Professional Tattoo Etiquette Do's & Don'ts
It takes two to tango-and it goes the same in creating a good tattoo.
Getting a tattoo involves not just the Artist and his work, but also the client's cooperation and ability to listen to instructions. You may have envisioned a bad-ass tattoo to grace your skin for the rest of your life any time soon---but as the old saying goes: a goal is reached by beginning with a first step. And the first step is KNOWLEDGE. A complete awareness of what you're getting yourself into. So today we gathered insights from a plenty number of tattoo artists and here's what they wanna tell you. Read this Tattoo Etiquette article for guidance and how to behave & we guarantee you walking out of the tattoo shop with total understanding, satisfaction, plus a good relationship with your tattoo artist. PEACE OUT & ENJOY! :)
1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.
Seriously. Don't just get tattooed. Think about it. It doesn't have to have some deep, dramatic meaning to it. It can be as carefree as picking a flash design that you vibe on...just as long as you know you want it. And don't let others (not even your girlfriend) tell you what you should get. It's your skin. Be the Master & Know what you want. Seek books, read about tattoo meanings, and if anything fits, sketch up or print out some references of what you think you want & go to your preferred tattoo shop for consultation. Any tattoo artist would be more than glad to make deals with someone who isn't confusing.
2. SAVE UP FOR THE TATTOO.
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A really good tattoo isn't cheap. So save up for it because YOU are worth it. And DON'T HAGGLE. Tattoo artists, and all kinds of artists for that matter, are not art machines. Their products aren't like those mass-produced items you see at the mall on-sale. They risk their health for tattooing every day, and as if back pains, head and hand-aches aren't enough...they also rack their brains trying to understand how to design your tattoo. Good tattoo artists should get paid by the hour, as justly as you do. If there should be any discounts made, it should be the artist's call. Take it as a gift.
3. MIND YOUR HYGIENE.
This should be self-explanatory. Clean yourself up, making sure to wash the area where you want the tattoo. It should be clean and undamaged. Make sure you smell good, to keep your tattoo artist from being distracted. :P
4. BE IN YOUR BEST CONDITION.
For the best tattoo experience, get enough sleep and eat hearty before the tattoo appointment. Your body needs rest & rejuvenation for maximum pain tolerance. And please abstain from alcohol at least 48 hrs before the tattoo session (alcohol thins the blood, making you bleed more than you should---thus giving your artist a hard time to tattoo).
5. TRUST YOUR TATTOO ARTIST.
You looked through portfolios, and finally found the perfect artist you want for the job. So if you're really sure he's the man, trust him. Try not to be manipulative when it comes to his/her tattoo designs. Listen when he tells you that what you want won't work. And don't take it personally when he thinks that your tattoo concept is shit. Trust me, it's for your own good.
6. DRESS THE PART.
Wear clothes that allow easy access to the area where you wanna get the tattoo. Think loose, comfortable clothes. You don't have to dress up, really. 'cause you won't be going anywhere. :p
7. DON'T KEEP YOUR ARTIST WAITING.
Be on time to finish on time. Time is Money. Time is of the essence.
8. DON'T BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS WHILE GETTING THE TATTOO.
For one thing, it's annoying to tattoo a loud & drunk person. For another, it's hard to tattoo when you're too drunk or too high to keep still. So please, be in your best condition. We take this job seriously, and any good tattooer will refuse to tattoo a person who's not in good condition for tattooing. If it's cool with your artist to down a few beers then do so, but do your part: keep still.
9. DON'T BRING YOUR KIDS.
The Tattoo shop is a place for grown-ups and we all know that. Having kids running around the shop not only will distract the tattoo artist, but it also subjects them to potentially encountering the tattoo shop's bio-hazardous wastes which can be dangerous to their health. There's a lotta blood happening in a tattoo shop; different kinds of blood from strangers with unknown medical histories. We wanna keep our kids away from that. Also, Getting a tattoo while telling off your toddler to chill out every 10 minutes is just unnecessary stress to give your body. So get tattooed wisely and leave the kids safe at home. It's for you & your child's good.
10. DON'T BRING AN ENTOURAGE.
At first it's fun. But when the tattoo session starts to take long & grueling hours, some might grow bored & tired of waiting. They'll stand up, walk around, check you out, and sit back again. It could be quite distracting for the tattoo artist to play host.
11. KEEP STILL.
If it hurts, take some deep, meditative breathing. Clear your mind & think Mind over Matter. Pain is just there and it won't kill you. Think strong thoughts. You'll earn that beautiful tattoo soon. :)
12. LET YOUR ARTIST CONCENTRATE ON HIS WORK.
If he's not talking, it doesn't mean he's being rude. He's simply just concentrating. Tattooing, as in carefully inserting pigments to the correct area of the skin, requires much concentration. So if you want the best work, let your artist focus to conserve his creative energy.
13. TIP YOUR TATTOO ARTIST
Tip him as you would to a waiter or driver for his good service. Especially if you made him do a lot of revisions and a lot of laborious work. Tipping your artist makes him feel appreciated and establishes a good relationship for the next tattoo projects to come. :)
Etiquette is just basic common sense of good social behavior. Having this kind of wisdom gives you power to be more knowledgeable about the tattooing process and establishes a good bond with your chosen tattoo artist.
Now enjoy your new tattoo and don't forget to take note of the aftercare procedures. The end result of the tattoo lies upon you.
We hope you enjoyed this article.
You think we need to add more to the list? Type below your suggestions.
Have a great day! :)
~Cover photo taken from Sailor's Grave Tattoo, Austin TX~