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“Tattooing is about personalizing the body, making it a true home and fit temple for the spirit that dwells inside it....Tattooing therefore, is a way of keeping the spiritual and material needs of my body in balance.” “When the designs are chosen with care, tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul.” ~Michelle Delio
Please keep in mind that this is only a guide—a mere starting point for an often complex and unpredictable journey. After reading this and doing other research, it’s still best to proceed with caution and treat your chosen tattoo artist like the expert they are. Although we feel confident in the accuracy of all the information you’re about to read, you may find reputable tattoo industry professionals who disagree with some of the statements or ethical viewpoints expressed here. We welcome such diversity, and so should you: consider it equivalent to getting a second opinion from a doctor before going through with a surgery. Both types of decisions can certainly have life altering consequences, so gather all the information you think you’ll need, starting here, and make the wisest choice possible. Good luck and enjoy.
or you’re planning out your next large custom piece. and people who have the attitude that because someone has many tattoos. that they are automatically on display for strangers’ amusement.. that you should approach the subject with caution. Conversely. and a zillion other personal traits and qualities to do a good tattoo. but they are even more painful to remove. proper quality equipment. the right artist should be able to work with you enough to make that idea a reality. After all. In this information age of knowledge sharing. you won’t get the best tattoo possible. for the rest of your life. or until you cover them up with new ones. essentially all you need to do is match the perfect tattoo design with the perfect tattoo artist—but it’s not really that simple. surf the Internet for hours. email and talk with tattooed people you know. or get them removed with laser surgery—but that’s a whole other article. Some basic human respect and dignity can go a long way in this and any other area of life. They will usually appreciate your politeness and tattoo etiquette and be that much more willing to share some of their knowledge with you. Now that we have learned all these lessons the hard way (and our dumbness is still debatable) and are sharing them with you. like a circus sideshow performer. First and foremost. Sure. and learn about it before jumping in. whether you have it in your hand to begin with or not. most of us heavily tattooed people did not follow the advice being given in this article. Visit some tattoo conventions. Tattoos may be painful to get. not after. if you have the perfect design or idea but not the right artist. before choosing a tattoo artist. Many heavily tattooed people put up with minor public hassles like staring. honesty and ethics. While the mantra ‘tattoos last forever’ is a great thing to keep in mind when making your decision. your tattoo artist must be clean and sanitary. unless you have already done your homework and have a thorough knowledge of tattoos. or as the butt of your friends’ jokes.. don’t say we didn’t try to warn you. In fact. before engaging them at random. artistic talent. The ‘proper’ way to get the perfect tattoo is to do a few years of researching tattoos as well as the art world in general in order to develop a taste for artistic tattoos. It should be mentioned here that if you are going to try talking with heavily tattooed people about tattoos outside of a studio or convention environment. silly. To get the perfect tattoo. if you find the right artist they will make sure you get the perfect design in the end. Finding a tattoo artist like this will take a bit of time and effort—they probably aren’t your best friend’s friend who tattoos out of his kitchen in . Therefore. is to be patient and really learn about this fantastic art form before taking action.. Many heavily tattooed people. If you end up on a website like badtattoos. and particularly women (who generally appear less intimidating and more approachable than tattooed males). there is no reason to enter the world of tattoos without doing it the right way. it is not completely accurate: they only last until you move on to the next world.. like almost anything in life. the decision you make now will affect you. but that’s because we were young and dumb. complain of people they don’t know reaching out and touching or grabbing their tattooed skin in awe or wonder. even if you only have a vague idea in your head to start out with. Suffice it to say. But to find the perfect tattoo artist. even if people do not mean anything harmful by it. This can be very threatening. The Perfect Artist Finding the perfect tattoo artist is probably more important than finding the right design. a good reputation. the first rule to getting the perfect tattoo.Getting The Perfect Tattoo Whether you’re looking for your first tattoo because all your friends are getting one. whispers and comments as they walk by. Getting a tattoo is not something to be taken lightly. first you have to learn what goes into finding one. you don’t have any excuse for making bad tattoo decisions. After this comes the technical ability to apply good tattoos.com. you’re going on vacation and want something to remember your fun time forever. though many first timers don’t realize this. remember to make sure someone is willing to talk about his or her tattoos and/or show them to you. check out the landscape. your goal is the same: getting the perfect tattoo. So. in some way.
They don’t want to contract a disease from the tattoo process any more than you do. and then ask industry experts to back up your decisions. that’s never a good sign. Some. Without too much ‘music training’ you will find that there are bands you like and bands you hate. you deal with only one tattoo that day. If they are happy you are asking. every day. proper stateissued tattoo artist and health department licenses. There are things you should look for in your prospective artist’s studio. Artistic Talent This may seem obvious to most people. your tattoo artist should be way more concerned about being clean and safe than you are—after all. Tattoo artists aren’t made equal. There are many things that tattoo artists must do to keep their work area clean and avoid contamination from blood-borne pathogens. but your artist is likely dealing with many people. Your best bet is to do lots of homework and learn. you need to look at the artistic ability of many tattoo artists to see what’s really possible with the art-form. such as a neat and clean appearance. answer your questions clearly. and should not have a problem answering some basic precautionary questions. Be very forewarned. so you should always err on the side of caution. If the artist blows off questions or gives you vague answers. a clearly labeled sharps container for used needles. To be safe. Likewise. so that they will be on top of their game at the place of their choice. and some tattoo artists who have learned in a professional environment end up working from their homes after crazy tattoo studio owners. of course. and picking an artist without knowing what’s possible in tattooing is a good way to get shitty tattoos (we know this firsthand!). and which are popular because of talent and hard work. if you have picked a tattoo artist without researching and looking at hundreds and hundreds of tattoos. If you listen to lots of music for years with a critical ear. With very few exceptions. and then you will have the experience and knowledge to pick a tattoo artist that’s perfect for your idea or design. unfortunately. though: unless you really know your tattoo artist and his or her history. Every tattoo artist has different talents and abilities. Before you can properly tell good tattoos from bad tattoos. Every phase of the tattoo process involves being patient enough to do it right. Again. Clean and Sterile Tattooing is minor surgery—it involves the puncturing of the skin with a foreign object. no tattoo artist should ever be annoyed that you are asking about your safety. if not downright bad tattoo. Indeed. since a small amount of blood is a normal part of the tattooing process. Chances are. and once stated it’s easy to understand. you can start to pick out the bands that are popular because of marketing. In any event. Your best bet when scouting for a new tattoo artist is to talk with them and ask questions about these things first. Sure. an autoclave and ultrasonic cleaner. this means that getting tattooed out of someone’s house or at a ‘tattoo party’ is not a good idea. It takes a bit of learning and experience to really pick apart the music scene and find the good stuff—the same applies for tattoos. Authentic tattoos are done in a professional environment by experienced tattoo artists who have learned from industry leaders. it still does happen. it may seem more ‘authentic’ to get a tattoo from a friend in the clubhouse basement. don’t have much of either.return for a six-pack. getting tattooed out of someone’s home is generally not a good idea. but many first timers don’t realize that tattoo artists vary drastically in ability. if you just flip on the radio or stop off at a local rock club and listen to a band at random. go crazy. . plastic barriers on all tattooing equipment. artists tend to create an environment that works best for them. Any respectable tattoo artist will know all about the safety concerns of their craft. then chances are pretty good you will just get an average. There are exceptions to every rule. Consider this metaphor: There are tons of rock bands out there. they probably aren’t that good. and show a genuine concern for safety then you are probably in good hands. and instruments that are taken out of autoclave pouches with proper sterility indicator. well. because your question directly relates to his or her safety as well. Although the chances of this happening are slim. it’s a good idea to shop for tattoo artists like you would for a dentist. but it’s not.
