You’ve decided you want to start a tattoo apprenticeship, so you gather all your drawings and paintings ready to create a portfolio to impress. If you are as passionate about your art as we are, deciding which pieces to showcase and which pieces to leave at home is your worst nightmare. You could spend hours sitting staring at them, second guessing which pieces someone else might want to see. We can’t sit with you and make those decisions for you, but we can start you off with 3 steps for creating an exceptional tattoo flash portfolio.
This is the hardest step, be objective and honest with yourself and determine your strengths. What art skills do you have? Are you great at watercolors, amazing with color pencils, or is your specialty shaded linework drawings? Are your lines shaky and you’re not sure how to really use your tablet and Procreate? If one area is visibly weaker than the others, consider leaving it out, as a single weak image in a good portfolio stands out for all the wrong reasons.
What looks good on paper may not always look as good on skin. Generally, bold large designs age better on skin than intricate and tiny designs—this is why traditional tattoos are a timeless and popular style. A drawing that sits flat on paper will need adjustment when placed on the curve of a body. Think of Japanese body-suit drawings that show how you can create huge designs which flow around the body and look amazing. Create drawings which fit the body, don’t be afraid to experiment with designs which wrap around the limbs, or a sleeve which extends to the fingers.
No one will expect your portfolio to be perfect because your apprenticeship is all about learning to be a tattoo artist. This is no excuse for sloppy work though! A well prepared tattoo flash portfolio shows that you are serious about an apprenticeship. Potential mentors will want to see that you have a strong eye for design, can make precise lines, and pay attention to detail (coffee mug stains never impress). You probably already have a sense of what your visual style is, so make sure your book or presentation reflects this. Let your personality come through in what you put in the portfolio and don’t be afraid to show who you are. After all, as an apprentice, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the shop and want to learn from people you respect and get along with.
Not sure you have the answers for any of the above? We can help! Our tattoo apprenticeship starts by helping you to hone these skills. We’ll mentor you so you learn the skills to have a successful and lucrative career as a tattoo artist. Want to know more? Start a chat with one of our team members and attend a tattoo apprenticeship workshop to see if this is the right career for you! Even if you are not located near one of our studios, we can help you put your best foot forward with an exceptional tattoo flash portfolio.