How To Find The Right Tattoo Artist?
Has someone you know worked with good tattoo artists? – The easiest and possibly best place to start your search for a tattoo artist is to ask a friend or relative with great ink for a recommendation. Chances are, if you love the art on their skin, they’ll be happy to give you advice about finding an artist you love. This is particularly true if the work they got from their artist is the kind of work you are looking for. And seeing an artist’s healed work in person is even better than seeing pictures of it.
- 1 How do I find the perfect tattoo for me?
- 2 How do you tell a tattoo artist what you want?
- 3 Do tattoo artists show you the design?
- 4 Is it normal to get anxiety after a tattoo?
- 5 Is it rude to wear headphones while getting a tattoo?
- 6 How do you know if a tattoo artist is ripping you off?
- 7 What should I bring to a tattoo appointment?
- 8 What is tattoo etiquette?
- 9 How do you hit up a tattoo artist?
- 10 How do you think your tattoo is meaningful?
- 11 Do tattoos need to have meaning?
How do I find the perfect tattoo for me?
How do you tell a tattoo artist what you want?
Do tattoo artists show you the design?
Before I started getting tattooed on a regular basis, I had no idea how the whole process worked. I followed a lot of tattoo artists on Instagram, but assumed that booking a tattoo appointment would be a lot like booking in to get my hair done or my teeth cleaned—you call the shop, request a day, and you’re in.
- It turns out, it’s not that simple;
- While, yes, there are plenty of tattoo shops that offer walk-in availability for flash tattoos or small designs, booking a larger, custom tattoos—especially with a popular artist—takes a lot of patience, flexibility, and a little bit of luck;
Here are some things you should know before trying to book a tattoo appointment with your favorite artist All artists have different booking procedures. Almost every artist I’ve worked with has a different tattoo booking procedure. Some require you to fill out a form on a shop or personal website, others book through Facebook or Instagram messaging, and some use tattoo-booking apps for scheduling.
- The majority of artists I’ve worked with book through email;
- They ask clients to send them booking requests via email, usually with specific criteria that a potential client needs to fill out;
- Read up on your artist’s booking procedures and make sure you follow all instructions and requirements;
If you do not include all the necessary information in the initial booking request, your request will likely get passed over and you won’t get an appointment. Keep in mind that every tattoo artist is essentially operating their own business. While some shops coordinate bookings through shop administrators and front-desk staff, the majority of tattoo artists either handle their own bookings or work with an assistant to coordinate appointments. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash You may need to wait for your tattoo appointment. If you’re looking to get a sleeve started or bang out a big thigh piece tomorrow, all I can say is good luck and Godspeed. While all artists operate on different timelines for booking, most will book appointments a few months—or even a year—in advance.
- This means, if you really want a tattoo from a particular artist, you could be waiting anywhere from 3-12 months (or even longer) before getting it done;
- Additionally, some popular artists have waiting lists, so even if you put in a booking request, you may not get an appointment;
Instead, your name could be added to a waiting list, and you will be contacted when the artist has availability. The key here is to be patient. If you really love an artist’s work, it’s always worth the wait. Don’t get frustrated and try to book a similar tattoo with a different artist who has more availability.
- You might have a slim window to book a tattoo appointment;
- To keep the administrative processes of booking to a minimum, many tattoo artists will only open their books or schedules for one day or a couple days at a time;
This might happen every month, every couple of months, or only once a year—it depends how far out the artist chooses to book her schedule. You will only have a chance to book an appointment with the artist when her books are open. Any requests that come in while an artist’s books are closed will be ignored. Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash If you really want to book a tattoo with an artist whose books are currently closed, follow her on Instagram and change your settings so that you see notifications from that artist. Most artists will post details that explain when their books will open and how you can go about requesting an appointment. Then set your alarm, mark your calendar, or create a notification on your phone—anything you can do to remember to send in your request within the timeline established by the artist.
If you don’t get your booking request in while an artist’s books are open, you will have to wait until the next round. You should expect for a delayed response. As previously mentioned, tattoo artists are business owners who have to balance their time between a variety of things.
In addition to spending hours tattooing, their time is devoted to designing custom tattoos and drawing, managing their social media accounts, doing their bookkeeping and finances, purchasing supplies, and attempting to have family and social lives. Reviewing booking requests and responding to emails is a time-consuming process, so you shouldn’t expect to hear back from the artist right away.
Sometimes, it could take weeks or even a month or two for artists to get back to you about scheduling a tattoo appointment. Be patient. Sending multiple emails asking for a status update or reaching out to an artist via Instagram DM will not be appreciated and will continue to slow down the process.