and you feel you can put up with it!). so you’ve done your homework. and commitment that goes both ways. Courtesy. artistic talent alone does not make a good tattoo. If you don’t have an artist picked out yet. all with the tattooed skin NOT looking like it is very rough or chewed up. solid outlines. Even still. Of course. and temperaments.Quality Tools and Technical Ability As you may have guessed. Learn through research which tattoo artists are able to combine their art knowledge with sound tattoo techniques—not all good artists can use a tattoo machine properly. sizes. You have shopped around for a clean. but chances are that if their work comes out amazing and heals well. Reputation Rumors. if two dozen people and a few tattoo artists with excellent tattoos all tell you you’re in good hands with the same artist. cheap tattoos are done dirt cheap and worth every penny. it can be very hard to tell if your artist is using quality equipment or supplies. and ethical (will you feel safe with someone who is obviously only after your money?). you also owe it to your tattoo artist to in return be honest (about your expectations). If learning to tattoo is not done in a proper studio environment. their mental and physical energy will be transferred directly onto the surface of your body in the form of your tattoo. You will be doing yourself a favor by choosing an artist who is honest (you’re trusting them with your body. courteous (who wants to be permanently marked by a jerk?). then looking for these attributes while researching hundreds and hundreds of tattoos from various tattoo artists will give you an idea about possible skill levels. While you can find homegrown methods to making your own tattoo machines and giving tattoos. Ok. clean. quality tattoo artists tend to have many more people talking good about them than bad. and a style that suits you best. Tattoo artists must have the proper tools and techniques to tattoo well. I want a tattoo!” Believe the guinea pigs. find another artist who has better manners (unless their artwork is truly perfect for you. ethical and honest tattoo artist who has great technical and artistic abilities. A few general things to look for to judge whether your artist has quality tools and technical ability are crisp. after all). Now. and every tattoo artist has at least a few people who don’t like them for some reason. quality tattooing takes years of patience. and not everyone who’s managed to learn how to use a tattoo machine can create good art. you will be wearing a piece of them. etc). A quality tattoo artist should be honored that you would want their artwork on your body for the rest of your life—in essence. Honest. The artist needs to combine that raw talent with precise technical ability and the right equipment. that’s a good clue the artist has what it takes to do your tattoo. they are using the right stuff and you can feel secure in your decision. respect. . Honesty. The entire tattoo process is one based on trust. and ethical (don’t make one artist draw something and take it to another to tattoo for cheaper. etc). courteous (don’t make an artist draw for hours then skip your appointments. and Ethics Tattoo artists. Unless you are a tattoo artist yourself. and a well done tattoo does not mean that it is also good art. Just because you have two friends that got a tattoo from someone and love that tattoo artist is not enough. run away yelling “guns are for killing. and evenly saturated color with smooth blending and shading. like everyone else. tattoo artists tend to mess up their friends and other poor suckers for years in an effort to learn the proper ways to do things. Now it’s time to work with him or her to find the perfect design. reputation and second hand stories are never completely accurate. You are complimenting their artwork by letting them use your skin as a canvas (assuming you are getting a somewhat artistic tattoo). and experience. practice. Don’t be one of those suckers. Remember—good art alone does not make a good tattoo. So if someone comes at you with a needle and thread or a homemade ‘tattoo gun’ telling you they’ll do it for free. come in all shapes. If the artist blows you off and doesn’t treat you well. it might be a good idea to find out about a tattoo artist’s reputation on the street. learning.
children’s book artwork. and to the artist that drew it. it’s probably worth trusting them. After all. etc. sculptures. They may spend hours looking through tattoos hoping to find the perfect design when they should be looking at the quality of the artist’s work rather than the designs themselves. but only a small one. is the issue with size. provided it was a custom. It’s always best to take the advice of your tattoo artist and really think about it. and then let the artist take it from there. testing the waters. Reference. with a few exceptions (generally racist tattoos. and bringing the images and your ideas to the tattoo artist who will be doing the tattoo. This means you need to trust your tattoo artist to bring your vision to life. There is a definite ‘flow’ or ‘Feng Shui’ to the body. and it’s an extremely important decision to make about your tattoo. You want a tiny tribal dragon on your massive back or your girlfriend/boyfriend’s name? You should get it. An expert tattoo artist knows best how to size and shape your tattoo. and different designs work with various body parts differently. Small tattoos usually can’t hold much detail and stand a greater chance of deteriorating over time. movie stills. At the end of the day. then you should probably find an artist you do trust to make that happen. If your artist tells you the tattoo should be bigger to fit your body part. most tattoo artists are in the service business. one-of-a-kind piece to begin with. so be prepared for a little give and take during the consultation process. And if you don’t trust your artist to give you the best possible tattoo. To get the best tattoo.The Perfect Design Only you can know what the perfect design is for your body. etc. and come out with a tattoo better than either of you thought. Tattoo Artists Know Better Now. what colors will work best. That’s why you are having them apply the tattoo and not yourself. That is. the goal is to match that with the idea the artist has in their head. There are some types of tattoos based on popular photographs or famous artwork that are probably ok to copy. a tattoo artist will put whatever you want on your skin to the best of their ability because they are in a retail industry providing a service to a consumer. and so you can use almost any visual reference you can find! Good reference sources definitely include tattoo ‘flash’ (pre-drawn designs free of copyright restrictions. While you have one vision in your head. it’s worth finding a lot of reference material. as well as photographs. One of the more common bones of contention between a tattoo artist and a client. because unlike any other surface out there. Copying other people’s tattoos is disrespectful to the wearer of the tattoo. but the bottom line is that you should get what you want. Often people will make the decision to get a tattoo. skin is a living. breathing—and unfortunately—constantly aging and deteriorating body organ. You can use a variety of reference materials to give your artist the idea of what you want. your own sketches or written descriptions. You may find later that you are selling yourself short with that decision. so you should make it the best it can be so your end result will have been worth your while. Tattoos are visual. but for the most part you should not be asking a tattoo artist to copy images found on the web. tattoo artists are experts about how tattoos look on yours or anyone else’s body. which are meant to be copied). skin is a very tricky medium to work with. for them to look at and then incorporate into their own style. but not for them to copy exactly. because it’s your body. original artwork. In short. because they’re just . or tattoos on the face/hands/neck. the best placement for it. or on celebrities. while you know what type of design you want to see on yourself. in magazines/books. or artists that are so sought after that they decide which tattoos they do or don’t do). obviously. especially a first timer. State your goals. There is usually a bit of compromise needed from both you and the artist to achieve a final result you are both happy with. you’re taking the plunge to get a tattoo. thoughts and concerns about the tattoo. or to capture the detail necessary to make the tattoo the best possible. and Copying Other People’s Tattoos Many people first learning about tattoos try to find other tattoos upon which to base their own design or idea.
