Tattoo Classes Online | Free Tattoo Tutorials | Pro Advice

For aspiring tattoo artists who want to learn at their own pace, online courses give you a way into the tattoo world without the traditional apprenticeship.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a mini free online course so you can learn the basics and start building your skills.

In these videos, you’ll learn how to:

  • Draw world class tattoo designs
  • Set up a tattoo station
  • Make and transfer a tattoo stencil
  • Line and shade a tattoo


Which practice skins you use for practice will make a big difference in how fast you learn. We recommend using high-quality, thick fake skins like Reelskin or Pound of Flesh.

Start Tattooing with Our Free Lessons:

To work as a professional in the tattoo industry, you need to know how to draw, transfer, and tattoo your designs - as well as set up your station safely. In these six free lessons, we’ll walk you through the basic techniques you need to know as a tattoo artist to start practicing on fake skins. 

Lesson One: How to Draw Like a Tattoo Artist

There’s a big difference between drawing a picture and creating a tattoo design. 

Learning how to draw tattoo designs made for the body is the key to making sure your designs look great on skin, every time. 

In this lesson, our instructor, Brandon, will show you exactly how to do it by explaining how to:

  • Make your designs fit on a specific body part
  • Add “flow” to your tattoos
  • Draw in layers so you can build up a design

Lesson Two: How to Set Up a Tattoo Station

Even when you’re working on fake skins, you want to practice proper sanitation and safety practices.

In this lesson, Brandon explains how to set up a tattoo station safely by:

  • Using protective barriers on your tattoo equipment
  • Wrapping your tattoo machine
  • Preparing ink, Vaseline, needles, etc. before you start tattooing


This lesson is a good start. To learn tattoo safety, you must complete a bloodborne pathogens certification course. All the courses that qualify for your tattoo license will be listed on your local health department website.

Lesson Three: How to Make a Tattoo Stencil

Tattoo artists use stencils as a guideline for their tattoos. Whether you’re working on a simple traditional piece or a realistic portrait, you’ll need to know how to make a solid stencil.

In this lesson, Brandon shows you how to make a stencil using thermal tattoo transfer paper. You’ll learn:

  • What each layer of the stencil paper is for
  • How to use a stencil machine
  • How to make a stencil by hand

Lesson Four: How to Put on a Stencil

Every tattoo artist knows that “losing your stencil” leads to a bad day. To make sure you can see your stencil the entire time you’re tattooing - and that it doesn’t rub away while you’re working - you need to know how to transfer a stencil to skin correctly.

In this lesson, Brandon demonstrates how to get a stencil onto your practice skin with a cheaper transfer method. In this video, Brandon will explain:

  • Which deodorants you can (and can’t) use on fake skin
  • How to transfer a stencil using deodorant
  • How deodorant compares to more expensive stencil products

Lesson Five: How to Tattoo Lines

For most styles, lining is the first part of the tattoo process. However, line work is one of the most difficult tattoo techniques to master.

In this lesson, Brandon breaks down how to tattoo straight lines as well as how to:

Lesson Six: How to Shade Tattoos

Black ink holds best in the skin overtime, which means having areas of black shading in a design will allow it to look good decades later.

Tattoo artists use three main shading techniques to add depth to their tattoos. In this lesson, Brandon will show you how to do the following tattoo techniques:

  • Packing
  • Pendulum shading
  • Whip shading

How to Become a Professional Tattoo Artist Online

Learning online is much easier when you have a structured course leading you through the entire process because it allows you to focus on the craft of tattooing without having to spend time searching for information. 

However, not all online tattoo programs are complete courses. For example, some courses are not beginner-friendly, and they immediately dive into advanced techniques. Other courses only teach the basics of lining and shading, and don’t give you anywhere to go.

If you’re a beginner that wants to build up to the professional level - or you have experience but still want to review the fundamentals - then you need an online course that takes you through every stage of tattooing.


There are three things you need to keep an eye out for when looking into a tattoo course. First, any course you look at should have classes that build your tattooing and drawing skills.

Second, the instructor should have a strong background in tattooing (you can tell their skill level by looking at their social media/online portfolio).

Third, the students in the course should be doing good tattoos. If you can’t find results from students or none of the graduates are working in a tattoo shop, that’s a sign the course probably isn’t high-quality.

Case Study: The Artist Accelerator Program Complete Tattoo Course 

Our flagship program, the Artist Accelerator Program, is (of course) in our opinion the best tattoo education online. It takes you through each “year” of a tattoo apprenticeship - at an accelerated pace. 

You get the same drawing skills and tattooing lessons you’d get in a traditional apprenticeship, as well as the ability to connect with professional tattoo artists in the business and other students (including graduated students who now own or work in their own shops).

Here’s an inside look at what a complete course like the Artist Accelerator includes:

Easy-to-Follow Lessons

In any e-learning course, you want to get concepts and techniques explained in bite-size pieces that make it easy to build your skills step-by-step and save your progress. 

The Artist Accelerator Program’s journey lets you follow along with each step of the tattooing process from home. 

tattoo artist giving good tips on how to create body art
  1. 1
    Clearly labeled lessons
  2. 2
    Helpful quizzes and homework to improve your skills
  3. 3
    Watch over our shoulder
  4. 4
    Easy to follow tutorials
  1. 5
    Advice on our favorite products
  2. 6
    Keep track of your progress
  3. 7
    In-depth technique demonstrations

Engaged Community and Access to Tattoo Artists

Tattooing is complicated, and every new tattoo artist needs a space where they can share knowledge, request feedback, and find a community that supports their goals. 

Tattooing 101’s Mastermind community allows students to share their art, get helpful tips and tricks, as well as access bonus videos and materials.

screenshots of Tattooing 101 Facebook community posts and training material
  1. 1
    Get advice and personalized feedback from pro tattoo artists
  2. 2
    Ask questions
  3. 3
    Share your work
  4. 4
    Update the community on your progress
  5. 5
    Join live call with the group

Extra Tools and Technique Help

In any training you invest in, take a look for any additional help or bonus material that might be included.

For example, along with lifetime access to the course and Tattooing 101 community, joining the program comes with added benefits. You get free access to the 30-Day Flash Challenge where you can build your portfolio, as well as our library of interviews with artists from all over the world.
video screenshots from beginners tattooing course
  1. 1
    Dive into different mediums and styles while you build out your portfolio
  2. 2
    Learn from the experiences of artists all over the world.

Learn to Master Tattooing

artist applying a tattoo

Learning the basics is only the first step on your journey to becoming a tattoo artist. Next, you need to learn how to build your skills to the professional level.

There’s a ton of information out there that promises to teach you to tattoo, but a lot of it is outdated or incorrect. This is why most tattoo artists trying to learn online pick up bad habits that can take years to unlearn.

If you want to learn how to tattoo the right way, you can still do it online and at your own pace.

We created the Artist Accelerator Program to give aspiring artists all the lessons and techniques they need in an easy-to-follow, 9-step roadmap that can take anyone from complete beginner to professional tattoo artist in as little as 90 days.

Inside the program, you’ll learn the skills tattoo artists use every day, get personalized guidance from professionals, and put together a portfolio that gets you hired. 

Skip the years of trial and error and start building a career you love today.

Click here to check out 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.

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