How To Make A Tattoo Portfolio?

How To Make A Tattoo Portfolio
Highlight Your Creativity and Unique Concept Ideas – When a tattoo shop considers your fit as an apprentice, they will be looking at the quality of your artwork and your ability to come up with creative ideas that will impress clients. Make sure you include work that demonstrates you can use your imagination to come up with unique designs, such as intricate line work or a fun use of color.

You should be able to take a concept or idea from a client and elevate it so it has style, creativity, and a point of view. A potential mentor is looking at your tattoo art portfolio to get a good sense of your perspective as an artist, and determine if they can help you grow or perfect your work.

Don’t be afraid to include drawings that highlight your willingness to take a concept and play with it, putting your unique spin on popular tattoos or familiar images. Bland, boring pieces with little personality will not help you land an apprenticeship; a creative tattoo style and approach almost certainly will.

How many drawings do you need for a tattoo portfolio?

Most tattoo shops won’t even consider you if you don’t bring them a portfolio that demonstrates your artistic ability. The first thing you need to do in order to put together a portfolio of your best work is decide what format you want to display the art in.

  • Nowadays, many tattoo artists not only have a hard copy of their portfolio, they also have an online presence;
  • One of the benefits of the online portfolio is that it’s a lot easier for a potential future boss to share your work with some of his industry friends to get their opinion and the exposure can open additional doors for you;

Of course, seeing a piece of original art on a computer doesn’t always do it justice, so to maximize effect, you may well want to have your portfolio available as a hard copy and also online. That way, anyone has the option to check out your work in any fashion they desire.

  • The most popular way to display artwork is in a slim case designed for such purposes;
  • These are available at any art supply store in many different sizes and colors;
  • Just make sure you purchase a big enough one to allow you to display your art properly;

You certainly don’t want to have to cut or minimize your art in any form or fashion. So, now you have the display choice sorted out, what exactly should you put in your portfolio? You will certainly want to show plenty of diverse styles, because while specializing in one or two specific genres is nice, you don’t want to have to turn away a potential client because you can’t achieve the look they want.

Be sure to include samples of the main categories: realism, tribal and lettering. You might also want to include a few original pieces to showcase your inner creativity. One thing your tattoo portfolio shouldn’t include is samples of tattoos.

Your portfolio should demonstrate your ability as an artist, while showing your potential future as a tattoo artist. Professionals will want you to learn tattooing skills during your apprenticeship, not learning bad habits beforehand. Finally, you’re going to want to make sure your portfolio contains 50 to 200 COMPLETED and COLORED drawings.


Can I use digital art for tattoo portfolio?

Use a scanner to digitally scan all of your best tattoo designs, sketches, and artwork so you can add them to your online portfolio.

How do new tattoo artists get clients?

Can I draw my own tattoo design?

Can I Draw My Own Tattoo? – The easy answer is yes. If you are artistic, there is no reason why you can’t draw your own tattoo. However, it is good to talk to a tattoo artist to understand what they need from you. This will help you make the drawing suitable and easy for them to work from.

It’s no good going to a tattooist with a rough sketch on a scrap of paper hoping they immediately grasp what you want. You should draw the design as close to the actual size you want as possible. That way you can see what it will really look like.

It might also be a good idea to draw a larger version for reference. The mandala ideas in the link might inspire you. If you find it easier, draw it to a larger scale and reduce it in size on a computer. Below is a series of sketches of a Lion Mandala tattoo I designed. How To Make A Tattoo Portfolio three stages of a lion mandala tattoo drawing.

What size should your tattoo portfolio be?

Make an Outstanding Cover – The most important part of your portfolio is your cover.

  • It will be a full-page (8. 5″x11″) laid out similar to a comic book. except of course the artwork will be drawn in a style clearly identified as tattoo art. Ideally, you will make your cover last, since it should summarize your style as an artist and be the most intricate and carefully planned piece in your portfolio.
  • The outlining should be done with a liquid-roller-type pen, and you should use colored pencils to color it in. (I use the Crayola colored pencils that come in the 50 pack to design all my flash because they’re much easier to blend. )
  • Within your cover design, you should fit in your name and contact information since your portfolio is just as important as a resume.
  • Make your cover artwork say something about you, as well. It should portray your personality—and a bit of bad-ass shadowing and highlighting wouldn’t hurt.
  • Here is the tricky part: You are going to want to combine a tattoo style and a background where both stand out equally, but don’t get lost in each other.