People usually get this type of tattoo to test the waters. If the ratio is nearly even. This value scale ranges from blank. most do not. This type of tattooing compares most closely to acrylic or oil painting. There are many motivations to get various types of tattoos. Some black and grey tattoos may contain color as well.too. Chinese/Japanese letters. Unfortunately. but just keep in mind that they are common and often reconsidered (or downright regretted) later. tribal armbands. by the tattoo artist doing them. In addition. and may also be taken directly from ‘flash’ (pre-drawn templates meant for mass replication). Black and Gray Tattoos and Color Tattoos Perhaps the two most broad and general classifications of tattoo types are black and grey. etc. and then another to do the tattoo is not the best way to approach custom tattoo designs. Types of Tattoos While it’s often difficult to classify artwork. Tattoo artists have drastically different abilities and styles. or shade) to solid black tattooed skin (being the darkest value. can be considered ‘custom’ tattoos. and when an artist is drawing up a design they do it to their own abilities in their own style. and some do it merely to ‘fit in’ with their friends or a particular image. by far. falls under certain general categories. Therefore. and tints. Finding an artist to draw a design. then they will probably be classified by their subject matter or artistic genre. or shade). for introductory purposes. anything combined with tribal. Your own research will be best for finding the exact type or style of tattoo that you are after. small simple flowers. we will only discuss the most basic and general distinctions between tattoo types here. Some ‘entry level’ and ‘common’ tattoos may fit into this category. Every single other type of tattoo that exists fits into either of these two categories. ‘Entry Level’ and ‘Common’ Tattoos These types of tattoos are generally small and/or simple in nature. The most common tattoos are things like names. but generally speaking. Black and gray tattoos consist of pure black tattoo ink that is diluted with water in varying amounts to produce as broad a value scale as possible. These two types of tattoos are naturally quite self explanatory. and know for sure that you are getting what you really want for the right reasons. and color. to draw the tattoo design they have in their head is going to be the tattoo artist that will be doing the tattoo. these tattoos often require little forethought from the client or talent and skill from the tattoo artist. Colored tattoo inks can be blended together in an infinite amount of ways to produce a theoretically infinite amount of unique hues. an artist needs to feel engaged and connected to the art they . ‘common’ tattoos do have their positive qualities. requiring little time to apply. This type of tattooing compares very closely to graphite pencil shading on paper. Color tattoos consist of pure black tattoo ink. and there are potentially as many types of tattoos as there are tattoo artists doing them. In any event. but some first timers might not know the very specific distinctions between the two that we are talking about. then you should realize that these designs generally are not very unique. These tattoos are fine if you have researched and thought about it (as described in the previous section of this article). and various colored pigments to form a full-spectrum color wheel of (in theory) every single possible color. hearts. shades. Most first timers don’t realize that the best person. white tattoo ink. but if you are getting a tattoo that you want to be unique. including tattoos. and some color tattoos may contain sections of black and grey—their classification will depend on which of the two types comprises the clear majority of the tat- Custom Tattoos Any tattoos that have been drawn and created for you only. un-tattooed skin (being the lightest value. You will be doing yourself and the tattoo artists a big favor by having the artist doing the tattoo also draw the design. lower back tribals. most art.
fade. So keep all of this in mind when researching a tattoo artist for a cover-up or Realistic Tattoos There are tattoo artists out there that are capable of creating tattoos that look like photographs on your skin. see the ‘Artist Loyalty Vs. so you don’t end up with a dark. It is also just as common for the artist and/or client to be afraid of this and assume the new tattoo has to be way darker than necessary. since portraits are realistic tattoos by their very nature. cover-ups and reworks have a very specific set of challenges and guidelines that come with trying to hide or improve pre-existing pigment—as opposed to putting pigment into blank skin for the first time. Photorealistic tattoos are almost always done with photographs as reference. Both you and your chosen tattoo artist must understand that new pigment will not eradicate older unwanted pigment. However. it is of utmost importance to find a tattoo artist who is highly skilled and educated about covering old pigment with new. an experienced realistic tattoo artist that truly understands the skin and its limitations can create works of photorealism on skin that last a long time. as these tattoos require highly specialized techniques. Portrait Tattoos If you want to memorialize any type of person or pet through a tattoo. As the equipment. quality tattoo artists are way too busy drawing for paying clients to draw a design that someone else will tattoo. That said. pigments. Custom tattoos don’t have to be huge. a portrait tattoo that fails to capture the likeness and essence of its subject defeats the entire purpose of getting it in the first place. and thus do the best job possible. skilled portrait artists can tattoo an exact likeness into your skin. and super expensive. rework project. It’s just a matter of the tattoo artist’s skill and artistic vision. make it look better than the first time it was done. encompassing nearly all styles and genres of the craft. and researching the proper artist to do the task is very necessary. . A full examination of this type of tattooing deserves its own lengthy article so we will only touch upon the basics here. intricate. indistinguishable blob on your skin. like previously stated. Photorealistic tattoos really open the options of what is possible to put into the skin. After all. Most if not all of the previous paragraph applies here.are executing in order to feel most inspired. artists and collectors alike need to keep in mind that the medium of skin. With few exceptions. and change over time. Anything can be made to look very realistic in a tattoo-even ‘imaginary’ things. as two layers of tattoos blend together ineffectively. Collection’ section on page ??. tattoo pigments under the skin migrate. muddy. it is very common for an older tattoo to still be visible ‘underneath’ a new one. but we felt it deserved a brief introduction as a type of tattoo in and of itself due to its frequent occurrence. depending on how dark or light each layer of tattooing is.’ That is. A knowledgeable and skilled tattoo artist will be able to avoid either of these scenarios by using a variety of artistic tricks and tattooing techniques to masterfully disguise the old tattoo. It should be stressed that finding a highly skilled tattoo artist to do your portrait tattoo is of utmost importance. it has become possible for skilled artists to create tattoos that are more realistic than ever. These tricks and techniques will vary depending on the particular project at hand. but they all require the ability to expertly envision a solution to the cover-up or rework problem presented. or similarly. Therefore. is pretty ‘fluid. they only require a talented custom tattoo artist and the right attitude from the client. As you may have guessed. so a super realistic tattoo with tiny details that looks truly amazing upon completion may not look so good years later. Because of these challenges. and techniques of the tattoo art form have advanced in recent years. but rather mix with it inside your skin cells as it heals.) Cover-up and Rework Tattoos The covering up and reworking of older tattoos is a large aspect of the tattooing art form. Be prepared to give whomever you choose a great deal of trust and artistic freedom so they can put all of their knowledge and talent to use—because this type of tattooing usually requires a great deal of each! (For additional cover-up and rework advice.
