Before Getting a Tattoo
Before getting your tattoo, you should consider going over the checklist below to make sure you are ready to get a tattoo.
Also, check out answers to a few frequently asked questions.
* Has the artwork been selected?
* Have you decided on the style of your tattoo?
* Is it in a style your artist can tattoo?
* Have you decided where to place your tattoo?
* If artwork is supplied by you, is it clean and approved by the tattoo artist?
* Do you have art samples (magazines clippings, pictures) to show the artist?
* If the artwork is to be done by the tattoo artist, is (s)he aware of it and prepared for it?
* If the artwork is to be done by the tattoo artist, have you approved the final draft?
* Have you selected an artist or shop?
* Are they known to be reputable?
* Have you browsed through the artist’s portfolio?
* Have you settled on a price for the tattoo?
* Have you discussed and been shown their sterilization procedures and equipment?
* Do you feel comfortable around the shop or artist?
* Are you wearing comfortable clothing that’s not constricting around the tattoo area?
* Are you rested, taken a shower and eaten a good meal?
* Make sure you do not use alcohol or aspirin based medication.
* Do you have your money to pay the artist?
How a Tattoo is Priced
There are two generally accepted methods of pricing a tattoo. A flat fee and an hourly fee. Most tattoo parlors will have both pricing methods in effect depending on what the shop’s policies and requirements are. Here is a description of the two methods;
Flat Fee: This is the preferred method of pricing flash (the predesigned sheets on the shop walls) and small standards like roses, hearts and lettering. Pricing is estimated based on what it takes for an artist to complete the piece; length of time, complexity of design, number of colors, etc. Keep in mind that these prices are not set in stone and will fluctuate depending on other circumstances such as placement, resizing, adding and/or omitting elements from the design, etc.
Hourly Fee: Most custom artwork will be charged on a shop’s hourly rate. This is particularly true when the piece is large, takes more than one sitting to accomplish or is freehanded on the client. What determines a shop’s hourly rate is their operating cost, the artist’s time, and the artist’s quality and experience. I have been in shops that charge $50 to $60 per hour up to $100 per hour. I have also heard of some artists getting upwards of $200 – $250 per hour.
However a tattoo is priced, be advised that once set, it is generally not a good idea to try to haggle down the price. It belittles the artist and makes you look like a cheapskate. If you feel the price is too high, talk to the artist. If your concerns are legitimate, he may reduce it, otherwise look for alternatives. Not having the full amount right then is NOT a legitimate concern.
Does it Hurt?
Everybody has a different threshold for pain. What will hurt one person can be simply annoying to someone else. How much a tattoo hurts is dependent on your individual tolerance for pain. There are areas more sensitive than others that is the same for everybody. Generally the ‘meatier’ the area the less it hurts. The closer to bone or tendons the more it hurts. Likewise certain areas are exposed to the elements, such as the back and outside parts of the arm, and tend to hurt less than more protected areas, like the inside of the arm, thigh or stomach. Women also tend to be more tolerant of pain than men, specially around the stomach area.
The pain associated with tattooing has been described as feeling like a) a bad sunburn, b) a bee stinging several times, c) a cigarette burn and d) a bad scrape. In most cases the pain diminishes after a few minutes when your body’s natural pain killers (endorphins) kick in.
Tips for a Better Tattoo Experience
Your Health: How you feel physically will determine how well you handle the tattooing process. If you are not your normal 100%; due to a cold, fatigue, medication; you will fell more discomfort during the tattooing process. It will do you better to re-schedule an appointment, then to go into the shop for a tattoo with a migraine headache. The artist will also appreciate the fact that you decide not to come in when you have the flu.
If you have a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, heart problems, etc” it would be wise for you to consult with your personal physician about your plans to get a tattoo. Don’t risk your health.
Your Diet: A part of that feeling 100% is your stomach, Many first timers are under the false impression that if you don’t eat, you won’t have anything to throw up if you get sick. Unfortunately this does more harm than good. Eating prior to getting a tattoo re-energizes your body. It puts back nutrients your body has depleted and returns your blood-sugar level back to normal. Having something in your stomach also helps to calm your nerves.
Your Mental State: Don’t come into the shop with mental baggage. Leave your work or home problems outside. Clear your head and just concentrate on the job at hand. If you are distracted or aggravated it can be picked up on by the artist and may have a negative effect on the outcome of your tattoo.