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How to Be a Tattoo Apprentice

Learn how to be an apprentice to a tattoo artist from acclaimed tattoo artist James Vaughn in this Howcast video.


To be an apprentice, it really depends on your skill level, on how you advance into what you're doing. You have to prove to me that you're worthy to be a tattooer. You have to prove to me that you're worthy to tattoo people.

Really, when I came up as an apprentice, I didn't touch a tattoo machine for a year. I did everything. I made more needles than you can imagine. I did everything - sweep, mop, clean the bathrooms, do everything possible, set up stencils, make appointments, and work the front. It was a painstaking process and you don't get paid. You work your butt off for basically, an apprenticeship.

You're proving yourself that you're actually worth the time to put into getting a tattoo apprenticeship. You're actually trying to, and all of these events are basically, teaching you how to run a shop. You think, "Oh, god. I'm getting reamed out for this or that." All of those processes that you're doing are actually teaching you how to run your own business, which is actually being an apprentice.

You might bitch and moan about, "I've got to do this and I've got to do that," but you have to put your time in. It's just like college. You don't just go up to the college and say, "Give me my diploma. I'm ready to work." You have to put in the time. You have to put in the effort. You have to show that you really want to do it.

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