In addition. geisha. a large portion of traditional tattoo designs are interpreted or taken directly from ‘flash’ (sheets of pre-drawn tattoo designs meant for mass replication). and with far less precise and refined equipment as is available today. Practitioners of this style of tattooing today must. As a general rule of ethics. are Polynesian style tattoos. For example. and Lyle Tuttle. so the same advice should apply to people of other cultures who seek out our version of the tattoo . heavy black and gray ‘wind bars.’ are bold. This may or may not matter to the collector. If this isn’t taken into consideration. all steeped in rich historical backgrounds. and make sure the artist they choose follows them well. and strict stylization involved.’ which could be discerned by those ‘in the know’ about such things. adhere to a very specific and distinct set of visual ‘rules’ and ways that subject matter can or can’t be drawn and colored in. just as was explained in the previous section.Traditional Tattoos These tattoos. you shouldn’t get a cultural tattoo you don’t know a lot about. They use as their basis the very work of the people just mentioned. A few of the most well known and respected pioneers of this modern American art-form. yet still retains a bit of their own stylistic influence. and traditional Americana roots. without the illusion of three-dimensional depth. Other slightly less popular non-western or ethnic tattoo types. Celtic.’ etc. a neo-traditional styled design might still have the bold black outlines and simplified shapes of a traditional piece. because she/he likes aspects of both equally. or a ‘knock off. as this style became widespread back in the early 1900s as a way to reproduce simple graphic symbols on skin quickly and cheaply. whom nearly all traditional designs trace their roots back to. the old mantra ‘pick the right artist for the job’ applies very much to this type of tattoo. Tibetan style. Koi fish. South American. It takes a certain level of dedication and commitment for both the collector and the tattoo artist to learn the extensive amount of history. and very graphically oriented designs consisting of heavy black outlines and a liberal use of black shading with minimal color. Sailor Jerry Collins. Non-Western/Ethnic Tattoos Another widely popular type of tattoos with deep historical roots is the Asian style.) contains rich cultural meanings and symbolism. in order for their work to be considered true traditional. the collector may end up with an ‘untrue’ traditional tattoo. are Don Ed Hardy. like a snake with a woman’s head wrapping around a television. of course. our own Western and modern American tattoo styles come with our own set of traditions and meanings. This style has remained so popular throughout the years due to its very readable simplicity. All of the classic Asian tattoo subject matter (such as dragons. they are rendered in such a uniform and stylized way that everything within them appears as two-dimensional shapes. Indian. All of these come with their own stylization and meanings. traditional Asian tattoos follow a very specific and distinct set of visual ‘rules’ and ways that subject matter can or can’t be drawn and colored in. Just like its name suggests. and newest aspect about ‘traditional’ tattoos is the ‘neo-traditional’ genre that has developed in recent years. Most traditional tattoo subject matter is derived from nautical and military themes. historical significance. and tattoos originating from any specific religion. but also incorporate a broad color palette and very modern or unusual subject matter. among others. as army and navy men were the primary recipients of these tattoos. In addition. this offshoot of traditional tattooing combines much of the ‘rules’ and sensibilities of the true traditional style with a plethora of modern influences to form an interesting and much more varied hybrid. of course. Conversely. Therefore. it is imperative that the tattoo collector and artist cultivate a real respect for and basic knowledge of the cultures that they borrow imagery from. The last. meaning. simple. Therefore. Native American styles. the concern of getting an Asian tattoo that is ‘true’ to the style also applies. This style of tattooing can be a great compromise for the collector who is torn between the traditional and modern styles and themes. Because of the unique and special qualities of all cultures and styles of art from around the world. sometimes referred to as ‘old school. waves. Collectors interested in getting a truly ‘traditional’ and custom tattoo must be aware of these strict stylistic guidelines. Like the traditional American style. This is on purpose.
