If you want to become a tattoo artist, you’ll need more than just tattoo art school. An apprenticeship is your first step to learning what you need to know by observation and practice. But no matter how many tattoos you’ve gotten or how much you think you know about tattooing, you’ll need these three key traits to be a successful tattoo artist.
Patience is key in your journey to become a tattoo artist. Tattooing is both a trade and an art form that requires a lot of practice to sharpen your skills. There are some tattoo schools on the market that promise quick results. A complete tattoo apprenticeship cannot be completed in a few weeks. There is simply too much to learn from proper techniques to basic safety and sterilization. Trust that your mentor artist knows what they are doing and everything they are teaching you is necessary, even if it seems basic or silly or menial. A young and eager tattoo student may want to get inking right away, but the fundamentals must be taught first. Many people who learned the old school way spent months, even years, observing a skilled and seasoned artist. If you want to become a tattoo apprentice, be prepared to do your research and potentially hear some rejections. Not only do you have to find an artist with a style you appreciate and wish to emulate, but you have to find one who is willing to teach you. It may take some time to find the perfect fit.
This may seem obvious, but artistic skill is imperative. If you?re only good at drawing cartoons, you may not want to become a tattoo artist. There will be times when your skill is tested outside of your comfort zone. A good tattoo artist has experience with several different artistic genres and mediums. Often, a client will come to you with a very specific idea in mind. Of course, you can suggest a certain style that you are more comfortable with, but you should have the innate artistic skill to be able to draw from direct observation and give the client exactly what they want. You?ll need to build a portfolio of your work, showing your drawing and painting skills as well. It may be a good idea to include some examples of the most popular tattoo designs to show you can do a classic or common style.
If you?re not passionate and dedicated, you?ll have a tough time trying to become a tattoo artist. An apprenticeship may take several months to several years, and only those who are passionate will see the learning process through with enthusiasm and appreciation. It?s important to truly love the work that you do. Remember, you?re working on another person?s skin and your work will be a part of them forever. Your passion will show when you put genuine care into each tattoo you do. Take pride in your craft and treat each tattoo like a little masterpiece. You want your client to feel the same pride every time they look at your art.