What's up fellow artists!
Today I'm excited because we're finally openingTattooing 101 publically! I've been working really hard behind the scenes for the past year to make this the absolute best platform
anywhere in the world for professional tattoo artists.
First I need to say: we get a lot of hate from professional tattoo artists who say, “you shouldn't be teaching tattooing”, but these same guys have no health insurance, no retirement accounts, no future plans, and they're scared of competition.
Look, I get it. I've been there, but I don't believe in this scarcity mindset, and the dozen sand dozens of emails we get each and every week from professional artists, telling us how we’re helping to improve their lives, their shop environment, and their family's lives makes me believe that we're doing the right thing and we're helping to improve the tattoo industry overall.
“Hey everyone … I started tattooing after doing this online course about a year ago ...I now run my OWN legal/registered/insured tattoo studio and LOVE it!”
“... I am now opening my own shop and am so thrilled at how well I am doing and I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement and all the tools that you have given me… Thank you for helping us that want to do something we love and giving us the guidance to become great!”
So with that out of the way, let's go ahead and jump in and I'll show you what I've been working on for the past year..
Welcome to the brand new Tattooing 101!
You're actually one of the first to see behind the scenes what we've been working on for
so long. There are actually many artists and team members who make this website possible, but
I'll just begin by introducing myself and my buddy Matt, the lead contributors here at Tattooing 101.
This is me, Jay, and this is my fellow artist and good friend Matt.
Between the two of us we have more than 20 years of experience in the tattoo industry, not counting the other artists and specialists we're bringing in to teach you.
As for our tattoo work, my favorite type of work is mostly American and Japanese traditional, while Matt does more Neo-Traditional and black and gray type stuff.
For the other types of work like portraiture, realism, color realism, even specialty stuff
like geometric styles, watercolor, stuff like that - we have other artists coming in who specialize
just in those styles - artists who can break them down step by step for you.
So who am I and how am I qualified to be the lead contributor here at Tattooing 101?
Well, I was born in Oklahoma of all places where tattooing was still illegal. For lack of a better
option I joined the Navy and spent all my free time in the engine room drawing and studying tattoos from magazines.
Your friend and fellow artist Jay - learning to tattoo in the Navy.
Every port we hit overseas, I'd rush off the ship and try to get an apprenticeship with my book of designs. Unfortunately, with what little English was spoken, I didn't get a shot, but I did collect hundreds of tattoos from all over the world. And with each one I'd watch, take notes and see how the artist overseas would interact with clients, how they ran their machines, how they set up, how they tattooed everything.
I’d then take what I was learning in each port back to the ship and
start practicing on my friends. I mean, come on. What sailor doesn't
want a free tattoo, right?
So finally, after five long years in the Navy and after asking 20 to 30 shops for an apprenticeship, one guy here in Hawaii decided to give me a shot if I started over with a proper apprenticeship. This meant no tattooing for more than a year while I learned the proper way to
As an apprentice, as I'm sure you can relate, I wasn't making much money. I lived in a house with six other guys. I ate beans, rice and ramen and put literally everything I had back into tattooing. Every time I'd save a few hundred dollars from my tips, I'd be off traveling the world to meet the best artists of our time trying to steal their secrets.
“... I am now opening my own shop and am so thrilled at how well I am doing and I
couldn’t have done it without the encouragement and all the tools that you have given me… Thank you for helping us that want to do something we love and giving us the guidance to become great!”
I was able to meet, get tattooed by, and in some cases even work with guys like ed Hardy who you can see here, Horiyoshi III, and many other artists.
I just wanted to get to know these guys, get up close and personal with them and try to learn what made them such good artists.
See at this time, I thought that that to become a great tattoo artist all you had to do was get really, really good at the art part.
I became so obsessed with this idea that I even went back to university for an art degree just to really deep dive on the art component of things while in art school. Between my travels. I helped build an open three tattoo shops here in Hawaii.
I started realizing that there's more to this tattoo game than just art. If I want to help grow these businesses and get our name out there or even sell my own products, I'd better figure out the business side of things as well.
So what did I do in my last semester of art school? I dropped out and instead started over in business school. I kept traveling the world, but this time, studying under the best business minds in the world, multimillionaire marketers as you can see here, and other business professionals - just trying to, again, steal their secrets and bring them back to the tattoo world.
Attending Art and Business School - How can I merge these topics and relate them back to tattooing?
Once I graduated from business school, I'd always come back and try to share what I’d been learnin by, teaching it to apprentices and other artists. But after so much traveling and studying, I was bound to forget all the things that were working in the moment. I needed a place to start documenting all of these lessons learned. I didn't want the tens of thousands of dollars I'd spent traveling the world studying in business and art school and seeking out these mentors to go to waste.
