Seems to me there is an overabundance of aspiring “tattooers” out there now trying to get into this great industry of ours and want to learn how to tattoo. I have a few words of wisdom on this subject from my own humble beginnings and years of experience in the business of tattooing. Bear with me and read the entire article up to the end to truly understand where your personal success in tattooing lies
Now I see people making the same mistakes I did. The difference, most of the time, is they don’t give a shit about getting better or learning how to do anything the right way. Not all, but most.
Aspiring tattooers looking for apprenticeships come into the studio with two or three shitty drawings that look like an 8-year-old drew them. Their Mom or Grandmother or friends told them that the drawings were amazing and they should do tattoos. They get turned down, buy an Ebay machine, and scratch away in the kitchen ! But and trust me on it this, shouldn’t encourage you on how to tattoo . Keep reading and discover some more from what i have experienced and try to be less naive than me.
My whole purpose for this little blog is to recommend on how to approach this great art form of ours. Learn from my mistakes, allow me to save you 3 or 5 years of embarrassing struggle.
First off, tattoo apprenticeships range anywhere from free to RS.100,000.00!!! Let me tell you something, free is where it’s at.
If you stroll into a tattoo studio with a portfolio filled with the nicest, most mind-blowing , original tattoo designs you’ve ever seen, you’ve already jumped a HUGE hurdle. The ART & Artwork ! If you can’t draw, then why are you here? No Tattoo artist wants to teach someone to draw. They want to teach them to tattoo. The drawing comes first people. If you’ve got a portfolio that I can’t resist, I’ll probably take you on….for free. I, nor any other established tattoo artist, wants to teach you how to draw a rose. No way!!!
Don’t approach a studio with a half assed portfolio. We need to see finished art. Full color stuff, smooth black and gray, perfect line work, nice composition, attention to detail and anything else that would set you apart from the next guy. Remember, we ALL feel like there’s already too many tattooers in the world. The supply vs. demand is way out of balance, so the deck is stacked against you right from the start. Be irresistible. If you’re not, go draw for another year. If your serious you will trudge on and you will improve.
And don’t bring in stuff drawn on yellow lined paper and bar napkins (see above). Present yourself professionally. Make a Portfolio of your work. Show you care…
Your gonna clean some toilets, you’re gonna wash windows, set up stations, break them down, scrub tubes, wash the floor, do stencils and just be all around shop bitch. That’s how you pay for your free education. Hell, you’re gonna have to do that even if it isn’t a free apprenticeship.
We’ve all paid our dues one way or another. I did all that scrubbing and cleaning and didn’t get shit for it. I chose to go down that road, and I wish I hadn’t. I’d give ANYTHING to have had a guiding hand from an educated professional those first couple of years.
Tattoos are not injected into the skin, and we are not using hypodermic needles or hollow needles to apply your tattoos. Your skin is composed of Epidermis, Dermis and a Subcutaneous Fat Layer. Within the Epidermis are five layers: the Stratum Corneum, Stratum Lucidium, Stratum Granulosum, Stratum Spinosum, and Stratum Germinativum.
The whole process of tattooing takes place in the first three layers of your epidermis (not even all the way through your epidermis!)