How to Secure a Tattoo Apprenticeship


A lot of people want to learn how to tattoo. They basically have two options: either get a DIY kit and learn how to do it for themselves or try and get a tattoo apprenticeship. Obviously, the recommended method is to search for the tattoo apprenticeship. This, however, can be a very difficult task. The number of experienced tattoo artists out there that are willing to take someone under their wing is getting smaller and smaller.

How to Find a Tattoo Apprenticeship:

There are a few necessary steps that anyone who is looking for the best tattoo apprenticeship available should follow:

  • Set your expectations accordingly. If someone truly wants to find a good tattoo apprenticeship then they should know what they’re in for. A good apprenticeship will take a long time. A proper teacher will probably not even let you perform any tattoos for the first few months, until you cover all the basics. By taking on an apprentice he is basically guaranteeing for the quality of work that his pupil is able to perform. Any bad tattoos will reflect poorly on him.
  • Get ready to learn the business. Someone who is looking for a tattoo apprenticeship must realize that doing the actual tattoos is just part of his responsibilities. He will have to learn how to clean and sterilize needles and tattoo areas, how to make stencils and how the business is managed.
  • Find the right teacher. This will be the most difficult part. Not only finding the perfect mentor, but convincing him to take a student under his wing. An ideal candidate will have at least five years of experience. Most will ask for money in exchange for a tattoo apprenticeship. The student must make sure that he doesn’t get stuck with a teacher that is more interested in money than he is in passing on his knowledge. There are the lucky pupils that find teachers that are willing to do it for free if they think that their apprentice truly is committed to the business. A more common situation is where the tattoo artist is a combination of both the extreme cases.
  • Assemble a portfolio. Every potential apprentice needs to carry around a portfolio in order to impress his would-be teachers. This can include drawings and paintings as well as sculptures and any other artistic creations. Any certification of formal studies or training would constitute an advantage.
  • Show that he wants it. A teacher will be impressed by the dedication that the student possesses. If he truly wants a tattoo apprenticeship then he has to show love for the business and a lot of enthusiasm.
  • Sign a contract. If anything should happen that will turn the relationship sour than a contract is needed to protect both parties.

How to Stand Out

Any good tattoo artist will receive a lot of offers for a tattoo apprenticeship. It is important for him to be able to distinguish the truly talented from the filler. These are some pointers that can help anyone secure a tattoo apprenticeship with his desired mentor:

  • Be presentable and respectful. Just because the teacher and everyone around him are covered in tattoos and the heavy metal music is blasting throughout the shop that doesn’t mean that the pupil can show up and behave any way he wants to.
  • Be a good customer. Obviously, if someone wants to be a tattoo artist he should have some tattoos of his own. Going to their potential teacher to get some tattoos can help a lot in establishing a relationship.
  • Be sincere and determined. No tattoo artist is going to take on an apprentice if he thinks that the pupil will not stick with it. In order to secure a tattoo apprenticeship, the student must show true love and dedication for the art of tattooing.

Ajeet Khurana blogs about everything under the sun. In his recent blog on ideas for tattoos, he presents readers with ideas on getting themselves inked.