Tattoo and apprentice positions

Becoming a tattooer requires determination, aptitude and artistic ability. You can expect to be learning for 1-2 years before being able to tattoo on paying clients. (Some studio’s up to 4 years) You need to have a desire to learn, study and immerse yourself in tattooing. You also need excellent personal hygiene standards and be able to commit to 30-40 unpaid hours a week. (getting a part time paid job is recommended)



At the Painted Lady Tattoo Studio apprentices undertake a self-paced formal course of 4 blocks where they learn:


Obtain an ABN

Get infection control certificate at own expense
Apply for Qld tattoo license at own expense

Sign a contract


Studio office duties and basic customer relations
Training of sterilization procedures
Inventory of goods for order, unpacking and checking invoices, signing for deliveries
Secretarial training – filing, emails, phone calls, text messages, bookings
Muscle memory exercises
Basic tattoo design concepts
Aftercare methods and practice
Tattoo community research and development exercises
Drawing and colouring in exercises
Personal assistant responsibilities for studio owner and artists
Social media management
Compiling data
Photographing tattoo basics
Reading and viewing assignments


Development of flash sheets
Tattoo machines basics
Needles, tubes, tips and their uses
Portfolio development
Tattoo process skill building
Intermediate drawing and colouring exercises and possible painting exercises
Promotional tasks
Tattooing on fake skin
Reading and viewing assignments


Development of flash sheets
Advanced drawing and colouring exercises
Get tattooed by licensed artists at own expense in studio and others (approved artists only)
Purchase own equipment (approved brands only)
Undertaking art lessons
Reading and viewing assignments
Tests – practical and theory


Attending tattoo conventions/shows – working as receptionist if studio attending
Tax basics for small business and individuals
Create and supply your own business cards
Tattooing volunteers for hourly or negotiated fee once licensed and course completed

My advice if you are looking to get a tattoo apprenticeship is to take your drawing folio to studio owners/managers and ask for feedback, get tattooed a lot so you can watch and ask questions, undertake drawing/design courses to improve your abilities and attend conventions to meet and talk to artists. You need to be aware that you will be working unpaid for some time and will do the cleaning jobs – make yourself an asset to your boss. Ask questions of the artists, take time to sit and watch them. Do NOT buy a tattoo machine from ebay and practice on your friends!! Hard work and lots of effort will pay off in the end if this is the career you truly want. As a new tattoo artist you will expect to be charging approx $100 an hour with half of that going to the studio. This will then increase to between $120-$150 with 40% going to the studio. However all studios are different and there are no official guidelines or laws to stipulate what percentage you will get. Also some studios will require you to supply all of your own tools/equipment and consumables. At the Painted Lady Tattoo Studio we supply all consumables so our artists only supply their machines and power supply.