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Learning to draw for aspiring tattoo artists

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I'm looking to change careers (because my current one is driving me to alcoholism), and I struck upon tattoo artist. I've looked at the requirements for the license, what it takes to get an apprenticeship, and all that good stuff. One little problem though. I can't draw. I can't freehand a straight fucking line, much less a skull with a dagger through it and a snake coming out of the sockets.

I've looked at the sticky, and of course getting good at just about any kind of drawing will be helpful. But is there certain techniques, styles, and subject matter I should focus on while I go through the basics? For instance, on the upside-down exercise, instead of trying to emulate Picasso's Igor Stravinsky, I did one of Sailor Jerry's hula girls (my sense of proportion is fucking shit. She came out an Amazon).

What pieces, and how many, should I include in a portfolio when looking to apprentice with someone?

And most helpful of all, how do I forget this crazy bullshit and just stick it out in my stable government job without putting my gun in my mouth?
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>>2290657
theraphy. focus on making small projects, flashes, with classic tattoo symbols or stuff that you lke. Draw and you'll see. I think steady line is very important.
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>>2290663
>I think steady line is very important.
To this end, instead of doing the usual graphite and colored pencils, should I work with pens?
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>>2290689
You would be best with doing your research on google as I am not a pro, or just ask some artists. As of sketching and colouring I think you can use anything you like. Mate uses watercolours lately (tubes), there is lots of artists who use markers like copics. But my mate mostly did inking with fineliners or a dip pen (tattoo machine works in a way like dip pen, cause you need to dip it in ink). Plus when doing outline you do it with a steady line, and that's easily to get by some fineliner. Just have fun with it, try what you like, and research. Take care mate and good luck.
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>>2290689
And then there is even harder part - making it on skin, but I don't know nothing about it except that you need to buy a machine, ink, some fake skin. Google I think will help you a lot mate.
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get a thick tip sharpie (one that has an angle to it) and copy this chart

it will give you all the intricate shit you need to get down for tatoos
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>>2290657
I am a tattoo artist and I still can't draw a straight line..that is what a ruler is for.
First off forget this bullshit you hear about "talent"..there is no such fucking thing as talent/ There is only the result of hard work. When I fisrt started to embark on my tattoo career I couldn't draw for shit. Everything you talk about is pretty much the same results I was getting time and time again. My apprenticeship required me to draw skulls and roses everyday. For 6 months I drew skulls and roses....looking more like back alley abortions than anything remotely close to what I wanted them to look like. Then slowly over time..it all started to come together. First off get yourself a light table...and several hundred rolls of tracing paper. print out designs that you like...and trace them in a organized fashion....that is one way to start honing your skills. There is also several hundred million YouTube videos on how to draw....anywhere from how to draw a simple heart...to how to draw the most complex dragon...and off you go. The thing is with tattoo art is if you REALLY want to be a tattoo artist then you will be one. It isn't the most exciting job...infact the cons are much higher than the pros. The pros don't even come around until your second or third year. You have to really love this job to want to do it for a living. If you have high dreams of getting all these chicks..getting paid a shitload of money to sit around and smoke fucking weed and show up at noon....well stick to your governemtn job cause you will never make it as a tattoo artist. You have to want this shit more than anything in the world. A good outlook is anything to master takes 10,000 hours to do. So by that rationale you need 3.5 [email protected] a day, every day...to master drawing. Have you put anywhere near that amount of time in your drawing set?.Probably not I imagine, never mind that tattooing is by far the most technical art I have ever done!
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>>2290882
>Have you put anywhere near that amount of time in your drawing set?
No. Complete novice. When I said "I can't draw," I didn't mean it in the way that some folks on IC are struggling to improve and feeling frustrated. I mean it's something I haven't even begun to do. I cannot, in fact, draw. And I did foresee long hours of hard work should I make this my craft. No illusions going in. That's not the issue. I'm a social worker at a welfare office. I got into my profession with vague, college kid thoughts of helping people and improving society, but it all lost its luster pretty quick. I have no idea how much good I'm actually doing, I can barely manage my caseload, I face an endless parade of human suffering, and I have the sweet face of a rosy cheeked toddler seared into my memory because no matter how many gin & tonics I drink, I can't forget the autopsy report and how savagely my client's baby daddy beat her to death.

So I'll take your fucking cons.
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>>2290991

It's kinda suprising to me that you turned and thought into tattoo art, as you said you didn't start to draw, but it doesn't matter where you start, and the effect is important. I think the best thing to do is to slowly draw, each day something and just steadily build up your skill. You have some emotional problems mate I think to be honest, which you can turn into some kind of artistic drive/rage. Maybe you can draw some rage out on paper, do some pictures about social injustice or sth. Sounds like you would have a lot to tell about it. But until you get good I think it would be best to find some other job, from what I am hearing. Take care there. Good luck.
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>>2290991
Plus I think your emotional state and keeping yourself alive and in a good condition is the most important thing.
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>>2290657
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>>2291463
Classy
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go to a shop , ask if they take aprentices , if not , go to another shop , you will learn everything u need in a tattoo shop , fuck google
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>>2290882
Not him btw, but how well does drawing skill transfer over into tattooing?
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>>2290991

Brother, I feel you. I am in a similar trade and feel like shit some days. I started drawing in my lunch breaks to relax and am still working at improving. Give it a go. Cheap pencil, couple of pages from the printer and away you go. Don't pressure yourself into making a career out of it, but keep it in the back of your mind for sure.

