Tattoo Genesis
How To Start Your Journey as a Tattoo Artist

How To Start Your Journey as a Tattoo Artist

How To Start Your Journey to Become a Tattoo Artist 

It is no secret that being a tattoo artist is a very sought-after career at the moment and we can see exactly why. Being a tattoo artist comes with a lot of perks, but it can prove quite difficult to become one if you do not know where to start. We have compiled a simple breakdown of how to start your journey to become a tattoo artist. 

The very first thing you need to do to start your journey is to delve into the craft as much as possible. There are so many resources online to get yourself clued up about the industry. It's important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you decide to commit to the long process of becoming a tattoo artist. There are some great articles that will cover tattoo studio hygiene, ideas to improve your drawing skills, and what a day in the life of a tattoo artist looks like. Once you have made an informed decision about whether this is the perfect career for you, it is time to look at options for you to get into this coveted industry.  

The next step in your journey of becoming a tattoo artist is to decide whether you want to teach yourself or you want to try and pursue a tattoo apprenticeship. This decision will depend on your financial circumstances and how quickly you want to start tattooing, as well as what is available in your town. Tattoo apprenticeships can be scarce and it might take a lot of time before you are able to find one. 


If you choose to pursue an apprenticeship at a tattoo studio, you will need to put together a good, high-quality drawing portfolio. Start with designs that show strong linework like American Traditional designs, custom script, or a sheet of micro tattoos. It is also a good idea to include drawings that show an understanding of shading as well as color palettes and color blending. Your portfolio should only include your very best work, and you should feel confident when presenting it to the tattoo artist. 

It is a good idea to reach out to your favorite local tattoo studio and see if they are hiring tattoo apprentices, and it’s better to do so in person as opposed to over email as it makes a great first impression. Some studios will pay you a basic salary for handling admin while you learn to tattoo, but most studios offer unpaid apprenticeships, so keep that in mind if you choose to start your tattoo journey in a professional studio. If you do not get an offer for an apprenticeship the first time, there is no shame in working on your portfolio and drawing skills some more and approaching them again in the future!

Tattoo schools are a second option to start your tattoo journey. They are mainly online and are a good way to learn how to tattoo from a professional artist if you are unable to pursue an unpaid apprenticeship. You can learn how to tattoo from the comfort of your home and in your free time. Some tattoo schools will include a basic starter kit which is a plus as this means you won't need to try and source the supplies yourself. You will learn the basic history of tattooing, sterile breakdowns and setups, and basic tattooing techniques such as lining, shading, and even color packing. You will still need to do a lot of practice in your free time but you will learn a lot faster than a traditional apprenticeship.

A third option is to teach yourself at home. If you choose to teach yourself how to tattoo, you will need to thoroughly immerse yourself in the tattoo industry. You will need to purchase all of the right supplies, a tattoo machine, and lots of fake skin to practice on. A great idea is to purchase a few tattoo courses and spend as much time as possible learning and practicing your craft before you start on human skin. It is also a good idea to complete a bloodborne pathogen training course to put yourself and your future clients’ minds at ease. 

The final, but still vital part of starting your journey to become a tattoo artist is to have a presence on social media. Social media platforms are the best way to market and promote yourself as an artist and to keep up to date with trends. You will need to keep your online portfolio up to date if you would like to approach a shop to work as an artist, and to market yourself as much as possible by posting tattoo specials. You can also post your recent drawings and available flash to entice new clients when you start tattooing.

The industry has changed a lot, and having access to the internet has made it possible to start your tattoo journey without an apprenticeship. We do still recommend getting an apprenticeship if it is possible for you as it is the best way to learn how to tattoo - you get real-time advice and feedback from your mentor - but if this is not possible for you then do not worry! 

There are lots of online sources, like Hugo Feist’s Black & Grey Realism Tattoo Course. Enrol now to unlock the secrets of the trade and master the art of tattooing. With this masterclass, you will be equipped to develop your own unique style, which is one of the most important aspects of tattooing. You will want to stand out from the crowd and bring something different to the table. 

By joining the Tattoo Genesis family, you can discover the secrets of the trade by signing up for our newsletter. You will receive updates and special benefits for all of our courses to take your tattoo journey to the next level.


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