Being good at drawing is not an instant qualifier for being good at tattooing. Drawing on paper with a pencil or pen is a fundamentally different experience to putting needle to skin. It sits some way between carving and drawing, and can be more restrictive than you first imagined.
Education Centre 4 Tattoo Art
The Education Centre 4 Tattoo Art in Antwerp, has the honour of being the first European school, dedicated to providing specialised training in the art, techniques and regulations of tattooing. Our mix of intense one on one training and a thorough grounding in the rules and regulations which govern the industry, have ensured we have remained one of the best choices for aspiring tattooists to quickly get started in their career.
On this website, we hope to give you a further insight into the industry and what it takes to make it a successful career choice. We will also talk about the school and why we believe a school based education will give you a clear head start.
Tattooing As A Profession
Tattooing can be a fulfilling, artistically challenging and socially enjoyable profession to pursue, and for those who make it, a financially rewarding one. However, anyone who is seriously considering making a career out of it, should be aware that it is a highly competitive industry, which will require talent, perseverance and a degree of business acumen to succeed in.
In the tattooing world, the common way to get into tattooing is to find yourself an established tattooist who is willing to mentor you and train you as an apprentice. You are then dependent on this artist to teach you the profession, in their own method and at their own pace.
A second route which is sometimes taken, but which we strongly advice against, is to train privately. Whilst the necessary information is indeed available on the Internet, you will always run the risk of picking up mistakes and malpractices from unreliable sources, or of missing out some crucial part of information which can lead to mistakes in a business where mistakes can have very severe consequences.
Following a true education teaches you all the required information, in a method which is focused solely on training you in every aspect of the tattooist's job. This provides you with a vital foundation from which to build.
A true education offers you the benefit of providing all the necessary information, and giving you the chance to practice every aspect of a tattooist's job.
Before deciding on the path you wish to take, it is important to know some of the facts surrounding the profession and the particular demands of the job.
Most tattoo studio's work with a set selection of stencils which the customer can choose from, others develop their own style and specialisation, and provide their customers with hand-drawn, custom artwork.
The actual work of tattooing shouldn't be underestimated, it is a physically demanding job which can sometimes lead to physical ailments, due to the strength needed to hold the gun and the way you constantly need to bend over your work.
Tattooing requires an excellent ability to focus and a large amount of perseverance. A tattoo session ends when the tattoo is finished, and not when you are tired of have had enough.
A positive side of the profession is that it can be performed as a home-job, with a tattoo studio built into your own home. This makes is easily combinable with a family.
The Benefits Of An Official Education
As talked about in the previous section, there exists in the tattooing-world the practice of apprenticeships with an established tattoo-artist to learn the job.
The course and speed of such an apprenticeship will completely depend on the artist with whom you study.
Apprenticeships are a popular method of training to become a successful tattoo artist, but as you are learning on the job, the process and speed of learning is determined by the professional, who has to teach you in between his/her own work.
Unlike many artistic professions, tattooing is unique in that there is a medical side to your creations and so there are many rules and regulations governing all aspects of the profession. A school will be obligated to teach only the most current standards, meaning you don't have to worry about being caught out by old rules you read on the internet or perhaps outdated rules followed by less informed tattooists.
An official education in hygiene is a requirement of the profession, regardless of where you train. In the Education Center 4 Tattoo Art we will go over all the information with you which you will also learn in the official education, but the official course itself is organised by the government (in Ukkel) and obliged if you want to do tattooing in any shape or form.
If you begin your career with an education program, you get yourself not just a head start but a clean one. But if you align yourself with an established professional, for better or worse, you will be closely associated with that artist. There are benefits to this if you find the right tattooist, but it can also go wrong, and in the worst case you may handicap your career from the start with a bad association.
A neutral school education will give you space to form your own style and approach, and ensure you don't start your career with anybody else’s bad habits baked into your tattooing.
The job of a school is to ensure that you have the knowledge, training and foundation for succes.
Tattooing is very much a multi-disciplined trade, which lends itself to being taught in a series of structured lessons. From the artistic, to the technical and legal aspects of the profession, a school will provide you with a comprehensive knowledge base. Self taught tattooists may sometimes miss aspects of the job, which may lead to dangerous practices.
Of course tattooing is about more than just rules and regulations and knowing which type of after care products to apply, a big part of your training will be teaching you how to adapt your natural drawing ability to the unique demands of tattooing.
A collection of tattoo pictures from our students.
A school will also offer the benefit of the teacher herself, who is of course an invaluable source of knowledge and advice, offering a mix of practical information and real world knowledge of the tattoo business.
