Getting a Tattoo
Getting a tattoo is a life changing commitment. Getting a great tattoo is fairly easy for the well informed client. Knowing what you would want and being sure of it is something that comes way before an appointment. We recommend researching tattoo information to help inform you. You must be 18 years old to get a tattoo. You must also have valid photo ID at the time of the tattoo appointment. If you fail to meet these requirements you will be turned away. For more information on tattoos and setting appointments see below continue reading this page. We also recommend reading the aftercare section to familiarize yourself before hand on what you will be required to do. So you want to know how a the tattoo process works? We have prepared a detailed step by step instruction to prepare you for what to expect and how one gets a tattoo.
The tattoo process
1.Discover your tattoo idea and somewhat narrow it to some tastes of what you like and what you don’t like. Pictures can help artists understand what you like and dislike. Don’t expect your tattoo to look exactly like your reference pictures. Purely copying is not fair to the original owner of the tattoo. Also tattoo artists will sometimes make suggestions to make the entire tattoo work better for the size, placement or other aspects of the job.
2. Research artists and shops. Look at portfolios, that is the best way to determine what an artist does and how well they are at doing it. Artists often try to sum up their style in the portfolio so people know what to expect from them. If you see a lot of things along the lines of style you like then they might be a good artist choice for you. Research shops also. Find out if they are a legitimate business, not just some fly by night scam or the “I know a guy” scenario. Check to see if they practice proper medical habits to insure the safety of you and others. Ask how they sterilize their equipment. There is more to it than just “opening a new needle”. Autoclaving equipment kills living bacteria, fungi, viruses and the endospores that could lead to living organisms. There is a common mis-belief that spraying alcohol on something makes it sterile. Alcohol will clean something but not make it sterile.
3. Contact the artist or business about your tattoo. Let them know the details of what you were looking to get. Main points to cover is the size, the style, things you want included and the location you would like to get it. They can let you know if it would be something they are interested in doing, and possibly a price range for it.
4. If you are still serious about purchasing the tattoo. Set up an appointment to get the tattoo done. Most likely shops will not just draw something for you unless you first set up an appointment and leave a deposit. Tattoo artists create art for a living; they do not exist purely to entertain people for free. You wouldn’t walk up to Eric Clapton and say, “write me a song, now!” Depending on the artist and the project, they may create something in advance or they may come up with a general idea then finish it up once you come in for your appointment. Sometimes artists need to draw things right on the skin with surgical markers. This work has to wait for the day of the appointment.
5. The day of your appointment come prepared for your tattoo by making sure you have eaten and are properly hydrated. Low blood sugar can put you at risk of passing out and also can make the tattoo hurt more. You should also be well rested. Once again not being irritable will help the entire process go smoother. You should also wear proper clothing. Something that allows the tattoo area to be exposed and something that is comfortable. Don’t wear your favorite shirt or pants for a tattoo unless you don’t care if it gets a tattoo also, sometimes ink can get rubbed on the clothing and stain it. If you are getting a large tattoo and want to pack a small snack that is acceptable also, just ask the artist before eating it in their shop. Make sure you are not a time crunch. Sometimes tattoos can take longer than expected especially if any changes need to be made to the design.
6. Once you get to the shop. The artist will have you fill out a release form and most likely photocopy your I.D. They will show you the design they came up with and let you know what they have in mind for it. If there needs to be major changes to a design, rescheduling might be necessary. That is why it is important to be clear with the artist in the beginning when you set up the appointment. Artist will then proceed to clean and shave the area for the tattoo. The artist then applies the stencil to your skin. It is best to stand up straight and relaxed during the stencil process. You do not want to hold your body unnaturally or it can shift where the actual tattoo will be. The stencil gives them a guideline for the size and shape, the actual tattoo is usually looks a lot better and is much clearer
7. If everything is a go with the stencil the artist will let it dry for a few minutes and then the artist will begin the tattoo. You should remain as still as possible while getting the tattoo. It is best to relax and not tense up. Tensing up can cause your muscles twitch and move. If the client is moving their body around It can cause unnecessary work for the artist and could cause permanent mistakes. The tattoo could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. For longer tattoo sessions, the artist may take small breaks. If you feel you need a break, you can ask the artist if they could plan on taking one soon.
8. When the tattoo is finished the artist will let you check out your new piece of body art. They will then cover it up and brief you on aftercare instructions. It is very important to listen to what they say, the quality of your tattoo depends on this. Feel free to ask the artist any questions, rather than just guessing what to do. We also have a copy of aftercare instructions on our website
9. You will then need to pay for the tattoo if you have not done so yet. Tipping is not required but is common in the tattoo industry. Many people give the artist an extra few bucks if they really like their tattoo. Don’t forget to buy some aftercare to take care of your tattoo. If you have any further questions, check out the website for information, or stop back at the shop.
Things to remember!
Creating your ideal tattoo can take some time. From the time you first contact the artist to drawing it up and finally getting the tattoo can take months. We believe if you find an artist that you love it will be well worth your wait. Besides you have lived this long without it, and by allowing more time will ensure you get the artwork you have been waiting for.PlacementTattoo Placement is just as important as the tattoo itself. Your body to a tattoo is like a frame to a painting. For example you wouldn't buy a frame that was to big for a piece of art. Artists work to strategically place tattoos to compliment each piece of art. Some pieces just look better on a flat surface such as a back or chest and others are created to fit areas such as a leg or arm. This is why it is important to talk to your artist about the placement of your art work also.
Since tattoo artists are working with skin and not paper it is important to remember skin has different limitations than paper. Tattoo artists are not Xerox machines. Because of this different tattoos may have size limitations. For example, a tattoo may need to be blown up a little bigger to include the proper detail. A traditional skull can be tattooed fairly small, but a realistic skull that is very detailed must be larger to include the detail. This makes it important to listen to your artist about size limitations of your artwork.
Large tattoos are a major commitment. Many people say that want to get a sleeve but do not realize the amount of work that will go into it. Most full sleeves can take anywhere from 20 to 60 hours to be completed. These are divided into multiple sessions ranging from 3-7 hours and can take 3 to 12 months to finish the entire thing depending on the individual and the project. Back pieces can take more time then this also. Half sleeves and chest pieces can take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours.Even though these tattoos may take a while to complete they can make an incredible piece of artwork but they aren't meant for everyone. You must be willing to be patient and walk around with unfinished work for months at a time. Just remember Rome wasn't built in a day!
Draw me something up man!
Tattoo artists do not draw tattoo designs unless we will be the one doing the tattoo, on a client who already has an appointment booked with us. They do not design tattoos for you to take to other artists or shops.
Tattoo conventions can be a real experience. You can visit a location with hundreds of top artists all under one roof. With a small entry fee, you can browse through their work, gain information, enter the tattoos you have in contests, check out live events and shows, grab some business cards and stickers, purchase merchandise and even get a tattoo from your favorite artist. There is conventions all year long in all parts of the world. Most major cities have at least one every year. What better way to show appreciation for your artist, than win award with the tattoo they did!
There is much more information out there that can help educate the public on tattoos, piercing and their industry. We provided some great resources for info below.
Beyond the INK - Tattoo Education
World Tattoo Events - Universal Conventions Calendar