Also, you need to investigate your employee care program. I don't know what's available but you need to get your shit straight. You know this, friend.

Best of luck.
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>>2291511
I think it depends on a style. My mate is tattooing and he's saying that the hardest/stressful part except of doing a good design are situations like "he is tattooing some girl and four her colleagues are looking at his hand and he needs to make a straight line, that's gonna stay there more or less permanently". For me this is the most hardcore thing - putting design at the right depth, with the right speed and straight. He said he's done lots of line exercises.
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>>2290991
MAH NIGGA, that is EXACTLY what you should be saying! That is the attitude to have and the outlook you should have. I love the fact you got a little chest out, kinda WTF attitude to you too...like who the fuck are you to be telling me or trying to dissuade me from what I was fucking BORN to do.. You will find that is the attitude you must have to get a apprenticeship. I am even going to break a rule for you....that is HOW you get a apprenticeship. When you find a place that you want to work under a artist you want to work under....YOU REFUSE TO ACCEPT NO. WHen I got mine I text my mentor 265 times in a week, filled his voice mail several times and when he blocked my number I borrowed a friends.I basically said...you might as well apprentice me caus eI will be relentless if you don't and I will NEVER stop....you be in like gin my friend. I wasn't saying that statement about hours to be a dick...well kinda I was...but more so to honestly reflect and ask yourself that...if you aren''t anywhere past the 10% mark then RELAX....you got time to do this....I am going to reply to the next post and in turn it will be directed at you as well.
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>>2291511
>>2290991
K how does drawing transfer over to Tattooing?..

Well I will first say that tattooing is far far more technical. It is retarded technical in the beginning. Your head will be swimming round and round and round doing just the littlest of pieces. Usually you will have your mentor screaming at you as well the whole time you do it. It is all for a purpose though...you need to be able to work under pressure.

Illustration structure and form is very important for todays tattoo artist. Back in the 90's their was no rules...the OG's will say there was...there wasn't I was there I know. Fucking Lime on one side of the piece .....fucking canary on the other...LOTS OF BLACK...rocking that out( for you that do not know....Yellow and Green DO NOT go together in colour theory,,,,,just because they are the Eskimo or the Packers colours...don't mean shit). Now hoever there is RULES....art theory has come out to play. You almost now need to be able tpo pull out any design OUT OF POCKET if you have tattooed 10+years.....besides portraits.....but myself...I have the three shade markers......I draw on and again and again...and then I hammer it home. SO in the theory of drawing and structure it is very important although tattooing something you drew is not always possible.
Drawing also helps keep your form in your hand, to pull straigh lines better and more consistently. If you are a world class skeet shooter...you can't take two years off and go right back to winning gold medals...you need to upkeep your skill...thats is also what drawing does. Lastly it helps expand your creativity. In my beginnings....my mentor would rips small smoke pack sizes of tracing paper and scribble a random scribble on them....and throw them at me and say GO...and I would have 5 minutes to make that something.....as time went on the expectation of what I should come up with became harder and harder.
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>>2291585
You need to learn the basics first, then style comes. This will be the info post for the OP.
In YouTube search out
The broken Puppet-great standard tattoo designs tutorials
Johnny Gault_ he is kinda a douchebag but his bettter lining and basics tutorials will get you in the right direction
Tattoo Education- this channel is run by Guy Aitcheson the forefather of the bio-mech style


Buy the book reinventing the tattoo from guy, it is a GREAT book and filled with tons of technique and tips and hints...also dispels urban legends and myths....Guy has done a lot for tattooing.

Most of all STUDY tattoos ...back int eh day we used to cream over tat mags......now....you have instagram. I love instagram cause I can see a post from a artist"stencil on" and I see the pic of the stenciled skin.
I know check in 3-6 hours and the lining will be done...so it is like a tat mag in real time....which fucking rules
I hope that helps man...NEVER say quit and give it all you have...be RESPECTFUL to this art form and you will find the Cons A'int SHIT compared to the love of your job you will have!

My work
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>>2292538
not op, but great posts mate, I read them and respect a lot.
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>>2292538
Thank you for the advice, friend. I will practice my drawing, check out those videos, and work on the basics. When the time comes, I will bug the shit out of some local tattoo shop. I'm in the Vegas area; lots and lots of shops to choose from.
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>>2292641
thanks..dont mind helping out at all
>>2292698
AS I said brother....no such thing as talent, remember that...only results of hard work..you will get out of this art what you put into it. Never forget your linage....the guys that blazed the trails for us..RESPECT the art form..don't be trying shit you know you can't do....get that apprenticship and dump everything you got into it....you do thst for 5 years....you will be established and comfortable for sure...don't equate time in the business to what you invest into it....read BOOKS...art theory, colour theory, illustration rules, study tattoos from the old schools to the very new....and you will find this is the most rewarding job you will ever have!
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>>2292538
IS THAT CHUCK BERRY I LOVE IT
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>>2293081
Another question, if you're still out there. I'm sure every artist dreams of having their own shop. How many actually do it, and how long does it take them?
Thread posts: 24
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