It's a common tattoo stereotype that people choose art on the fly from a flash poster on the wall, and that artists bang out work quickly all day. It's actually most likely that you'll meet and chat with your tattoo artist days or maybe even weeks before you get into the chair for your first sitting.
If you're going into a tattoo shop to talk with an artist for the first time, you may be nervous and not know what to say. Don't worry! The artist will help guide you through the process. They will have an important, experienced perspective on the art you want done so be sure to listen to and consider the recomendations they make on size and placement.
* It's important to be sure that the tattoo shop is clean and professional, you can find a list of things to expect in a shop here
* If you have chosen an artist in advance, they will want to make a consultation appointment with you before they begin work. During this time, you should be prepared to talk about style, share your design ideas and talk about placement. Your artist will likely jot some ideas down and work on a design for you to approve later. Don't go to this appointment without ideas. Most artists will not copy others work, expect them to create an original design just for you.
* Give your artist a deposit on the work. This saves your appointment time. The money is non-refundable, but the cash (usually) goes toward the final price of the tattoo once you've started the work. If you bail on the appointment, the artist keeps your deposit- fair enough!
* Talk about aftercare with your artist, and be sure you understand their instructions and are prepared with a product and regimen.
* Get an estimate on the cost and time. Most artists have a flat rate per hour, but you may encounter additional charges if your piece is particularly difficult. Artists should be able to give you a ballpark estimate of the hours/sessions you'll need to put in for a complete piece so that you can start saving.
* Find out how your artist expects to be paid. It is common for shops to take cash only, but with mobile credit card readers, some artists allow plastic (they often charge a little extra because of credit card reader fees). Many who take plastic offer a small discount for cash.
* Save money for a tip. Yes. YOU MUST TIP your tattoo artist, set aside 15-20% Read why here