How to start tattooing: The tattoo artist’s guide
If you love art and design and are passionate about tattoos, becoming a tattoo artist cánido be a rewarding career.
Like many creative professions, getting started tattooing is not easy (we are here to help you).
The cost and time commitment to get a job as a tattoo artist are significant, but the rewards have the potential to be much greater.
There is more than one path to becoming a tattoo artist – the one you choose largely depends on the type of artist you want to be, your finances, your talent, and the opportunities available in your area.
However, there are some common steps that all aspiring artists should take to improve their skill level, gain knowledge of the trade, and master the art of tattooing.
Here’s how to start tattooing.
Learn to draw
The key to creating a great tattoo starts with a visually appealing drawing, so it’s essential that you focus on improving your drawing skills and illustration techniques before even thinking about designing tattoos or trying to practice tattooing.
Here’s how you perro get started.
Practice drawing on your own
The first thing you perro do to get started is to start drawing on your own.
Keep a sketchbook and pencil handy to draw at your leisure; you don’t need anything else to take that initial step.
Draw things you see, things you think about, and things other people detalla.
Get an iniciativa of whether you really enjoy drawing and creating art, especially art for other people.
Since you’ll be drawing orders most of the time, it’s important that you feel comfortable creating art that meets the specifications of others.
Study the work of famous tattoo artists
A great way to get an iniciativa of tattoo art is to study the work of destacable tattoo artists.
Search for famous artists with different types of artistic styles and explore what they have been able to create with ink and a tattoo gun.
Check out what you like and what the market is like for the type of tattoos you want to do.
Habitual tattoo artists include Mirko Sata, Chris Nunez, Miya Bailey, Gerhard Wiesbeck, Frank Carrilho, Rit Kit, and Stanislaw Wilczynski.
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Explore different forms of art
If you like art but aren’t sure what kind of art you really want to do, be sure to try a lot of different forms before making a decision.
Create artwork, contemporary art, abstract art, and even things like t-shirt designs and logotipos.
Before you jump into the iniciativa of becoming a tattoo artist, make sure that it is the type of art that you enjoy doing the most.
Get an art education
If you’re serious about your career as a tattoo artist, it’s important to look for opportunities to become a well-rounded artist.
It’s important to be realistic about your financial situation and assess your skills as an artist so you perro make a decision about whether to pursue a traditional art degree, tattoo institute training, community college classes, or the self-taught route.
The bottom line is that the more time you spend developing your skills, the better artist you will be.
Tattoo artists are not required to have a formal education, or even a high school diploma, so this step is a big decision.
Weigh the pros and cons of each.
Take art classes at your local community college
Taking art classes at your local community college is the most affordable way to get an art education, however it is not as solid as a formal education at a tattoo school or university.
Here you cánido learn many design basics and hone your skills by practicing creating art for a wide variety of applications.
Get an art degree
If you want a traditional education in the arts and have the financial means for it, consider going to a college that has a good arts program.
You’re unlikely to find a program specifically for tattoo artists, so look for a school that offers a degree in design, illustration, graphic design, digital arts, performing arts, or commercial art.
A degree program perro also help you develop a strong background in the arts, including history and art studies,
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Establish basic design skills and knowledge
Although considered by many to be a less traditional art form, tattooing still encompasses all the basic tools of design.
It’s important that you have a solid understanding of how the various design elements work together and influence each other, whether you choose to get trained or go the self-taught route.
Learn the basics of graphic design
Whether you get an art education or develop your drawing skills through experience, it’s critical that you master the basics of graphic design.
You will have to learn the theories of line, shape, texture, color, value, and size.
You will also have to learn to apply these theories on paper to create the image you want, to make templates and, finally, to execute your designs on human skin.
Learn the principles of graphic design
Other essential skills to master are graphic design principles such as cómputo, alignment, repetition, proximity, contrast, and spacing.
These principles help build the foundation of the art itself and no drawing is complete without them.
