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*. how to start out in the tattoo biz .* written by "the caped crusader"

Tattooing is traditionally an apprentice based art. Apprenticeships last approximately three years before they are considered professional artists.
You are making permanent, often visible changes to another human being and if proper procedure isn't followed, could be jeopardizing that client's health and emotional well-being. By taking advantage of the knowledge of experienced, professional artists, you will avoid many costly mistakes.

Apprenticeships are by far not easy to get, you can expect to hear a "NO" more often then "YES", but let me
advise you persistence pays off!
They may even cost you money and you might have to sign a contract regarding your future business practices. This is not unusual! Just as in any other profession, you need to pay for schooling, but not always!

First, you should put together a portfolio, anything reflecting your skills with composition, color and line work.
In the tattoo biz these are called "tattoo-flash". They should be no smaller than 11x14!
Make 2 sets, one set with 4 pages of color, and one set with 4 pages of black and white. It helps
to visit a tattoo shop or better a tattoo convention
and check out what professional flashes look like. For each shop make color copies of your flash work, make sure each one shows your name and contact info.

Now, having this, you are ready to go out and ask for apprenticeship in a tattoo shop. This is the first impression shop owners will see from you, so PLEASE make sure, they look as best as possible, and reflect all your skills, imagination and sincereness about becoming a tattoo artist!
Be aware, that this portfolio will be a main deciding factor between "YES" and "NO"!

Choose the shops you would like to work at well, make sure it is a professional organization, and get a feel for the vibe in the shop. This is essential, and requires checking out places in your town a couple weeks before you go out and ask for apprenticeship!

There are many people asking all the time! Even though you are not going on a job interview on wall street;
be well prepared, confident, dress sharp and be smart!
In other words, make a positive impression! Try to put put yourself into the position of a shop owner, and think about under what criteria you would choose an apprentice??!

Make sure the person in charge is there, and has time, in other words, do NOT go there on a weekend, they won't have time to talk to you, choose a slow day, this will improve your chances for someone to talk to you a a lot!
Let them know that you have some flash you would to show them, tell them about your artwork,
and tell them a little about yourself, and mention that you are looking for an apprenticeship.
You will be able to tell right away whether he is into it or not, and go from there.
In any case, try to leave your flash work there, you never know who comes across it!
The more material from you is laying around somewhere the bigger the chance, that someone will call one day!
It's as simple as that...

Most likely you will hear a "no", for what-ever reason, at least ask WHY ?! No-one will be mad if you do!
It is your right to know!
do they have enough people?
did they not like my flash?
Whatever it is, find out, and make corrections~!

Success or failure is determined well and truly before the
result is actually attained.

This may sound a little strange but the successful result lies
very deeply within how often we fail, learn from our failures,
adjust accordingly, try again, fail again; and so the cycle
continues until our experience and talents lead us to the
desired result.

% this applies to your entire career as a tattoo artist! you will never finish learning!
See a "NO" or rejections as a lesson to learn, and one step further up the ladder, mistakes are costly, and therefore should not be repeated!
It is easy to get frustrated and discouraged, but bare in mind,
there are other people that have made it, and if you are serious enough,
and this really IS what you want to do, then there is absolutely nothing in your way! ;)

There are some organisations that provide schooling, check out the following links:
Jade Dragon Tattoo
Tattoo School

Now, if you feel lucky today, you can check out a couple listings of available jobs and apprenticeships openings
and start applying what you just learned!

What else do you need? nice equipment? at least to look at for now?
ok, here is a very cool company, check them out, they will asssist you with all your questions,
should you have any!

good luck! ;)

the caped crusader
writer and editor

2001 copyright All rights reserved.
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2001 copyright All rights reserved.