Use your phone or computer to seek an artist, but go to the shops in person, and don’t settle on the first or even on the first few, remember this is permanent and you need to do proper research. Once that tattoo is on you, it’s done. Customer review apps never really give you the entire picture, because what satisfies some doesn’t satisfy others.
Are you looking for an amazing tattoo? If your first question will be “what’s your minimum?” You have already sold yourself out on getting the best option. Being price conscious is not a terrible thing, it’s just if you are basing your search off of that being your first goal you have already sunk before you can swim.
If your next focus is how soon can the artist or studio get you in, you really need to stop and think about what quality tattoo you are really trying to get. If you say to yourself you want it as cheap as possible and as fast as possible, you’re already setting the bar pretty low for your life time experience.
For more on this and what type of artists are out there go to Precision Tattooing, Worth The Wait.
Street Shop Artists – Will copy/do any image you bring in. Have flash images “too choose from” and usually are cheaper but less skilled, outcome is poor.
Custom Studio Artists – Won’t copy, stronger artistically will create unique works of art for you, and usually worth what they charge.
Look at portfolios, as many as you can to pick an artist. It doesn’t require much work to see what quality of art is out there, and it makes you more sure that you are going to pick the right person for the job.
Make sure the artist does the style you are going for. For example you don’t want an artist to do tribal that has no tribal in his/her portfolio. You also don’t want a traditional artist to do realism. Simply look at the portfolio and ask yourself “Is this what I am going for?”.
To not do the above research will create an awkward situation for both you and the artist where he/she has to audition his/her work and style during what should be a fun consultation about your tattoo. At the time of a consultation you should have already done your research by checking out portfolios and styles, and already sold yourself on the artist.
Come in! Giving a price over the phone would be equivalent to someone blindfolding us, holding a tattoo in front of us and asking us “how much?”
Sometimes it’s even hard when we see the artwork because it’s tough to know exactly how long a tattoo will take… it is art after all! But we will try our best to give you an idea of the time involved… sometimes we are off.
Our Shop is by far not the most expensive… but it isn’t the cheapest. The old adage “You get what you pay for” applies. It boils down to what are you worth? What is your artist worth? You want an artist who is worth putting something permanent on you!
Bigger tattoos can mean shorter sessions if you need, that way you pay as you go.
Down payments are a great tool to compensate the artist for time spent on artwork or their time for appointments. It also serves as a tool for you to make certain you will get your artwork done.
Make sure you get a receipt listing your name, date, amount left and what the down payment is for. Leaving a down payment does not transfer copyright or ownership to the client; it is still the artist’s property. If you aren’t absolutely happy about the art you receive, please feel comfortable to communicate that with the artist so he or she can create something better tailored for you.
The more time we have to create your idea, the better it will be… ALWAYS. Besides more than likely if the artist is really good he/she will already be working on someone or busy with preparing for an appointment.
So if the artist needs time to prepare or draw your idea you must trust him or her no matter how badly you want it that minute.
If you are in a hurry and need it that second there are plenty of sales people in walk in street shops that are more than willing to make a quick buck off of you and watch you walk out within an hour.
By the way those tattoo shows that show the artist saying “cool give me ten minutes”, having the drawing ready and doing the tattoo within what looks to be minutes…. it’s called editing.
Making an appointment – This is the preferred method. As most good artists are busy sketching for projects are tattooing they aren’t usually just sitting around waiting for people to walk in, it is simply more courteous for you the client… Why?: Because that way you don’t have to walk in and wait for a long amount of time or “go find something to do for 2 hours” just to kill time. We value your time just as much as ours.
Walking in – Just fine for those moments you are nearby, see a shop and just curious or have been thinking about one for a while and have some questions you need answered or to look at portfolios. Artists like hearing the door swing open and people bustling about, it is the sign of a healthy studio with people who are interested in getting art!
Ok we aren’t making burgers here. Would you serve yourself and your skin any less? Schedule a consult and an appointment; it’s the preferred method for serious clients and artists who are into the art and not a quick buck/tattoo.
Artists that aren’t busy usually do have same day openings, so keep in mind there may be a reason for that.
Nine times out of ten the most regretted tattoo is the tattoo gotten on impulse. Shoes can be bought on impulse, hats can be bought on impulse… plastic surgery and tattoos should require more thought. After all good artists usually already have appointments and it isn’t fast food.. it’s art and it’s permanent!!
