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Getting A Tattoo Apprenticeship: Kickstart Your Career

Tips & Tricks to Kickstart your Tattoo Career Bookink

Getting a Tattoo Apprenticeship: Kickstart Your Career

Are you passionate about tattoos and want to turn your hobby into a career? Getting a tattoo apprenticeship is the first step towards becoming a professional tattoo artist. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of finding and securing an apprenticeship, so you can kickstart your career in the tattoo industry.

1. Research the Tattoo Industry

Before diving into the world of tattoo apprenticeships, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the industry. Research different tattoo styles, popular artists, and current trends. Familiarize yourself with the history and culture of tattooing to gain a deeper appreciation for the art form.

  1. Explore Different Tattoo Styles
  2. From traditional to realism, there are numerous tattoo styles to choose from. Learn about the different techniques and aesthetics associated with each style. This will help you decide which style resonates with you and aligns with your artistic vision.

  3. Study Prominent Tattoo Artists
  4. Identify successful tattoo artists who inspire you. Follow their work on social media, read interviews, and study their portfolios. Analyze their techniques, use of color, and overall artistic style. This will not only help you refine your own skills but also give you an idea of the industry’s standards and expectations.

  5. Stay Up-to-Date with Tattoo Trends
  6. Tattoo trends constantly evolve. Keep an eye on popular designs, themes, and aesthetics. Attend tattoo conventions, art shows, and exhibitions to immerse yourself in the current trends and gain exposure to a wide range of tattoo artists and styles.

2. Build a Portfolio

A strong portfolio is essential when applying for a tattoo apprenticeship. It showcases your artistic skills, creativity, and potential as a tattoo artist. Take the time to build a diverse and impressive portfolio that highlights your unique style and versatility.

  1. Create Original Artwork
  2. Produce a collection of original artwork that reflects your artistic abilities. Experiment with different mediums, subjects, and styles to demonstrate your versatility. Include sketches, paintings, and digital art in your portfolio.

  3. Practice Tattoo Designs
  4. Start practicing tattoo designs on synthetic skin or fruit to develop your technical skills. Document your progress and include photos of your best tattoo designs in your portfolio. This will show potential mentors that you have a solid foundation in tattooing.

  5. Showcase Your Artistic Process
  6. In addition to showcasing the final tattoo designs, include sketches, concept art, and progress photos in your portfolio. This provides insight into your creative process and demonstrates your ability to translate ideas into tangible artwork.

3. Find a Reputable Tattoo Shop

Finding the right tattoo shop is crucial for a successful apprenticeship. Look for a reputable and established tattoo shop that aligns with your artistic style and values. Consider factors such as the shop’s atmosphere, clientele, and the mentorship opportunities it offers.

  1. Research Local Tattoo Shops
  2. Start by researching tattoo shops in your area. Look for shops with positive reviews, a strong online presence, and a portfolio of talented artists. Visit their websites and social media pages to get a sense of their aesthetic and clientele.

  3. Attend Tattoo Conventions and Events
  4. Tattoo conventions and events are great platforms to connect with tattoo artists and shop owners. Attend these gatherings to network, showcase your portfolio, and learn more about the local tattoo scene. Building relationships with industry professionals can open doors to apprenticeship opportunities.

  5. Reach Out to Tattoo Artists
  6. Contact tattoo artists whose work you admire and express your interest in becoming their apprentice. Be professional and respectful in your approach. Explain why you are drawn to their work and how you believe an apprenticeship with them will benefit both parties.

4. Prepare a Professional Resume

A well-crafted resume is essential when applying for a tattoo apprenticeship. It demonstrates your professionalism, commitment, and relevant skills. Tailor your resume to highlight your artistic background and any related experience or education.

  1. Include Your Artistic Background
  2. Start by providing a brief overview of your artistic background. Mention any art classes, workshops, or courses you have completed. Highlight any awards, exhibitions, or publications that showcase your talent and dedication.

  3. Showcase Your Relevant Skills
  4. List the technical skills that are relevant to tattooing, such as drawing, painting, and digital art. Include any experience you have with tattoo machines, sterilization techniques, or other aspects of the tattooing process. Demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to the craft.

  5. Highlight Your Professionalism
  6. Emphasize your professionalism, reliability, and strong work ethic. Mention any customer service or client management experience you have, as these skills are important in the tattoo industry. Provide references from previous employers or mentors who can vouch for your character and ability to work in a professional environment.

5. Prepare a Strong Cover Letter

A compelling cover letter accompanies your resume and personalizes your application. It allows you to explain why you are passionate about tattooing, why you want to become an apprentice, and why you are a good fit for the tattoo shop you are applying to.

  1. Express Your Passion for Tattooing
  2. Start your cover letter by expressing your genuine passion for tattooing. Share your personal story and explain why you are drawn to this art form. This will help create an emotional connection with the reader and show your dedication.

  3. Explain Your Desire to Learn
  4. Articulate your eagerness to learn and grow as an artist. Explain why you are seeking an apprenticeship and how it will help you develop your skills and gain valuable experience. Mention any specific techniques or styles you are interested in learning.

  5. Research the Tattoo Shop
  6. Show that you have done your homework by mentioning specific details about the tattoo shop you are applying to. Explain why you are interested in working there and how your artistic style aligns with the shop’s aesthetic. This demonstrates your genuine interest and dedication.

6. Prepare for the Interview

Once you have submitted your application, you may be invited for an interview. This is your opportunity to make a lasting impression and convince the tattoo shop that you are the right candidate for an apprenticeship.

  1. Research the Interviewer
  2. Find out who will be conducting the interview and research their background. Learn about their artistic style, experience, and contributions to the tattoo industry. This will help you tailor your answers and show that you are familiar with their work.

  3. Practice Common Interview Questions
  4. Prepare for common interview questions such as “Why do you want to become a tattoo artist?”, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, and “How do you handle criticism?”. Practice your answers to ensure you come across as confident and knowledgeable.

  5. Bring Your Portfolio
  6. Bring a physical copy of your portfolio to the interview. This allows the interviewer to see your artwork up close and ask specific questions about your designs. Be prepared to discuss your creative process, inspiration, and any challenges you faced during the creation of your artwork.

7. Demonstrate Your Commitment

Tattoo apprenticeships require time, dedication, and hard work. Show your commitment and willingness to go the extra mile to become a successful tattoo artist.

  1. Offer to Assist with Shop Tasks
  2. During your apprenticeship, be proactive and offer to assist with shop tasks such as cleaning, sterilizing equipment, and scheduling appointments. This shows your dedication and willingness to contribute to the overall success of the shop.

  3. Take Initiative to Learn
  4. Don’t wait for your mentor to assign tasks. Take initiative to learn and practice new techniques. Ask for feedback on your work and actively seek opportunities to improve your skills. Show that you are committed to continuous learning and growth.

  5. Respect the Tattooing Process
  6. Tattooing is both an art form and a medical procedure. Respect the process by following proper hygiene and safety protocols. Adhere to your mentor’s guidance and take responsibility for maintaining a clean and sterile work environment.


Getting a tattoo apprenticeship is a crucial step towards becoming a professional tattoo artist. It requires dedication, hard work, and a genuine passion for the art form. By researching the industry, building a strong portfolio, finding a reputable tattoo

Sarah Thompson is a career development expert with a passion for helping individuals achieve their professional goals. With over a decade of experience in the field, Sarah specializes in providing practical advice and guidance on job search strategies, cover letters, resumes, and interview techniques. She believes in empowering job seekers with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the competitive job market successfully.

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