How to Become a Tattoo Apprentice

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Become a tattoo apprentice by creating a portfolio of drawings, finding a shop to do the training, paying any fees associated with the apprenticeship and spending two years working at a tattoo shop. Practice tattooing on grapefruits, turkey breasts or pig ears with suggestions from an experienced tattoo artist in this free video on tattoo artists.

Part of the Video Series: Tattoo Artists & Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Lenny Welch. I own Addicted 2 Tattoos in Tampa, Florida. I've been tattooing since 1992. And I'm often asked, how to get into this business. A person who has artistic talent would naturally look at coming into tattooing. As an exciting and fun field to get into. But it is a hard field to get into. The first thing you need to do, is display your artistic talent. By how you draw things. You need to be able to draw tattoos in a way that people find interesting. And perhaps would like to buy and put on their own bodies. In order to be get, get into this field. You need to first have a portfolio of all your drawings. Showing your different style of color work and black and gray. The next step is, you need to find a shop who is willing to train you. Often apprenticeships nowadays are costing between five and ten thousand dollars. And require one to two years of your time. This is a long time to commit to becoming a tattoo artist. But it also is something that, if you get into this field. It is a life time commitment. That you probably will stay in this field for the rest of your life. Because you know that it brings good money. It's fun to do and you meet a lot of interesting people. Once you find a shop that'll take you on as an apprentice. Then generally for the first six months to a year. You're going to be doing things like sweeping the floor, taking out the trash. Cleaning barrels for people. Running errands for the owners. Filling out paper work, greeting the customers. And filing paper work after the process is finished. You don't normally get to start tattooing someone. Until you've been into this business for a year or more. In the beginning, they'll have you practice on either grapefruit or turkey breast or pig ears. We like pig ears because they mimic human skin very well. And we can fasten these down to a board. Put a stencil on it. And actually tattoo it, like we would a real person. The only difference is, the pig ear doesn't say, ouch. We also will teach you how to run a tattoo machine. How to build a tattoo machine. How to tune your tattoo machine. We'll also teach you about the different kind of inks. How to get the right effects that you're looking for in the skin. These things normally come though, in your second year of your apprenticeship. And most people will put you through the first year. Doing just menial task. To find out if you're very serious about it. Because we're very busy as tattoo owners. And we don't like to waste our time. With someone who just thinks, they might want to get into it. So we want to put you through you know, a few tests. Kind of, to see how you will do this. Once you get into a studio. Then you'll find that you'll make a lot of friends. It's a fun business to get into. And I'm Lenny with Addicted 2 Tattoos in Tampa, Florida. And that's how to get an apprenticeship in the tattoo field.

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