How To Build an Impressive Portfolio for a Tattoo Apprenticeship


If you're searching for an apprenticeship so you can be trained to become a tattoo artist, you'll need to impress your prospective mentor. To do that, you'll need to create an impressive portfolio. This is how.

Here's How

  1. Purchase an actual art presentation portfolio, not just a photo album or binder. Get one that is large enough to accommodate your largest drawings and/or paintings. It doesn't have to be an expensive leather-bound portfolio; just get one that adequately organizes your artwork. This shows that you take your art seriously.
  2. Gather all of your best and favorite pieces of art that you want to display in your portfolio. Choose a variety of pieces that show your range of skills and your ability to work in as many mediums as possible. Make sure you have at least a few pieces that are done in a tattoo style, if possible.
  3. Be sure every piece is signed by you so you can prove that it is all your own unique artwork.
  4. If you have larger artistic pieces that can't fit into the portfolio (such as paintings on canvas or sculptures) then take photos of them to include in your portfolio. Take clean photos and multiple angles if needed. The larger the photos, the better you'll be able to show your work.
  5. Begin organizing your portfolio by carefully placing each piece in its prospective sleeve or pocket. Add a photo section if needed.
  6. Include copies of a photo resume that you can leave behind at the studio after your interview. The resume should highlight any art education, personal experience and your reason for wanting to be a tattoo artist. Behind your resume, include a page of smaller photos of the artwork they would have seen in your portfolio during your interview. This will help refresh their mind as to who you are and your abilities.


  1. Hobby, art, and craft stores are the best places to find a wide variety of art portfolios in a range of affordable prices.
  2. DO NOT include any photos of tattoos you may have already done at home. Tattoo artists are usually not impressed with scratcher work and it will only make them feel that they are probably going to have to re-train you to eliminate any bad habits. If you want an apprenticeship, you agree to start from scratch.

What You Need

  • An art presentation portfolio
  • Sleeves and protective pages to display your art in the portfolio
  • Pieces of art that will fit in the portfolio
  • Pictures of art that is too large for the portfolio
  • A photo resume