Simply put. It is obviously much better to be in a situation where you are 100% behind your tattoo artist and they do your tattoo from start to finish. Manufacturers and tattoo artists alike know more about the safety of tattoo ink ingredients nowadays than in the past. you can request that they wear powder-free. Any respectable artist will be more than happy to do this for a client. pigment knowledge is still developing. In recent years as the quality of tattooing supplies has risen. Your skin is your permanent art collection. If you . actual lawsuits have been filed (and are still pending). it can be argued that these tattoos are exploitative and/or disrespectful of their particular culture. While it isn’t proper to flippantly have another artist finish off something another one started. But the fact is that tattoo artists are Other Important Considerations Allergic Reactions A very small percentage of people develop allergic reactions to some of the pigments used in tattoo inks. In fact. usually don’t involve much forethought. many people end up with tattoos that are being finished by a different artist than the one who started them. a tattoo artist has no ‘right’ to your skin.art-form. and seek out work from your tattoo artist’s influences. we wanted to point out some of the more common issues of cultural tattoo etiquette that we know of. In any case. But. Some people are also allergic to the latex gloves (or just the powder from the gloves) that tattoo artists must wear to prevent the spread of blood-borne pathogens. there are plenty of reasons to have one artist finish the work of another. You should then come back to their studio to have them examine it after it has healed. Otherwise. simple. and having them change your skin forever. and many people within the tattoo industry are pushing for higher standards and more readily available knowledge from manufacturers about the pigments they use and their properties. we felt it wise to bring up all sides of the cultural/ethnic tattoo issue since we are dealing here with making highly informed decisions about your tattoos. there’s still nothing wrong with sticking to one artist if the bond you both form is just right. then you will be on your way to quite the collection of tattoos. Any choice you make about your own body is completely your own to make. After all. If you know this is the case beforehand. you’re spending time in their chair. After getting your first really good tattoo. As such. Despite this. If you ask your tattoo artist who has inspired them. Collection It’s common for tattoo artists and clients to form a bond of friendship. and if you choose to work with another artist. it is very tempting to never find another artist to tattoo you. to make a professional assessment. planning. and unfortunately. the percentage of allergic reactions to pigments has fallen. The majority of these tattoos fall under the ‘entry level/common’ category. have reason to suspect you may be one of the few people who is allergic to a certain pigment. that they will lose their competitive edge in the market. talking. In a few cases. your tattoo artist should at least have a basic understanding of pigment issues and should be able to show you a bottle of what they are using on you if you wish to see one. any quality and ethical tattoo artist won’t blame you for your decision. but to be realistic and honest. it should not be a major concern due to the very small number of people who do get reactions. or non-latex (nitrile) gloves during your tattoo process. Perhaps the most widespread one is the recent trend of getting words or phrases tattooed in Asian writing (one form of which is called Kanji). While this is not necessarily our own stance on the matter. or deep respect and appreciation for the culture whose written language they are borrowing. you can ask your artist to do a test run of a very tiny amount of that pigment somewhere inconspicuous on your body. Artist Loyalty vs. and some things are still not known. The primary reason for this is the secrecy of tattoo ink manufacturers who claim that if they let their recipes and ingredients become public knowledge. Since this article is written by Americans and is intended primarily for American or western audiences. you should never feel like you owe your skin to a tattoo artist. as they are quick. and many people like to have a diverse collection of art.
Distance. commitment. and many artists love to travel in order to spread their name recognition and develop a larger clientele.people. the reworking and covering up of older tattoos is a large aspect of the tattooing art form. are still developing our personalities and changing our interests more rapidly than when we hit our early or mid twenties. you may just get lucky and find that your dream tattoo artist from far away will be traveling to your area to work at a tattoo convention or to be a guest artist at a particular tattoo shop for a short time. many teenagers who are under 18 ask where they can get tattoos with their parents’ consent. so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do a bit (or even a lot) of traveling for your own perfect tattoo. In most of the U. However. due to the fact of how rapidly teenagers are changing and how fickle they can be (and if you are a teenager reading this. if you look enough. Physical and Emotional/Intellectual Maturity We suggest a minimum age of 20 years old to get tattooed. as it should be. during which you get the experience of watching a work of art take shape one step at a time. the most important thing to keep in mind (other than safety of course) is quality. It bears repeating that everything about the tattoo process involves thinking. If you are a first timer who happens to be considering a larger piece to start off with. and the people who do these things reap great rewards. If this tattoo means a lot to you—and we think that any tattoo worth pursuing should mean a lot to the collector—then you will have to make arrangements to travel to that artist once the initial consultation/discussion process is over and it’s time to book your appointment to have the tattoo done. In addition to this. Dedicated tattoo collectors and enthusiasts sometimes fly to different continents for the perfect artist who can give them the perfect tattoo. researching artists. Patience and Commitment After doing all of your research on tattoos and who is the right artist for your job. Is this new artist talented and the right person to bring the old tattoo to life? Are you very confident that this artist will be the one to finish the tattoo for good? Like we said before. or get in touch with him or her and ask if they will be working in your area at any point in the future. However. just remember that your body parts should be finished growing. but odds say you will be getting the tattoo covered up anyway when you get older. because in many states this is legal. most of us at that age. those things are nothing to be ashamed or defensive about—they are normal and healthy parts of the aging and maturation process!). in the form of amazing body art and meaningful experiences. If you are thinking of changing artists mid-tattoo. That said. so there’s no need to feel ashamed or angry if you end up in that situation yourself. with a few exceptions. imbued. Your patience. but let’s face it. and trust in your chosen tattoo artist will afford you the satisfaction of ‘earning’ your tattoo and enduring an ordeal to reach a meaningful (and hopefully awesome looking) conclusion. and developing your ideas for a truly unique tattoo that is fantastic. try researching tattoo conventions near you. the legal age to get a tattoo on your own is 18. . although granted certain legal rights. with meaning and significance to you. We would suggest spending the time it takes until your 20th birthday or so learning about tattoos (as well as yourself ). learning. This of course can lead to regrettable tattoo decisions even though the law says we can do it without penalty. and that your ideas of what’s cool will probably change over time. If you are young and still want to get tattooed. be prepared for a longer process involving multiple sittings over a span of weeks or months. and things can go awry between you and them—but at the end of the day you still deserve the best tattoo possible.S. For a permanent marking on your body. Know what permanent means. most respectable professional tattoo artists are too busy to deal with the headaches of tattooing anyone underage. you may likely find that the one you’re interested in is not exactly right around the corner from you. and being patient. or of having an older piece covered up or reworked. This is a very common occurrence in the tattoo industry. So if the tattoo artist of your choosing lives far away. you still may find someone talented willing to work on you. this is a relatively small inconvenience to endure.
