Starting Young

Midget_Angel writes, “I’m ten years old and this is the first tattoo I’ve done!” She’s apprenticing right now at Marked For Life Tattooz in Geary, New Brunswick, Canada (see also: six year old tattoo artist, which links to several other entries on children learning to tattoo under their parents’ guidance).

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

76 thoughts on “Starting Young

  1. I think that this is very awesome. I understand why children should wait on getting tattoos because at a younger age they are not sure what they want on their bodies forever (although they could get covered up by others later…) There are just some kids who are amazing artists in all kinds of mediums and if a child is an excellent illustrator and wants to tattoo by all means get them started!!!

  2. If she’s talented, and this is what she wants, then why not? You hear: “Better to start sooner than later” from time to time, and this is a perfect example of just that i think.

  3. I think it’s fantastic that she’s learning a trade at such an early age, and if she gets serious about it theres no reason why she couldn’t become an incredible artist. Go Midget!

  4. i like hairy cocks…especially toddys cause he has a big ahiry ball sack tht has nice swaet drips cu min off it…ill lick em..yeah abgy YEAh

  5. That makes me happy. Ordinarily, in Western societies children aren’t allowed to DO anything – they can’t learn from their mistakes as they’re not allowed to make them. Here we have a 10 year old learning a real trade – it’s fantastic!
    I don’t mean “send all the kids up chimneys” or anything! It’s just nice to see a parent willing to teach something that’s not in the increasingly useless education curriculum.
    In fact, I think this should be in the curriculum. 10-year-old kids are treated like they’re all the same, with the same skills and interests, in school. I was one of those weird child prodigies academically, and had to sit through thousands of hours of irrelevant, boring schooling (imagine having to recite the alphabet when you’ve read most of Dickens!)
    This girl will probably become a renowned tattooist. I look forward to coming to her for work when I’m rich! :D

  6. Because a 10 year old knows that they want to be a tattoo artist.

    Hey I wanted to be a Rockstar/Moviestar at 10, am I that now? Some may state otherwise but no I am not.

    I do TRULY hope this girl is working on her father, and NOBODY else. Because from what I’m looking at in the pic, that whole scenerio is unsafe.

    Personally I think its hypocrtical for us to say its not alright for parents to force ear piercings via piercing guns at an early age, and yet its alright for a parent to force their modification views upon a child.

    The fence swings both ways people…We need to remember that.

  7. And for those who may not see the unsafe situations:

    1) Working off of a wooden table, no drape sheets/dental bibs,etc.

    2) Those might be vinyl gloves, that or if not they are just latex gloves far too big for her hands.

    3) No Machine Bag

    4) No Clip Cord Sleeve

    5) Used Paper towel on wooden table.

  8. quite impressive for a kid.

    as for all the unsafe stuff, it looks to me like she is doing it at home.

  9. Lindsay: Thanks for catchin the clipcord on the arm part, good catch :D

    #18: ÈMþRꧧ how do we KNOW for sure that this kid WANTS to be a tattoo artist?

    And as I said you show me a majority of 10 year olds who are clear cut in what they want to be….Hell most 20 year olds still don’t know what they want to do with their lives.

    I say what we’re seeing here is more or less a child interested in the fact that daddy likes getting drawn on, and drawing on people for a living…So niavely she asks to do it, as most children ask…But instead of saying: “Work on drawing now and when you’re older I’ll teach you” the parent simply set the machine up and said: “Go to town”

    Don’t get me wrong its a nice way to bond with your kid…But again just like how we say its wrong for children to get their ears pierced via a piercing gun…the same can be said for this.

  10. I think potential contamination is an issue here too. I mean, what if accidentaly she gets contaminated with her “customer” blood? i wouldnt risk even my kid to tattoo me unless im not pretty sure she knows what shes doing.
    Still, the picture is wicked.