Only resend your request if an artist or a booking assistant instructs you to do so. The artist may choose not to tattoo your design. When books open, sought-after tattoo artists are often inundated with requests for tattoo appointments. Sometimes, they receive hundreds of emails, but only have a limited number of appointment slots to fill.
- Artists may decide not to work on a specific tattoo design for multiple reasons;
- Maybe it doesn’t mesh well with their particular style;
- Maybe your budget doesn’t align with their current rates;
- Maybe they’ve tattooed something similar before and don’t want to tattoo it again;
Maybe there are simply other requests that they are more interested in. If your design doesn’t get chosen, don’t lose heart or get angry. Unless you receive a response that says your request is something that the artist has no interest in taking on, you can always resubmit the request at a later time. You will need to pay a deposit. If you and your artist agree on a date for your tattoo appointment, you will need to pay a deposit in order to confirm and lock-in the date. Tattoo deposits are used to encourage clients to show up for their appointments and as a way for tattoo artists to cover their costs if a client cancels.
- Deposits are usually a percentage of the estimated rate or a flat fee that is decided by the artist or the shop;
- Tattoo deposits are forfeited if clients cancel or do not show up for their appointments;
You will not be able to get your tattoo deposit back unless the cancellation is the fault of the artist or the shop. Deposit policies vary, so make sure to ask about your artist’s or studio’s policy before booking a tattoo appointment. You may have to shift your schedule.
If you want a tattoo from a popular artist, your date selection is going to be limited. In fact, you might not be able to select a date at all. Let’s put it this way—there are only 52 Saturdays in a year. While most artists will certainly try to provide a date that works for you, others will provide a couple options and you can either take them or leave them.
This might mean taking off work or adjusting your schedule in order to get in with your artist on a Tuesday at 1 p. Once you have a date, mark it on your calendar and set reminders—especially if it’s a few months out. Many shops and artists will confirm your appointment as it gets closer, but it’s important that you remember when to show up.
- Not showing up for a tattoo appointment will cause you to lose your deposit and likely upset your artist, making rescheduling unlikely;
- You might not see the tattoo design in advance;
- While this isn’t a policy across the board, know that some tattoo artists may not show you the design until the day of your appointment;
Personally, I’ve had over 11 larger tattoos done, and I’ve only seen two of the designs in advance. Many tattoo artists do this to try and minimize major design changes and a lot of back-and-forth nitpicking by clients. Almost all artists will make minimal changes and adjustments to the design on the day of your appointment so that you’re sure to get the piece you want. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash If you are nervous about the possibility of not seeing a tattoo design before your appointment, there are a couple things you can do. First and foremost, be clear about what you want your tattoo to look like when you send in your booking request and provide clear reference images for inspiration. Second, schedule a consultation with your artist in advance. Consultations are a time for tattoo artists to talk to you and get a better understanding for what you want your tattoo to look like.
If you still really want to see the design in advance, ask your artist if it is a possibility. Many artists will accommodate these requests. At the end of the day, it’s important to trust your artist. If you like the artist’s style and the other tattoos she’s done, chances are whatever they put together for you will be even better than you could imagine.
Please note: These observations are based on my own tattoo-booking experiences and are not universal for all artists and studios..
What questions should I ask my tattoo artist?
Is it normal to get anxiety after a tattoo?
– It’s not uncommon to have regret immediately after getting a tattoo, especially since you’re used to seeing your body a certain way and now, all of a sudden, it looks different. To help you come to terms with any immediate anxiety or regret you may experience, permit yourself to wait it out.
- In other words, let the experience sink in;
- It may take a while for you to grow into or get used to the tattoo;
- Also, remind yourself that if the anxiety or regret doesn’t pass, you have options to either cover it up or start the removal process;
And finally, if your tattoo is causing you extreme anxiety or depression, it might be time to seek expert help. Talking with your doctor or a mental health professional about the root of your anxiety and depression can help you work through these feelings and possibly uncover other triggers or causes of your symptoms.
Can tattoos cause depression?
A new study has discovered that people with tattoos were more likely to be diagnosed with mental health issues and to report sleep problems. Researchers also found that people who had tattoos were more likely to be smokers, to have spent time in jail, and to have a higher number of sex partners in the past year.
However, the survey-based study also found that having tattoos was not significantly related to overall health status. The survey was conducted in July 2016 and resulted in a sample of 2,008 adults living in the United States, according to researchers.
