So, you want to learn to tattoo, but you’re not really sure where to begin. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. If you think about it, most successful tattoo artists were once at this point too.
Unlike most professions, there’s no clear-cut path to becoming a tattoo artist. Most people will try to get into tattooing by becoming a tattoo apprentice, but it can be a challenge to find an artist who will work with you.
Fortunately, there are ways to learn to tattoo even if you can’t get into an apprenticeship. Keep reading our page to find out what steps you need to take to learn tattooing.
Brush Up On Your Art Skills
Part of learning to tattoo is having art skills. If you have no natural talent for drawing, then becoming a tattoo artist is not going to be a realistic goal for you. If you’ve got natural talent, you should continue to hone your art skills!
Explore New Art Styles and Techniques
There are endless art styles and drawing techniques for any artist to learn. While you don’t need to be comfortable drawing everything, being able to draw in different styles will make your work and portfolio all the more impressive.
Many artists use different techniques for shading and coloring. It’s important to familiarize yourself with a variety of methods so you can be versatile.
Take Art Classes
If you’re looking for a good way to improve your artistic abilities, then consider taking some art classes. Whether at a school or a community center, art classes will teach you new techniques and give you prompts that you can get creative with.
Art classes will also help you step out of your comfort zone while sticking to a deadline. Tattoo artists that can offer more range are likely to get more business.
Build a Portfolio
As an artist, your portfolio is going to be one of the most important factors that will determine if you get a job or not, and that includes a tattoo apprenticeship.
When you build a portfolio, it should showcase the best of your work and abilities as an artist. Try to include your best pieces but still show the full dynamic of your abilities.
Even if you’ve got the necessary artistic skills to become a tattoo artist, there are still important things you need to learn. Artists should be able to understand and follow safety protocols, be familiar with their state’s tattoo and piercing laws, and be able to give proper aftercare advice to clients.
If you’re trying to learn everything there is to know about tattooing, then entering a tattoo apprenticeship is a good step. However, it may be easier said than done. It can be challenging to find a professional artist who wants to take on the responsibility of teaching an aspiring apprentice.
It’s also important to note that not all apprenticeships are equal!
Some tattoo artists may teach you for 2 to 3 years without actually letting you tattoo human skin. Be sure to ask questions and get a good idea of what you’ll be doing during your apprenticeship if you can find a willing artist to teach you.
Tattoo schools are making it easier for aspiring artists to pursue their dream.
Apprenticeships are difficult to get into and don’t even guarantee that you’ll get the experience you need. By going through tattoo school, you can get the education and experience you need to become a professional tattoo artist.
Tattoo schools also ensure that you get the licensing and certification you may need in your state to start your career right away.
State License Requirements
Many states, including the state of Florida, require tattoo artists to have a special license. This license is issued by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH).
In order to apply for this license, applicants must take and pass the online tattoo certification. This educational course was designed by the FDOH to teach artists about health concerns that may arise in the tattoo industry, such as bloodborne pathogens.
Practice, Practice, Practice
From the weight of the machinery to getting the perfect needle depth, tattooing is hard. As a beginner, the only way that you’ll get more comfortable with it is by practicing. Fortunately, there are a few options for you to practice on.
Practice on Fruit
Yeah, you read that right. If you’re looking to practice tattooing, one of the simplest ways to practice is by tattooing fruit.
Fruit is a great canvas to practice tattooing on because it’s got a curved and uneven surface, just like the human body. Citruses and melons are especially helpful to practice on because they can have a texture that is similar to human skin.
Practice on Pig Ears
Pig ears can be hard to come by, but they do provide a realistic surface to practice tattooing on. Many tattoo apprentices will use pig ears instead of fruit because it’s so much more similar to human skin.
Practice on Fake Skin
Believe it or not, there is a market for fake skin for tattoo artists to practice tattooing on. The best fake skin for tattooing is usually thick enough for artists to get the hang of needle depth while working with the weight of the machine. Fake skin is also more realistic to work with than fruit and pig ears.
Once you feel like you’re ready to tattoo on a real person, consider tattooing yourself. If you’re not comfortable enough with your skills to tattoo yourself, you probably shouldn’t be tattooing anyone else.
Most artists will tattoo themselves for the first time in order to get experience doing a real tattoo without the risk of messing up on someone else. If mistakes are made, you can use them as a learning experience and get them covered up in the future.
Most new tattoo artists will practice on their willing friends, family, and teacher to get the real tattooing experience and help build up their portfolio. After all, who doesn’t want a chance for a free tattoo?
While you’re still in your apprenticeship or school you shouldn’t be charging for these tattoos since they’re helping you get the experience.
Take the Next Step
Hopefully, our guide gave you everything that you needed to know on how to start tattooing. There’s no safer and faster way to pursue your dreams than by enrolling in tattoo school.
Book a tour with the Florida Tattoo Academy to see how we can help you achieve your goals. Our school is the only licensed tattoo and piercing school by the Florida Department of Education in the Tampa Bay area.