But without positive people getting well done. from teachers and doctors. or keep them from landing jobs that someone without visible tattoos will get. many have also found very positive responses. or the message that it will convey. and use the advice given in this article to research the artist and shop in the area you’re traveling to before you end up with a bad tattoo. and money into your entire tattoo process. This is because many workplaces maintain a strict policy against tattoos. However. but smart. Even still. many souvenir tattoos are gotten while experiencing the thrill of your new travel experience. is the ‘energy’ that the tattoo will express. and you can always just get your tattoos in easily concealed locations as a last resort. In many companies like this. or at the very least distracting to the desired work environment. Unfortunately. So just make sure you give it some proper forethought. the thought of having it be ruined in the home stretch is mortifying. Many people decide to get tattoos during a vacation or trip somewhere as a way to permanently memorialize that particular experience. your tattoos will affect their viewer. Images of death and destruction are very powerful. usually the most visible places. Therefore you should . very touristy-type places usually have some less-than-ideal tattoo studios and tattooists who cash in on this phenomenon by banging out very quick and cheap tattoos on unknowledgeable tourists. society at large has become more accepting of them. particularly in their work life. capable people with quality tattoos often set themselves apart in a positive light. and by reading have started to gain the knowledge necessary to make a smart and safe decision about any souvenir tattoo you may get. especially for larger custom tattoos. and if these tattoos are well done and have positive themes. and be sure that you can live with any foreseeable consequences. people from all walks of life get tattoos. For example. it will never change. Subject Matter and Projecting Energy Another thing to contemplate. Just like a painting is meant to affect the viewer. In no way are we attempting to reinforce or justify unfair social stereotypes of certain tattooed people by mentioning this. Healing: The Final Step A great many otherwise beautiful tattoos have been ruined by poor healing and aftercare. to determine what you do or do not want to deal with. After putting so much effort. you no longer fall into this category of collector. especially to any up-close viewers of your tattoos. beautiful tattoos to confront this. even though you may have gotten them solely for yourself. While many heavily tattooed people have experienced prejudice. Tattoos make people more memorable because of their wide-ranging social interest. Fitting In With Society As tattoos have emerged from their underground status in recent decades. Fortunately for you dear readers. but you should be aware of the social conditions that you live in. but the former may lead other people to stereotype you in a potentially worse way than the latter. time. to lawyers and other ‘white collar’ types. and may be regretted later. The fact of the matter is that nowadays. give proper thought to the images you choose to adorn your body with for the rest of your life.Souvenir Tattoos Souvenir tattoos comprise a very common type of tattoo-getting scenario. it’s probably best to consider it on a case-by-case basis. as are those of beauty. you may not get certain jobs if you have your forearms covered in badly tattooed skulls and topless pin-up girls. tattoos are still considered ugly. Most will list several places on the body where they will not allow an employee to have tattoos. Therefore. This may sound a little cheesy. many people still feel that visible tattoos will make them less hire-able. Nevertheless. then there’s no saying that the wearer will not be remembered fondly or hired for a particular job. If you think this issue may be a factor in your decision to get tattooed. many people still have concerns about how their tattoo will affect them in their everyday lives. but it’s still worth noting that the subject matter of your tattoos will project a certain ‘vibe’ about you into the world.
so always be careful with your new tattoo until it has completed its healing stage. and make sure that if they don’t offer a thorough explanation of how they want you to heal their work. freshly done and healed condition. In a money-obsessed culture such as ours. They may also be able to give a very rough estimate up front if you absolutely need it for your budgeting purposes. so we won’t get into all of them here. or you will increase your (relatively slim) chances of getting an infection. However. However. so if money is a concern for The Pain Yes. everyday decision. to patience and commitment—that’s why! The actual pain involved in the process is such a small and temporary factor when weighed against all these other important things. there is a reason why we made pain the second to last topic of this article: because it’s one of the least important factors. to quality. All the other factors explained throughout this entire article should make it clear that getting a tattoo is nothing like shopping for a bargain at the grocery store. ask your artist about things you can do to minimize the pain if you have to. and sometimes even life altering consequences should not be made with a penny-pinching mindset. tattoos are not an ordinary. so there are a few things everyone should know about how to approach this aspect of the tattoo process. Many artists charge based on an hourly rate. you should never listen to your friends about healing your tattoo. based on their individual anatomy. but suffice it to say. We feel that a decision with permanent. tattoos can cost a lot of money. and it’s good to think of them as an investment rather than a one-time impulse purchase. for however long the particular session lasted. you should always use a strong SPF sunblock lotion on your tattoo whenever you go in any sunlight. and they will also have their own set of instructions for you to follow closely. so there are really no blanket statements that can be made about the pain involved in getting tattooed. To this end. should you desire to keep it in its original. For very small and quick tattoos requiring only a few hours or less. all tattoos are subject to a retouch or a complete reworking after anywhere from 5 to 20 years (depending on wear and tear). Just be mentally prepared. techniques of the artist. this sentiment runs contrary to popular belief. multi-sitting tattoos this makes it extremely hard for an artist to give you an exact price up front. many artists find it easier to charge a flat rate for the specific design being tattooed. so almost everybody simply just finds a way to deal with whatever level of discomfort they find themselves in. fected in different ways.always follow your tattoo artist’s instructions very carefully. Again. There are many different methods and superstitions about how to heal a tattoo. to permanence. Even the toughest people with incredible pain tolerances can find the sensation of getting tattooed annoying. and the pain is temporary. that you get one before you leave. it’s the least important factor. sitting by sitting. tattoos hurt. every shop and artist is different. For large. We are so used to basing so many of our decisions on money that it may seem foolish to not do this with tattoos. Firstly. Infections can turn very bad. every tattoo artist and/or tattoo shop sets their own prices and policies. but like we’ve tried to explain. as the skin it’s healed within ages and changes. your tattoo’s appearance will change slightly over time. Why do we consider it relatively unimportant? Because of all the other factors we’ve explained about making a wise tattoo decision—from safety. Different people are af- . just remember that your fresh tattoo is an open wound and should be kept away from dirty environments and bacteria/germs. unless they are competent tattoo artists themselves! No matter what your artist tells you to do. placement of the tattoo. no one should get ripped off or taken advantage of when it comes to the cost of their tattoo. in order to protect it from rapid deterioration by the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Most likely you will feel proud of yourself for accomplishing the feat of enduring a tattoo. and consider it a test of will power. and even afterwards. Of course. especially if ignored. similar to a car mechanic’s labor charges. The art is permanent. so they will almost always have you pay as you go. Any conscientious tattoo artist will be concerned with your tattoo healing well. and attitude. we made this topic the last one because in the ideal scenario. Therefore. Money Relatively speaking. Even with a successful heal.
