Tips from Guy Aitchison on building the perfect portfolio of your artwork before any tattoo artist will let you touch a machine, you'll need to prove you can draw (and then probably mop a few hundred miles of shop floor). The best way to show off your artwork is in an organized portfolio that you can bring to tattoo shops and conventions on your hunt for an apprenticeship. "Your portfolio means more than your education or your resume," tattoo master Guy Aitchison explains. "It's your artistic passport." Here are some tips from Aitchison for putting yours together.
1. You'll need to make a few copies and leave them with people, so your materials should be affordable. Try using half-inch three-ring view binders, which you can insert your own cover art into.
2. Keep it short. Twelve pages will tell them everything they need to know. Remember, attention spans are short.
3. Use only finished pieces of art. If you don't have a dozen finished drawings or other pieces of art to show, you have a lot of work to do.
4. Consider doing at least a few pages of smaller tattoo flash designs. This is a part of the apprenticeship process and shows an ability to put together small, complete images that look good.
5. After printing your portfolio pages, insert them into three ring protector sheets. Open the portfolio with a short letter of introduction, mentioning any past artistic experience and describing your style. Follow this with your strongest artwork, and arrange the following pages with care and attention to detail. Make it something you're proud of.
6. Upgrade your portfolio whenever you can. That way, you won't feel the need to explain yourself when you hand your portfolio to people.