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.