It is important that you research your artist and know what they specialize in. Some artists only specialize in certain styles i.e. black and grey realism or traditional etc. There are also artists who are versatile and can do almost any style of tattoo. But, most importantly, if it is a portrait that you are looking for, make sure that they have many portraits in their portfolio. If they don't, then they probably don't do portraits.
If you aren't sure what it is you want tattooed, you may want to do some thinking and your own research. Artists can't decide for you as you are a unique individual and it's probably our first time meeting you. But, if you are the type of individual who gets tattoos for the art and not the meaning behind it, then you can browse the artists 'up for grabs' drawings (also known as flash) and you may find something you like.
When coming in for a consultation, any reference photos or rough sketches (doesn't have to be pretty) will help the artist get an idea of what it is you are looking for in a tattoo. This is important because chances are you will only see your design either the night before the appointment, if you're up in the middle of the night, or the day of. If you come in for your appointment and are not happy with the final design, then there was a miscommunication somewhere. If there are major changes to be made, the artist will reschedule you and redraw, he or she may charge a drawing fee at this point. If by the second time you are still not happy with the design, the artist may tell you that they may not be the right artist for you. So, please, make sure you check portfolios and do your research.
We know tattoos are fairly expensive, but there is a good reason as to why. Not only are the tattoo and art supplies expensive, but each artist brings their work home with them. Their work hours don't end at closing time, they spend countless hours responding to emails and messages from clients, and often draw all night. The artists almost only have time to keep up with day to day appointments. Your design for your appointment will likely be worked on the night before and final touches the morning of.
When it comes to sitting in the chair and getting your tattoo please don't rush your artist. Each artist works at their own pace to achieve the best work that they can produce. There is nothing more stressful to an artist than to feel rushed. If you have a budget, make sure you let the artist know during the consultation and they can design to your budget. DO NOT expect a $1000 tattoo for $500. That's offensive to your artist. They work very hard.
When it comes to placement, there are a few things you'll want to know. Some of the most painful spots are your ribs, inner bicep, the ditches (behind elbows and knees and armpits), knees, elbows, feet, hands, inner thigh, back of thigh. These are spots you may want to reconsider if you are coming in for your first tattoo, it is very stressful when a client can't sit still. When you jerk, the needle jerks too. Consider starting small in a less painful area unless you know you have a great pain tolerance.
For you youngsters, because you are still growing, the centered tattoo on the back of your neck may not be so centered once you are a full grown adult. Also, please don't get anything on your hands, neck or face until you are at least in your mid 20's. You may like something now, but there is a good chance you may regret it in the future. So, if you are considering getting a tattoo, talk to mom or dad first and get their advice. Exposed tattoos may hurt your future career and the majority of us change careers a few times throughout our lives.
Please, don't ask how much it costs for a full sleeve or back piece. Those are almost impossible to quote. Tattoos are a luxury, just like vacations, fancy cars, purses etc. The only difference is that a good tattoo will last you a lifetime. Each person is a different size/shape/skin type etc. In addition to that, each design for each client is a custom design, one might have a little less detail, one may be colour, one may be black and grey and one might be black work. For bigger pieces, artists charge an hourly rate. Once you sit in that chair, the needle hits your skin, the clock starts. If you have a budget, the artist can design something to fit your budget. But, don't settle for something simplified because of a budget, that tattoo is on you for life. Sleeves take time, they don't happen overnight. Some take years to complete depending on how often the client comes in for sessions. After all, the process is fun!!
The ink is set in at least one millimeter beneath your skin into the dermis. So, the cover-up would again set the ink in the same dermis as the previous tattoo.
Your original tattoo and the cover up will mix and create a new colour. For example, if the artist uses red to cover a blue tattoo, those colours will mix and turn purple.
Light or faded tattoos are much easier to cover with darker ink.
Choice of design is important, not all designs will work as a cover-up. The artist will work with you on coming up with the right design.
Dark ink will always dominate. So, if your original tattoo is a light blue, the artist will use a darker shade of blue to cover the light blue. This means your new tattoo will be darker than your original tattoo.
If you have a very dark tattoo that you want covered, the artist may suggest a few sessions of tattoo laser removal. The reason for this is because black over powers all, so the artist will work off the black tattoo to try to camouflage it rather than cover it. This will result in a dark tattoo that will be 3 times the size of your original tattoo. If the artist uses anything lighter than black to cover your old tattoo, eventually that black will show through.
Wait until your scar is completely healed before tattooing over it. Tattooing over an unhealed scar may cause it to bleed more and be very painful. Also, tattooing over scars, even healed ones, can cause blowouts and may not be as crisp and clean as you would like it to be. Scars can also reject ink in some areas, so be ready to possibly go in for more than one sitting to go over those areas.
Keloids are risky to tattoo over. It may make the scar worse when your body goes into defense mode.
Another thing to consider is having the artist design something to work with the scar rather than to cover it.
Try not to get offended if your artist does not like your idea. If the artist tries to talk you into something you didn't have in mind, it’s probably because they know the idea or placement won't work. After all, they are the professionals.
Artists also don’t like to copy other peoples work, so be open to changes they would like to make to drawings/designs/tattoos you found online. Chances are if it’s not their original design, they won’t want to tattoo it.
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