“Previous research has established an association between having a tattoo and engaging in risky behaviors,” said lead author Dr. Karoline Mortensen, a professor at the University of Miami. “In an era of increasing popularity of tattoos, even among women and working professionals, we find these relationships persist, but are not associated with lower health status.
- ” The study was published in the International Journal of Dermatology;
- Source: Wiley Photo: In a survey-based study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, having tattoos was not significantly related to overall health status, but individuals with tattoos were more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health issue and to report sleep problems;
Credit: International Journal of Dermatology ..
Is it rude to ask tattoo price?
Many artists find it extremely rude if you try to haggle the price of a tattoo. Though negotiating the price of some goods and services is normal, haggling with your artist over the cost of a tattoo is typically seen as unacceptable and insulting.
Is it rude to wear headphones while getting a tattoo?
Conclusion – The tattoo process is a personal thing and what’s acceptable will vary depending on your tattoo artist. Make sure that you speak to them to understand what they expect and what is acceptable during the procedure. You need to be comfortable but so do they.
How do you know if a tattoo artist is ripping you off?
What should you not say to a tattoo artist?
Is it rude to ask a tattoo artist to copy a tattoo?
Of course, it is! Such a request is considered rude and disrespectful on so many levels. First of all, you’re directly or indirectly trying to get your tattoo artist in some serious legal problems.
What should I bring to a tattoo appointment?
Come Prepared – Depending on the length of your appointment, it’s always wise to bring some form of entertainment for yourself. It’ll help keep you occupied and keep your mind off the pain a little bit. Bring a phone charger, headphones, portable game device, book – whatever will keep you busy and help time go by faster for you. It’s also a good idea to bring a water or beverage with you.
What is tattoo etiquette?
Let the artist take lead on the design Most tattoo artists are in fact artists. They want to tattoo you with their own art. This isn’t just a creative preference. Tattooers generally have perfected a certain style (or styles). Their best designs and their best execution will be in this style(s). They want to be confident and and proud of your tattoo.
- Don’t send them a picture of another artist’s work and say “I want this tattoo”.
- Don’t be surprised if the artist does not want to tattoo in a style that is not their own.
- Do share reference images for the subject matter you like.
- Do share reference images from the artist’s own portfolio and say “I like the style you used here. “
Be as specific as you need to be. Not more or less. Artists love it when you give them creative freedom but don’t do it unless you really do want them to make all creative decisions. If you have something specific in mind, tell them.
- Don’t tell the artist “you have complete freedom” and then come to the shop and make a lot of corrections.
- Do tell the artist any specifics you have in mind before they work on the design!
New tattoos are always a better option than “adding on” to, or modifying an existing tattoos. Most artists would rather not work with another artist’s tattoo. It adds constraints to their design potential and it forces them to either: (a) Vandalize an existing, nice tattoo or (b) Have their work seen alongside an existing ugly tattoo. Either way, this won’t be a portfolio piece and won’t get the best work from the artist.
- That’s not possible if you give excessive direction or if you force the artist outside of their core styles;
- Also, remember that good artists won’t copy another artist’s design so don’t ask;
- Consider: do you really need your existing tattoo to keep growing and becoming more and more of a Frankenstein’s Monster? Or can you offer new real estate to each artist? Cover-ups are a different story;
If you need a cover-up, you need a coverup. Not all artists are technically capable of good cover-ups and not all artists like to do them because of the additional constraint but it’s always worth asking.
- Don’t think of your tattoo as a house you are continually remodelling.
- Do think of tattoos more like paintings you are commissioning. Give the artist a clean canvas.
- Do consider going back to the same artist for modifying or touching up an existing tattoo.
Don’t design by committee There’s nothing worse than customers who bring an opinionated friend or loved one to “help” them with design decisions. You hired the artist to help you with design. Adding a third party can complicate the already-delicate balance of artist/client in the design process. The more opinions you solicit, the harder and more confusing the process will be. Only you know what you want and the artist can help you.
- Don’t bring a friend or spouse to speak for you.
- Don’t text photos of the design to friends asking for their opinion.
- Do tell your opinionated friends to quiet down if they become too involved in your tattoo design process.
Limit your party to yourself + 1 max Speaking of bringing others with you… consider visiting the shop alone for your appointment. Most shops are limited in their space and cannot accommodate your friends. Not only that, your friends might think it sounds fun to be at the shop while you get tattooed, but it’s not. Your friends will be bored.