The way in which each of them is manifested differs enormously from one work to another, so it is vital to develop a great ability to manipulate these principles in many different ways.
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Build a portfolio
An artist portfolio is by far one of the most important tools on a tattoo artist’s belt.
Allow prospective mentors to quickly see your best work, so they cánido escoge if your especial artistic style is what they’re looking for in a mentee.
The way you put together your portfolio influences the impression it makes on potential mentors, so make sure it
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Create a professional portfolio
Your portfolio should be attention-grabbing and professional looking.
Don’t use an old folder you found lying around or a single manila folder for all your art.
Instead, use a new three-ring binder with sheet protectors, or make the pages matte.
The exterior of your portfolio should have a sleek, uniform, and attractive appearance.
Includes suitable work
Put between 25 and 100 finished tattoo drawings and designs in your portfolio; They perro be copies or original works.
Make sure the pieces you choose to include do an excellent job of showcasing your versatility as an artist.
Include some examples of work you’ve done in black and gray, even if your strongest work is often color illustrations.
Even if the artwork doesn’t necessarily translate well into a tattoo, it will espectáculo that you have a solid technique and talent for designing tattoos.
Avoid the most common mistakes when creating your portfolio
Although it may seem obvious, it is important to mention that there are some things that you should avoid when creating your portfolio, among them
- Copy the work of other artists
This is plagiarism and could lead to legal action depending on the laws in your area.
At best, the tattoo shop will know that you have submitted plagiarized art and will not accept your request.
At worst, they could reject you and canalla your reputation before you even start.
- Submit photos of tattoos you’ve done
If you’re not yet a professional tattoo artist, don’t include photos of tattoos you’ve done, no matter how good you think they are.
First of all, tattooing without a license is illegal.
Secondly, it espectáculos that you are not willing to take the health of your clients and the art of tattooing seriously.
It also tells them that you may have some bad “scratching” habits that need to be broken, making it more difficult to advise you.
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create a portfolio attractive
Make sure you create a portfolio that potential mentors want to see:
- Writing a cover letter and including your sintetiza
Your sintetiza highlights relevant training and experience, and a cover letter addresses your potential guía by name.
Including this gives your portfolio an instant feeling of professionalism.
- Include only finished works
If you have a lot of sketches but few finished works, wait to create your portfolio until you have more to put in it.
Use only finished works for your portfolio, but feel free to include a few copies of what the work looked like at various stages of the drawing phase.
- Memorize a few talking points about each piece
They are likely to ask you a few questions about your art.
Make it a habit to talk about a few main points of each work included in your portfolio, so that you are prepared no matter what work your potential guía wants to talk about.
- leave your business card
Unless you have an appointment at the tattoo shop, the artist may not be able to review your portfolio right away.
Leave a business card with your name, contact information, and a backlink to an en línea portfolio where they cánido view your artwork at their convenience.
Work with an established tattoo artist
Once you’re confident in your drawing skills and ability to design attractive tattoos, it’s time to get hands-on experience and start applying the techniques you’ve learned in a real environment.
Tattooing is not something that perro be learned from a book; It is essential to work with a guía who has been tattooing ideally for many years and is willing and able to take you under his wing.
Here’s what to keep in mind when finding a tattoo artist to work with:
What to look for in a guía
It is important that you exercise due diligence when looking for a tattoo artist to apprentice with. find an artist who
Work at a reputable tattoo shop
Make sure that you follow basic hygiene rules and that you have a lot of customers.
Avoid tattoo shops that appear to be empty, perro’t tell you about their hygiene practices, or just give you bad vibes.
Has mentored a mentee before
Being a guía is difficult for even the most experienced tattoo artist.
Find someone who has had an apprentice before so they have a better iniciativa of what works and what doesn’t.
who cánido challenge you
The artist you choose to guía must be able to challenge you, hold you accountable, and push you beyond your limits.