  11. Modification views? The parent isn’t forcing the kid to GET tattooed… the only view they’re forcing is that it’s OK to accept others’ harmless choices.
    I live in a country that’s A LOT too tolerant of intolerance, paradoxically…

  12. Haha does anyone else love the Roll up the Rim cup from Tim Hortans in the back table? Ohhh Canada…

  13. Personally, I think that if at 10 she loves the idea of learning how to tattoo, it’s wonderful that she’s in an environment where that is acceptable. When you were little your mom let you tromp around in the backyard with a hose dressed as a fireman, right? (If she didn’t, man that sucks for you.) I don’t see how this is any different from a parent encouraging the dream of a young child. I doubt the parent is forcing anything upon her. This way she will understand a culture that is quickly becoming more and more relevant to the modern world, and won’t grow up to hold the same prejudice that permeates western world society.

    This is wonderful.

  14. This kind of makes me sick to my stomach. i doubt a ten year old understands bloodborne pathogens, cross contamination, and the health risks involved in tattooing. Plus if her parents are letting her do this out of her home, i doubt there is no health form being filled out to make sure the “client” has anything (hopefully they aren’t letting her tattoo the public). I’m just hoping the girl doesn’t get a case of the HIV

  15. the parent simply set the machine up and said: “Go to town”

    I doubt it was a “simple” decision to let her get going. Let’s give this family the benefit of the doubt people. The gloves really aren’t THAT big at all, if you look at her left hand she’s holding paper towel not extra length to her gloves, I doubt the client has anything that her parents are willing to expose their daughter too and her understanding of blood borne pathogens is probably enough to know that diseases are transmitted that way. Instead of hating on the environment why not sit back and think about how cool it is that she’s only ten and able to do a tattoo of decent quality. I’m pretty damn sure tattoos are being done with less sanitization.

  16. Oh my god!! your my neighbour!!! :O

    mod blog is my home page, and when I started reading this it was just…. wow. I get excited when I see anyone from atlantic Canada, never mind the person living across the street!

  17. Ignoring the GLARING cross contamination issues…

    I absolutely love the idea of apprenticing our children…at least until puberty when they most likely will decide to rebel for a few years.

    If it were legal for me to do so I’d apprentice my daughter if she showed any interest at all. And I will provide her with all the knowledge she wants to have…we’ll see.

    I think it’s important to allow children to do what their parents do because that’s what children WANT to do. Our culture is so bent on controlling children rather than letting children explore and copy and imitate us.

    I only hope this particular young girl doesn’t suffer for her parents lack of knowledge.

  18. I don’t think you should be tattooing until you can actually draw decently. Sure you could apprentice a kid this young, but she should be drawing her butt off instead of holding a machine.

    Of course I could be wrong, she could be some sort of prodigy with a fanatstic paper profolio.

  19. I don’t think you should be tattooing until you can actually draw decently. Sure you could apprentice a kid this young, but she should be drawing her butt off instead of holding a machine.

    Of course I could be wrong, she could be some sort of prodigy with a fantastic paper profolio.

  20. From the looks of the tattoo, she’s able to control the machine well enough to do some linework that actually looks pretty damn good. I really doubt there’s any reason to question her artistic ability.

  21. I understand she’s working on her father at home in this picture, but I hope that at the shop she is apprenticing at is teaching her all the proper ways to tattoo safely that she is not showing in this picture. Other than that I think this is awesome.

  22. This is her first tattoo: if she is apprenticing, I’m going to guess it’s probably on repeat customers who think it’s cool and people who know that a 10-year-old is behind the needle. Nobody is getting suckered into it, I’m sure. Also, she obviously has good control with that thing – even if her drawing skills are not yet at professional quality, she can do simple, traced designs (which is all some people want, after all). I would hope that ANY studio and ANY parents would help educate her about potential health hazards, and if the studio is not keeping those things in check, they should get a little visit from the health board.

    *shrugs* I interned at a vet clinic when I was 12, because I thought I might want to do that for a living. Turns out I changed my mind later on. There is nothing wrong with taking the opportunities that we can, especially when it comes to deciding who and what we want to be.

  23. i think it’s cute. asides from cross contam. issues.

    more credit needs to be given to young people. they have the ability to understand cross contamination. and draw. and think. and learn.

  24. Why was my first comment not approved?

    Marked for life tattooz is run out of a house, it’s Jason Mccaw that does the tattoos. He did my back, and thats his little girl. I can go get you a picture of the sign in front of his house if you don’t belive me.

