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How I Started Tattooing –

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From Struggling Mother to Successful Tattoo Artist: how I started Tattooing

As I sadly packed and posted all of my old tattoo machines to their eBay buyer I felt like my dream of becoming a Tattooist was truly dead. 

But I needed the money so badly I had to sell them. I was pretty desperate. 

Those machines were bought for an apprenticeship I had before my kids were born but it had failed. 

I had pretty much given up on my dream of tattooing.

Back then, in 2011, I was a struggling mother of two young children. I was worried about the future and the lack of money I was experiencing. 

And at 42, I thought that I was probably too old to follow my tattoo dream now anyway. 

I didn’t even know anyone in the tattoo industry.

[if you are interested in learning to tattoo then check out this post – Can you be a self taught tattoo artist? ]

Bad Financial Times

It was three years after the banking crash, and my job [and my husbands – we had a business together] had gone down the toilet, leaving us with very little money and a lot of stress. 

This stress caused a lot of relationship problems, and I would lay awake at 3am worrying about the future for my family. 

I was too down to even draw any more. 

An unexpected death made me realised life is short

Things were getting worse, and then my beloved cousin [more like a big brother to me] suddenly got super aggressive Pancreatic cancer and died within a couple of months. 

This made me realize that life is short, and I needed to follow my dream of being a Tattooist or I would never know if I could do it and would have regrets at not trying.

The day he died I decided It was time to take a leap of faith and figure out a way to learn to tattoo that I could fit around my kids and family. 

I didn’t know if it was even possible.

But deep down I thought, maybe this was the thing that could actually save us financially and mentally

silicone tattoo practice skin
My very first terrible attempts with a tattoo machine on fake skin. You can keep your attempts and see how you improve

I was scared of the toxicity of the Tattoo Industry

I was actually really scared of the toxicity of the tattoo industry and worried that the rejection as I tried to learn would destroy any small amount of confidence I had. 

I could see the way people were attacked on forums for asking questions, trying to learn or get an apprenticeship.

I wasn’t confident at all.

But I had to be brave even if that took a big act of courage. I made the decision to go all in and follow my dream or die trying. 

So I invested in myself

I spent the last money I had on a new tattoo machine and equipment and invested in a day’s paid training with a mentor who taught out of a little room in the back of his shop. 

This wonderful grizzled old biker showed me the basics. That was the start.

His email support afterwards was invaluable in building my confidence.

And I practiced like crazy…

I spent every evening after the kids have gone to bed practicing my tattooing on fake skin or pig skin on a tiny space at the kitchen table whilst my husband worked around me.

And I went all out to get an apprenticeship, putting my fear behind me and contacting a lot of tattooists in the area. 

Much to my surprise I got good feedback.

Practice tattoo on pig skin
You can freeze pig skin in between sessions if needed.
Practice tattoo on pig skin - preserved
Pig skin tattoo preserved in formaldehyde

And it paid off

Fortunately, I eventually found an amazing apprenticeship and position in an all-woman tattoo shop that supported me working around my kids. 

Because I had done so much learning on my own at that kitchen table I quickly moved to taking paying clients which improved my financial situation.

For the first time in years we weren’t living hand to mouth.

Even when I got seriously ill with cancer the studio supported me. 

Women’s support systems rock! 

If I can do it so can you…

I now have my own busy private tattoo studio and international clients who come to see me. I’ve been tattooing for over 10 years now, and I love it. 

{I ended up specialising in scar covering, breast cancer tattoos and mastectomy tattoos. You can see my work here… https://3dnippletattoos.co.uk and here for my artistic and medical scar cover up tattoos here https://helentattoo.co.uk }

View My LinkedIn Profile here

It’s the best job in the world. 

And it’s a skill that once mastered will earn you good money too.

If you’re feeling like it’s not possible to achieve your dream now, or that you’re really struggling and it’s impossible to make it happen the truth is, if I can turn things around at 42 and become a successful tattooist, so can you. 

But you need to go all in…

You need to OWN IT, because that is when you will  get the results you really want.

I’ll be sharing tips and tricks and as much information as I can with you to make sure that you can make it as a Tattooist and follow your dream too.

Don’t let your dream die like I nearly did…

Love and light


The information on the site is for entertainment only. Anything you do is at your own risk. Consult with your own Tattooist, Piercer or Doctor for advice.
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