- Famous Tattooed People
- What is a GOOD tattoo?
- Deciding on a design
- My kid wants a tattoo
- Finding an artist
- Finding a shop
- In Preparation
- Surrender to the moment
- The process of tattooing
- Permanent Cosmetics
- The school of tattoo
- Glossary of terms
To consider before making an appointment:
Will you be swimming in the 2 weeks following your tattoo appointment?
Are you involved in sports that could compromise your healing?
Are you sunburned?
Planning a child? Are you pregnant?
Setting the appointment
Being an artist is a creative process. Give your artist a chance to draw your tattoo. I have to be in the mood to draw. For me that usually happens in the morning after I’ve had my coffee, after I straighten up the house. I go somewhere I can be alone with no phones to bug me. Someplace calm well lit. I turn on music I like, I have everything I need there and I just go for it. Any artist can tell you that creativity doesn’t necessarily flow when you want it to, on demand. For me it certainly doesn’t flow when someone is breathing down my neck, critiquing my unfinished drawing. I don’t like to be ‘put on the spot‘. Creativity is not like a light switch; you cannot turn it on and demand the best. If you give an artist a little time and space you’ll get his best.
A respected artist friend of mine told me, that distance is important in art. What he meant by that was that if you truly want to see your art for what it is you need to distance yourself from it. You need time away. I like to do a drawing, when I feel that it’s about right I pin it up somewhere, and forget about it for a day. When I come back to it am able to see it with fresh eyes and any mistakes are glaring, where I would not have noticed them before. This process allows me to make all of my mistakes on paper where they can be erased.
So basically, what I am telling you is to let your artist draw your tattoo. Unless it is small, simple, concise, or you already have a tattoo-able design; you need to give your artist some time.
When you make an appointment you can go about your tattoo with a much more relaxed state of mind. Think of it like the DMV; when you make an appointment you breeze right in, go to the head of the line, get that one on one attention that the DMV is famous for. When you don’t make an appointment you may have to wait, sometimes hours, for your turn. Most people hate to have to wait. It’s aggravating and doesn’t bode well for a good time getting tattooed.
Most artists ask for deposits. Deposits cover an artist’s drawing time in case you flake. Most shops will apply the deposit to the price of the tattoo. Deposits range from $50., to in some cases ½ the price of the proposed tattoo. Deposits are usually cash. You can’t stop payment on cash, like a credit card, and there is much less paperwork involved if you were to change your mind. Most artists will let you have your cash back on tattoo day and put the whole tattoo on a credit card if that is the method of payment that you prefer.
A deposit lets your artist know that you are serious about getting tattooed and it’s not just a whim. Most deposits are refundable as long as you give your artist enough notice so that she can book the time with another customer.
A deposit does not buy the drawing from the artist. Even if it’s totally your idea, the drawing is the property of the artist until it is on your skin. Sometimes an artist will do a drawing and allow you to buy it from him; this is something you need to work out with your artist.
Most artists will not take appointments over the phone. You need to come in person! Again, this lets the artist know that you are serious and not a kid making phony phone calls. People call all day, it would suck for an artist to turn away business that is there in front of him for a phoned in appointment that never shows up. These rules were put into place for legitimate reasons, if every phoned in appointment was serious and showed up we‘d be taking phoned in appointments.
Some people ‘lose their nerve’ and like to talk about getting tattooed a lot, but when it comes time to ‘put your money where your mouth is’ they are all talk. I have had customers come in and talk my ear off only to tell me at the end of all of this that they are not ready to go forward and leave a deposit.
Show up on time for your appointment. If you are late and your artist has any other tattoos scheduled you are going to throw the whole day out of whack. lf you can’t help being late; call. Time is money and this is a business. Treat your artist, as you’d like to be treated. It’s not fair to the people who show up on time to be made to wait, because of your lack of planning. They will not blame you they will blame the artist.
There are some customers that that are mentally unstable, this category includes people who cut themselves and use tattooing as a tool for further cutting. A lot of artists will avoid tattooing people who are cutters because cutting is a sign of a much bigger deeper problem and they don’t want to add to that. Please seek professional help if you are a cutter and don’t put it on a tattoo artist. We are not trained to deal with mental issues. We are not psychologists.
There are customers that use artists as a sexual tool. Some people get off by having pain inflicted on them. Some people get off watching someone in pain. We do not make enough money to deal with your fantasies. Take it home and do what you want in the privacy of your own home. People sometimes want tattoos in unusual places. There is nothing wrong with that, expect to pay more for the more unusual placement.