  25. Here’s a concept to consider.

    So a kid wants to be a doctor/surgeon, there are a few options:

    1) Allow them the free ability to point them in the direction of all the theory/educational MATERIALS/BOOKS/EDUCATION and go through the appropriate channels.

    2) Find them animal/human corpses to work on and experiment with as well as all the tools required to disect said things

    3) Allow them to locate a sweet/hot lookin nurse to “examine” behind closed doors.

    What? C’mon people don’t tell me I was the ONLY one who was involved in doing #3! lol

    But still I’d, personally/ethically, as a father would consider the Option 1 scenerio before any of the others…

  26. It amazes me how fast ModBloggers can jump to conclusions. She’s 10. There’s no way to know how much or how little she’s drawing. Kids like to doodle and draw and color, I would guess it’s pretty unlikely she asked her father out of the blue “Daddy, can I tattoo someone?” without having been interested in art and practising for a while. Possible but not likely. I also find it very unlikely that in response to “Daddy can I tattoo someone?” any parent would shrug and let her have at it. To result in a tattoo like that one, she probably had a fairly thorough lesson in how to use a tattoo machine. Nowhere does it say that she was apprenticing at a tattoo studio WHEN this tattoo was done. Think about how much first aid is applied to your child or yourself in the home. Of course there are cross contamination issues, but when need be, the home is a suitable place for such things. Even if one of her parents is a tattoo artist, most people can’t bring their 10 year old into their shop and let her work on a customer. It’s much more likely that in this situation, a ten year girl loves to draw, especially on people. After showing enough interest, it would appear as though perhaps her dad consented to giving her a shot as tattooing, probably on him, probably at home, probably as a test of her interest and ability. Learning a trade doesn’t mean you are locked into a career, and I don’t think her life dreams are relevant here. Perhaps as a result of a home-supervised trial, she’s helping around this shop. Most apprentices start by doing all sorts of things other than tattooing. Why should this one be different? She probably watches a lot, does chores like taking out trash, and maybe once in a while gets to “doodle” not on customers, but on family friends or shop people who understand the implications. I think if any of that is the case, it’s a good lesson in work ethic and pursuing what you love. But we have no ground from which to say what she’s being taught and what she’s not from one picture that basically shows one happy 10 year old girl. You can’t see the whole set up, it doesn’t convey who she’s working on or in what set-up. It’s just a picture.

  27. Going to a public school is MUCH more dangerous than anything this child is doing with her tattoo-work.
    A child living in an average neighborhood with the average number of (un)registered child-molesters sharing her world is MUCH more dangerous as well.
    So would home-schooling your child in an isolated area be the only way to be an ethical parent?

    Some parents choose to take their children with them to undeveloped countries in mission/charity work.
    Unethical? (I guess in theory an HIV infected child in Africa could bite the kid…which is as miniscule in odds of happening as this little girl’s issue with blood and her too-big gloves.)

  28. I have to say I agree with Warren. This child is too young to be exposing herself and her subject to the myriad dangers of bloodborne pathogens and accidents which could occur while she has that gun in her hand.

    I homeschooled my kids. We took on a number of activities during that time, some more mature than others, but I never exposed them to life-threatening situations. They learned how to handle maturity more easily but were not thrown into it in an attempt to seem more like mommy & daddy.

    I don’t give a shit how talented a kid is, there no fucking way I’d let a 16 year old perform surgery on me, some 12 year old treat my pet medically, or a ten year old ink me.

  29. If this is being done in a home environment…as in inside her own home…I’m getting nauseous. This “home” is a disgusting cesspool of many different people’s blood. That child is in serious and very real danger of contracting HBV or worse.

    I wouldn’t let anyone, in those conditions tattoo me, not even Ed Hardy or Aaron Bell. But I’m educated and understand the body art industry safety standards. I guess if I didn’t know what I know it might not matter to me.

    I also believe that a 10 year old SHOULD BE ABLE to apprentice. I agree with Warren though that a 10 year old shouldn’t be tattooing yet. Not even on a family member under supervision of the “master” artist. It’s just too much risk for someone so young.

    Make stencils, draw flash, break down and re-build new machines (notice I didn’t say “used” machines), mix pigments, etc. But she’s too young to be doing anything that falls under the OSHA Blood Borne Pathogen standards.

