Lots of people have tattoos; and are considered by many a rite of passage on reaching eighteen. However there are some facts you may wish to consider and some research you should do before you make any commitment to getting your tattoo.
The decision to get tattooed is big and important, and should not be taken lightly. And contrary to belief not all tattoo artists or studios are the same.
Recommendations by friends is a good start, have a close look at their ink, is there any part of their tattoo that they are not happy with from an aesthetic point of view. Quiz them about their experience, where they made to feel comfortable, what was the studio like? Or consider group review resources such as ‘This is Cornwall’ where you can read about the experiences other customers have had.
Which Studio, What to Look for and What to Ask
The studio should be obviously visually clean and well maintained; the studio staff should all be happy to tell and offer to show you the studio and their sterilising/cleaning procedures.
No one working in the studio should feel uncomfortable being observed working (consideration to their customers not withstanding). Ask them what tattooing experience they have.
Every tattoo studio and tattoo artist must be registered with their local authority; and these registration certificates should be prominently displayed, and a copy of HSE and local council’s by-laws associated with tattooing and piercing should be available on request.
Whilst insurance is not currently a legal requirement, choosing a studio that has insurance is preferable as it demonstrates a responsible attitude towards their customers.
A spontaneous trip to a tattoo studio may seem exciting, take the time and pick out a reputable studio before setting out. Whilst the quality of the art is important, there is also a needle involved that will make contact with your skin, so you want to choose a studio that is renowned for taking proper hygiene precautions.
Make an informed decision about who your tattoo artist is going to be, seeking out a professional tattoo artist should be a given but unfortunately is not always the case; there are irresponsible tattooists out there. Your chosen artist should be happy to meet with you and for you to ask as many questions as you need to. It is important that you feel comfortable with the artist.
Your chosen artist will have a portfolio and should be happy to show this to you and to discuss your ideas. We would like to think that a tattooist should show as much enthusiasm about your ideas as you do, and will to your ideas justice.
Cost versus quality
Your tattoo is going to be with you for ever, so why would you consider compromising on cost what may seem expensive today won’t in five years’ time when you are still in love with your beautiful tattoo. So often at our studio we are asked to remove low cost and low quality tattoos; which ironically ends up costing the individual more in the long term. More time is often spent choosing a pair of shoes than choosing a tattoo artist, with the attitude being I need my tattoo now and compromises being made.
You should have high expectation regarding your ink, there are some exceptional tattoo artists if you take the time to seek them out, and perhaps be prepared to save up for your tattoo. So many people continue to price shop for their tattoos, and expect to get a full sleeve in one or two sittings and for minimal cost.
The Tools of the Trade
A tattoo artist with integrity will always use single use needles that will be opened in front of you. The studio also should have an ultrasonic cleaner and an autoclave for sterilizing any non-disposable equipment. Disposable gloves are a given, with your artist wearing them throughout the tattoo. Fresh gloves should be worn to break the station down (tidy up) to avoid any cross contamination.
Your tattoo studio should give you clear guidance regarding the aftercare of your tattoo, including what to expect during healing.
Sometimes you may need to return to your artist to have areas touched up, again unless you have picked your healing tattoo which leaves a very obvious gap in the ink, your artist should be happy to accommodate. It is inevitable that on occasions when you are to all intense and purpose painting with pins that some of the ink may not go in as dense as desired.
Why are you getting a Tattoo?
As previously mentioned a tattoo could be with you for ever, and the decision to get tattooed is big and important and should not be taken lightly.
If you are getting your tattoo just because it has become a common practice is perhaps not the best reason to get a tattoo. Tattoos can be expensive, painful, and they are permanent. Tattoo removal is also expensive and painful. If you are having any doubts just wait, until you know exactly what you want permanently inked onto your skin, why you want it, where you want it, and exactly what it means to you.
Think About Placement.
The majority of people choose to get tattooed on areas that are easy to conceal with clothing this could be because of careers and lifestyles. Face, hand, and throat tattoos are relatively uncommon for this reason, and some tattooist won’t tattoo these areas.
Your placement choice should make sense in conjunction with your chosen art, and take into consideration any potential concealment that maybe required. Your tattooist should guide you about placement and direction; you should also be asked if you are happy with the placement of the stencil if not ask for it to be moved. A stencil is easier to move than any ink!
Tattoos placed over bony areas and tendons and anywhere with loads of nerve endings will be more painful. The best tattoos are the ones that work organically with the contours of the body. Be aware that some areas will be more painful than others, but don’t let fear of pain compromise where you would like to have your tattoo placed.
Understand Your Art
Oriental language characters are very popular tattoos with non-oriental language speakers, because the characters are beautiful. This is true also of Hebrew, Arabic, and several other languages with elegant glyphs; you may be unaware that some characters represent several words or ideas depending on the context. And if you don’t read a given language and are choosing a character from a wall of flash art, be sure of its meaning.
There are also some popular designs that have developed over time from what were once gang tattoos. Again a tattooist with integrity should have this conversation with you.
Tattoo designs go through trends, from tribal, old school, script or celebrity designs, take a moment to consider whether this has guided your decision. Are the song lyrics that you like today still going to be relevant in a couple of years’ time?
Names, as a Tattoo Studio that also offers removal, our advice would be that you steer away from having the name of your loved one in favour of parents or children’s names tattooed.
Most artists will insist on a consultation before the actual tattooing begins. You need this time to talk with your tattooist to discuss your art, placement, the amount of time it will take, and the cost, and any concerns that you may have.
So Remember …
Your tattoo experience should be a positive one
You will be required to complete a consent form and asked for photographic ID
You should expect customer service
Expect quality art-work, if you feel you are having to compromise walk away
The studio must be clean and registered
If you feel in any way anxious or concerned about the studio – WALK AWAY!