- Don’t bring extra people with you to be tattooed without asking the shop first. Most shops don’t want your friends sleeping in the waiting area while you get tattooed.
- Do limit your party to just you or one other if you must and encourage your friends to go do something while you get tattooed so they don’t sleep in the waiting area.
Let the artist concentrate while you get tattooed Even the most experienced artists need to limit stressors during their tattooing. Tattooing requires intense concentration. Some artists love to gab while tattooing but others prefer to be quiet. Let the artist take the lead or ask them what they prefer.
- Do bring a book to read or movie to watch provided you can do it without moving.
- Do let your artist take the lead on whether or not to talk.
- Don’t stare at the tattoo while your artist is working. This is stressful.
- Don’t talk too much unless your artit is the chatty one.
Sit still! For obvious reasons, you never want to move while there is a tattoo needle inking your skin. If you might have trouble with pain, consider a numbing cream in advance of getting tattooed (ask your artist first). If you’re jumpy, you’re wasting tattooing time and risking mistakes. Generally though, you’re stressing out the artist which can mean not getting their best work.
- Don’t move unexpectedly.
- Don’t talk if you’re getting your ribs tattooed.
- Do let the artist know if you need to move or stretch.
- Do let the artist know If you think the furniture can be adjusted to be more comfortable.
- Do consider topical numbing cream in advance of your tattoo if you’re worried about tolerating the pain (ask the artist first though)
Tipping It is customary to tip tattoo artists just like (in the US) it is customary to tip restaurant wait staff. Because it’s customary, not tipping is seen as a sign of being dissatisfied with your tattoo.
- Do expect to tip when budgeting for your tattoo.
- Do tip the artist directly and in cash.
- Do tip big (e. 20%+) if you love your tattoo.
- Do talk to your artist whenever you feel something isn’t being handled well (consultation, design, etc). A small tip (or no tip) shouldn’t be the only sign that you are dissatisfied.
Aftercare There are many different aftercare procedures out there. Always follow the artist’s own aftercare instructions because you and the artist are both responsible for the quality of your tattoo.
- Do make sure to get precise instructions for aftercare from your artist.
- Do feel OK to ask questions during the healing process if something seems wrong.
- Do a little research about healing tattoos to know what’s normal. Scabbing is normal. Ink on the bandage is normal. Looking faded in the first couple of weeks is normal.
Touch-ups Most tattoos will not need touching up — at least for many years. However, sometimes ink does fall out or fade. This can happen for many reasons. The artist’s tattoo technique matters but it’s just half the story. Healing/fading is also affected by aftercare, your biology, the placement on the body (bendy parts like wrists, elbows, fingers, etc will fade more and faster).
- Do wait 30 days before even considering a touch-up. Tattoos can look less-than-perfect while healing and need 30 days to be completely healed.
- Do take good care of your tattoo following artist instructions and avoiding any strong sun exposure, rubbing, or soaking of the tattoo area while it’s healing.
- Don’t expect the tattoo ink to look as vibrant as it did the day of your tattoo. Tattoo ink sits under the top layer of skin so, once healed, you’ll be looking at the ink through the top layer of skin.
- Don’t be confrontational with the artist about your touch-up. Your artist cares as much as you do about the tattoo looking great so there’s no reason to take an aggressive posture if you have concerns about your tattoo.
How much do you tip a tattoo artist?
How Much to Tip – If you decide to tip, the next step is to calculate exactly how much to add to the final tattoo price. The general consensus in the tattoo community is that 20 percent is the typical amount to tip — just like at a restaurant or a hair salon.
However, consider this number a baseline, as some tattoos require more or less work than others. Just like there is no one tattoo experience or price, there’s no one-size-fits-all tipping option. “The more you spend on the tattoo, the more you should tip, as they are putting more work into the piece,” says Fiore.
Weed, however, notes that there is one thing that every tattoo experience needs to have to warrant a tip: It needs to be great. Your artist is putting time into the behind-the-scenes of your tattoo, but it’s also their responsibility to ensure you’re comfortable and having a good time while it’s happening.
How do you hit up a tattoo artist?
Where did Billie Eilish get her tattoo?
She got her second tattoo, a massive black dragon on her right thigh, in November 2020. – Billie Eilish photographed by Craig McDean for British Vogue. Craig McDean/Vogue Fans first caught a glimpse of Eilish’s thigh tattoo in a photo shoot with British Vogue , published in May 2021, though she told Rolling Stone that she got it six months prior. The ink made its first public appearance at the 2021 Met Gala, where Eilish wore an Oscar de la Renta gown with a thigh-high slit.