  30. Everyone keeps saying how this is just at home with her dad, and at the studio where she apprentices would be fine.. There is no studio, that IS marked for life tattooz, it’s run from there home.

  31. I wish I had a chance to learn to tattoo.
    Cute little Canadian girlie, she’s got quite the oppourtunity.
    I’m sure that Da’ is keeping her well looked after…

    *thumbs up*

    Looking forward to seeing if she keeps it up… maybe I’ll take a roadtrip in 8 years or so. *laughs*

  32. “Unethical? (I guess in theory an HIV infected child in Africa could bite the kid…which is as miniscule in odds of happening as this little girl’s issue with blood and her too-big gloves.)”
    Quoted for truth and hilarity!

  33. I don’t have a problem with a ten year old tattooing, if it is an orange, or the practise faux skin that can be ordered; however, there is a serious risk of needlestick injury. Children do not have the fine motor skills of proffessional tattoo artists. “Oh daddy, i just tattooed my finger a little.” Um, yes needlestick injuries do happen. I don’t care how wonderful of an experience this is for the family, putting your child at risk is bullshit.

  34. John EXACTLY…If she’s interested in tattooing there’s A LOT she can be doing to learn, besides ACTUALLY tattooing a family member, friend,etc.

    #50: “Some parents choose to take their children with them to undeveloped countries in mission/charity work.
    Unethical? (I guess in theory an HIV infected child in Africa could bite the kid…which is as miniscule in odds of happening as this little girl’s issue with blood and her too-big gloves.) ”


    So much so that they actually developed the “Anti-Rape” condom FOR the women of Africa.

    But regardles of AIDS & HIV,etc as that is the LEAST to worry about in the realm of Tattooing and Piercing.

    Hepatitis…Which a pin drop can last for roughly 60 days on a surface and infect MANY from that tiny lil pin drop.

    Or better yet…MRSA which is now coming about and more cases diagnosed daily.

    The simple fact is HER PARENTS SHOULD KNOW BETTER…You cannot deal with worldly outside issues(freak car accident,etc) but a parent should at least have the fuckin brains to know better in this scenerio.

    #54: I’m sad to hear you say that…But it also gives those of us, in the Tattoo & Piercing worlds, more reasons to try and work with our governments in putting stricter regulations on our industries.

    Because if that IS their home shop environment, I think I just threw up a lil in my mouth.

  35. I have tattoos done by adults after a year of apprenticing that suck way worse than that…..

    The crumpled up paper towels next to her should be in a garbage can, but that’s about all I have to say about that.

    I’ve been tattooed in houses and hotel rooms by famous American tattoo artists, and it’s super fun to get tattooed in all different environments. Plus, if I’m in a hotel room, why the fuck would I care if we splatter blood all over the wall…..haha

  36. warrens comment made me smile
    jus tbecause a 10 year old girl wants to do tattoos when she is older
    doesn’t mean you let her go to town with a gun

    i mean if your 10 year old wants to be a doctor
    do you let her start doing sugeries and treating people

    or if your 10 year old wants to be a hairstylist
    do you give her a scheers and let her go to town on your head?


  37. my daughter did my tattoo when she was 6. There was a lot of people who didnt like that. I say, why not. Its great, keep up!! Great tattoo by the way, really well done.

  38. 50- i don’t think you get AIDS from being bitten by african children. unless they’re bleeding from the teeth.

  39. um#47, even crappy schools *do* give the kids animal corpses to dissect and examine, like earthworms, frogs, cats, etc. and they also go to cadaver labs.

    True most kids don’t know what they want to do at 10, but if she doesn’t stick with it, at least she’ll already know something she *doesnt* want to do!

  40. Man, I wish my parents were smart enough to nurture my talents at a young age, I’d be one hell of a musician I’ll tell you that.. This girl is type AWesome in my book.

