Leah Lopez

In this interview we talk to Leah an apprentice at Opium Tattoo Gallery. She shares her journey into the tattooing world, stemming from her childhood love for drawing. Starting her apprenticeship in May of 2022, she has been drawn to illustrative blackwork and emphasizes the importance of mental health and finding a supportive environment for aspiring tattoo artists.

Leah Lopez - Sun Tattoo

What made you want to become a tattoo artist?

I remember discovering my love for drawing when I was 9, I was in school feeling super excited about it. I started drawing figures of ballerinas. I have some flash pieces I drew when I was 10, I remember charging the other kids at school 20p per tattoo, then I’d draw them on with felt tip pens. I got in big trouble for that. I had no idea then I’d actually be tattooing people when I was older. Ever since I’ve always used drawing as an outlet, it’s gotten me through a lot in life. People always say if you can find what you love and get paid for it, then it will never feel like work, so I thought why not take up tattooing, I love drawing and I can sit for hours doing it, and I love people. It just made sense. So far I am loving it.

Leah Lopez – @_leahlopezart_
Leah Lopez - Bees Tattoo

What tattoo styles are you favorite to work in?

I’m still exploring the different styles that there is, however my art has always had some sort of odd/dark psychedelic, fantasy feel to it. The one I am most drawn to is illustrative blackwork.

Leah Lopez – @_leahlopezart_
Leah Lopez - House Tattoo

Any advice for someone looking to start a tattoo apprenticeship?

Being an apprentice is hard, especially with the cost of living being so high, most shops will not pay you so you will need to work along side, often ridiculous hours. Make sure you’re as kind as you can be to yourself. Put your mental health first, this is so important. If you’re looking for an apprenticeship, make sure it’s within a shop that will support you and has the same values as you, this will help you the most whilst you venture into your tattoo journey.

Leah Lopez – @_leahlopezart_
Leah Lopez - Tattoo

Who do you look up to in the tattoo industry?

I absolutely love the dark art/illustrative black work styles, some of my favourite artists on Instagram are: Rebecca_vincent_tattoo, Bamben_tattoo,, Inkworm, Ryan and Matthew Murray

Leah Lopez – @_leahlopezart_
Leah Lopez - Tattoo

Any interesting stories from your time in the industry?

I’m super new to the tattoo industry, I’ve been an apprentice since November 2022. The most rewarding and exciting experience I’ve had is being able to work at the Isle Of Wight Tattoo convention, there it was super fun to meet all the amazing artists.

Leah Lopez – @_leahlopezart_
Leah Lopez - Skull Tattoo

Anything you want to promote?

Check out my tattoo mentors work @filippasiekatattoo and the shops page @opiumtattoogallery on Instagram. Come find us at the Isle of Wight tattoo convention this year in October!

Leah Lopez – @_leahlopezart_

Leah is a great example of how hard work and passion can lead to a successful tattoo career. Leah's advice is a great reminder for anyone looking to start a tattoo apprenticeship. It's a tough industry to get into, but if you're passionate about it, it's worth the hard work. Make sure to follow Leah on Instagram and check out her tattoo shop's page. She can also be reached via email at: Check out her work at Opium Tattoo Gallery