Tattoos are getting increasingly more accepted, and so is the choice to become a professional tattoo artist. However, the life of a tattoo artist isn’t as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Just getting started in the tattoo industry requires years of hard work, personal dedication and raw talent tattoo shops.
As tattoos continue to grow in popularity, so does the attractiveness of being a professional tattoo artist. However what many people realise is, being a tattoo artist is far from easy. Tattoo artists work hard to become successful, and work extremely long and draining hours. While it looks like a glamorous, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, there’s definitely no such thing as easy money in the tattoo artist career.
While working as an established tattoo artist is not without its challenges, starting out in the tattooing industry is no easy feat either. Many aspiring tattoo artists think the way to start is by practicing on themselves and their friends with a do-it-yourself tattoo kit. These types of devices are a far cry from the precision and quality of the tattoo machines used by actual tattoo artists. It’s also becoming more common for someone to do a “course” in tattooing, which only lasts a few weeks and issues a certificate upon completion. This is also another gimmick, which many people fall for who are looking to become a tattoo artist. In the end, the aspirant just hands over a wad of cash to a substandard tattoo artist looking to make a quick buck. People who turn towards these quick strategies do not become real tattoo artists.
So how do you get started as a tattoo artist? The first thing you need is raw talent. Without the natural ability to draw great designs, you won’t go very far in the tattoo industry at all. Unfortunately, the tattoo industry is full of tattoo artists who can’t draw – however these tattoo artists are limited to tracing or stenciling, and therefore do not become popular and do not make much money. The majority of people don’t just want a generic design that every second person has, they want a tattoo design which is meaningful, well drawn and completely unique. The best tattoo artists are real artists, who usually progress to doing custom tattoos in popular tattoo studios. These custom tattoo artists have the potential to gain success, recognition and popularity – because they bring talent to the table.
If you think you have the drawing ability to become a successful custom tattoo artist, the first thing you need to do is find yourself a tattoo apprenticeship. Building an impressive portfolio to showcase your artistic skill is absolutely necessary if you want to be considered by any respectable tattoo artist. Tattoo apprenticeships are not usually advertised in the paper or on the internet, so you will have to be perseverant enough to approach as many tattoo artists as you can find. It will be a tough search, as many successful tattoo artists are reluctant to share their tricks of the trade. However dedication, hard work and passion, as well as raw talent, should be enough to recommend you.
Some tattoo apprenticeships are free, however many require some sort of payment. For people who are serious about becoming a professional, successful tattoo artist, this is just another trifle along the way. However, over years, a tattoo apprenticeship can be physically and financially draining. If you’re not 100% committed to becoming a real tattoo artist, it’s best to quit while you’re ahead. The tattoo artist profession requires a huge amount of learning, perseverance and experience – having natural artistic talent is only the starting point. To succeed in the competitive and demanding tattoo industry, you will need extremely high levels of personal determination, as well as the capacity to endure long periods of hard work and continuous learning.