However you wish to enter the industry, a school based education such as ours offers a safe, sound foundation from which to move from.
Why Choose Our School
The Education Centre 4 Tattoo Art was founded in 2008 and has remained one of the most successful schools of it's type across Europe. We are officially recognised by the Belgian state and have the distinction of being recognised as the first training centre dedicated to the art of tattooing.
Around eighty percent of the students who complete our full tattoo course go on to become professional tattooist and open their own studio.
Over so many years, principal teacher Ingrid De Quint has crafted a system of teaching, designed to fast track students into the profession. The course at it's heart is focussed on translating a students' natural drawing ability from paper to skin and from pen to needle.
What distinguishes the EC4TA is that the students, after a short theoretical lesson, can get started with tattooing straight away, first on pigskin and then on live models. This gives them the benefit of guided practice from day one, and the time to get familiar with the tattoo-gun, handling needles, and the maintenance and cleaning of the equipment.
The school itself is furnished with all of the necessary professional equipment for you to train with. Students have their own private space.
The most important thing for me, is that my students leave the courses with a good understanding of all the steps necessary to succeed as a professional tattooist. From the big things such as how to keep the equipment clean and functioning and how to create a good looking tattoo, to the smaller things such as protecting yourself and the client from fatigue, and how to make your mark as a tattooist once you leave the course.
Whilst the school itself is based in East Flanders (Belgium), Ingrid is fluent in Dutch, English and French. Students from all over the world are welcome to train at the centre and if you mail us, Ingrid will be happy to talk to you in more detail about your accommodation and travel arrangements. The school is situated in the centre of Antwerp, a small walk from the central station.
Towards the end of your education we provide advice on how to continue your training and start your career, and we evaluate your options together for getting into the profession. Once your training is complete, we also allows participants to work in the tattoo studio connected to the school, and take private customers whilst preparing for on the next step.
As you can read below, we have split our training programs into two. The first is a workshop, which you can join on our many open door days. You can read more about this below, but from this workshop you'll get a taster of the full course, so you'll at least know if it's something you wish to pursue. The second option is of course our five week course, designed to give you a comprehensive set of skills, ready to tattoo to a professional standard.
Open Door Days / Workshops
If you are interested in tattooing and the school, but would like to experience a lesson first, then you are welcome at our regular open door days (mostly on the weekend), where you can visit the school, see our facilities first hand and talk with Ingrid and her students directly, to see if our courses are something for you.
Entry to the premises is free and you are welcome to observe other students at work and to ask Ingrid any questions you have about the training whilst there. On these days, we also run workshops, where for €350, you can participate in a day of training yourself, to test your own abilities and allow Ingrid to evaluate your potential.
- Workshops are given during our open door weekends, please check our facebook page or calendar to see when the next one is scheduled.
- Maximum number of four participants per session.
- You will be working on a tribal design and a one colour design, created on pig skin. Photos of your work and the skin itself can be taken home.
- The workshop starts at 10am and ends at 16pm.
- Entry and observation is free, but if you wish to participate in the Workshop, the price is €350. The price of the workshop will be deducted from the total of your education, if you start the full course within three months after attending the workshop.
- We accept payment for the workshop via bank transfer or PayPal and this must be paid before the start date.
Please click on the link in the side bar to read more.
Please tap on the "info" symbol at the top of your screen, and tap the model option to read more.
Full Eighteen Days Tattoo Course
Over the years of providing tattoo training, we have developed a structure which covers what we feel are the twelve most important points to knowing how to perform safe and high quality tattoos, and also how to use this knowledge to become a professional tattooist.
If you are looking to learn how to tattoo, then our courses will provide you with all the information you need, to set you up as a professional. The current price is set at €4500 (excl. 21%) VAT.
Part 1:Informal Meet & Greet
The first day will be an informal meet and greet, so that you can be eased into the training environment. We start with this, to help other students relax into a comfortable training environment, and provide an atmosphere of trust.
- You will:
- Learn a little about the history of tattooing.
- Discuss why you want to become a tattooist.
- Talk about what you want to do with your training.
- Chat with your fellow students, and build up a co-operative atmosphere.
Part 2:Health & Safety
Key to your success as a tattooist, is your knowledge of the myriad of health and safety procedures necessary to keep both yourself and your customer free from infection.
- You will learn:
- The importance of sterilising and how to do it.
- About germs and bacteria.
- About hygiene protection for you and your customer.
- General health and safety tips.
- About iodine, how and where to use it.
Part 3:Working With Needles
Working with tattoo needles and their parts is a central skill to tattooing, and is a topic we cover in depth.
