Finding the right tattoo artist can be challenging. Espcecially if you’re new to tattoos and aren’t even sure how to start the process. This is for you. Or if you’ve moved to a new city and are looking for a new tattoo artist, this is for you.
So you want to get a tattoo. Awesome. Tattoos are freaking rad… Well, not all tattoos. Some tattoos look like they were wiped on by a blind dinosaur. And then some look like Michealengelo himself came back from the dead to do an entire arm.
But where do you even begin. Everyone you’ve seen probably has a tattoo. Every street has a dozen shops and every channel has a tattoo show.
Start as close to you as possible.
Become more aware of your coworkers and classmates or family members ink. Pay attention to who has tattoos all around you. What do you like about them? Is it the color? the flowiness? the placement?
Ask to look at their work. People love to show off their tattoos. Thats why we get em!!
Ask where they got it and who did the work.
After a bit of this you’ll probably start to hear some of the same names and shops be mentioned.
Hit the web… Its time to check out what random strangers have said about the artists and shops you’ve heard from your friends family and coworkers.
Take internet reviews with a grain of salt. Mostly dissatisfied people will be the first to yell from the clock tower. you can find a great list of tattoo artsits all over the world here or here
Now hit the streets.
Go visit the shops and tattoo artists you’ve heard all about. Walk in the shops and check out the vibe of the building. The lighting, the music, the floors, the walls, the whole enchilada. Make sure they take pride in where they operate. It can be a little one person shop but do they care about where they work. How do you feel? Comfy? thats good…
Next you want to ask about porfolios and examples of work. This is where you can get a good feel for what each artist wants to do. These are examples of the tattoos they are most proud of and think that you will enjoy. *you can save yourself a trip to the shop for this part if you look up the tattoo artist or the shop on Instagram, facebook or other social media outlets.* This is also the time to look really close at the work they are putting out. Are the lines clean crisp and consisten? Are the colors bright vibrant and well saturated in the skin? Are the shades of color or grey smooth or choppy? These are very important details. If the work is good, the price will be well worth it. If the price seems like a bargain be very skeptical of the work they are producing. The old adage is still fairly accurate ” A good tattoo isn’t cheap and a cheap tattoo isn’t good.”
Introduce yourself to the tattoo artists you like. Get a feel for them as people. Who knows, if you start to really like tattoos, you might be spending a lot of time with this person. Use your best judgment as far as sincerity is concerned. I can’t help you if you’re a sucker for a fast talker.
I am by no means the best tattoo artist in the world but I make sure my customers are treated well and their tattoos are executed well every time. And I try to have as much fun in the process. but thats just me…
Repeat the process of going to shops chatting with the artists until you know exactly who will do the tattoo you need the best.
Dont’ expect the tattoo artists to draw your tattoo out for you. Don’t ask them to work for free so you can think about it. Thats what the portfolio is for. If you like what they have done in the past, you will love what they can do for you.
For larger projects the tattoo artist will need to take a deposit to hold your spot in their schedule. It also shows your dedication to getting tattooed. If we had a dollar for everyone that said “trust me, I’ll be here” we probably wouldnt have to tattoo anymore.
You can ask about sterile tools. Its never a bad idea. Any reputable shop won’t have any problem with showing you their equipment and its pretty much a non issue anymore. The days of old needles are long gone.
So thats where I would start. Do some research and take your time with it. Good things come to those who are willing to put in the work.
And by no means ever should you go to a tattoo artist that doesn’t work in a tattoo shop. There is a reason they aren’t working in a shop.
If I missed anything let me know in the comments. Its too easy not to get a good tattoo these days!