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  • Writer's picturePhil Morgan

Learn to Tattoo


let it rip

For years I've watched kickers in football trot out on the field to perform their one specific task. They line up, they walk through a ritual of motions, they visualize the ball sailing through the air, and they miss the uprights. They miss one kick and you can visibly watch their confidence evaporate. That kicker won't recall the thousands of made kicks in their lifetime, just the misses for the rest of their lives.


So everyone wants to learn to tattoo now. On the outside it appears to be a pretty straightforward job. Draw, pour out ink, poke in skin, clean up. The trick is, it's more like a sport than a job. The true work is psychological more than skill. You can learn to make a tattoo, but when you really care about your customers and the quality of the outcome, that's when you find out how narrow the uprights really are.


Strength of psyche is why experience really matters. There's a real tangible value to years of experience. Maturity, patience, planning, communication are all hallmarks of successful professional artists. They've been able go to work dressed like it's halloween year round, had great career achievements, received significant financial and verbal reassurance, and all remember the handful of tattoos they'd like to have another shot at. That accountability is what fuels the training for the next outing.


This is where knowing your kicker really matters. Sure they've made the team, but are they battle tested? Are they simply skilled, or are they experienced? Have they been around long enough to know how shake off last weeks error and move on with a clear head? Enough metaphor, the point is successful tattoo artists don't have an off season. They endure distractions from the customer, they work through injuries and discomfort, and they likely care more about the outcome of their work than the customer. If you are wanting to learn to tattoo, know there are years of relentless training ahead. If you are shopping for a tattoo artist, find one you feel comfortable betting your fortune on.


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