If you really enjoy the art behind tattoos, then perhaps you will want to consider becoming a tattoo artist and making a living out of it. A great tattoo artist can make a pretty comfortable living out of their trade, but not everyone is cut out to do this job. There is a huge investment in time and money required to become a successful tattoo artist.
The one thing that every aspiring tattoo artist needs is artistic talent. If you cannot draw then the life of a tattoo artist is not one for you. Those who are talented enough, or think they can be will need to hone their talent by taking some fine art classes, and spend a lot of time practicing.
When you think that you have progressed far enough as an artist you will then want to build yourself a portfolio of work. You will use this portfolio to try to secure an apprenticeship with an experienced tattoo artist. Apprenticeships can be free, or can cost a few thousand dollars; it all depends on the person who is training you. Make sure that you work out a contract that suits both of you and clearly states what the mentor will provide, and for how long.
The person who chooses to apprentice you should take an active interest in your journey to become a fully qualified tattoo artist. It can take quite a while to find the right apprentice, but you shouldnt rush your decision as it will affect the rest of your life. The right mentor can make the difference between you becoming a good tattoo artist, or a great one. If the tattoo artist you are considering has mentored other apprentices, see if you can talk to them about their experience.
Of course, you will not be paid during your apprenticeship, so you will also need a regular job to support yourself, unless you are lucky enough to have some other source of funds. Meanwhile your teacher will show you how to clean equipment, operate a tattoo machine, and how to apply a tattoo. Over a period of several months or even years you will become an expert tattoo artist.
When the time is right your teacher will decide that you have learned all that you can, and that you are ready to become a true tattoo artist. Depending on the contract you signed with your mentor, you may be required to continue working there for a period of time, or you may be able to go off on your own. You may be interested in opening your own tattoo shop, or you can find another parlour that will take you on.
Being a tattoo artist requires devotion and a willingness to continually learn new techniques. It can take from 1-5 years to train to become a tattoo artist, so you will want to make sure that you are ready to undertake this commitment before you begin.Mat Fay