How do I apply for the program?
After reviewing all of the information on our site, you can email the School Director through the contact page to request the Admissions, Interview and Artwork Portfolio Evaluation forms.
Is financial aid available?
There are no tattoo schools in the country that are approved to accept Federal Financial Aid including federal student loans, grants or scholarships. We do offer a payment plan that is detailed in the Admissions section.
Do you offer continuing education courses?
We offer courses on a limited basis but are working to build this program. These are available at a discounted rate for alumni of our program. Please contact the Director if you are interested in taking Continuing Education courses at our school.
Should I apply early if I am planning on attending a term in the future?
It is always advisable to complete the Admissions Evaluation process as soon as you feel that you are prepared. We have a set amount of enrollment positions per term and these can fill up quickly. If you are accepted into the program and want to attend a future term, you will pay your registration fee which will hold your enrollment position for that term.
Do you provide housing?
We currently do not offer housing assistance but will be exploring this in the near future.
Is public transportation available?
The TriMet bus routes 15 and 72 have stops in the area.
What’s the difference between an apprenticeship and a school?
Oregon state requires anyone interested in becoming a licensed tattoo artist go through an approved school. While in a traditional apprenticeship you are learning from one person who typically teaches one student, a school provides a variety of instructors to learn from as well as peers. The school allows for consistent teachings in safety, sanitation, and equipment use, provides an atmosphere designed to learn, and a community to become a part of. Apprenticeships are a great way to learn specific skills from an experienced artist and we highly recommend this educational pathway for certain artists once they have completed their schooling program. We also offer a graduate program for you to gain work experience and build your business after receiving your license.
If I went to art school/have previous experience tattooing, do I still have to go through the full program?
Yes, our program is designed to help all artists grow, regardless of your experience level. We can only give program credit to students who can provide transcripts from another licensed tattoo school in Oregon.
About Forbidden Artists
What is the difference between a licensed artist and a student artist?
As briefly covered in the “About Us” section above, licensed artists are artists that have gone through schooling, have graduated, and have successfully passed state examinations to become licensed to tattoo in the state of Oregon, one of the most stringent in the country. Licensed artists are professional independent contractors with significant tattooing experience. All of the licensed artists at Forbidden participate in the school as either licensed Instructors or assistants to the instructors.
Student artists are aspiring tattoo students that are in the process of completing their requirements to become licensed by the State of Oregon. Some students have previous tattoo experience while others do their very first tattoos here at the shop. Our students are very talented, so don’t be afraid to check out their work and book appointments with them!
Graduate artists have graduated from their schooling program and are building their portfolios and preparing for job placement. They are licensed, independent contractors but are offering discounted tattoo work and still using the educational resources provided by the school.
Licensed artists have at least 6 months of experience as a licensed tattoo artist and are either participating in the Instructor in Training Program, working on a long term specific career goal or are employed by the school.
What kind of work can student artists do?
Students artists can do most of the same work that a licensed artist can do, although it often takes more time with a student. We do not allow students to tattoo necks as they are a particularly difficult area for a student to work on. Students are also generally not allowed to start very large tattoos such as sleeves and back pieces, as they are challenging for beginning artists to design and complete successfully and are unlikely to be completed before the student graduates.
Students are limited to tattooing 2”x2”, 4”x4”, and 6”x6” designs while they are in school.
What is the rate for student work and how do I book with a student?
Students charge a flat rate of $20 for 2”x2” designs, $40 for 3″x3” designs and $60 for 4”x 4″ designs. These designs include line work, color or shading as well as a free touch up within the first 3 months. We usually have students available for walk ins Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12noon-6pm, but we often are full and cannot guarantee that a student will be available. You can also stop in the school to set an appointment with a student for a later date. Student portfolios are available to be viewed at the school.
Our students also offer custom pre-drawn design options for a flat rate of $20. These designs can be viewed at the school in the “Ink Therapy” section.
What is the rate for licensed work and how do I book with a licensed artist?
Licensed artist rates usually range from $75 – $125/hr. Licensed artists are independent contractors, setting their own rates and doing their own booking. To see specific rates and portfolios and book with a licensed artist you can check out their portfolio on our website Click Here where their contact info will be listed. You can also call the general phone number for the shop to be put in touch with an individual artist or ask questions about who might be the right artist for the job.
What is the rate for graduate student work and how do I book with a graduate?
We have graduate artists available for walk ins everyday but they often fill up quickly. Graduates charge between $60-75 an hour and often run specials or are willing to work with a customers budget depending on the design. You can walk in anyday between 12noon-8pm to schedule an appointment with a graduate. Each graduate has a limited portfolio as well as pre-drawn design that they would like to tattoo available to view at the school.
General Tattoo Questions
How long will the tattoo take?
