History Of Tattooing pt.1- Subject Study

History Of Tattooing pt.1- Subject Study

Subject Study

What Is A Tattoo?

Tattoos are a type of body modification, where a type of ink/dye/pigment is injected into the skin through needles on a tattoo machine. This is a machine that has a rotary wheel that moves a needle.

When Did Tattooing Begin

Tattooing has been around for hundreds of years, therefore it will never be truly known when tattooing first happened. Recently they have changed and become more popular in the form of modern art being placed on the body. Here is one example of tattooing in tribes.

They haven’t always meant the same thing and been ‘acceptable’ for everyone to have. The word tattoo comes from another word, this word is tatau. Tatau is an Tahitian word that means ‘ to mark something’. The Tahitians was one of the first humans to have a style of tattooing even thought some of these tattoos where not permeant. They started tattooing in 1500BC but these tattoos where in respect of their personalities and social ranks within the two tribes that where on Tahiti, this is an island within a group of islands in the pacific ocean.

Tahiti – Wikipedia

Timeline Of Tattooing Through History And Cultures.

This is a timeline I found, I have picked out the important information. This timeline shows how tattoos have fluctuated in popularity over history. I found out some really interesting facts from this, for example new-York had a tattoo ban till 1997 and the first women who tattooed was Jessie Knight in 1922.

Tattoo History Timeline (tattoofilter.com)

Traditional Tattoos (left) VS Modern Tattoo (right)

As with mainly all traditional and modern-day tattoo differences, the traditional had thicker lines with bold block colours. Unlike the modern-day tattoo that are thinker, more delicate and a lot more detail and realism. Although modern day tattoos might be more aesthetic, traditional tattoo stands the test of time better as the thick lines wont blur as much and they will keep the art clearer for longer. below are more examples of the difference.

My Tattooing

As I have been interested in tattooing in the future I have been practicing tattooing, although some of these ARE NOT my design these are my attempts at tattooing (I did these…. just NOT my design).

These videos show the different stages of getting a tattoo, from the stencil that is just a piece of paper (like charcoal paper) so it leaves the stencil on the skin. Then the tattoo itself being finished, to the cleaning of the skin after to get all excess ink off.

putting the stencil on skin
cleaning the tattoo

I have really enjoyed exploring tattooing, and this has not only helped me contextually but professionally. Contextually i felt it helped, so i could not only understand the people who get tattoos like me but also the process of getting one. All the stages tattooing evolves is like an experience of someone becoming who they are.

Stencil – like the stencil you try out a look that you think you might like, or try out something like a hobbies you might like.

Tattooing – once you have decided its something you like, you do it and add it to your life. You become it and it becomes you.

Cleaning – you then practice and make it better. Or you forget the old you and focus on the new and happy you by being who you are.

Professionally it has helped as its my future career. this has given me the chance to start to develop my skills within tattooing and my understanding on how to tattoo and learn more about the practice itself.

Some More Tattoos

What Does A Tattoo Apprenticeship Involve

contextual and professional Studies

A tattoo apprenticeship is a excellent way to learn and start tattooing, But equally it can be a tough experience, therefore it very important to know what you will be involved in and where to find a establishment work in.


While conducting researching about tattooing apprenticeships, I found a useful website that details the work that an apprentice will experience. The website informs you of what skill you will develop, equally it informs you of alternative ways to learn tattooing (e.g tattoo schools).

Within a tattoo apprenticeship I will learn:

  1. Hygiene (both of after care and during the tattoo).
  2. Techniques of tattooing.
  3. Needle usage.
  4. How to make and use stencils.
  5. How to continue into my own career (e.g booking clients and receiving payments).
  6. Also experience.

A tattoo apprenticeships last around 2 years, started by watching and developing an understanding for set up and hygiene. During the apprenticeship you will tattoo on both real and synthetic skin under supervision by the experienced tattoo artist.

UK Official Tattoo Academy

Additionally I have also researched the UK Official Tattoo Academy. The academy is a tattoo school that teaches a two weeks course, this course is very intense and develops the artist’s understanding of tattooing quickly. It Costs around Β£2998 to join but eventually it will cost more due to travel or living expenses, as the academy is located in London. They do have a accommodation for Β£34 a night, so in total for a living space it would cost around Β£408 for two week and a weekend.

Tattoo School VS Apprenticeship

tattoo school tattoo apprenticeship
Has a set curriculum and school time is not flexible.
An apprenticeship is more flexibility and does not have a set curriculum
Due to a class setting there will be near to no time one-on-one.As an apprenticeship is personal there a greater chance for one-on-one development.
You will graduate with a degree for tattooing.You get a qualification and possibly a career if you get in the shop.
You are studying along side and building relationships with more developing tattoo artist, But not building a client base during your degree.You meet less tattoo artists but you build a client base and work off the shops clients.meet less tattoo artists.
You have set limit to learn and gain the skills needed to pass, as it is a school the teachers will have gone through training to teach.you have as much time as you need but the teacher might not be a good teachers so you have to find a good apprenticeship.
To Join you need a diploma or a collage qualification of art.you have to have a good portfolio and a good promise of development for an artist to think it’s good to use their time on you.
Getting in to a school is Easier, due to you just needing a qualifications.Known for being hard to get into.