Emailing is good when your project isn’t time-sensitive and you can even send reference for the artist to grasp your idea.
Pitfall to email is technology: Did it go to the junk folder? Did it get to us at all? Always call after 24 hours of no e-mail response it usually means for whatever reason it did not make it to us!
Please do not use e-mail if your tattoo is time-sensitive… call us.
Try your best to be on time to your consultation/ tattoo, and call/text the artist if you are running late. After 20 minutes it is up to your artist if rescheduling is in order, due to other projects/consults booked throughout a day.
Always try to give AT LEAST 24 hours notice if you know in advance you won’t be able to make your appointment.
Be mindful and respectful of the artist’s years of professional experience when talking about a design.
If the artist says something won’t work, it won’t work. Even if it’s something “you’ve seen in a picture” or “a friend of yours has”, keep in mind all artists are different, pictures are generally taken right after a tattoo is done, and there are many different levels of artists. You never see a picture of the tattoo a year later; also the artist may be envisioning something that will make you happier than what you saw.
A good artist respects and cares about your tattoo and his/her reputation as an artist, so by default the outcome of your tattoo is in the artist’s best interest.
Be smart, to push for things the artist says won’t work is not only working against the outcome of your tattoo, but also showing distrust of the artists extensive knowledge of tattoo design, which is a really bad precedent to set.
You picked the artists for a reason: his/her portfolio, so let go and trust them. Ego is not your amigo when it comes to tattoo design.
Asking for a discount on a tattoo is like your boss trying to cut your paycheck for the amount of work you do. Also, be mindful no one really works for free… corners will be cut if an artist is desperate enough to do that.
Tattoos can always be broken up into sessions, and if you can’t afford even smaller sessions ask yourself if it’s the right time for something so permanent.
On rare occasion, during a consultation, the artist might decide that it’s not the best idea to be the one to do your tattoo. Please don’t be insulted by this. Maybe the artist is not feeling the idea matches with his/her style, or the vibe is off.
To do otherwise would be taking your money while they don’t believe in what they are doing; therefore there will be no heart in it. Artists that take on things that they don’t enjoy solely for profit often produce poor tattoos.
It’s recommended not to bring friends to a consultation or a tattoo if you can help it. Your friend will always be your friend, but sometimes a friend can really hinder the process.
This is your tattoo, so this should be between you and your artist, so if you absolutely are so unsure that need the input of friends; it’s probably not the time to get a tattoo. The only person’s input that should count is yours and your artist’s.
New health codes are starting to dictate, your friend/significant other can’t be present with you and the artist during the process, and often even small tattoos can be an hour or two hour long process.
Inevitably your companion will get bored/antsy and you will feel bad/rushed, so if you can help it, come alone.
If you tan, don’t sunbathe or at least put on sunblock/cocoa butter a month prior to your tattoo appointment. If not, you could be arriving to your appointment for nothing if the artist can’t work with your skin due to UV damage. It does happen.
Don’t drink alcohol before/after, as it may thin your blood and therefore make the tattoo undo-able. Please get enough sleep before and eat before your tattoo.
Something came up, an emergency.
Forgot appointment or have something else going on.
Changed mind on getting a tattoo period, or decided on another artist or shop for whatever number of reasons.
There is a correct way to address all the above
Be courteous, show respect and communicate with the artist to let him/her know what is going on, even if you never intend on coming back or getting the tattoo you discussed with your artist, and preferably in advance so he or she hasn’t wasted his/her valuable time assuming you will hold up your end of the bargain.
It’s best not to leave ANY doors closed with ANY studio because artists can move, shops can change ownerships… for many reasons you may need to return to a shop or artist you flaked on and it’s best to avoid an awkward situation, don’t assume the artist is going to be “put off” or “insulted” because you aren’t getting the tattoo with him/her.
Over the years that the artist you like/love today may not be the artist you like/love tomorrow and vice versa. People change, and though there are lots of shops in our fair city there are only a few good ones.
At the end of the day we have bills just like everyone else and depend on appointments we make to pay them. We appreciate proper communication so that we can make adjustments in our appointments. Even if it means you have totally changed your mind, we will respect your honesty more than we would like our time being wasted.
It’s not expected, but if you felt your artist did a great job or better than what you expected, please do so. Artists rely solely on tattoos for income, and your artist will remember you for it when it comes to special considerations, such as scheduling and so forth.