The 10 commandments of tattoos

As I am getting tattooed once again on Saturday, I felt compelled to share a few tips my friends in the tattoo community have given me over the years. Follow these rules and you won’t look like a total ass at the shop:

1. DO try to have some kind of idea what you’re looking for before you come to the studio- impulse buying isn’t, usually, a very good way to find a tattoo that you’ll be able to live with for the rest of your life.

2. DO tip your tattoo artist! This should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it’s not. If you didn’t know that tipping a tattoo artist is customary, YOU DO NOW! Tattoo artists DO NOT get paid an hourly wage- they earn a percentage of the money you pay for your tattoo and that’s it. They depend, heavily, on tips to support themselves. You wouldn’t stiff a waiter on the tip unless the service was really bad, would you? Your tattoo artist is marking you for life, something far more serious than even a fancy meal, so hasn’t he/she earned at least the recognition that a waitperson gets? If you receive exceptional service, show your appreciation by tipping. As a general rule, tipping 10% is a MINIMUM, 15-20% is normal and anything more is considered tipping heavily. If you don’t have the extra money to tip, at least explain that to your artist (they’ll understand and appreciate it)- if you can, bring them a tip the next time you have a few extra dollars. Clients who are known to tip always get a little extra ‘love’ from their artist.

3. DO NOT go into a tattoo studio if you’ve been drinking or if you’re under the influence of something. Show your tattoo artist some respect and come sober- nobody likes dealing with drunks.  If you’re wasted, you won’t make a good decision on what to get and you’ll bleed so heavily your tattoo is likely to look like it’s done in pastel colors. Plus, it hurts more. Nough’ said.

4. DO NOT try to bargain with your tattoo artist like you’re some vendor in a Indonesian night market. You wouldn’t go to the grocery store or a restaurant and try to talk a clerk or a waiter into lowering the price. The last thing you want your tattoo artist being mad at you when he starts sticking you with needles. “Good Tattoos Aren’t Cheap And Cheap Tattoos Aren’t Good.” People who “price shop” for tattoos end up with inferior tattoos- don’t let that happen to you.

5. Do you own “prep” work. It is weird having someone else shave you. Period. Unless, she is really hot and giving you a straight razor shave with a hot towel and happy ending. Just sayin.

6. DO NOT ask your artist to draw something just to see if he can. There are people who come into the studio and ask for one thing to be drawn after another without every getting anything. Don’t be that person! I prefer the power-point approach. Giving the artist an idea of what I am looking for.

7. DO pay maintain personal hygiene and physical decorum. Unfortunately, this has to be said for some people’s sake. There’s nothing more unpleasant than having to work on someone who smells.The same goes for bodily functions. If you’re having some difficulties with your stomach (i.e. gas) it might NOT be a good day to get tattooed.

8. DO NOT try to force your artist to make social conversation if they don’t seem receptive to it. Some artists like to talk and others don’t. You want the best tattoo you can get so let your artist work in the way that he/she is comfortable. Your artist will appreciate the consideration and it’ll be reflected in the work.

9. DO NOT fart while getting tattooed. It is awkward for both parties. (it is listed twice for a reason)

10. Unless it is your name, or a variation of “your name here” do not get it. Wars have been fought over romances, but ink is permnant.



Filed under Tattoos

11 responses to “The 10 commandments of tattoos

  1. I’m trying to do a lot of research on a REALLY good black & white artist for my BIG tattoo that’ll go across my back

    It’s not as easy as I thought it was.

    Go with the power-point. Words can never match the power of a picture, especially one that is in your head. Lol, I had 45 slides for the one I am getting sat.

  2. i think #8 is a good one. i got a tattoo on my foot this summer. three of my friends and i went- they all had wicked talkative artists, and mine was basically mute. it made me a little uncomfy, but hey, if that’s how he works, and the work comes out great (which it did), then there’s no sense on forcing a lame-o conversation that could only end up distracting the artist, right?

    good luck with your tattoo this weekend!

    You hit the nail on the head with this one. I don’t like to distract or piss off anyone with needles hooked up to electricity. Thanks!

  3. Hi,
    New here.:) Great post! I have 2 tattoos. Other suggestions are-Don’t tattoo yourself with words that are not in your first language (ie. Chinese/Japanese/etc) or at least make sure you know the meaning of the words before putting it on your body forever. Also you may want to think twice about tattooing your face or hands.

    Welcome Hannah! Oh man, I have horror stories! I love it when those kinds of people run into someone that speaks the language, and they laugh.

  4. God, I have always wanted a tattoo. I just know that if I get one, that won’t be the end of it… I’ll want more.

    It could probably make for a pretty good TMI Thursday though… especially if I get this one:

    They are seriously addictive. Personally, I find a girl with a full sleeve hot…It’s definitely you!

  5. k8

    Is it bad that I still want a tramp stamp?

    Nope! There are just too many haters out there. Get stamped girl!

  6. tip tip and tip!!!
    when you go back for your 5th tattoo, they remember…that’s when you are able to get that
    “killer back piece” for a mere 150$

    They like to take care of people who take care of them…

    yea…and good point…
    don’t fart…ever

    Well put. Especially when you start covering entire body parts!

  7. I assume the rules are different for prison tats?

    I would assume so. When you use a paper clip and an electric shaver motor to “paint the canvas” I think all bets are off. BTW, I have no such ink!

  8. Greaaaat! These should be from now on, The Tattoo Maxims or something like that, really. Great job!

    So it shall be!

  9. I have the brainy monster!!!!!!! Cool!!!!!

    That just made me think of the movie Waiting, ehhh its so veiny!

  10. love the post.

    number 4, is the one I am always preaching about. price shopping for a tattoo is never a good idea. I have had people show me their shitty tattoos, and follow it up by “it only cost me $40 bucks…” or “I got it for free!”–I can’t help but feel a little sad for them. Just a little, because otherwise they are complete idiots.

    “Good Tattoos Aren’t Cheap And Cheap Tattoos Aren’t Good.” …words to live by, for sure.

    Just trying to spread the word. Thanks for dropping in!

  11. mandy sent me here because of your hot friday things – this is an excellent list of thangs…have you seen my guide to tattoo etiquette?

    Yeah, I just checked it out. Well played, well played indeed.

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