Tattooing may be a very personal quite artwork, which artwork is entirely influenced by the tattoo artist you select. Each tattooist has its own kind of style. We see this even in broad styles like watercolour – an artist like Gene Coffey uses lots of blacks to hold the image together while Sasha Unisex uses bold colour gradients. Unless you’re designing your tattoo yourself with the help of resources available online or paying a tattoo artist to try to to it, you’re cursed with an artist and their unique style until the end!
There are tattoo artists out there who will blow your mind with what they can do… and then there are those who should never pick up a tattoo machine. Backyard operators have also taken advantage of the rise in popularity that tattoos are currently experiencing. Colloquially known as “scratchers,” they are responsible for that crappy tattoo on your mate’s cousin that is all blotchy and misspelt.
Besides, it’s not just about the tattoo artist. Your tattoo experience are going to be with you for an extended time and there are many elements to a successful tattoo.
Considering a tattoo is forever and that second chances are limited, it pays to take the time to locate the best tattoo artist you can find. Learn what you need to know and don’t walk into just any studio. Find your dream tattoo artist: it’ll be worth it in the end.
So, here’s how you can find that one tattooist who will make the most of your piece.
Don’t Be Afraid to Travel
The tattooist of your dreams may not be just down the street – that’s just the way it is – and while I’m not entirely up for plane hopping all the way to Russia for Sasha Unisex to do a killer watercolour tattoo on me, I do think it’s important to consider travel when setting the budget for a tattoo.
Don’t rush into this! It takes time to find tattoo artist that you’re comfortable with and will create something beautiful that fits you perfectly.
Be sure to shop around. Follow heaps of tattoo shops nearby on Instagram, visit your local studios to check through their portfolio and don’t forget to chat with the artists themselves. If they have the time to talk through the kind of ideas you have to see if they ‘get it’.
Listen to Tattoo Artist Chatter!
Word of mouth may be a good way to seek out exactly what any tattoo studio is like. If you have any friends with tattoos ask them where they went, how the experience was and all the other questions bugging you. You’ll be able to see firsthand the kind of work that they do.
This is really helpful when finding out where you should avoid! While people love to talk about tattoos, they won’t wait before telling you about all the negative experiences and bad tattoos they’ve had and where.
Tattoos can be very expensive. When it comes to finding the perfect tattoo artist you don’t want to be limited in quality because you didn’t save enough. Save yourself the worry by over budgeting what you think you may need for your next piece and if it ends up being estimated much higher than you thought, save a little longer!
What to Look for When Choosing an tattoo artist
The most important part of choosing your tattoo artist is their skill level. Tattooing is entirely different to drawing, so just because your cousin can draw the most incredible pictures on paper, it does not mean he can tattoo… say “no” when he offers to try out his new tattoo gun which he just bought off of eBay on you. (They are not “tattoo guns” either, no reputable tattoo artist will call his machine a gun!)
Particular skills can only take time and practice to master, and talent plays an important part, but having that experience and the guidance of another professional, takes any artist to a whole new level.
Determining an tattoo artist’s ability can be done by considering the following;
- Lines – Are the single lines straight, solid with no wobbles, and appear to have been done with one pass (no joins).
- Colouring and/or shading – is it even, can you see where they have moved over the skin and left lines in the shading. (No blotches or darker patches of colour).
- Do the outlines meet up? Does the colour stay within the lines?
- How well can they tattoo scripting? (Writing) This is not an easy skill and takes a lot of practice. It is also one of the first tattoo techniques often taught in an apprenticeship and a great indication of where your tattoo artist is on the skill scale.
- Have they consistently produced quality tattoos? Doing a complete tattoo requires experience. Each Tattoo Artist will have personal techniques and tricks to supply a top-quality design.
How to Recognize the Best Tattoo Studios and Artists
Honestly, the main priority when choosing an Artist is their ability and skill. If they don’t have any then the following attribute is worth dot. They may offer all the chocolates in the world, but that won’t help with creating an awesome tattoo, it will just make you fat and possibly give you pimples.
- Smells good, or at least had a shower this week.
- Nice person, – you don’t want someone who is nasty having so much control of your pain and comfort levels.
- Considerate when tattooing and won’t rip apart your skin trying to finish off a piece but will offer to have you return when its healed.
- Can hold a conversation, having someone dumb in your personal space can be a big put off.
- Has not consumed alcohol or drugs prior to or during your tattoo session.
- Charges according to ability, reputation and skill level. Not big-headed or has a self-inflated ego.
- Offers knowledgeable aftercare advice.
- Offers touch-ups for a realistic period of time at no cost as they value how their work looks.
- A bit of eye candy is a good distraction.
Reputable Artists are governed by a set of laws and guidelines that protect both parties from communicable diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis. This is something that has no negotiations, ever. If you find any Artist is willing to compromise on this standard, get up and walk away immediately.
- Pristine clean, sterile environment. It should be wiped down between clients and/or plastic wrap applied each time over any chairs or beds. Throws out the fresh, disposable razor you were shaved with.
- Tattoo Artist. Clean hands, wear gloves, recently washed.
- A Clean workspace. Bench, seat, ink box clean and organised. All ink, pots and paper towels to wipe with are all new.
- Tattoo Needles. New and still in their sterile package and opened in front of you.
- Tattoo Machine. Has been sterilized in the autoclave, as well as any other reusable item.
These techniques make sure that all equipment that is used on others are cleaned with chemical, steam or an ultrasonic cleaner that’ll kill any bacteria or blood born viruses.
At the end of the day, it’s all your decision. Whether you’d rather budget less, shop around more or how far you’re willing to travel to have your work done. Whatever choices you make, always think them through before you jump into anything!