From Beginner to Professional Tattoo Artist in 3 Months: Austin Harley Success Story

Austin Harley is a professional tattoo artist in Seattle, Washington. But before that, he felt like he’d been locked out of the industry because he couldn’t afford to give up his income to do a traditional tattoo apprenticeship.

In this article, we’ll dive into Austin’s story and explain how he managed to skip an apprenticeship and begin making $6,000/month tattooing in just three months.

Austin Began as a Muralist

Before taking our course, Austin was already deep into the art world, working for himself as a freelance artist and muralist. Even with all that going on, he had a big dream: he wanted to be a tattoo artist. 

But every time he talked to pro tattoo artists about getting started, they all told him he needed to start with a traditional apprenticeship. That meant giving up his regular income, which was a no-go for Austin. With bills to pay and people depending on him, he was stuck, trying to figure out how to make his tattoo dream happen.

Online Learning Presented a Clear Path

While searching online, Austin stumbled upon our tattoo courses. The idea of learning online and moving at his own pace caught his eye. With apprenticeships off the table for him, this was just the kind of option he needed. 

What really made him hit that sign-up button was how straightforward everything was in the Tattooing 101 Artist Accelerator Program. He loved that we laid it all out: from the right materials to buy to clear exercises to practice. Everything was organized and clear, making it easy for him to dive right in.

Austin’s Journey to Private Coaching With Our Professional Tattoo Artists

Austin started to build his skills while working through the Artist Accelerator Program. But he didn’t stop there. He leveled up by diving into private coaching. This meant weekly personalized advice, direct one-on-one video coaching calls, and an even quicker journey toward tattooing like a pro.

Even though he already had a solid background in art, tattooing was a whole new ball game for him. The challenge? Taking his art skills and tweaking them for tattoo design. Tattooing isn’t just about drawing cool designs; it's about understanding human skin and how the body's curves play into the art. 

By December of 2022, all his hard work paid off. Austin did his first tattoo on someone, a big step toward his dream. By February 2023, he was tattooing fulltime in his own studio.

How Austin Improved His Tattooing Rapidly

The live video calls were a game-changer for Austin. Every time he logged off a call, he'd jump straight into applying the personalized tips and advice he got. This hands-on approach had him upping his game fast.

One of the big challenges Austin faced was molding his existing art skills to the fit and flow required to do a good tattoo design. It's not just about drawing something cool, but understanding what designs would translate well onto skin. Those live calls? They played a pivotal role in this. With the one-on-one feedback, he could immediately tweak and adapt his designs based on real-time advice.

With someone guiding him in real-time, Austin was making leaps and bounds in just weeks, outpacing what most folks achieve in months or even longer.

Opening His Own Studio, Tattoo Therapy

Austin's journey from being a student to owning his own tattoo studio is nothing short of inspiring. At first, he just wanted to add tattooing to his plate, taking friends' and family's tattoo requests alongside his mural projects. His goal? Make three grand a month from tattooing. 

But passion has a way of surprising you. 

During his first flash tattoo event, he nearly pulled in that amount in just one weekend. This was a clear sign for Austin: he was onto something big. Fast forward a bit, and he's now raking in six thousand bucks monthly from tattooing alone - with no more side gigs or outside work. He’s still hosting flash events, where often finds himself so busy with clients that he has to schedule them in for the following week just to get to everyone. 

Not only does he genuinely enjoy his work, but he's also got a better work-life balance with three days off every week. And the cherry on top? He's come full circle, mentoring a new artist under his wing.

Hear Austin’s Story

Austin is able to make more money than he planned by working less and doing what he loves. The Tattooing 101 team is so excited for him and to see where he goes in his career. 

Check out Austin Harley’s art and studio here:

Begin Your Journey as a Tattoo Artist With the Artist Accelerator Program

Having a career in tattooing is not only fulfilling, but it’s also the most stable way to make a living as an artist. However, for decades, the process to become a tattoo artist has been notoriously difficult. 

The apprenticeship process requires aspiring tattoo artists to work 50-60 hours a week without pay for 2-4 years. That, combined with the toxic culture of abusing apprentices, makes getting into the industry almost impossible for newcomers. 

That’s why we created the Artist Accelerator Program. Our online course provides a simple, structured way of learning to tattoo that has been proven to work by over 2500 successful students, with many of them having gone on to open their own shops all around the world. 

Inside the program, we’ll take you through every step of the tattooing process in 9 clear, easy-to-follow modules and support you along the way within the Tattooing 101 Mastermind online community.

In the Mastermind group, you’ll collaborate with other students, get answers to your questions, and receive personalized video feedback on your artwork and tattoos from professional tattoo artists. With this friendly community of both new and experienced tattoo artists, you’ll never be stuck again. 

When you join the Artist Accelerator Program, you’ll have instant access to the full course and the Mastermind community, as well as our 30-Day Flash Challenge and recorded interviews with tattoo artists from all over the world. 

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}



How to Tattoo Script

September 21, 2022

Script is one of the most popular tattoo styles in the world. ...

How to Tattoo Script

Learn How to Tattoo: Live Tattoo Demonstration

June 27, 2022

One of the best ways for new tattoo artists to learn is ...

Learn How to Tattoo: Live Tattoo Demonstration

Wormhole Tattoo Machine Review – Coil Shader

April 21, 2022

*Price at time of publishingThis Wormhole Shader tattoo machine delivers a super-soft ...

Wormhole Tattoo Machine Review – Coil Shader

Our Community

Join the Tattooing 101 Community today and get free, instant access to tools and resources that take you behind the curtain of all things tattooing. From apprentice to shop owner, we've got you covered.