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Do you have any advice for people going into tattooing as a career?

Tattooing is one of the most rewarding, fulfilling careers you can have. It’s creative and thoughtful, yet busy and fast-paced, too. The connection between an artist and a client is genuinely inspiring, and providing someone with a piece of art they’ll treasure for life is a magical experience. But don’t forget, it’s a service and an expensive one! So, It isn’t easy to get into tattooing. 

To become a tattoo artist, you need to find someone willing to take you on as an apprentice- and this is a lot easier said than done. It’s sporadic to find a studio that’s actively hiring apprentices, and it can take a lot of persuasion to get an artist to take one on.

So, how on earth can you find yourself an apprenticeship in a reputable studio?

Draw everything every day

Drawing constantly is hugely important for two reasons. Firstly, removing and creating lots will provide an excellent foundation for your portfolio. To stand out from the crowd, you’ll need a portfolio packed full of unique, creative work.

Another reason why drawing all the time is important is that it helps you improve over time. Tattooing is a field where you’ll need to improve and gain new skills constantly, so get into the habit of drawing every day now.

Be patient and resilient

Getting a tattoo apprenticeship and training can take years of critique and refusal. So, you will need to be resilient and able to take criticism on the chin. 

Additionally, learning to tattoo or even getting into a studio can take a long, long time. You’re going to need to be calm and patient. Keep your goals in mind, and don’t lose track of why you want to tattoo in the first place.

Get in touch with studios and artists

Networking is hugely important when it comes to being a tattoo artist, and it’s even more critical when you’re trying to find an apprenticeship. As we said earlier, it’s rare to see places hiring tattoo apprentices openly. So how can you find an opening in a shop?

Put, and you need to ask. Turn up at a local studio or drop them a message, and try to strike up a conversation. Tell them you’re looking for a role in a studio, and emphasize your current skills and love for the industry. This can be difficult for more introverted people, but people can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist.

Don’t commit yourself to a particular style

Many apprentices and aspiring artists need a particular, defined style before setting foot in a studio. While it’s good to know where you want to go with your career, try not to limit your options. Please keep an open mind to all styles of art and tattooing, and be prepared to have your favorite styles flipped on their heads.

Get as much feedback on your work as possible

Before getting into a studio, you need a good body of work to support you. Therefore, you must get as much criticism and feedback on your work as possible. Reach out to other artists and ask them to rip your work to shreds figuratively. This is the best way to learn and get better.

Being able to take criticism is a vital part of being a successful tattoo artist. Not being able to listen to feedback is not going to get you very far as a new artist.

Don’t take no for an answer

When it comes to approaching studios, you’re going to need to be annoying. If you get turned away in person, send them a follow-up email to thank them for their time and send over your portfolio. Don’t take it personally if an artist doesn’t seem to have the time of day to speak with you- keep trying again. 

Pick up other skills to set yourself apart

Tattooing is very overcrowded, and many people are looking for apprenticeships. Therefore, any additional skills or qualities that you can gain while trying to get an internship will be very valuable for helping you to stand out from the crowd. 

Social media marketing or copywriting could be special skills, as could videography or editing. Consider what a studio might want from a new artist and how you could benefit them.

To sum up

To put it plainly, you must work hard to find a great apprenticeship and succeed in it. So many people drop out of internships because they cannot keep up with the work and demands of the role, so it’s essential to prepare yourself as much as possible.

Always keep working on your art, and try to find new ways to better yourself. Keeping inspired and motivated is incredibly crucial, so try to surround yourself with as much art and creative media as possible. Apprenticeships can be draining, so try to find a way to keep yourself motivated and happy throughout. It’ll be worth it in the long run. 

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