Remember the saying ‘if you want to get ahead, get a hat’. Today it appears we have replaced ‘hat’ with ‘tatt’. Tattoos are extremely popular in this day and age, so the need for tattoo artists are in high demand.
Your first step to getting an apprenticeship in tattooing is your portfolio. This is a collection of drawings including colours in some work. Bear in mind that drawing images straight out of tattoo magazines/off the internet tends to get spotted very quickly and is seen as “ripping off”. However, studying the way particular artists or tattooists approach things from a different angle and showing that you’re learning something from it is a good thing.
Tattooing is often glamorised on TV reality shows such as Miami Ink, it is a lot of hard work and requires a motivated individual. Tattoos are permanent and a life long decision, you need to engage with your client ensure they understand this, a tattoo is not something to get lightly. As a tattoo apprentice you will be required to ensure your client is as comfortable as possible whilst you assist the tattoo artist. Apprentices help to keep techniques, voices and processes fresh and lively and keep the art form evolving. However, there are a lot more skills to learn than just how to use a tattoo machine. An apprentice has to learn technique, safety and sanitization, cleaning processes and business management.
Apprenticeship programs are vital for aspiring artists. Not only do they teach you the skills you need to be a successful tattooist, you will learn the reasons for sanitation and safety and how to avoid contamination and spreading disease. Tattooing is a profession that carries with it a great deal of risk, and it is only through strong apprenticeship programs that those risks can be mitigated.
Also take into consideration how your client may be feeling. I can assure you getting a tattoo for most people is far from painless, there will be a small minority that enjoy the pain but besides them, there will be a lot more pain, blood, sweat and tears. You should be patient and understanding of this and try to minimise distress.
So for those artistic types looking for something a little more permanent (pun intended), a tattooist apprenticeship might be just right for you.