Although she is in another country there for there could be differences, i watched this video as it was helpful within a professional sense to hear about other people stories within how they got an apprenticeship, but also their advice as someone who has been through it.

Professionally I will need to be able to develop all different styles within tattooing to be able to have a divers client base, therefor I need to build a good portfolio to show the tattooist to be able to get an apprenticeship. This video was really helpful in order to see a practicing artist portfolio so I can see what they would be looking for within mine.

As I have conducted this research I have made a conclusion on what I would like to pursue in the future for my career, as a preference I would head for a apprenticeship due to its personal connection and flow of a client base. Within 2023 I will be applying for apprenticeships within my home town to start an apprenticeship in summer 2023.

π˜›π˜’π˜΅π˜΅π˜°π˜° 𝘈𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘡π˜ͺ𝘀𝘦𝘴𝘩π˜ͺ𝘱 π˜–π˜±π˜±π˜°π˜³π˜΅π˜Άπ˜―π˜ͺ𝘡π˜ͺ𝘦𝘴 π˜ͺ𝘯 π˜“π˜ͺ𝘦𝘀𝘦𝘴𝘡𝘦𝘳

Contextual and professional studies

I have done some research online and also a little in person on opportunities of tattooing apprenticeships within Leicester. 3 weeks ago I was talking to a person who works at Devils own tattoo shop, about getting an apprenticeship, She mentioned they are looking for an apprenticeship in January and I should hand in my CV. I would love to do this and start my career but this would mean having to move into the city, possibly just for summer or even longer. I would also not have time to do both the apprenticeship and university. Therefore won’t be taking this opportunity.

𝘸𝘩𝘒𝘡 π˜ͺ 𝘧𝘰𝘢𝘯π˜₯ 𝘰𝘯𝘭π˜ͺ𝘯𝘦…

When looking online –

found a facebook posted 4 weeks ago looking for a tattoo apprenticeship below is the post and the link.

this is the post they put up
I sent them a message to find out more about apprenticeships

I will update this post if I get a reply from them. I am going to do more research on tattoo apprenticeships and how to get a job within the industry (this will be on another post).

when looking online I was really surprised and confused, there was loads of places looking for an apprentice. This would also be a good place to get one due to the shop being in a city there would be a lot of traffic coming in and out of the store. But I was confused as I find looking online for places hard to get around because of going through all the websites and applications forms.

therefore like the first shop (devils own) I was talking about I found it a lot better going into the shop to look both at the atmosphere and also just understanding what they are looking for.

as I live in the country side I have to travel to the closes town to get a tattoo and this town is very small, there are only two tattoo shops. one of these I have been getting my tattoos done there for 2 years now, I have also spoken to them many times about apprenticeship and my plan is to send in my CV and some work in 2023 July to hopefully see if they will take me as an apprentice (due to this being the first summer after university so I’ll have plenty of time).

𝘭π˜ͺ𝘯𝘬𝘦π˜₯ π˜ͺ𝘯

to also boots my search on possibly jobs and offers I made a linked in account so that I can look for jobs but also will be notified when an offer is put up. I have joked about 5 different job websites that send me emails about new job offers. I’m looking at both tattooing jobs but also some jobs I can do along side the apprenticeship as while learning I won’t be making a decent amount of money to support myself. I also think some apprenticeships I will have to pay to be taught.

CPS – Job Opportunity

tattooing is a hard job to get into due to having to have a lot of experience before starting, this requires getting a placement within a shop to be able to watch and learn and then to acquired a licence.

The starting rate of a tattooist can be around Β£40-50 an hour but as you improve you could earn around Β£37,000 (other websites say in 2020 it was Β£60,000+)a year.

What Is the Average Entry Level Wage for Tattoo Artists? (chron.com)

This website has a lot of information’s about income within tattooing and what you could expect on different levels.

I am interested because it is something I have always wanted to get into. i think they are an amazing way for people to express themselves, i feel art is not just something to look at on a wall and if i can help someone express themselves through art then I want to.

Tattoos in the Workplace Statistics (stapaw.com)

Tattooing is a growing industry with more younger people wanting tattoos. tattooing has been around for years and like fashion can go in and out of style.

Before coming to university I was looking into a two week course to learn the basics of tattooing there is a few ways to get into the job and some people will just go into a shop and learn but others will take courses like this to speed it up.


This is a company that does that course within this you can learn a good amount of everything to do with tattooing and gives lots of opportunities after. (e.g employment or even going self employed)

How to Become a Tattoo Artist: Career Guide (study.com)

This website explains about the exams and apprenticeship you have to take in order to get a licence. this also has a step to step of how to the job.