the artist can tailor what they do. We also feel a strong obligation to promote the highest standards and ethics within the tattoo community. So why shouldn’t an incredibly talented and skilled tattoo artist. or downright bad tattoo artist. but tattoos stick around for a lot longer. and meaningful. so generally speaking. Hell. who is marking people’s bodies permanently with beautiful works of wearable art. since the actual tattoo is the one thing that will last a lifetime. for possible future updates and revisions. or even up to $300 per hour of tattooing. so that their experiences can be more rewarding and satisfying. to your budget. Thanks again and good luck! Sincerely. One pet peeve of almost every single tattoo artist is being haggled with over money.S is around $100. So thanks for reading this entire article—by doing so you have helped us with these goals. There are trials and tribulations. The most common hourly rate for tattooing nowadays throughout most of the U. There are many different paths one could take in their own tattoo journey. actors and actresses and other performing artists can make millions of dollars for one movie—all because they can. but depending on how experienced and sought after a tattoo artist is. they may charge $150. we hope to educate the general public and those interested in tattoos. and cheap tattoos aren’t good. uninspired. In life. $200. For some people this can seem like an outrageous rate. Instead the focus will be on getting the highest quality tattoo and treat- ment possible. make your concerns known well in advance. Famous painters can sell an average-sized painting for tens of thousands of dollars to willing collectors. or whatever they feel they deserve? In the ideal scenario. We appreciate any feedback that you may have about this article. money will not be a factor at all in any of the client’s decisions regarding their tattoo.you going into the whole process. not be able to charge whatever rate people are willing to pay. from the tattoo artists to the tattoo collectors. which has suffered from much negative publicity and social stigma in the past. After all. based on the principles of supply and demand (there’s only one of them. price shopping for a tattoo is one of the worst ways to go about it. The people at Tattoonow . In writing this. If your tattoo request simply will not fit into your budget they should be able to tell you this up front. the process of getting the perfect tattoo can be long and very involved. such as the size and estimated time involved. to avoid any disputes later. so there are no surprises or disputes at the end when it’s time for the artist to collect their money. The most popular and sought after tattoo artists in the entire world can charge this much simply because they can. any talented artist putting out quality work with a good reputation will be too busy to sit and bargain or play ‘let’s make a deal’ with a potential client. in order to keep it progressing. and even some pain or discomfort to endure before the entire process is complete. It’s a good way to end up with a frustrated. This way. pain and money come and go. All of these things just serve to make the experience of getting the perfect tattoo fulfilling. it really isn’t. so if you got the perfect tattoo after all your time and energy put into the process. and hopefully you have helped yourself as well. exciting. it’s what the forces of the market and economy allow. any expenses required should seem small or unimportant. It’s the ones who are willing to put up with this that you often have to be weary of. and lots of demand for their artwork). Another smart option for the moneyconcerned client is to give a firm spending limit up front when explaining your idea to the artist. but if you put it in context of the art world as a whole.’ Conclusion As you can see from the length of this article. and suggest some other options that will work out. We feel a strong responsibility as respected professionals in this industry to help spread positive information about the highest potentials of this amazing art form. and there are many important factors that demand careful consideration along the way. There’s an old saying in the tattoo community that can sum up this entire section: ‘Good tattoos aren’t cheap.
1. Fig. with an expiration date for being considered sterile. 3a. 3b: Pre-made needle groupings bought from a tattoo supply company come sealed and sterilized. Some tattoo artists make their own needle groupings and must sterilize these themselves in pouches similar to those in Fig. 1: Typical sterilization pouches for use in an autoclave.Fig. . Fig. 2: Typical color-coded indicator on sterilization pouches (before and after a proper autoclave cycle).
and all supplies are stored in covered containers away from the tattooing area. .Fig. Work surface is easily sanitized. 4: Possible tattoo work area. dirt. free of all clutter. and dust.
. in order to prevent cross contamination of non-disposable equipment.Fig. 5: Possible tattoo setup—note the plastic barriers on all non-disposable equipment. Fig. 6: Diagram of appropriate surface barriers used for anything that may be handled or touched during the tattoo process.
7: Typical label on a bottle of tattoo pigment bought pre-made from a tattoo supply company. Some tattoo artists make their own color mixtures. Fig.Fig. 8: Sharps containers for disposing of used tattoo needles. so if this is an area of concern for you just ask your tattoo artist what he/she will be using for your tattoo. .
. Fig. Grips/tubes are the part of the tattoo machine setup that the tattooist holds. 10: Two models of autoclaves. and that the needle rests in.Fig. 9: Two models of ultrasonic cleaners. which are used for dislodging tiny particles of tattoo pigment from the surfaces of non-disposable grips and tubes before they are scrubbed and sterilized for re-use. used for sterilizing tattoo equipment.
. irregular shading. Fig. 12: A very poorly executed tattoo—note the blurry. 11: A very poorly executed tattoo in all respects.GOOD AND BAD TATTOOS: Fig. inconsistent lines and choppy.
13: Poorly executed outline which has healed blurry and raised up. due to excessive scarring usually caused by penetrating too deep with the tattoo needles.Fig. . 14: Black outlines on a recently healed tattoo that were applied too deep and have become very blurry (commonly referred to as “blown out” outlines). Fig.
uneven color blending—note the slightly separated bands of green.Fig. and the lack of smooth gradation between the orange and yellow areas. inconsistent outlines. Fig. . 16: Choppy. 17: Uneven application of tattoo pigment—note the blotchy red areas and the blurry. inconsistent blending of dark to light gray tones—note the darker bands in the circled area. Fig. 15: Example of choppy.
smooth. That length of time depends on how bad the scarring is. 19: Well executed. Fig. Fig. This can be touched up after the scar tissue has had enough time to return as closely as possible to normal skin again. .Fig. 18: Loss of tattoo pigment (‘fall out’) in a healed tattoo. freshly done tattoo—note the crisp. 20: Extremely bright. smooth outlines. and the solid/dense application and smooth gradations of color along with minimal skin trauma and irritation. and saturated healed tattoo on very pale skin—a match made in tattoo heaven. normally caused by either poor healing or poor application.
21: A very small tattoo that has aged several years and has become almost completely blurred together—the primary danger behind getting tiny details and/or small tattoos. most if not all of this blurriness can be improved with a complete re-working of the tattoo TYPES OF TATTOOS: Fig. However. .Fig. 22: Typical black and gray tattoo.
23: Realistic tattoo. Fig. executed by using exact photographic reference. 24: Portrait tattoo.Fig. . executed by using exact photographic reference.
Fig. one of the most widely known and highly regarded practitioners of this style of tattooing in the mid-1900s. . Fig. 26: Original sheet of traditional tattoo “flash.” featuring some classic designs drawn by Sailor Jerry Collins. 25: Traditional Americana tattoo.
29: Modernized/Westernized Asian style tattoo.Fig. Fig. . Fig. 28: Traditional Asian style tattoo. 27: “Neo-traditional” Americana tattoo (‘new traditional’).
30: An effective cover up tattoo (before and after). . Fig. 31: Unfinished cover up tattoo—you can see both the old piece and the newer. A new layer of color will conceal the rest of the old tattoo. darker outline incorporating part of the older design.Fig.
Fig. . Fig. and after shots of a cover up tattoo over an older piece which had been partially removed and lightened with laser treatment a few years prior. but the client now wanted color. 33: Completely re-worked and re-colored tattoo. so the remaining parts of the old piece were incorporated into the newer. 32: Before. Rather than concealing the older piece with a completely different design. The old tattoo was a black skull. full color skull. during. it was improved and expanded upon.