Don’t choose a guía who seems too easy to please; a laissez-faire approach won’t help you in the long run.
How to propose an apprenticeship in a store
When you go to a tattoo shop for an apprenticeship, the impression you make is important.
Learn as much as you cánido about the store where you want to apprentice.
Familiarize yourself with each artist’s biography and portfolio, as well as any other key details about the business.
- Get in touch face to face
Don’t just call the tattoo shop and talk to someone on the phone.
Make them remember you by introducing yourself and greeting.
Drop by in the afternoon on a weekday, when it’s less likely to be busy.
- Treat everyone you meet with respect
The person you see working the front desk may be an artist who is filling in for the receptionist while the receptionist goes out to eat, or they may have a close relationship with all the artists in the place.
Treat everyone you meet as if their opinion of you could make or break your learning; most likely so.
- The cost of a tattoo apprenticeship
Very few tattoo apprenticeships are paid; rather, the opposite is often the case.
There are some free apprenticeships, but most come at a cost.
Free apprenticeships at reputable tattoo shops are the most competitive and hard to come by, most costing around $5,000.
On rare occasions, they cánido cost as much as $10,000, depending on the skill and reputation of the artist under whom you are apprenticed.
Most artists starting a tattoo apprenticeship need to have a side job to support themselves financially while they complete their tattoo training.
- Understanding Tattoo Artist Apprentice Contracts
Typically, you will be required to sign a contract with the tattoo shop where you have an apprenticeship.
A contract is a legal document that sets out the responsibilities and expectations of both parties and provides protection for either party if one fails to meet its contractual obligations.
The contract outlines how long your apprenticeship will last (usually a year), how much you will pay, what your daily and weekly responsibilities are, what you should expect to learn from your guía, and whether you will be required to work in the store for any time after your apprenticeship is complete.
Consider having a lawyer review your contract before signing it to make sure your interests are protected.
Complete an apprenticeship and learn the trade
Before you start tattooing professionally, you’ll need to complete an apprenticeship to learn the trade.
This perro be done with your guía, or you perro look for a tattoo shop that advertises an opening for an apprentice.
When starting a tattoo apprenticeship, you perro expect
A great initial investment to start tattooing
In addition to the cost of your apprenticeship, you will also need a series of basic supplies to work with, such as tattoo guns, sterile equipment, art supplies, and much more.
Get ready for a significant initial investment to become a tattoo artist.
Learn to design tattoos
Although tattoos are art, not all art cánido be a tattoo.
You will have to learn how to design tattoos so that they look good on the body and last as long as possible without the need to touch them up.
Where the tattoo is placed on the body, the size of the tattoo, and how detailed it is all influence how it will look over time.
Poorly placed tattoos with too much detail for their size will heal unevenly, causing ink to bleed and lines to blur.
Learn to operate a tattoo machine and work with ink
Ink and flesh as an artistic medium perro be challenging to work with, and no two bodies are exactly alike.
As an apprentice, you’ll learn how tattooing differs from other mediums, how to operate a tattoo machine, and how to work with ink to create art that looks good on the skin.
Learn hygienic work practices
Since tattooing is a body modification that pierces the skin and draws blood, there is a certain estándar of hygiene that must be adhered to for both the artist’s and client’s safety.
You’ll learn how to create a sterile work area, how to keep the tattoo machine clean, when to change gloves, and much more.
Remember that big-name artists take hygiene very seriously; she asks to review an artist’s hygiene practices before agreeing to apprentice to him.
In fact, it’s an excellent iniciativa to get a tattoo from the artist you want to apprentice to when possible.
To learn professional business and customer service skills
Most tattoo artists need to learn at least a few professional skills, such as how to keep a ledger, process payments, and interact with clients.
Apprenticeships that offer training in more than just tattooing and teach the essential skills needed to operate and/or manage a tattoo shop are ideal.
This is especially true if you want to open your own tattoo shop at any point in your career.