  41. ok some of u people have serious issues pickin on a 10 year old no it wasnt her father she was tattooing it was her uncle and he asked her to do it for him as far as the paper towel and other things you asses are so worried about everything was cleaned when she was done .ive tattooed out of my house for 15 years and without complaint from any of my customers as far as the big shops being safe ok maybe some are but i know alot that arent they still use the stainless steel tube (sterilized so they say ) on each and every customer that comes in whos to say they got the ink out of the tubes from the last person they tattooed everything i use is single use and is disposed of after each and every tattoo ive done ALOT of tattoos in my 15 years and im self taught i just wish i had someone back then to teach me and i think it is damn right awesome that my little girl is showin an interest in tattooing and has since she was 2 and no matter what you people with issues think or say im gonna stand by her and teach her wether you like it or not and father more u can ask anyone of my customers ive never had a complaint about health issues ever so the way i see it is opions are like assholes everyone has one so now i guess we all know your opions All i see in these negative comments is a bunch of low lifes jelous of a 10 year old that she has more talent than they do

  42. This goes to all you whining assholes who have something bad to say about her tattooing…I know her personally because her Dad tattooed my back and shoulders…she likes it and puts a lot of time into learning the art. If you people don’t have anything positive to say shut the fuck up and just read what others write. She is farther ahead than most people twice her age…so for those that this apply to take a look at yourselves and see if its a 10 year old tattooing thats bugging you or if you life sucks so bad you have to rag on someone else. Think about it…

    To the people who give praise to this young girl Thanks, she deserves it for the hard work she puts in.

  43. well i am so glad all u negative people have so much time on their hands to bash a 10yr old girl i think before people open their mouths with negativity they should have the facts i know you are entitled to ur opinion as am i so by the looks of the picture it is an adult bein inked and if they decide they want a 2yr old to tat them it is not our business,risks or not.and i am sure anyone reputable enough to have a successful business such as this girls father are well aware of the risks and has passed this knowledge on to her so instead of stomping on someone why 4 1nce cant we just be happy that another of our younger generation may do well for themselves instead of becme a juvinile delinquint or something and like someone said i a previous post i she doesnt stick with this it is 1 less thing she hs to eliminate off her career choices so all the power to u great job and keep it up if u choos to do so

  44. futher more if u guys who got issues need to say something to someone feel free to say it to me instead of tryin to destroy a little girls dreams must make you feel tough to pick on a little girl or is it that your a loser in life so you dont want to see anyone else make it well ill tell ya this she will make it and ill stand behind her all the way till the end and if in the end she decides not be a tattoo artist that is her choice but at least i can say this she wasnt afraid to try well ill wait it out cause i know you will get back to me ,so for all who show support for my little tattoo artist hats off to you and thanks for your support and to those who dont support her she will charge you double when she is famous ,in putting her pics on here i did it to make her feel proud of what she did but of course like everywhere there are asshole like mostly you warren who try to shatter peoples dreams out of jelousy or is it that if you are an artist yourself that your are offended because she is only 10 and already she is better than you

  45. Seriously this is not a big deal to let a young child tattoo you. First off,because there is technically danger in letting your kid handle a tattooing machine, im sure that the parents have gone over ’safety’ with the child. More so for their kid than themselves.
    Second off, I dont know how many of you have actually talked to kids that have tattooed parents before, but most of them will tell you that as much fun as it was to get to tattoo, they didnt enjoy it alot. The machines are heavy, their arms and hands get sore. They get bored of it. They get tired. Most kids that tattoo their parents do it for the parents, not for themselves obviously, and after the first time most of them arnt begging to do it again.
    Most people I bet that are so against this are most likely with out children of their own, and the people that say its encouraging the child to have tattoos, if anything its encouraging the child to be accepting of everyone no matter how they choose to modify themselves. And if you still think its a bad example for kids, why then by being a parent and just having tattoos let alone your child tattooing you, would that not be a bad example?
    Another point, most parents would not let their child tattoo some one other than themselves or some one they trust immensley, let alone any one with AIDS or HIV. I cant belive that most people on here assume because your letting you child tattoo you that your that ignorant towards your childs saftey.

  46. And in response to number 72. there really arent any regulations or laws telling you who is allowed to tattoo and who is not. as long as your shop meets certain health codes and building inspections the law dosnt give a fuck.

  47. Pingback: ModBlog - Being three is an OK excuse for being a scratcher! - Body modification and ritual blog sponsored by

  48. How many times does it need to be said that the shop and his house are one in the same?

    I believe it was stated that HIS daughter is tattooing HIM
    I think that is WELL within the limits of accepted risk.

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