That's when I bought this website, Tattooing 101 from Brendon and Joel as a place to document all of my lessons learned and pass them onto the next generation of artists. I wanted a place where the business, technology, and the tattoo world can actually merge.
After all, it's 2019 it's time to leave the old stereotype of the starving artist in the past and get tattooing caught up with the information age.
So what I discovered in my decade plus of teaching artists and climbing this pyramid myself is that there are three distinct layers, or steps, to tattooing, and at each stage of the game your focus and goals are entirely different.
First is the apprentice level. As an apprentice, your focus is about understanding the fundamentals and getting into a shop, getting consistent clients and income so you can make this an actual career and quit your day job.
As you move into being a professional artist, your focus is on staying booked up, but also on diversifying your income. This is making products like books, shirts, but also planning for retirement, other investments and opening your own tattoo shop. This is where we bring in financial planners, accountants and all that good stuff to come in and teach you how to stay legal and plan for your family's future.
Finally, at the top you have the shop owner level and here your focus becomes on training and keeping a good tattoo artists for your shop, but also on your legacy. How can you pass on your name and your shop? How can you make sure your family is taken care of for when you can't tattoo anymore?
But right now we're just focused on the apprentice level as this is where most of you guys said you're at.
We're building this platform from the ground up one layer at a time. So once we get most of you into a reputable shop making as consistent, solid income from your tattoos, we can take you up to the next level and beyond.
Tattooing is strange. Unlike becoming a doctor or a lawyer - before now, there was no clear cut step-by-step way to becoming a professional tattoo artist.
This is due to a variety of factors, not the least of which being the industry is very closed off. A lot of artists and shop owners are not wanting others to enter and “train their competition” as they love to say.
You won't believe the negativity and threats we get for trying to teach and improve the industry. But that's okay. It just makes no sense to me. If we aren't teaching them this craft, then it'll die with us. If you loved tattooing so much, why wouldn't you want to pass it on and help the next generation of artists to be the best they can possibly be to carry this craft forward?
But I don't know. I guess this is where we come in. This is our legacy. My goal is to download all the secrets I've learned from these successful people in the tattoo and business worlds into one cohesive program, and pass it on to you: the next generation of artists.
So here's the plan. We had to cram everything we know about these topics into one platform, it would be massive. And we might also miss some questions that you'll have along the
way. So the goal here is to create this program with you. So we're going to start here at the apprentice level and work our way up with you level by level. Does that seem fair?
So the first thing I did when I had this idea was I sat down with 300 of you guys through phone calls, emails, and surveys.
Since tattooing is so incredibly hard to break into and there's so
much misinformation out there.
I asked you guys what courses and videos you were watching, and what books you were reading and I bought them all, just to see if anything had improved since I first learned how to tattoo all those years ago.
There's just so much wrong and misinformation out there that how can we start to fight against this? So this is where we come in. This is what we've been working on for the past year and really our idea comes in three parts.
The first is going to be our online community of engaged professional artists that help you get unstuck. You can post your tattoos and paintings and get critique like you would find in an art school setting. Ask any questions you might have about tattooing or the industry and we'll help you get over that obstacle and onto the next level.
The second part is going to be group coaching calls. Every month we're with artists and industry specialists that go live in the group and answer any questions you may have one on one. You don't have to pay thousands of dollars to travel the world to meet these guys like I did as we're bringing them, life's you via live streams.
Our professional artists are there to answer your questions directly, get you unstuck, and more importantly, get you inspired and know that they started out just where you are today.
And finally, the backbone of our program is a growing online education library. These modules teach you new techniques, but more importantly, give you a step by step framework to get to the next level in your tattoo career.
Again, if you're ever stuck or confused by a lesson in the library, you can immediately post your question in the group and get an answer.
It's still early days here at Tattooing 101 because we want you to be helping create this content.
We’re tailor making this platform specifically for you.
So there are already several modules up now, and we're adding new ones each and every
week, depending on what topic you want to learn. And remember,
this isn't just tattooing, we're teaching you how to make this a proper professional career.
So yes, we have modules with professional tattoo artists who can help you with your art game, but we also have interviews with other professionals, marketing experts, t-shirt manufacturers, and even accountants and legal teams that will be posting up as we get you those levels, just to make sure you're doing everything illegally and staying safe.
That's it Artists. If you want to be a part of this incredible platform and click get started above and join the best professional artists network anywhere in the world, I'll see you on the