TATTOOS: Should you let an apprentice ink you?

July 7, 2014

So we know the reasons not to visit a scratcher, but you don’t have to find a tattooist with 10 years experience to get an amazing tattoo.

All tattooists have to start somewhere. Yes many in the industry probably did start in their kitchens,  because if they are old school enough, it was the only way in. 

However these days, the best way in is through an apprenticeship.

Thankfully with the help of Instagram, these lesser known individuals are to grow their own customer base and fans. And their talent is really something to watch out for.

Some of my favourite tattoos have been done by apprentices, or artists who have just finished apprenticeships. Saranna was an apprentice when I met her and she did this butterfly on me. And I was so happy with her work, she is currently working on my left lower arm sleeve.

Apprentices tend to charge slightly lower rates,  and will spend more time with you whilst they refine their technique, learn new skills and increase their speed and confidence.  None of this takes away from their natural talent. It can take several sessions to complete your tattoo, where normally it wouldn’t/ For instance, my butterfly took two sessions totally around 3.5 hours, but Saranna was very new to tattooing – and I’m still over the moon with how bright and beautiful it still looks. 

Many apprentices start out by selling prints to get their name and art out there. Followed by flash sheets and some willing volunteers. If you’re happy to sit a little longer, to get a real bargain, it can be a fabulous way to add to your tattoo collection from a budding tattooist. It can take over a year to complete an apprenticeship as a tattooist, so there’s a lot of development (some would argue that you never stop learning or developing, but that’s a philosophical discussion for another time).

My advice: keep an eye out for new talent,  based in a studio, with other talent. Any apprentice will be being mentored by someone,  so a good teacher will create a good student. 

Remember,  everyone has to start at the bottom.

Have you or would you get inked by an apprentice? 

Who are your current favourite apprentices?

4 responses to “TATTOOS: Should you let an apprentice ink you?”

  1. Erin says:

    I've let many an apprentice tattoo me, I'm a biiiiiig supporter

    • Rachel Bradford says:

      Same – sometimes they ahve more talent than the ones tattooing for 10 years who only do flash work! xx

  2. Mariana Pimiento says:

    I've always been a big fan of tattoos, but to scared to get them, hike! Anyway, thanks for this post! Sheds a new light!!

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