Have you got what it takes to be a tattoo artist in 2024?

Tattoo Internships and Apprenticeships

The main focus of our business here at bloodbornecertification.com is not tattooing per se, but a huge number of our customers come to us to get their bloodborne pathogens certification for tattoo artists when they are applying for their tattoo license.

But what if you are not quite there yet? In this article we take a look at some of the key aspects of becoming a tattoo artist and what you need to consider if you are thinking of taking the dive and making tattooing or body art your career in 2024.

We will cover the general requirements for being a tattoo artist, tattoo internships, and tattoo apprenticeship portfolios.

For a detailed technical step by step on how to get a tattoo license in any US state see this article.

General Requirements for Tattoo Artists

With the increasing popularity of tattoos and the high demand for skilled tattoo artists, many have turned to the field to make it their profession and earn a good salary

The mistake that many would-be artists make is that they purchase the self-learning kits that are available and try to learn to tattoo. This is the wrong method of learning as this does not provide you the basic skills and foundation that is required.

It is always advisable that people who are interested in tattooing enroll themselves in a recognized school or academy that provides certified courses on tattoo making. Tattoo artist requirements are laid down by these schools and academies such that the individuals who come to join are serious about the profession and also take art seriously.

Here are few important things to consider about yourself honestly if you are thinking of pursuing a career in tattooing:

  1. If you cannot fill colors properly within the specified lines you will not be considered for a tattoo artist course.
  2. If you are a novice to drawing and have few skills, you need to take up classes in drawing first and learn the basics of the various styles and the skills required to carry out a perfect drawing. The only thing that will make you perfect in drawing is to practice. Practice a lot in order to master the basics.
  3. Once you have mastered the basics of drawing, try creating a few drawings and paintings which are related to different themes and styles. Make the best of the drawings that you can  and create your own portfolio. A portfolio is necessary to show your skills and  the designs that you have completed.
  4. Once you have finished preparing your portfolio, try to apply for apprenticeships at famous tattoo artists to learn the complete structure and the way tattoo making is carried out. Artists look out for those who are serious about art and have good creativity. Some apprenticeship programs are charged and you are required to pay the fees in advance.
  5. Tattoo artist requirements let an individual prepare themselves for the course. So before one joins the certified course, it is always helpful for the individual to complete the apprenticeship program. Choosing one who has high skill and experience will be helpful and you will have the chance to learn more.
  6. You are not allowed to venture out on your own unless your master tattoo artist relieves you from the apprenticeship. Once you have finished the training, you can then join the certified course which provides tattoo artist certification which improves your industry recognition.

Have you got what it takes to become a tattoo artist?
Have you got what it takes to become a tattoo artist?

Tattoo Internships

With tattooing more in demand than ever before in 2024, now is a great time to learn how to be a tattoo artist if you are really passionate about the art form, as there are a host of available shops to do your tattoo internship at, and once you finish there is a lot of money to be made. 

When looking for a tattoo internship there are some tricks to help get the ball rolling as it takes time, patience, and dedication to find someone willing to offer you a tattoo internship, let alone become a fully licensed tattoo artist.

You have to be serious about this

When you begin your journey of looking for the right person to study under, it is imperative that you look at your impending internship as more than just a hobby or pastime. 

Remember that although you might be getting paid rather badly,  if you get paid at all during the duration of your tattoo internship, it is your job and needs to be taken seriously. 
Since the demand for internship is much higher than the supply of tattoo artists looking for apprentices, it is best that you proactively accomplish and learn as much as possible about the art of tattooing before approaching an artist about internship – this is simply the free market. 

What do you have to offer that others do not?

While searching for an internship, look at yourself, your experience, your talent and passion as sort of a living resume, as the majority of tattoo artists care far more about the art form than they do the money, and are only going to accept someone they think would make a great artist and has the dedication necessary to achieve this.

You should look for tattoo artists whom you share commonalities with or whom you can easily get along well with as it will make the process a lot easier. 

Also make sure that the person training you is experienced in tattooing themselves so your internship doesn’t turn into the blind leading the blind. Although the individual you study under doesn’t necessarily have to own their own shop, they need to have quite a bit of experience in the field so that you can assure yourself that you are getting a valuable education.

Do not be shy, money matters…

When you finally happen upon the person that you feel will make a great teacher, it’s time to talk business. You need to find out whether or not your tattoo internship will be free or if you will have to pay for it. 

It is rare to find a tattoo artist who will take you under their wing for free due to a couple factors. First off, by charging someone for their tutelage, the person paying out the money is going to be more likely to take the internship seriously since they are financially invested. 
The other main reason is that teaching someone the art of tattooing takes time, and that time is time that could be spent making money tattooing, so a tattoo artist has every right to request some form of payment for the time they will be dedicating to you.

Once you have all of the details of your internship ironed out you are ready to soak up some knowledge and hopefully take the first steps towards a bright and ink filled future. 

While in your internship, don’t forget to take it seriously and after you successfully complete it don’t forget where you came from as one day in the future someone might ask you to teach them everything you know.

Tattoo Apprenticeship Portfolio

Tattoo Apprenticeship Portfolio

f you would like to be a tattoo artist you are required to undergo training that will help you understand the basics of tattooing and body piercing. 

Tattooing is an art, and requires the artist to be creative and patient.

The need to impress artists is very important as this is what is required when joining as a trainee under the artist. In order to impress the artist you are required to prepare your own tattoo apprenticeship portfolio that will display the creative designs and artwork you have prepared by yourself previously.

Here are a few important steps that will help you prepare your own tattoo apprenticeship portfolio.

  1. The first step to prepare your tattoo apprenticeship portfolio is to purchase the presentation portfolio.  The size should be such that the largest will easily fit in the presentation portfolio. You do not have to purchase an expensive portfolio. The basic need is that it can accommodate all your drawing, and that’s enough. Choose one that will allow you to organize your work in a specific order. This reflects your seriousness about art.
  2. The second step in preparing your tattoo apprenticeship portfolio is to gather all your drawings. Choose the ones which you consider the best and which reflect the themes that you are interested in. Choose different themes and drawings that will show the artist the different areas you excel in. Do not let yourself be too specific to a particular theme. The more areas you display your art, the more chances to be chosen for apprenticeship.
  3. The third step in preparation of a tattoo apprenticeship portfolio is to set all the required educational documents and your resume so that you can drop by the artist’s office after the interview. Ensure that the resume is clearly filled in with all the art education you have carried out. Prepare the resume in such a way that you provide a few photos of the work you have done so that it will help the artist to have a glance at your work during the interview. When asked for the portfolio, you can show the portfolio that you have prepared.

Other Information Tattoo Artists Need to Know

Internships and apprenticeships are just the tip of the iceberg and there are many more things that a tattoo or body artist must know in order to become licensed, and to provide services safely to their clients.

Many of these items are required by state licensing authorities and you will learn about them in separate training sessions.

For example almost all states require OSHA bloodborne pathogens certification that contains specific content related to tattooing and piercing.

Some states also require CPR and First Aid certifications.

You should also familiarize yourself with some of the hazards of tattooing and understand what can go wrong, for example you should know about common tattoo related infections and tattoo aftercare.

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