Getting a tattoo is an age-old custom that has been practised for centuries, dating back to the Polynesian region. Our modern day culture has turned this ancient body art practise, into a fashion trendsetter for young people and adults alike. The UK will only allow young people over the age of eighteen to obtain a tattoo, therefore those that do gain a tattoo under this age will feel a sense of achievement and social acceptance.
Tattoos come in various forms, either as an image of a fictional character, to religious symbols. Although the process of getting a tattoo is painful, it is relatively easy to find a good tattoo artist to do this for you at a reasonable price. Making sure that they are qualified, trained and using the safest tattoo supplies is not as difficult as one may think, the customer has every right to question the artist if they are unsure or in doubt.
This is why becoming a tattoo artist is not as easy as one may think. Those that do truly want to become a tattoo artist, tend to buy their own tattoo supplies and kits, without prior knowledge of what product to buy and practise on their friends, which is highly dangerous. This is a competitive role and one that requires time, knowledge, training and patience. As this is a role primarily involved with providing permanent body art, one must have the skill and patience of a true artist.
Your first step into the world of tattoo art is to recognise your own raw talent and skills. A tattoo artist does not become a good one by using expensive tattoo supplies, but by having practised and honed their own talent in colouring within lines and drawing images. The best way to improve upon this is to practise on paper, join fine art classes and picking up techniques from books. Allowing yourself plenty of time to practise and learn will help you perfect this skill.
Having perfected your skills on paper, you will then need to prove your worth! Build a portfolio of your work and give evidence of your creative talents. Your portfolio should exhibit your talents, skills and your own creative designs. This portfolio will be useful for when you then begin to look for an apprenticeship. You may be lucky in finding this free of charge; however, some people may need to acquire a lot of money for their training. Therefore, it is always a good idea to save plenty of money before you do find the right training.
When looking for an apprenticeship you will need to find the right one, someone reputable or with (at the very least) five years experience as a tattoo artist. You do not want to approach someone looking to take your money. A good tattoo artist will teach you the ins and outs of tattooing, from choosing the right tattoo supplies and kits, to the all-important health and safety regulations of using the equipments.
Your apprenticeship will take many months to complete, because you will be learning how to apply tattoo ink safely, how to work a tattoo machine, how to protect yourself and the client from infections and diseases, how to clean the equipment and lastly (though not as important) how to draw on the clients skin. The latter refers to applying tattoo ink properly, but is also imperative, as this will show your true talent and skill in recreating images.
The apprenticeship is the most important element to becoming a good tattoo artist, as this will be your time to learn, practise and perfect new skills. Most apprentices are not paid, so you may need to find a job to fund yourself whilst training. You will need to be patient and maintain your passion for tattoo art, as this will truly test your ambition of becoming a tattoo artist.
Once the apprenticeship is over, the teacher is normally the one who decides upon whether you are ready to venture off yourself or not. Some apprenticeships draw up a contract to stay with the same establishment for an extended period after the training. Others do not have a contract, therefore you have more freedom to gain employment with a competitive business; setting up your own business will take a lot longer and you will need to have developed years of experience.
Finally, even though you have been through many months or even years of training, this is not the last step. Once you have completed the apprenticeship, you will need to continue to stay on the ball and keep your finger on the pulse in the world of tattoo art. There are always changes, new tattoo supplies and products released every year, new techniques to learn, improvements to equipment and improvements to existing techniques. As a tattoo artist, it does not matter how long you have been in the business, you should never assume that you know it all.