As we spoke about in our last post, getting a tattoo is a hugely intimidating process, for a lot of reasons. Not only is it painful, but it’s permanent. You’re trusting someone with a huge task, and I guarantee if you do your research and find a good artist, they’ll do a good job. Of course you hope that your tattoo artist knows exactly what you want, but we think it’s also important for you to know what your artist wishes you knew! So, with the guidance of our resident artists, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to be the best client you can be and to maximise your enjoyment during this exciting experience.
Just a quick disclaimer, I’m not going to include the obvious don’ts in this list. These being do not harass your artist, make sexual passes at your artist, be rude/demanding to your artist or act like an asshole in any way shape or form. Getting a tattoo is stressful yes, but your artist is doing their job to the best of their abilities, just like in any service industry, we just ask that you be respectful.
The first thing your artist wants you to know, is to do your research and make sure they’re right for you. Even if you and your artist vibe really well, the style you want may not be something they feel comfortable doing. If the style of their past work matches the style of what you want, you’re probably in the right place. If not, maybe ask the artist if they would recommend someone who could do a better job. After all, they just want you to be happy at the end of the day.
Secondly, most artists (we hope anyway) won’t tattoo something that’s exactly the same a tattoo someone else already has. Tattooing is a creative collaboration meaning that the two of you need to work together to come up with a unique design. Bring in a handful of reference photos, but not a wild amount. Your artist will greatly appreciate it if they have quality reference images to work off, and it means that your idea will likely be more successfully communicated. With all this, comes the need for patience. Often times people underestimate the amount of time and effort that goes into designing a tattoo. So please, do not push your artist. If you’ve agreed to have the design ready before the date of your tattoo wait for them to contact you. Otherwise, most artists (depending on how busy they are) will have your designs ready 2-3 days before your tattoo date. Some may even only have it ready 24 hours before if they’re really busy. Remember, most drawing is done in their own free time after work hours so go easy on them with this. If you’re feeling very anxious about the design, speak to your artist. You may be able to organise seeing your design early if you pay a small drawing fee.
Third is a bit tricky… Price. Listen, good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good. Tattoos are expensive, and if you go into it thinking that you aren’t going to pay much, you aren’t going to be able to get much. Different artists will charge different rates and it’s very unlikely that one artist will charge you the same rate as another artist down the street. Some artists charge an hourly rate, whereas some charge based on the entire piece - it’s at their discretion. If you’re wanting to know how much a piece will cost it’s always best to book a consultation. The price can vary greatly depending on the size and placement of your tattoo as well so don’t assume that a tattoo on your forearm will cost the same as on your ribs. Another important thing to be aware of is that small tattoos are not necessarily as cheap as you think. Most shops have what’s called a “shop minimum” which means that regardless of how small or simple a piece is, it will still cost at least the shop minimum. This rate can vary greatly depending on the shop so again, always ask your artist. As an end note, please do not haggle the price. It can come off as insulting to the artist if you try and barter something they have put time, energy and love (not to mention the endless hours of honing their craft) into .
Next, artists aren’t mind-readers and they want you to be happy, so if you aren’t thrilled with the design on the day, please, speak up! Please understand though that once they’ve started you can not change your mind. But it’s important to keep a balance between this and telling your artist what to do. You obviously chose this artist because you loved their artwork, so try and trust in the process and don’t micromanage. You can definitely share your ideas but in the end, they’re the professional and they know best. Becoming a tattoo artist takes A LOT of time and practice so I promise you, they know what they’re doing.
My final point is to just exercise some good ol’ common sense when you’re thinking about how you should behave in the shop. Firstly, don’t come in and ask an artist to draw something up for you saying “If I love it I’ll definitely book an appointment”. It’s a waste of your artists precious time and it’s honestly just a bit of a dick move haha. Secondly, as we mentioned in our previous two posts, do not come in drunk, hungover or sick. You will likely be denied service so don’t waste your time and save all that partying for when your lovely new tattoo is all healed up! Third, for those out there who get a period, try not to schedule your appointment during that time, the pain will be so so so much worse. Fourth, don’t bring in a big group with you, and obviously NO KIDS. Large groups can be distracting for both you and your artist so stick to one person (but always check with the shop first). Lastly, sit still, stay calm and try to relax during your tattoo. Try bringing some earphones to listen to music or watch a movie - it’ll help you to zone out.
Do all of these things and I guarantee you will have a wonderful tattooing experience and your artist will be eternally grateful!
Love the Fox and Moon Team xx