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.
Also, keep in mind that each artist has their unique style. Do not expect your tattoo to look identical to the reference photos you supply. Artists will not copy anyone's work!
If you aren't sure what it is you want tattooed, you may want to do 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, 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 prior to booking an appointment.
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 you are 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 the feeling of being rushed. If you have a budget, make sure you let the artist know during the consultation, so they can design your tattoo based on your budget. DO NOT expect a $1000 tattoo for $500. That's offensive to your artist, as they work very hard to produce something that you love.
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, and back of the thigh. These are spots you may want to reconsider if you are coming in for your first tattoo, as it is very stressful when a client can not sit still. When you jerk, the needle jerks too! Consider starting small in a less painful area unless you know you have a high tolerance to pain.
For you youngsters, because you are still growing, the centred tattoo on the back of your neck may not be so centred once you are a full grown adult. Also, please avoid tattooing 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. When you sit in that chair and 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 a session.
The ink is set in at least one millimetre 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, as not all designs will work as a cover-up. The artist will work with you to create 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 three 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.
It's very important that your scar is fully healed before attempting to cover it up with a tattoo. If your scar is not fully healed, tattooing over it can lead to bleeding and can be very painful.
Keloids are risky to tattoo over. It may make the scar worse when your body goes into defence mode. Another thing to consider is having the artist design something to work with the scar rather than to cover it up. It 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 session to go over those areas.
Try not to get offended if your artist does not like your idea. If the artist tries to suggest a different idea, it’s most likely because they know the original idea or placement won't work. After all, they are the professionals.
Also, artists do not like to copy other people's work, so be open to feedback and changes they would like to make to drawings/designs/tattoos that you found online. Chances are if it’s not their original design, they won’t want to tattoo it.
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