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Tattoo Apprentice Help

Hello there,
so first i just wanted to say thanks to anyone who gives me good advice, i'm 20 years old, i am originally from philadelphia, i made the decision to move to cedar rapids iowa because i couldn't get a apprentice, i thought tattoo artist were kind people, but every shop i went to i just got slammed and told to give up on my dream of becoming a tattoo artist, so i moved because they're too many shops and people tattooing around in their basements, now im in a new city, i know no one, but i have a strong and insane drive and passion for tattooing, its been something i've wanted to do since i was 16, i tattooed myself, i read forums, i bought dvd's, i got books, i studying other artist, i watched tattoo artist closely when they tattooed me, after awhile i realized i needed a portfolio to show, so i started working on drawings, i also draw comics so my portfolio had alot of comic book characters in alot of different styles, and all everyone told me is, as an artist i am automatically disregarded in the eyes of other professionals and they wont wanna teach me, but i ignored them and kept trying, calling shops, stopping by, I want this more than anything, i know the proper setup and breakdowns, i know all the sanitation procedures, i know how to avoid cross contamination, i practice every chance i get without actually tattooing skin unless its my own, i did my own lower calf and i think its better than most artist that i visited, i know if i get a shot i can become one of the best in time, but it seems like no one even tries to give me a shot, how am i supposed to follow my dream when every tattoo shop tells me to give up and quit, i can take apart a tattoo machine and rebuild it good as new, i know my color theory, i know about light sources, shading, line weight, i study my ass off and practice as much as i can to become the best artist that i can be, i know so many things i can apply to tattooing, i know some shops will require me paying but i work 12 hours a day, i don't mind paying a shop if it helps me achieve my dream. I just need some advice on what else to do, i'm not ready to throw in the towel, i just need some advice so i can catch the eyes of some shops here and hopefully get an apprenticeship. Any advice would be appreciated.


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RE:Tattoo Apprentice Help

Best way to get help is to show off your portfolio here. I can't remember how many times people came in my shop and asked for a apprenticeship, totally determined and tought they are great. infact they were some of the worst artists ever and couldn't draw if it were for their lifes..


So show your work plz, other than that be humble my friend. you didnt even start out and already think you got what it takes to be one of the best, cool story...

IF you were that great, you wouldn't even need a mentor, but i highly doubt that...
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RE:Tattoo Apprentice Help

I read a lot of that and thought, I'm hoping you never said any of that to the shops you walked into.

When I got my apprenticeship in May this year, I walked into a shop with my portfolio, asked if they had anything going, they said no, but I had suggested to them to look at my portfolio and see what I can add to make it better, they looked at my work and changed their mind and took me on part time, very lucky as most shops want full time, impossible if you're 29 and have financial commitments. I never said a single word saying that I knew all the procedures of tattooing, not even the health and safety aspects. The only thing I said was something about a willingness to learn. Enthusiasm is a great trait to have when doing an apprenticeship.

I asked was if they liked my work and which ones were transferrable as tattoos. I told them that people were asking me to tattoo them and I turned them down. I have never tattooed myself and would never do that until someone has taught me the complete process.

shops don't want people who think they already know the process just because they've read books, watched other artists and dvds, or even tattooing themselves. They want to mould you in their way, to invest in them as much as they're going to invest in you.
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RE:Tattoo Apprentice Help

In general too many places aren't going to take apprentices off the street. Get tattooed and make friends. You will need people to vouch for your character, as well as your art. Chances are that you won't get an apprenticeship without a personal relationship with an artist or someone they know. When people approach me with some sort of agenda, I get put off. So don't walk into a tattoo shop expecting anything, and maybe leave the portfolio at home. Persistence is huge, but don't annoy them.

Don't quit your day job. I lucked out through knowing people and having some tight friends who were already artists.

Stay humble and grind hard. That piece on your leg probably isnt as good as you think it is. draw different styles, chances are you won't be tattooing comic book characters for a long long time. IN fact you will probably have to clean and do reception work for a year before you are allowed to hold a machine. Some of the work you do may even be considered as humiliating acts of degradation.

Hope this helps, and put away your machines until someone teaches you how to use them. It was the best thing that I ever did. You don't want to gain a reputation as a scratcher.
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