How do you think your tattoo is meaningful?
Consider What’s Meaningful to You – Once you know where you want to get your tattoo, it’s time to think about the visual elements you want involved. Christine V. suggests you keep in mind “what… you actually want in your tattoo, what personal meaning will it carry?” She advises against getting too literal with your design if, at all possible, “Sometimes it is good to consider more metaphorical symbolism, and not just go with a literal theme or idea.
Being a bit more subtle and symbolic will yield a more personal and unique tattoo”. Christine D. , another artist at CTD, believes that if you’re looking into getting a custom design, you already have some kind of inspiration in mind – even if you don’t consciously know it yet, “…it is pretty rare for someone to simply get a custom tattoo designed ‘just because’… There is always a trigger for the desire [to get] a tattoo”.
She goes on to explain: When someone seeks an unique design, made just for them, it is a sign that there is something very special that they feel connected to, and that they need to make it a visible part of themselves, but…the person [doesn’t always have] a clear picture of what they want, sometimes what they have is just a feeling.
- And how to put a feeling into paper? Which is where working with an artist comes into play;
- “A tattoo is always more than a piece of artwork, it is an inspiration”, says Christine D;
- , so she encourages potential clients to think about what inspires them, whether it be music, art, someone special in your life, or a symbol to represent your own personality and experience;
Jen also recommends you think about what’s meaningful to you, because tattoos are “such a personal form of self-expression”, you could take inspiration from: one of your favorite places, animals, flowers, people you want to celebrate or remember, significant moments in your life, hobbies or media you enjoy, your heritage, mythology that resonates with you, or any symbolism that you feel connected to.
If you can’t decide on just one theme, don’t worry, Jen says, “tattoos… don’t necessarily need to have one driving theme in order to be a beautiful piece of art. If you are having trouble focusing on one theme, you can always incorporate several themes and elements into your tattoo”.
There a few different techniques that an artist could use to do this, like, “we can use filler elements (like clouds, waves, flowers, etc. ) to tie all the elements together into a cohesive whole, or just draw everything in a specific tattoo style which will unite all the disparate elements”.
- Tattooist and CTD artist Andy W;
- echoes the idea of going with something personal, “so that it will mean something for the rest of your life”;
- He would not, however, advise going with a spouse’s name, “Personally, I think a partner’s name is a bit risky, as anything could happen”;
But that person can be inspiration for a symbol that represents your relationship , and make for a unique and lasting tattoo. There’s a ton of room for creativity and expression through art when you’re coming up with a tattoo design idea, but choosing something that is meaningful to you personally increases the chances that you’ll be happy with the tattoo in the long-term, as opposed to getting a trendy, ‘current’ design done..
Do tattoos need to have meaning?
Whenever people see my tattoos, they immediately ask what they mean. For the designs on my body that serve no specific purpose or have no other “meaning” besides I think that they look cool (like the skeleton on my ankle), I feel pressure to attach something sentimental to them.
- But it’s not necessary for tattoos to have a specific interpretation or symbolism in order to be significant to you;
- And even if it is insignificant to you, all that matters is that you chose to get it because you liked it and wanted it on your body;
After spending time with tattooer Mars Hobrecker in his studio nestled in the back of The Living Gallery , an event space and art gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I now feel more open to getting a tattoo that I didn’t spend months or years planning out, like the deer on the back of my arm that pays homage to a trip I took to Japan with my dad or the hand holding flowers on my inner arm that is a tribute to the women in my family.
Most of Hobrecker’s appointments are based on predrawn designs, which are known as “flash” in the tattoo community. His clients pick from the latest designs he’s drawn that are taped onto the pages of a photography magazine.
Flipping through it, I noticed drawings of objects including everyday objects, like chairs and toothbrushes, and medical equipment, like a speculum, as well as people, both clothed and naked. At first, I was closed off to most of them, mostly because I was trying to connect something sentimental to each of them.
The lady sitting in the chair didn’t have a vague resemblance to my grandma and the man hoisting a woman in the air didn’t resemble my ideal relationship. Hobrecker was incredibly patient as I looked through the magazine-turned-flash-book dozens of time trying to pick something for him to ink onto my skin.
He tells me what freaks him out the most is when people open the book and almost immediately point to a design they’d like. “I just feel like I could never be that decisive,” Hoebrecker tells me as I spot a Cruella de Vil-like a woman walking a gaggle of Dalmatians , a package of birth control pills, and a circus-performing couple.