How to Get Started in the Tattoo Business

Learn how to get started in the tattoo business from acclaimed tattoo artist James Vaughn in this Howcast video.

Getting started in the tattoo business it actually requires a long apprenticeship. To find someone that’s actually going to teach you is going to be the most difficult part because it’s a very coveted business. We want to make sure that people want to live this and drink it. Make it the best thing that they can possibly do.

It’s a very, very prestigious thing to be a tattooer because you’re going to be actually changing people’s lives for the rest of their lives. So you need to understand that a lengthy apprenticeship so you know exactly what you’re doing before you start tattooing. There’s going to be much required.

I apprenticed in the early ’90’s. It took probably a year before me to actually talk the person that I apprenticed under into letting me apprentice. I would go actually volunteer to clean the shop, and volunteer to help out. You know do everything that I could possibly do to sway them to teach me how to tattoo. I had to show them that I really wanted it.

In the early 90’s was very, very, very, difficult time in this business. You know it was so under wraps that you could hardly walk into a tattoo shop and ask to be an apprentice. You’d get your ass kicked. You’ll get thrown out of the shop, and it was kind of crazy at that time. This is a very, very, very hard business to get into.

As a person wanting to be in this business you have to show the person that’s going to teach you, or you want them to teach you that you really desire to do this. It’s just like with any other craft. I mean it’s one of those things where knowledge is very, very hard to come by. The only way you’re going to get it is by someone like a master to teach you.

And you have to prove yourself, you have to prove to them that you really want it. You really want to be a tattooer.