Being tattooed is an exciting time, regardless of it being your first or your hundredth. Getting caught up in the rush of it all it is easy to forget some very important details to help make your tattooing experience go as smoothly and comfortably as possible. We put together a list on what to do to from choosing an artist to the day of your appointment.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”
Finding an artist isn't always easy, there is a lot of quality work to be able to choose from. Tattoos are something you don’t want to price shop for; you get what you pay for and being on your body for a lifetime means you want it to look as good as possible. Artists time will range depending on who you choose and where they are located, our artists range from $160 - $180 per hour.
Tipping is customary, artists greatly appreciate any gratuity for their hard work and dedicated time. On average clients tips between 15% to 30% of the cost per visit.
Research your artist, find one that tattoos in a style you like and familiarize yourself with their portfolio. Make sure they are a licensed professional with the proper credentials, in Oregon the artist should be in a licensed studio, have a personal licence posted for you to see, as well as CPR/First Aid and Bloodborne Pathogens certification.
Ask questions! It is better to feel heard and your mind at ease than be worried you are bothering the artist. If you are wondering about something with the design, how they set up, or where their health and safety credentials are, speak up! If at any point you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to leave at any point. You have no obligation to stay if something doesn’t feel right with you, listen to your gut.
“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack”
You may not get exactly what you wanted or envisioned, not every design is tattooable in a sense that it will hold up to the test of time. Lines too close together will end up mushing into one, some placements heal poorly and the ink falls out, or very small designs blur into an unrecognizable image. Be open to what your artist suggests, they are trained to know what will look good for a lifetime.
Not all pieces are able to be done on a walk-in basis or completed from start to finish in one sitting. Larger pieces require multiple sittings in 1-5+ hour incriminets, everyone's pain tolerance is different and will be able to sit comfortably for different durations.
Make sure to schedule accordingly, we don’t want you rushing to your appointment and we don’t want to be rushed through the procedure. Make sure you have a flexible exit time as tattoos can take a little longer than anticipated if breaks are needed. Keep future plans in mind when getting tattooed; particularly vacation and summer time. You don’t want to be healing while in a sunny, tropical place or doing an activity that could affect the tattoo area.
Touch ups don’t always need to happen on healed pieces but it isn’t uncommon. Most artists offer a free touch up within the first year of the tattoo being healed, but always offer one if needed. If you are questioning whether you may need one, contact your artist and they will make to choose the best option for your design.
“He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.”
Prepping for your appointment can be taken days ahead of time. Drinking fluids and eating foods that aid in hydration is one of the most important components for your body. Bring a water bottle with you to the appointment, most studios have coolers for cold, filtered water.
Get plenty of rest the week and day before your appointment, do not come in hungover, intoxicated, or sick. Putting your body under too much stress and stretching your immune system thin can make it hard to get the tattoo and hard to heal.
Make sure to eat a full meal at least an hour before coming in to your appointment. Getting tattooed on an empty stomach puts a lot of undo stress on your body and can cause light headedness, nausea, or fainting. Bring easy to eat snacks for longer appointments or if you know your body crashes easily under stress.
Bring ID, it is required for everyone to be tattooed whether you are 18 or 78. Proper forms of identification are state issued ID, passport, or military ID. You must be 18 to be tattooed in the state of Oregon.
If you are injured it is best to wait until you are fully healed before getting tattooed. When your body and immune system is focusing on more than one heal at once it can extend out the heal time and overall effect the results. This includes sunburn, rash, scratches, and cuts.
Shower the day of your appointment, making sure the area to be worked on is scrubbed nice and clean. Though it is not required, you are able to shave the area in advance. Your artist will do this step for you if you could not get to it. If the hair in the area is exceptionally thick or long, doing a trim can help your artist.
Dress appropriately for the area to be worked on. Wearing comfortable clothes for yourself, but also allowing the artist to get to the area hassle free. Wearing something you wouldn’t care getting ink onto, even though the clothing will be away from the tattoo site the procedure can get messy, is advised. We don’t want to ruin your Sunday best.
“Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise.”
Check in with your artist if you are wanting to have a guest sit with you while you are being worked on. Having moral support and a distraction is nice, though too many bodies can cluster up the work area or be too much for the artist. Usually 1-2 people are okay, but please not entourage.
Breathe, long deep breaths in and out. Try not to focus on the discomfort, it can make the sensation build and intensify. Practicing calm, deep breaths will help your body acclimate to the procedure as well as keep you centered and focused.
Ask questions as they arise, most artists are happy to talk you through the process and let you know what is going to happen next.
Do not touch any equipment or set up the artist has for you, doing so can cross contaminate and pose a risk for you and your new tattoo. All equipment has been sterilized, even though it may be your hands for your tattoo, don’t do it.
While being worked on it is important to hold still. Playing on your phone, talking to friends, etc can have more movement than you think. The artist can only pull as clean of line as still as you hold. Check in with your artist to see if there is something you are wanting to do and if it’ll affect the area.
If you are working on a piece that requires multiple visits scheduling another appointment when you are finished with the days session is advised. Some artists book up fast and months in advance. If you want to keep moving forward with finishing your piece in a timely manner, keep up with scheduling.
“The thing about finishing a story is that finishing is really only the beginning.”
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