- You will learn:
- How to work with and obtain needles.
- Tips and grips.
- About the effects created with needle use, shadows, outlines etc.
Part 4:The Skin
Here we will teach you about the medical properties of the skin, and how the process of tattooing effects it.
- You will learn:
- Short anatomy of the skin.
- Skin anomalies.
- Various skin diseases.
- The use of anaesthetics.
Part 5:Working With The Machine
Becoming familiar and skilled with the tattoo machine will form a large part of your training. Once you have completed this segment of the course, you will be both comfortable and practiced in the workings and maintenance of the machine.
- You Will learn:
- The difference in machines.
- How to handle the machine.
- How to maintain the machine, and become familiar with the parts.
- How to insert needles.
- How the regulator works.
Part 6:Working With Ink
The ink segment of your training will provide you with both practical and artistic information about the inks, how to choose which types and where to obtain them.
- You will learn:
- How colours react with different skin types.
- The different types of ink available to buy.
- About colour theory.
- Grey wash.
Part 7:Setting Up Your Workspace
In this lesson we will teach you how to set up your work space, how to lay out your equipment and tricks to keep it clean and tidy as well as functional.
- You will learn:
- Disinfecting the workspace.
- Setting up the workspace.
- What to do with used needles.
Part 8:Preparing The Tattoo
Preparing the tattoo will cover all you need to know about the process needed before performing the tattoo. This will include choosing the style, type and tools needed for the tattoo at hand.
- You will learn:
- How to work with blueprint stencils.
- How to work free hand.
- About working with tattoo sheets.
- How to work with outlines and bloodlines.
- About using an 'all in one' printer.
- Which parts of the body, suit which type of tattoo method.
- Which parts of the body to avoid tattooing.
Part 9:Performing The Tattoo
In this section you will be both shown and given hands on experience with live models. You will gain valuable experience performing the tattoo, and learn how to ensure the experience is kept pleasant for both yourself and your customer.
- You will learn:
- How to form a natural feel for tattooing on skin.
- How to blend colours on the skin.
- About creating outlines.
- How to deal with bloodlines.
- About limiting the discomfort of the client.
- How to rest and limit burn out whilst performing a tattoo.
- General do's and don'ts
Part 10:Tattoo Aftercare
A good knowledge of tattoo aftercare is a crucial part of your training, and so in this section you will be given hands on experience in advising and choosing the right aftercare products and procedures for your client.
- You will learn:
- How to treat a tattoo after completion.
- About protecting the finished tattoo from infection.
- Which creams and ointments to advise clients to use, and for how long.
- General healing information.
Part 11:Continuing Your Training
Continuing your training after the course has finished is an important step to reaching a professional standard. To this end, you will be shown easy techniques and given exercises, which you can perform to hone the skills you have learnt during the course.
- You will learn:
- Why and how to practice daily.
- How to make photos of your work, and how to learn from them.
- Which regular activities you can do, to improve your tattooing.
Part 12:Going Professional
In this section you will be given practical advice on how to graduate from a trainee to a professional tattooist. You will be provided with a selection of reading materials, and we will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about setting up your own tattooing business.
- You will learn:
- About evaluating your options.
- How to go about starting your own business.
- How to get a license.
- Your shop options, location, prices, advertising.
Over the years we have had many satisfied students pass through our school. Here below is a selection of some of their comments about their experience:
- Thank you for all those excellent lessons which I got to enjoy at your school. I enjoyed my time there very much, and also learned a lot. The one-to-one approach of your lessons has really benefited me. Coziness was also always important for you, which created a relaxed atmosphere! On top of that every day a nice welcome message which also provided extra motivation, it was all great fun and I'll certainly pop by again for some things. But first full time tattooing, shall we say! Thank you again and I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart.Maurice Savelsbergh
- Ingrid and Dre, it's people like you who make the world a better place. The heart in the right place and passing on art without reservations or keeping secrets to yourself, thank you and thank you.Sigisbert
- Ingrid, a thousand times thanks for the four weeks, I had never imagined a journey which would suit me so well. Thank you for all the advice and encouragement. All the best wishes for this school which has allowed me to develop my talents... Rudy
- Ingrid, thank you very much for this opportunity! I have learned a lot and met a lot of nice people. Finally I can now do something in which I'm good. I will certainly be back, as customer and as ex-student.Larissa
- You have given me a huge gift. A future in the tattooing world, and for this I am eternally grateful to you. I will finally get to live my dream. Thank you for your support and the difficult education. We'll see each other again soon.Arnaud Criem
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All The Best: The EC4 Tattoo Art Team