While the exact amount of time spent on a tattoo will vary greatly with design and experience of the artist, we should be able to give you an estimate before the tattoo. Our students can take longer than normal since they are new to the process and are being instructed during the tattoo. It is important to let your artist know if you need to be done with the tattoo at a specific time.
Do I need to make an appointment to get tattooed?
Appointments are recommended but are usually not necessary. If you have your heart set on getting a tattoo from one artist in particular, you should book an appointment to guarantee their availability. If you want to get a very large tattoo it would also be advisable to book ahead to give the artist time to work out your design. That being said, we very often have licensed and student artists available for walk in tattoos. To check availability for the day just call the shop number. It is also advisable to arrive at the shop earlier in the day, as more artists are available at that time. Student artists stop taking walk in tattoos at 6pm and licensed artists stop taking walk-ins at 8pm.
Can my bad tattoo be covered up or restored?
Very often the answer is yes to both questions. Restoring a tattoo to at or better than its original condition via recoloring and relining is usually fairly straightforward and is generally a very successful procedure. The amount of improvement that can be seen in even a short session restoring an old tattoo can be huge.
Cover ups are commonly requested and many of our licensed artists have a lot of experience with successful cover ups. In fact, some of our very happiest clients are cover up clients! It can be such a great thing to replace a tattoo you no longer enjoy with something new and beautiful.
How successful a cover up will be depends on several factors, including what the tattoo to be covered up looks like, how old it is, and what you would like to have it covered with. You may need to be more flexible on design options in order to ensure a successful cover up. Your consulting artist will listen to your ideas and give you recommendations based on what will likely be most successful in your particular case.
Can we tattoo over scars?
Oftentimes yes, although not always.
New scars: Fresh scars or scars that are still pink are not done healing and cannot be tattooed over. It may take a year or longer for certain scars to heal to the point of being tattooable.
Old scars: Old, faded, flattened scars are easy to tattoo over and present few challenges. Scars that are old but are very thick or cover a lot of area can be tattooed over but may require modification of the design in order to disguise them better. Tattooing cannot change the shape or texture of the skin, so even when ink is successfully placed in a scar it may still be possible to see the raised part of the scar in certain light. Scars may not hold ink as well as regular skin and may require more than one session.
Are there parts of the body we won’t tattoo?
There are parts of the body that students are not allowed to tattoo, mostly because they take more skill. As independent contractors our licensed artists set their own rules as to what parts of the body they choose to tattoo. If you want an unusual area tattooed your best bet is to give the shop a call and see who might be the right fit for you. Private rooms are available. We do not have a policy against tattooing hands or necks, but do advise you to take some time to consider if the choice to get a highly visible tattoo is right for you in the long term.
Does getting tattooed hurt?
In a word, yes, but it varies greatly between different people and locations on the body. Every individual is different and there is no way to predict how getting a certain tattoo will feel to you. Being well rested and well fed, as well as going into the tattoo with a calm, positive state of mind can be very helpful. We are here for you and will do everything we can to make the process as comfortable as possible, please let us know if you ever need anything. For those who know they are extra sensitive talk to your artist about booking multiple short sessions to complete the tattoo rather than one or two long ones.
What if I am allergic to latex?
Just let us know! We have non-latex alternatives for all of our equipment available.
Can I bring my children to the appointment with me?
Legally you may not bring minors into a designated tattooing area within the building. Aside from the legality of it, while tattoo shops are fun places to be for adults they can be dangerous and inappropriate places for children. For their safety and for the consideration of others please arrange for their care while you are at your appointment.
Payments and Deposits
How do deposits work?
Deposits work as a placeholder to guarantee your appointment date. Unless doing a walk in, all appointments require deposits. Deposit amounts vary by artist but are generally between $20 – $50. Deposits are non refundable. Deposits may be transferrable if rescheduling with advance notice; they are generally forfeit on reschedules within 24 hours of the appointment date, although this can vary by artist so make sure to ask about their individual policy. Deposits are included in the total cost of a tattoo and are subtracted from your last tattoo session.
What are drawing fees?
Drawing fees function similarly to deposits as a way to hold your appointment date; you will usually be charged either a drawing fee or a deposit; occasionally for very large work you may be charged both. Drawing fees are uncommon for smaller, simpler pieces; they are generally used in the case of larger, more involved work that will require significant time for your artist to design. Your artist will discuss whether or not there will be a drawing fee with you before you book the appointment. Drawing fees are not refundable and are not subtracted from the final cost of your tattoo. The cost of a small drawing fee is usually the same price as an artist’s deposit and in the case of more extensive work may be charged at an hourly rate.
How are prices for tattoos calculated?
