattoo culture.
Important when looking for a tattoo artist apprenticeship!
Be nice, say ‘hi’ to everybody!
This is something lots of bosses are looking for when hiring someone new. It’s the first thing you can do to show your potential mentor you’re friendly and have communication skills.
So, be friendly to others in the shop once you go apprenticeship-hunting. Even to the clients and even if the people there might seem grumpy.
Even if you’re nowhere near the beginning of your journey, get your name out there. This intertwines with networking.
When going to get tattooed, just try to casually drop the fact you want to learn. Even if it’s not in the shop you’re considering, just do it.
In the future, once you do get started, those artists will remember you. Keep in touch with them, social media is great for this! Be supportive of them. This will ensure you have connections with big artists and it will come handy when you yourself are tattooing!
Once you’ve built up a friendly relationship, those artists will naturally want to help you out. E.g. two years ago, I found this amazing artist 3 hours away from me. I only went twice, but I also went twice to his best friend – colleague, first. I was humble, but let them both know they were talking with a future tattoo artist. Over those 2 years, I kept in touch via social media! When I got my apprenticeship, I let them know and they were really supportive. Everytime I need help/advice with something, they take the time to help me. If I can keep that relationship up, this is a future opportunity for a guest spot AND friendship!
Do this with your peers aswell. Even if it’s only a few friends that know. That’s enough to get your name out there in interested future clients.
Have a professional website!!!
Yes, Instagram and TikTok are great! Until they’re not.
People tend to forget that we’re not the true owners of our social media accounts. They can get taken down for no reason at all. If that happens, all of the sudden we’ve lost our built up following and have to start all over again.
Having a professional website, something you actually own, is a way to ensure you wont lose everything. Google traffic can be more benificial to your business than you’d think. Just do some research on it!
Oh, and start early on with social media and your website! Even if you don’t have much drawings to show.
Even if you’ve had a bad experience or you were treated wrong, don’t complain about past experiences with shops. This doesn’t go for actual abuse of course!
You just have to find the line between abuse and miscommunication. Talking poorly about others in the industry is only going to push you away from the goal even further. Why?
Because this gives the impression of never being content to your potential mentor.
How did you guys find your apprenticeships? Anything we’ve missed? Feel free to fill us in down below!
6 thoughts on “Getting into the tattoo industry, HOW TO: get a tattoo apprenticeship and why it’s necessary – my personal journey”
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