UnderGround Forums
 

TattooGround >> Apprenticeship?


1/1/09 11:31 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
WizzleTeatsv2
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/22/07
Posts: 2460
 
When I was in high school I was bound and determined to become a tattoo artist. I have a pretty strong background in drawing, sculpture and have some experience with acrylic and watercolor painting. I actually did get into art school but I figured I needed something more reliable...so I went into writing program instead (it's ok to laugh, I do).

lol, I even had one of those shitty single-needle machines you could order from the back of tat mags. I used it on my legs, mostly but never got beyond doing basic linework.

Anyway, long story short, I recently decided that life is too short to not do what makes you happy. I like making art. I like tattoos. So...at 33 I am working hard on my art skills (drawing and painting specifically) and thinking about where/how to get an apprenticeship.

My questions for the artists on here (especially Mario) are basically this:

1.)What do you look for in an apprentice?

2.) How should I go about getting an apprenticeship? I have an artist that does my work but he is full up and won't have any openings in his shop for 18-24 months.

3.) what skills, specifically, should I be working on? My artist told me to do alot of watercolor work, since it is nearly impossible to fix a fuck up. Basically he felt it was good practice, I guess. But other than that I am clueless.

So...any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, and Happy New Year and and that shit.
1/4/09 2:55 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
rare
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 1427
being an apprentice currently under the great Bill Canales i guess i could help you out.

First of all, first impressions count alot. If you're a douche bag, it doesn't matter how great your portfolio is. The tattoo artist has to really like you. He is teaching you a skill and trade that is to be kept guarded. You have to be hungry, and you have to have honest and pure reasons for being a tattoo artist, the tattoo community has enough scratchers and douchers messing it up for everyone.

You get an apprentice by getting tattooed. At least for me thats how i got my foot in the door. As i was getting tattooed me and the artist built up a bond and relationship. So it was almost like a friend was asking for an apprenticeship.

Sure watercolor work will help. But... i must say tracing tracing tracing is super important, also just drawing and copying peoples flash. simple as that. trace trace trace.

anyways im like a little under a year left in my apprenticeship. its going alright i guess, i need to follow my own advice more though and find more victims to get tattooed.

anyone in sd want a free tat? lol
1/4/09 10:58 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
WizzleTeatsv2
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/22/07
Posts: 2469
cool, thanks!
1/15/09 7:55 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Mr B
39 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 20618
glad i'm not the only one gettin' a later start in tattooing.

i just turned 31. got into an apprenticeship at 28.

only last a few months, though (long story)...but i'm trying to get back into it. trying to beef up my drawing skills, as well. and, actually use tracing paper a lot to clean up work, as i go. i also trace other people's flash occasionally.

my difficulty right now (and difficulties can be over come) is that work make an apprenticeship hard to manage and there aren't any shops here in town that i'd like try to get into. hard to find good work around here.
1/15/09 7:57 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Mr B
39 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 20619
oh...and my one piece of advice from personal experience...make sure you do some research on the person you're trying to apprentice under first. and if there's a contract involved...make sure that's adhered to. on both sides.
1/16/09 9:58 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
WizzleTeatsv2
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/22/07
Posts: 2514
Cool, thanks. I am really working on the drawing skills and (thanks to rare) tracing. I find the tracing is actually helping my freehand skills quite a bit, especially with styles I'm not used to emulating.

For some reason I actually find the traditional American stuff really hard to draw, while complex Japanese pieces, figure drawing, etc. are no sweat. I suspect the simplicity of the designs doesn't leave a lot of room for error.
1/16/09 9:28 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Mr B
39 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 20623
WizzleTeatsv2 - Cool, thanks. I am really working on the drawing skills and (thanks to rare) tracing. I find the tracing is actually helping my freehand skills quite a bit, especially with styles I'm not used to emulating.

For some reason I actually find the traditional American stuff really hard to draw, while complex Japanese pieces, figure drawing, etc. are no sweat. I suspect the simplicity of the designs doesn't leave a lot of room for error.



i noticed that, too. the guy i was working for had me tracing the flash rack most of the time i was there, and i noticed afterwards that it led to a few things clicking in my own freehand.
1/17/09 3:19 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
sepe
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 28933

rare, if I was in SD or close I'd let you have my legs. hell, you're probably better than most of the "good" "artists" around me. got guys that have been tattooing for over 20 years and are awesome but it depends on IF they want to do it. most days they're happier just doing some flash work and covering their bills. there is one shop of 6 "artists" that will only do their best work if it is a basketball or football player from Notre Dame or if it is one of their biker friends(usually because their biker friends will hook them up with some tweak).

1/17/09 6:21 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
rare
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 1429
that sounds horrible. im glad im in SD, due to the various military bases there is a huge concentration of tattoo shops, a few hack shops, a few great shops, and alot of mediocre shops.

yes trace trace trace, i was about to do a sailor jerry classic indian head, i traced that mofo 20 times simulating the actual tattooing from the bottom right to top left and everything. it actually built my hand strength and endurance. and i was able to pull my lines better.
1/18/09 11:39 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
MarioB
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/15/03
Posts: 10909
rare speaks the truth..and Mr. B, i've been thinking about you lately, wondering if you were still in the biz

Here's some of my words of widsom, some you've probably read before, forgive me, I have a concussion at the moment and I'm also celebrating 15 years in the Tattoo business..

1.)What do you look for in an apprentice?

Someone I know, I've only had one apprentice who I've known since he was 8. Must be trustworthy, leaves his or her ego at the door and can not only follow directions bu anticipate things that may need to be done, ie; cleaning, getting equipment ready, etc..

2.) How should I go about getting an apprenticeship? I have an artist that does my work but he is full up and won't have any openings in his shop for 18-24 months.

Take every penny you have and get tattooed from him..at least every four to six weeks, give him an idea and let him run with it, off to get lunch every couple appointments. Draw your ass off, and look at many art books as you can. Pretty much anything you can do to be around the shop without being a pain in their ass.

3.) what skills, specifically, should I be working on? My artist told me to do alot of watercolor work, since it is nearly impossible to fix a fuck up. Basically he felt it was good practice, I guess. But other than that I am clueless.

Get as many artbooks as you can, there are a ton of tattoo artists that put out insturctional dvd's..although they are never a full substitute, it will give you some good techinques you may be able to use later on down the road. Like said before, tracing is good also, get a good light table that will help you see better., look at tattoo magazines also..pretty much anything that has to do art. I have an extensive library for refernece. Art classes at college isn't a bad idea either
1/19/09 2:01 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Mr B
39 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 20652
lol MarioB, I'm surprised you remembered that honestly.

I've actually been out of it for about 2 years now. The guy that was apprenticing under spent more time with his bong in the back office and making plans to become a grammy award-winning musician than he did tattooing to keep the studio going.

i was the only apprentice (the other "apprentice" was actually my boss' "drummer" for the his band), and he might've done 1 or 2 tattoos a week....usually when i was at work (was working for my brother, as well).

the few he did were usually for trade...weed or police "protection".

needless to say, after a few months a decent chunk of change for my apprenticeship fee.... i had to leave. wasn't worth it.

haven't given up on getting back into it, still been trying to beef up my drawing skills, but during the last year...i just haven't had the opportunity to get back. not to mention, as i said before, where i'm living now isn't known for stellar tat work.
1/19/09 2:02 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Mr B
39 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 20653
oh...i have actually drawn up a few designs for some folks that either got them done or have plans to.

that's about the extent of my career so far. lol

Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.