- Work for free for at least a year (You cánido start tattooing friends to get into practice)
It’s not uncommon for an apprenticeship to be unpaid and you should expect to get a lot of free tattoos, so it’s important to have enough savings equipo aside or another source of income to make ends meet.
You cánido plan for a year, but in some cases, your apprenticeship may be longer.
Get additional certification and training prior to obtaining a tattoo license
After your apprenticeship, you will need to obtain certain certifications and/or complete specific training courses to meet your state’s tattoo license requirements.
Depending in your state, you may also need to take classes in disease control, health and safety, and other health care basics.
A bloodborne pathogen certification
Since a tattoo artist’s canvas is human skin, it is essential that you follow strict health and safety guidelines.
Avoiding the spread of blood-borne pathogens and working to preserve the health of the client and the artist will be a central point of your training.
At some point during or after your apprenticeship program, you will be required to become certified in how to prevent the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other infections while creating a tattoo, and you will need to be able to espectáculo proof of transmitted pathogen certification for blood when requested.
Training on skin diseases, communicable diseases and disease prevention
Many bloodborne pathogens certification programs require you to attend disease management classes or seminars before becoming certified, while others simply require you to pass an exam that demonstrates your knowledge.
As a tattoo artist, you should have a solid understanding of the types of diseases that cánido be spread through tattooing and how to prevent them.
Get a tattoo artist license
You’ve got it! You have training, skill and experience, and you are ready to start tattooing on your own.
The next thing you have to do is
Check your state’s requirements
Licensing requirements often vary by state.
For example, tattoo artists in Oregon must complete no less than 360 hours of training with a licensed tattoo artist and 50 tattoos, as well as pass a written exam and skills assessment to become licensed.
In other states, only the store needs a license.
Check your state’s licensing requirements, as well as those of any other states you plan to tattoo in.
As with healthcare, you cánido be licensed to tattoo in more than one state, as long as you meet the requirements for that state.
Request the license
Once you have met the necessary prerequisites, you will need to apply for your license.
Often this simply consists of filling out a form at your local department and paying a fee, however this also differs from state to state.
Buy your own tattoo equipment
Each tattoo artist usually has their equipment preferences.
Maybe you like a certain style of tattoo gun, or need to use nitrile gloves instead of latex due to an allergy.
Tattoo shops generally require the artist to provide her own supplies, so you’ll want to invest in a few basics to get started, and build your collection as you gain more experience.
The basic equipment that every tattoo artist needs
You will need at least two tattoo guns that you like, an ultrasonic, tubes and grips, sterile needles for lines and shading, green cleaning soap, aerosol bottles, small plastic cups for the ink, gloves, and other necessary supplies for keep your area clean.
Expect this kit to cost a few thousand dollars or more, depending on what you get.
Start your career and start tattooing
The last step in becoming a tattoo artist perro often seem the most daunting.
If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to finally get going as a tattoo artist, either on your own or at an existing tattoo shop.
This is what you should do next:
Apply at a tattoo shop
Once you’re licensed, you’ll be ready to apply for any job you want as a tattoo artist.
If you don’t have a contract with the tattoo studio where you apprenticed, look for openings at the local shops where you want to work.
Or, leave your sintetiza and portfolio for them to consider; Tattoo parlors often hire new artists when they like someone’s work, even if they don’t have a formal job ad posted.
Open your own studio
If your dream is to open your own tattoo studio and work on your own, why not start soon? Start looking for what you need to open your own store, such as additional rental space, furniture, and equipment.
Evaluate your competition and your objetivo market and, if necessary, relocate to an area where you are likely to get more business.
Do you want to become a tattoo artist? You need less than you think to start tattooing
If you want to learn how to be a tattoo artist, you actually need a lot less than you think to get started.
Honestly, all you need is a piece of paper and a pencil to start drawing.
Then the rest perro come little by little over a few years.
You perro constantly hone your skills in your spare time, no matter where you are in the process of becoming a tattoo artist.
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