Etiquette is important in any social situation, even while getting a tattoo. So what is expected of a client while getting tattooed? Maybe this is your first tattoo, or maybe you have a few under your belt and want to get on your artist’s good side. Perhaps you just want your next tattoo experience to go as smoothly as possible and for both parties to be satisfied with the experience. After all, this is a permanent piece of art you are going to wear every day!
Here are some tips to make your next tattoo experience as painless as possible (pun intended).
1) Be punctual.
If you’re running late, shoot us a text or call the shop. If you can’t make it or you accidentally blew all your money at the bar last night, let us know as soon as you’ve decided you’re not gonna make it in. Maybe there’s someone we can call who wants to come in or maybe someone stopped by the shop out of the blue that we could work on. If you let us know when you’re not gonna make it, we will respect you for it. Our time is valuble and our schedules get very busy at times.
2) Know your artist.
Look at online portfolios ahead of time, or hard copies in portfolios in the shop. Check to see if they have clean lines, smooth shading, and solid fill. Make sure you like an artist’s style before choosing them as well because it will shine through in every tattoo they do. And word to the wise, if you are going to an artist and giving them a job they are stoked about, they will do a stellar job. So going to an artist for their specialty is the best thing you can do. Making sure you like your artist’s work before getting tattooed will save you from the experience of having your tattoo turn out completely different than you expect. Not something most people really want out of their permanent body modification.
3) Don’t talk down the given price.
We ask for what we think is fair. Placement, size, detail, and changes of the design all play into the price of a tattoo. Keep in mind that if your artist doesn’t own the shop they work at, they will be giving about 50% of that money to the owner. If they do own the shop, probably more than 50% of it is going to bills and supplies for the shop. I know tattoos are expensive. But they are permanant. Don’t forget that. Saving up for a good tattoo by a respectable artist is preferable to getting the “best deal” and being unhappy with it. Head my warning, covering up your tattoo is gonna cost more than the orginial tattoo. Lasering it off is gonna cost way more, and hurt way way more.
4) Be prepared!
This is gonna be on your body for a while, so you wanna get it right the first time. What does being prepared for a tattoo look like? This one is the most important, so lets break it down.
-Know what you want, or at least approach an artist whos style you like so they can create something you will like easily. Be open to your artist’s suggestions and advice if you are unsure about what you want.
-Bring in rough sketches (we wont grade your art skillz), print outs, or saved images of artwork similar to what you want; whether it’s the style, the imagery, or the color palate. Google is your best friend, and a good tattooist will take your inspirational images and make something creative and custom just for you. At the same time, it’s bad form to ask for the same EXACT tattoo as something you found on google/Pinterest/Instagram/
– Wash your stanky ass. Take a shower before coming in. Brush your teeth. We are gonna be getting up close and personal for an extended period of time and I guarantee your tattoo will come out better if your artist doesn’t have to hold their breath during your whole procedure because you smell like chili. *shudder*
Alright. So you made it through the procedure! Look at you, you bad ass mother lover! You look amazing. Okay. What now?
5) Follow our aftercare. Aftercare will vary artist to artist. If you have done something in the past that has worked for you that is different than what we are telling you, speak up and have a conversation with your artist about it. I offer to my clients what has worked best in my experience for me personally and for my clients, but I know everyone’s body is different. In addition, keep in mind care will vary depending on the part of body and the season of the year. Caring for knuckle tattoos requires a lot more attention than somewhere like the outside of your bicep. I will warn you to keep out of sun and soaking in the summer, while in the winter, I’m more likely to warn you about wearing tight, rubbing clothes and sweating with a fresh tattoo. Don’t be afraid to call us or stop in and ask questions during the healing process.
6) Tip your artist! This is a service industry just like serving or bartending. Do you go out to eat without enough money to give your server a 15-20% tip? I certainly hope not, and I’m pretty sure you wont live much longer due to mysterious food posioning if this isn’t one of your habits. Your artist may even be able to give you a better price next time if we can count on your tip to feed us for the next few days.
– bonus points-
Come in after your tattoo is nice and healed (a month or more) and let us snap a picture of it. We frequently will do a tattoo and never see it again. Being able to do a tattoo and have it heal perfectly is a point of pride for us and those pictures look better in our portfolio than fresh tattoos because it shows we can put the ink in correctly without causing damage to the skin. This is also a great opportunity for you to run any new tattoo ideas by us or see of the shop has any deals or events coming up.
If you follow these rules of etiquette, your sessions will run smoothly, your tattoo will look amazing, your artist will be proud of their work, and you will take over the world with your sexy new body. Well. At least the first three.