If you want to, as a first page, add a table of contents after you are happy with your portfolio contents.

Do tattoo Apprentices get paid?

Apprentice tattoo artists – Tattoo artists start out as apprentices working under the guidance of more experienced artists. Most of the time tattoo apprenticeships are unpaid. Whilst you’re an apprentice you usually practice tattooing on synthetic skin, pigskin or fruit peel like orange peel.

  • You might also offer free of charge tattoos to friends, family or other artists who work in the shop;
  • Apprentices work for free until the artist who is supervising them is confident that they’re good enough to charge clients for their work;

Apprentices also spend a lot of time drawing and developing their own designs.

What are tattoo apprenticeships like?

What is a Tattoo Apprenticeship? – A tattoo apprenticeship is a way for a student to learn everything they can from an established tattoo artist. It usually starts as a hands-off experience where they are trained on safety, proper sanitation, and how to build a machine.

What are the different styles of tattoos?

How do tattoo artist stand out?

Who is the target audience for tattoos?

People who get tattoos for self-expression – This segment of the target market for tattoo shops is mostly made up of young adults who are looking to express their individuality and personality through their tattoos. They are often looking for unique and custom designs that reflect their interests, hobbies, or values.

These people will usually take their time to research their tattoo shops, artist, and design before making a decision. To appeal to this target market segment, tattoo shops should focus on promoting their ability to create unique custom designs.

Showcase your work on your website and on social media and highlight your artists.

How do you become a successful tattoo artist?

Is it rude to show a tattoo artist another tattoo?

Let the artist take lead on the design Most tattoo artists are in fact artists. They want to tattoo you with their own art. This isn’t just a creative preference. Tattooers generally have perfected a certain style (or styles). Their best designs and their best execution will be in this style(s). They want to be confident and and proud of your tattoo.

  • Don’t send them a picture of another artist’s work and say “I want this tattoo”.
  • Don’t be surprised if the artist does not want to tattoo in a style that is not their own.
  • Do share reference images for the subject matter you like.
  • Do share reference images from the artist’s own portfolio and say “I like the style you used here. “

Be as specific as you need to be. Not more or less. Artists love it when you give them creative freedom but don’t do it unless you really do want them to make all creative decisions. If you have something specific in mind, tell them.

  • Don’t tell the artist “you have complete freedom” and then come to the shop and make a lot of corrections.
  • Do tell the artist any specifics you have in mind before they work on the design!

New tattoos are always a better option than “adding on” to, or modifying an existing tattoos. Most artists would rather not work with another artist’s tattoo. It adds constraints to their design potential and it forces them to either: (a) Vandalize an existing, nice tattoo or (b) Have their work seen alongside an existing ugly tattoo. Either way, this won’t be a portfolio piece and won’t get the best work from the artist.

That’s not possible if you give excessive direction or if you force the artist outside of their core styles. Also, remember that good artists won’t copy another artist’s design so don’t ask. Consider: do you really need your existing tattoo to keep growing and becoming more and more of a Frankenstein’s Monster? Or can you offer new real estate to each artist? Cover-ups are a different story.

If you need a cover-up, you need a coverup. Not all artists are technically capable of good cover-ups and not all artists like to do them because of the additional constraint but it’s always worth asking.

  • Don’t think of your tattoo as a house you are continually remodelling.
  • Do think of tattoos more like paintings you are commissioning. Give the artist a clean canvas.
  • Do consider going back to the same artist for modifying or touching up an existing tattoo.

Don’t design by committee There’s nothing worse than customers who bring an opinionated friend or loved one to “help” them with design decisions. You hired the artist to help you with design. Adding a third party can complicate the already-delicate balance of artist/client in the design process. The more opinions you solicit, the harder and more confusing the process will be. Only you know what you want and the artist can help you.