Tattoo prices are based on how long a tattoo takes to complete multiplied by the artist’s hourly rate; generally there is no charge for a reasonable amount of small break sessions and set up for a tattoo. The minimum charge for licensed artists is usually $60 – $75 and for students it is $20. On smaller pieces an artist may be able to give you a final price for the piece before you begin. Large, multiple session pieces are usually charged at an hourly rate, although your artist should be able to give you a time range estimate. If you have a budget you need to stay within for your tattoo it is a good idea to make your artist aware of this so they can design the tattoo to fit your needs.
Students and Graduate artists base their prices off of the size of the tattoo. We use a size chart to measure the design and price it accordingly.
What forms of payment are accepted and when do I pay?
We accept cash and all major credit cards. Student tattoos, flash tattoos and smaller tattoos are often payable before beginning the procedure. Larger tattoos are usually charged at the end of each session.
What is standard tipping etiquette for getting a tattoo? Can I tip a student?
Tipping is a lovely way to show appreciation to your artist but never required. Creative tips such as cookies or other fun stuff are awesome and are also a really fun way to say thanks. Licensed artist can accept cash or credit card tips. Students are not allowed by state law to accept payment for their services, which includes tips. Standard tipping is similar to that of any service industry profession.
Rules and Regulations
Can I get tattooed if I am under the age of 18?
In Oregon you may not get tattooed while under the age of 18. A parent may not give permission for a minor to receive a tattoo. A minor may only be tattooed under the recommendation of a medical doctor to address a specific physical medical condition; doctors may not approve purely artistic tattoos for minors.
Can I get tattooed if I am intoxicated?
You cannot. Not only is it illegal to tattoo anyone who is intoxicated, but getting tattooed while intoxicated negatively affects your decision making processes and could make your tattoo more painful.
Tattoo Preparation and Aftercare
How can I prepare for getting a tattoo?
We want your tattoo experience to be as enjoyable as possible, and there are lots of things you can do to help make the process easier on yourself. Here is a short list:
- Be as well rested as possible.
- Be well hydrated
- Be well fed. Eating a large, solid meal before getting tattooed is very helpful.
- Don’t drink or party hard the night before. Getting tattooed hung over is no fun.
- Don’t be drunk or on drugs.
- Dress comfortably.
- Bring a care kit for yourself of snacks, something to drink, and maybe a small blanket or jacket in case you get cold. A distraction like a book or charged phone can be nice too.
What should I wear when getting tattooed?
Casual, comfortable clothes that allow for easy access to the area being tattooed are best. Pajama pants and slippers are just fine by us. Remember that due to the extra stress sometimes you can get chilly while getting tattooed, so bringing an extra jacket or small blanket can be helpful. Anything that is complicated to get on or off or requires you to remove more clothing than necessary should be avoided.
What aftercare should I follow?
How long does a tattoo take to heal?
While a tattoo takes approximately a month to fully heal, it may appear visually healed by two to three weeks. Be careful with your healing tattoo and you will get a better result. For at least the first two weeks avoid any activities that may get your tattoo dirty, including camping, rugby and petting tigers. Avoid direct sunlight and soaking the tattoo in water for the first full month.
Can I go tanning?
Tanning is damaging to your skin and to your tattoos, both when they are healing and afterwards. During the first month after getting a tattoo the ink is not fully settled in the skin and is especially vulnerable to rapid fading from sun or tanning bed exposure. After the tattoo is fully healed exposure to sunlight or tanning will cause the tattoo to fade and lose its sharpness. This could happen fast or slow depending on your skin type and how much sun exposure you get. Tattoos that consist of solid blacks or greys tend to hold up better and stay readable longer on heavy tanners. Color tattoos, especially light pastel colors, are especially vulnerable to sunlight and can fade quickly if care is not taken to protect them. Covering the tattoo and applying regular high SPF sunscreen when outdoors is advisable. If you anticipate a lifetime of heavy UV exposure, please mention this to your artist so they can work with you to design a tattoo that will stand the test of time.
Can I exercise after getting tattooed?
It is not advisable to exercise heavily for the first week or two after getting tattooed, although the first three days when the tattoo is fresh are the most important to avoid. Sweating heavily and letting sweat sit on a tattoo are bad for it, and many environments in which exercise takes place are especially germ ridden. Gyms are a great place to pick up a nasty staph or MRSA infection. If you need to exercise, try to resist for at least the first 3 days and then make sure to avoid contacting the tattoo directly with any shared equipment afterwards. It is also advisable to wash or rinse the tattoo as soon as possible and change into clean clothing after exercising.
What should I do if I think my tattoo is infected?
If you think your tattoo is infected, contact your artist right away or call the shop number. You are also welcome to stop by the shop anyday between 12noon-8pm to speak with an artist about your concerns.