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Apprenticeship?
Topic Rating: +2 (2 votes) 
January 20, 2013
1:28 am
Duke of LoL
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Hey guys. I have been looking into drawing and tattooing more, and I want to try and get an apprenticeship. I have little art skills and no one to learn from. Also, I am starting to practice drawing. I just want to know if there is a certain way to get an apprenticeship; if there is someone who is willing to take me under their wing and teach me all that they know? I would very much love to be mentored by someone.

January 20, 2013
4:06 am
Oakbear
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Can i ask why you want to be a tattooist? I don't mean to be unkind, but if you have little skill in art it may suggest it is not something you love, which i believe is pretty core to being a tattooist, spending all day, every day drawing!

Firstly i'd recommend practising drawing, a lot! Look for local art classes or courses, even consider instructional books. When you can draw to a decent standard, build a portfolio. A decent tattooist will support you in developing drawing skills as part of an apprenticeship, but you will need a standard to get that apprenticeship first, and they are tough to get with many people in competition.
Bear in mind you are asking someone to share their knowledge and time, for free, which will likely put you in competition with them for clients and maybe reduce their income.
Be wary of paid apprenticeships, which often are a scam.

The other thing is get tattooed, and find an artist you admire and get on with. Spend plenty of time in the chair, and spending time at the studio if you can. Maybe draw your own tattoo design to have done and let them you you drew it (i got offered an apprenticeship this way). Let them get to know you and after time discuss it with them. If they are not willing to take you on they may have advice and connections to help you.

Neither of these is necessarily essential, but are common and more likely to get you a good apprenticeship, rather than a shoddy one in a dodgy studio.
Other things you can begin to research are blood borne pathogens and infection control. You will get taught this should you succeed, but a basic understanding and willingness to learn will reflect well.

Lastly consider how you will fund this. There is little chance of you getting paid and will probably be expected to work a full week, plus maybe homework such as research or drawing, copying flash etc. How will you afford the costs of living, including additional costs such as transport, food at work and, in time, professional equipment?

Getting and completing an apprenticeship requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice, persistence and dealing with knock-backs. For every artist or apprentice i know, there are dozens who say they want to become one, but don't make the grade.

I hope this is helpful and wish you luck.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
January 20, 2013
3:30 pm
KristenAtkinson0
South Korea
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Draw everyday. To get an apprenticeship, not only will you have to display some good drawing skills, but you will also need good comprehension of things like composition, color theory, and a steady hand. Yes, these things can be learned.
If you don't have much in the way of art skills, take classes. Go to your local community college or art museum and see what kind of classes they offer. Start by drawing your surroundings. Use all sorts of mediums.
For the love of the craft, do not buy a machine and start scratching.
Like was said above, find an artist and spend a lot of time in the chair and the studio.

January 20, 2013
11:28 pm
Duke of LoL
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Oakbear, I want to start because I want to be part of peoples lives in a way that they can never forget. That sounds kind of weird, but I don't mean it in any weird or creepy way. Some people take this kind of stuff so emotionally that they will come to tears because of it. I want to make people happy with the way that their body looks. I have been drawing on and off for the past couple years but I stopped for a good 6 months and all of that experience just went down the drain. Maintaining good grades and doing other stuff in high school isn't a very good mix. Kristen, I have took an art class, and it helped in only a certain way. I will definitely look into more classes though. I probably have a total of two hours under the machine, but I only have a couple small tattoos. Not done well. My other portion of my time will be with a professional in a shop. Oakbear and Kristen, you are very much thanked Smile

January 21, 2013
4:24 pm
KristenAtkinson0
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Not a problem at all!

However, just know that most of the time, being a tattoo artist means doing really stupid tattoos for people who don't appreciate the time or effort. Only occasionally will you get to do something really freaking awesome and creative. It's not a magical world. It's really hard work, and most of the time it's really hard to pay the bills until you get a solid client base in a trafficked shop.

Best of luck to you, though! Work really hard and you'll get there!

January 22, 2013
6:04 am
Oakbear
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Duke of Lol, it' doesn't sound creepy at all! The desire to connect is part of human nature, and i feel that a big part of why i do my work is the possibility of making a lasting positive impact in someone's life they will always carry.
It's worth thinking about, as there are plenty of careers which can do that, without necessarily making a permanent physical mark.
As Kristen mentioned, don't expect everyone to be grateful or indeed remember you, even if they carry around you art on their skin!

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
January 23, 2013
11:18 am
Duke of LoL
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You guys are right haha. My friend is a tattooer and he sometimes tells me that he just doesn't like his clients. I guess someone who tattoos is going to be a master a sucking it up and just doing whatever the client wants. It may also be for me that I get to see my art on someone's body Smile

January 26, 2013
3:19 am
link9454
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I've often wondered about getting an apprentiship as a piercer myself. I don't have the steady hand I would need to be a tattoo artist, but piercing I can do. Good luck Duke!

Forward though the dark uncertain, Or back though the thorns with your bare flesh, It is your choice how to live, between the truth and the lie.
January 28, 2013
12:29 am
Oakbear
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You definitely need a steady hand to be a piercer!

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
January 28, 2013
11:14 pm
link9454
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Oakbear said

You definitely need a steady hand to be a piercer!

I guess saying I am not steady wasn't the right way to say that. I cannot do straight lines, I don't have the fine control or something. I've pierced myself several times and I can hit the right mark while sweating a lot (mostly the first time) I guess from being nervous. I get a lot of practice keeping my hand steady in short bursts by soldering electronics and working with other small things.

Forward though the dark uncertain, Or back though the thorns with your bare flesh, It is your choice how to live, between the truth and the lie.
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