  • Don’t bring a friend or spouse to speak for you.
  • Don’t text photos of the design to friends asking for their opinion.
  • Do tell your opinionated friends to quiet down if they become too involved in your tattoo design process.

Limit your party to yourself + 1 max Speaking of bringing others with you… consider visiting the shop alone for your appointment. Most shops are limited in their space and cannot accommodate your friends. Not only that, your friends might think it sounds fun to be at the shop while you get tattooed, but it’s not. Your friends will be bored.

  • Don’t bring extra people with you to be tattooed without asking the shop first. Most shops don’t want your friends sleeping in the waiting area while you get tattooed.
  • Do limit your party to just you or one other if you must and encourage your friends to go do something while you get tattooed so they don’t sleep in the waiting area.

Let the artist concentrate while you get tattooed Even the most experienced artists need to limit stressors during their tattooing. Tattooing requires intense concentration. Some artists love to gab while tattooing but others prefer to be quiet. Let the artist take the lead or ask them what they prefer.

  • Do bring a book to read or movie to watch provided you can do it without moving.
  • Do let your artist take the lead on whether or not to talk.
  • Don’t stare at the tattoo while your artist is working. This is stressful.
  • Don’t talk too much unless your artit is the chatty one.

Sit still! For obvious reasons, you never want to move while there is a tattoo needle inking your skin. If you might have trouble with pain, consider a numbing cream in advance of getting tattooed (ask your artist first). If you’re jumpy, you’re wasting tattooing time and risking mistakes. Generally though, you’re stressing out the artist which can mean not getting their best work.

  • Don’t move unexpectedly.
  • Don’t talk if you’re getting your ribs tattooed.
  • Do let the artist know if you need to move or stretch.
  • Do let the artist know If you think the furniture can be adjusted to be more comfortable.
  • Do consider topical numbing cream in advance of your tattoo if you’re worried about tolerating the pain (ask the artist first though)

Tipping It is customary to tip tattoo artists just like (in the US) it is customary to tip restaurant wait staff. Because it’s customary, not tipping is seen as a sign of being dissatisfied with your tattoo.

  • Do expect to tip when budgeting for your tattoo.
  • Do tip the artist directly and in cash.
  • Do tip big (e. 20%+) if you love your tattoo.
  • Do talk to your artist whenever you feel something isn’t being handled well (consultation, design, etc). A small tip (or no tip) shouldn’t be the only sign that you are dissatisfied.

Aftercare There are many different aftercare procedures out there. Always follow the artist’s own aftercare instructions because you and the artist are both responsible for the quality of your tattoo.

  • Do make sure to get precise instructions for aftercare from your artist.
  • Do feel OK to ask questions during the healing process if something seems wrong.
  • Do a little research about healing tattoos to know what’s normal. Scabbing is normal. Ink on the bandage is normal. Looking faded in the first couple of weeks is normal.

Touch-ups Most tattoos will not need touching up — at least for many years. However, sometimes ink does fall out or fade. This can happen for many reasons. The artist’s tattoo technique matters but it’s just half the story. Healing/fading is also affected by aftercare, your biology, the placement on the body (bendy parts like wrists, elbows, fingers, etc will fade more and faster).

  • Do wait 30 days before even considering a touch-up. Tattoos can look less-than-perfect while healing and need 30 days to be completely healed.
  • Do take good care of your tattoo following artist instructions and avoiding any strong sun exposure, rubbing, or soaking of the tattoo area while it’s healing.
  • Don’t expect the tattoo ink to look as vibrant as it did the day of your tattoo. Tattoo ink sits under the top layer of skin so, once healed, you’ll be looking at the ink through the top layer of skin.
  • Don’t be confrontational with the artist about your touch-up. Your artist cares as much as you do about the tattoo looking great so there’s no reason to take an aggressive posture if you have concerns about your tattoo.

Why are tattoo artists so rude?

Conclusion – It could be that the tattoo artist that you go to see is having a bad day or has been treated badly by another customer. There could be lots of reasons why they seem to be being rude towards you. However, it could just be their way and they don’t mean anything by the abrupt way they speak to people.