So you’re getting ready for your first tattoo! We’re sure you’re bursting with questions. Getting to know the process is important, so here are some ways to learn what to expect by asking the right questions.
Getting a tattoo is always a combination of anxiety and excitement. After all, we’ve been reminded plenty of times by our dear aunt at the dinner table how permanent they are, so we don’t usually make the decision lightly.
You’ll probably spend enough time scouring the internet to get to know the process as much as possible, but that’s all surface-level. The real important questions are those you ask your tattooist, as they’ll be the ones to make or break your experience.
So before you hit enter on your “Tattoo Questions” Google search, here are five important questions to ask your tattoo artist before your appointment.
How Much Experience Do They Have as a Tattoo Artist?
Finding a reliable tattoo artist is par for the course and is a highly personal choice. But first, you must feel entirely comfortable with the tattoo artist you’ll be working with. Asking about their work experience is an excellent place to start and can help you build a meaningful connection. After all, we wouldn’t want someone without experience putting ink on our skin.
You may feel more comfortable dealing with a tattoo artist who has more experience than an albeit talented intern. This is because in tattoo studios, time equals knowledge, and the longer an artist has walked around the block, the better their tattoo methods usually are. But this isn’t always necessarily the case.
Some tattoo artists show immense talents out the gate and, with the right mentors teaching them, can rival long-time professionals in a few short months. Knowing all the details about how they started, what inspired them, and how long they’ve been tattooing people can help you decide how much you would trust them.
You wouldn’t trust a surgeon with no operation experience to do your kidney transplant, so why would you trust a tattoo artist who’s never tattooed someone before?
What Is Their Favourite Tattoo Style?
Once again, tattoos are incredibly personal, and nobody will ever quite resonate with the ink you get on your body. Moreover, it’s an art form with many unique styles and methods from which to choose. So, when you’re looking to book a tattoo appointment at your local tattoo parlour, asking about the tattoo artist’s favourite styles will make a lot of sense.
Their favourite style will most likely be the one they use the most in their custom tattoo designs. They will have spent most of their career perfecting their style and creating style-oriented designs for flash pieces and custom pieces for clients. Your trust in your tattoo artist may fall squarely on whether or not they’ve had enough practice in the style you like.
Your tattooist may be an absolute legend in the world of Old Americana tattoo styles but hasn’t had much experience with the realism tattoo style. You’d want them to feel completely comfortable with their style. Otherwise, you might end up with a botched tattoo.
Where Can You See Their Previous Work?
Your tattoo artist should have an ongoing portfolio of their work lying around somewhere, and if it’s not online, it should be in some physical form. Luckily, most tattoo shops have dived into the murky waters of social media and, with permission from their clients, constantly update their feeds with their latest work.
This can help you make a decision on whether the artist is a good fit for you or not. In addition, you’ll be able to see the subtle nuances of their style and artistic process when it comes to custom designs. You may also find the added bonus of flash sales popping up on their feed, so you can throw caution to the wind and get that tiger tattoo you’ve always wanted.
It’s become increasingly easier to find some semblance of a portfolio for your tattoo artist, but there’s no harm in asking for their Instagram handle or TikTok username just for your peace of mind.
How Long Will Your Tattoo Take to Heal?
Tattoos are a commitment from start to finish; the healing process can sometimes feel never-ending. But did you know that different tattoos heal differently?
It is essential to check with your tattoo artist what their average tattoo healing time frame is. After all, tattoo aftercare can be a tedious process to ensure you don’t get any infections or lose the effect of your piece.
Large designs, like full sleeves, often require multiple sessions over an extended timeframe to allow for healing between linework and shading. Asking your artist for a general timeframe on how long your tattoo could take to heal can help you prepare for the coming weeks. Especially if your tattoo requires any special tattoo aftercare based on its location.
What Must You Do to Prepare for Your Appointment?
When the day does come that you finally book to get your sick sleeve done, asking your tattoo artist for preparation tips is an absolute must! Each artist works differently, so their preparation requirements can vary.
Preparation for a tattoo appointment can mean anything from setting up consultations for your custom tattoo design to signing consent forms and submitting ID documents. You want to be sure you’ve done everything required before arriving at your local tattoo shop on the day.
Also, be sure to ask your tattooist for advice to follow on the day. They’ll be able to tell you what clothes to wear, whether you should eat beforehand and what to expect for the day. This adds a sense of comfort to your appointment and ensures that you’re both mentally and physically prepared on the day!
Of course, it goes without saying that tattoo appointment preparation also requires some common sense!
Why These Questions Matter
While the internet may hold the answers to many of the burning questions we have, tattoo artists are the actual gurus. We’ve mentioned enough times that tattoos, and thus tattoo artists are an extremely personal affair and require some tedious planning on your side. As the client, it’s your responsibility to ensure you know as much information beforehand when booking an appointment.
Getting a tattoo is a complicated process; each tattooist and client experiences it differently. Fortunately, this unique perspective is something you’ll only get by asking your local tattoo shop.