Don’t bring kids to a tattoo shop. A tattoo shop is no place for children. Unless it says in their ad somewhere that they have a playground for children, figure the cost of a sitter into the price of your tattoo. Tattoo shops are very boring for children and bored kids make their own entertainment, which is usually very loud and obnoxious, which in turn, makes for aggravated customers and artists. Tattoos are easy to get if you are relaxed. If you cannot leave your children with someone; bring someone along to take them for a walk. We will not watch them for you. We will not expect them to sit quietly and behave while you get a tattoo. If you have no other alternative, reschedule your appointment.
I’d like to talk about conversations in a tattoo shop. In my particular shop we have had conversations that would make a prostitute blush. A tattoo shop is not the place for children. l don’t censer the conversations in my shop and even though we try not to say anything too offensive when there are children present, we are adults, this is an adult environment, and sometimes we just forget. You can expect the conversations in tattoo shops to be pretty honest and not too politically correct. Politics and religion are not off limits as subjects. Consider it an adventure to be amongst these free drinkers, and chalk it up to the experience. I have never been to a PG rated tattoo studio, and I’d like to think that it’s not me starting the filth wherever l go. I have heard the f-word so many times it is truly meaningless to me. So please be patient. People watch, and if you are completely offended, hey, argue your case. We are not closed-minded. You might change our minds about some horrible topic.
We have a file full of drawings that have been done for indecisive customers. We call it the ‘still wasting our time‘ file. There is possibly nothing worse than a customer who wastes your time. These people think you are their own private artist. l have a drawing for a sleeve in my file that the guy asked me to draw, was up my butt for weeks, loved the final drawing, and brought his girlfriend in to see it. That was it; he never came in to get the work done. l saw him again in a bookstore months later and said hi, and he just nodded and scurried away. It took me a few minutes to remember how l knew him, and when l finally figured it out l thought of how chicken shit some people are.
I can’t believe that there are people who change their mind so much. We have a 3 changes rule. lf you change your mind totally 3 times during the course of one day, we make you wait until you are sure of what you want. An example of this would be the customer who comes into the shop and wants a fairy. Then they ask about tribal, and they don’t want tribal with a fairy; just the tribal. Then they want a cherry on their ass. Make up your minds people. There is no eraser on a tattoo machine.
Be sure that you want the tattoo. It becomes painfully obvious that you are indecisive when you reschedule multiple times. Sometimes it cannot be helped. I have had customers reschedule on weekends more than once. One time l can excuse. When a customer expects you to do this 3 weekends in a row, you think about killing him.
Weekends are prime time for artists and I’ve had people wait 3 weekends to get tattooed. Weekends are the time most people can come for tattoos, if they have a 9 to 5 job, which, let’s face it, most people do. If you are unsure about whether or not you want to go through with the tattoo, be honest with your artist don‘t waste his time. I can‘t stand people who don’t respect my time. I’d rather hear that you‘ve changed your mind.
Touch up appointments and is there a charge for this? If your tattoo needs to be touched up, most artists will touch up their own work for free. We have a policy at my shop to touch up any tattoos that were done there by any artist, whether or not the artist is still there. This is not the case for most shops.
lt is important that you look at your tattoo 1 month to 6 weeks after you get it done and see if it needs to be touched up. That is the best time for a touch up. If you are unsure, just go back to the shop and say, “ Hey, look at my tattoo, do you think it needs to be touched up?” most artists take great pride in their work and want nothing inferior out there in the public eye. Don’t be mad if they can’t do it on the spot. Just book a time and it will be no hassle.
Every tattoo out there that I’ve done carries my reputation with it. If someone sees it and says, “Wow, that’s nice, where did you get it?” l have another potential customer. If someone says, “Wow, what happened here?” there will be unkind words said about me and l have lost a potential customer.
Tattoos speak volumes about the artist who did them and it is important to find an artist who understands and is respectful of this. Even if the customer is not ideal, if they squirm around, are overly dramatic, stink to high heaven, the artist’s reputation is at stake with the finished tattoo. The customer is not going to say that he was a smelly jackass that day. So the artist has to do his best, no matter the circumstances.
Canceling the appointment. If you have to cancel your tattoo appointment, please give the artist at least 24 hours so that they can re-book the time. The more time you give your artist the more kindly they will think of you. Emergencies cannot be helped. and shit happens. Such is life. We are mortal too. we understand. Sometimes your artist will have an emergency and have to cancel your appointment. I know this is disappointing. but again, we are mortal. please understand.