34: New tattoo approximately 3 days after application.TATTOO HEALING PROCESS: Fig. Tattooed skin has begun to dry out and will begin to crack and flake off like sunburn in another 2-3 days. 35a. Fig. . It is about halfway through the peeling phase—note the darker patches of flaky skin that have not peeled off yet. healing successfully. revealing healed skin containing tattoo pigment underneath. 35b: Successfully healing tattoo approximately 4-5 days after application.
the area of tattoo underneath it will contain no color. wax-papery appearance. shallow surface wrinkles and slightly shiny. 37: New tattoo approximately 2 weeks after application. Fig. approximately 3 weeks after application. Skin has still not returned to completely normal state—note the abundance of tiny. like the tattoo in Fig. 36: Perfectly healed and well executed tattoo. .Fig. with a poorly healing area that has formed a recessed scab. After this scabby area is fully healed (several weeks). 20.
or that you got ripped off. most of whom work at a few tattoo studios here in the Northeast United States. whatsoever. . and not to advertise for certain people at the expense of anyone else. were stupid. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still try to make our tattoos and experiences getting them perfect. the tattoo clients who agreed to help others learn from their own mistakes by having their bad tattoos photographed for this project.com or nick@nickbaxter. but with a firm acknowledgment of reality.com Booklet layout and cover design by Samantha Humphreys and Nick Baxter. This article was written in the spirit of that quest for perfection.” A Few Disclaimers: Regarding our use of the phrase ‘the perfect tattoo:’ Much of the information in this article is presented as the absolute ideal scenario from start to finish—not everyone’s experiences or tattoos will live up to these lofty standards. This was done in the interests of time and convenience only. their mistakes) as examples. Eikon and Technical Tattoo Supply. it doesn’t mean you or your artist failed. Thank you to all of the generous people who helped turn this idea into a reality: the many proofreaders and givers of good advice. because we’re all human and in being so. Regarding our image selection process: Most of the images contained in this booklet were obtained from friends and colleagues of ours. but if they don’t quite measure up to that. For correspondence: gabe@tattoonow.Fig. and the tattoo artists who let us use their fine work (and in some cases. 38: Loss of color in a well executed tattoo caused by excessive scabbing due to poor healing—otherwise known as “fall out. and was not meant to be a form of advertising or favoritism for any particular individuals or business establishments. we’re far from perfect. We wish to reiterate that the focus of this project is to educate as many people as possible about the subject at hand.
knowledge of blood borne pathogens and contamination/disease prevention b. Give proper thought to the images you choose to adorn your body with for the rest of your life. A very small percentage of people develop allergic reactions to some of the pigments used in tattoo inks. Clean and sanitary. and traveling. .. tattoo artists know better. especially tattoo first-timers and novices. Souvenir tattoos gotten dur ing a vacation or trip somewhere as a way to permanently memorialize that particular experience can be risky. which means reading the full Perfect Tattoo article. you should keep the following things in mind: a. read the full and unabridged version of the Perfect Tattoo article. The perfect tattoo artist should possess the following attributes. Honesty.and a well done tattoo does not mean that it is also good art’) d. but they are even more painful to remove. in approximate order of importance: a. you can then work collaboratively with them to come up with the perfect design for your tattoo. than this quick reference guide should help you with that. c. A task like getting the perfect tattoo demands a fair amount of time. and effort. Generally speaking.. ethics. especially in ‘tourist-trap’ areas.’) c. Your tattoo’s subject matter and the message it will convey to potential viewers. unless you have already done your homework and have a thorough knowledge of tattoos.Getting The Perfect Tattoo: Quick Reference Guide IMPORTANT: We strongly recommend that everyone. so know what permanent means. in some way. Once you have found the perfect tattoo artist. Small tattoos usually can’t hold much detail and stand a greater chance of deteriorating over time. Artistic talent (‘. g. and/or to the latex gloves worn by tattoo artists. Tattoos may be painful to get. b. Getting the perfect tattoo from the perfect artist for you may require a lot of patience. with appropri ate state issued tattoo license or health department approval of studio. While consulting with your chosen tattoo artist. and be sure that you can live with any foreseeable consequences. Tattoo artists are experts about how tattoos look on yours or anyone else’s body. commitment. and to the artist who drew it (if it was custom). or you are already very knowledgeable about getting tattooed and need an answer to a specific question. Never copy other people’s tattoos or copyrighted images--it’s disre spectful to the wearer of the tattoo. even if it seems long at first. 2. h. It is very thorough. d. Decide whether it will be worth all of this before asking your chosen tattoo artist to devote their time and energy to your project. Be sure to research the artist and shop in the area you’re traveling to beforehand. and a good reputa tion 3. Your ideas of what’s cool will probably change over time. Technical ability to apply good tattoos (‘good art alone does not make a good tattoo. If you have already read the entire article and need a quick summary to refresh your memory. If you have reason to suspect you may be one of the few people with such allergies. Physical and emotional/intellectual maturity. f. Proper quality equipment e. We suggest a minimum age of 20 years old to get tattooed. discuss this with your tattoo artist beforehand to figure out the proper solutions to these concerns. Getting a tattoo is not something to be taken lightly. Suffice it to say.. e. and contains a wealth of detailed and helpful information. the decision you make now will effect you. 1. for the rest of your life.. patience. Finding the perfect tattoo artist is probably more important than finding the right design.
diluted with water). Money and budget restrictions. ‘Common’ or ‘flash’ (generally small. specifically rendered and stylized in traditional Japanese look) i. Make sure you learn how to heal your new tattoo properly after you get it. b. make your concerns known well in advance. use a strong SPF sun-block lotion on your tattoo whenever you go in any sunlight. l. anything originating from any specific religion) . Realistic (reproduced from photo reference in order to be as threedimensionally convincing as possible) e. or at least easily visible ones. Pain or discomfort. Celtic. j. white. consider the possible conse quences beforehand. Major distinctions between types of tattoos: a.i. quick. If money is a concern for you going into the whole process. simple. in order to create an exact likeness) f. so if this may be an issue for you. tattoos hurt. and/or chosen ‘off the wall’ from pre-drawn templates) c. Custom (any design that has been drawn and created for you only. Tibetan. Indian. You should always follow your tat too artist’s instructions very carefully. 4. non-Western/ethnic (Polyne sian. and color (black. Yes. Traditional (simple. Native American imagery. Asian (simple. and when healing is complete. and cheap tattoos aren’t good. But remember that good tattoos aren’t cheap. by the same tattoo artist doing the tattoo) d. and the pain is only temporary. specifically rendered and stylized in early 1900s look) g. South American. Portrait (reproduced from a photo graph of a person or animal. Neo-traditional (modernized and artistically expanded early 1900s look) h. Misc. but the art is permanent. so there are no surprises or disputes at the end when it’s time for the artist to collect their money. The two most broad and general classifications of tattoo types are black and grey (only black pigment. Many workplaces maintain a strict policy against tattoos. k. and color pigments). Work life and employability.