What is the Proper Way to Tell a Tattoo Artist What You Want

A lot of people have tattoos that are nothing like what they envisioned. To make sure that the tattoo design that your artist is working on is the design you are envisioning you have to be able to talk to the artist and convey your desires.

There are several things you can do to make sure the artist understands what you want and you understand what the artist is creating.

What Do You Say to a Tattoo Artist

Visit the Artist Prior to the Tattoo Day

Visit the artist prior to the tattoo day

One thing that many people do not do is have a session with the artist before you are ready for the ink. During this little talk, you and the artist can discuss the design, the details of the design, and other things that may affect your tattoo.

If you have sat down with the artist prior to the inking session then you can be confident that they understood what you wanted, and you give them an opportunity to sketch what you are describing to them on paper for your approval prior to stencil creation.

Bring Your Own Drawing

Bring Your Own Drawing

If you know exactly what you want in a design you can bring your own original drawing or a picture of a design to the artist. The artist can then use your drawing to help create a transfer stencil.

Most artists show the client the transfer stencil they have created so they can get the approval of the design before they transfer it to the skin of the client.

Can I Bring the Picture of Someone Else’s Tattoo?

You can bring a picture of a tattoo your friend has and tell your artist that you want to incorporate some aspect of the design in your new ink but most artists will refuse to directly copy a unique creation another artist has done. Do not be surprised if the artist recommends you visit the shop where the original ink on your friend was created.

Be Honest

Honesty is the best policy when talking with your artist. If you give the artist an idea of what you want and they create a drawing do not be afraid to point out the things in the drawing that you do not like. If you simply say that you like what they have drawn then you are likely to wind up with a tattoo that is not pleasing to you.

Be kind when you criticize the drawing, but be honest about what you like, what you do not like, and changes you would like to be made. The artist is working to create a design you will like and they will not be offended by your honest opinion.

tattoo artist drawing

Be Prepared to Answer Standard Questions Before You Go

There are a few questions that every artist has to ask every client before they can begin to create their body art. Think about the following questions, and come to a decision on them so you can answer your artist without hesitation or being wishy-washy.

  • Where do you want the tattoo to be placed.
  • How large do you want the tattoo to be.
  • Do you want color to be incorporated into the design or would you prefer a black and grey piece.
  • Do you take blood thinners or medications that could affect your tattoo procedure.
  • Are you allergic to anything? This will let the artist know if the ingredients in the ink they use could be hazardous for you.

Another part of preparing for your discussion is to write down questions you have. If you jot down the questions and concerns you have before you talk to the artist you will be able to feel more confident about the individual, their work, and the other aspects of your tattoo.

Remember that there are no dumb questions. If you are curious about anything pertaining to the design, or the materials used in the work it is crucial that you share those concerns with your artist.

Do Not Include Your Friends or Loved One in the Discussion

Do not include your friends or loved one in the discussion

It is important that you have a one-on-one discussion with the tattoo artist. Having other people present that are also talking can create confusion in the mind of the artist. You want them to hear your thoughts, and get a feeling for what you want to have your best friend wait somewhere while you talk to the artist and iron out all of the details.

Do Not be Shy About Talking Money

A lot of people are shy about asking about the cost of a tattoo or the money involved in getting body art created. You cannot be shy, and you have to be honest with the artist.

Talk price and do not be afraid to tell the artist your budget. If they know how much you are able to spend on the work, they can make suggestions that could help you get the ink you want at a price you can afford.

Be fair and reasonable when you are haggling over price. The artist spends a lot of time doing the work and they need to be properly compensated for their time, the materials and supplies they use, and the skills they have. A cheap tattoo often looks cheap so do not always be willing to use the artist that charges the least amount. You want quality work at a reasonable price.

Talk About Experience and Ask the Hard Questions

Talk about experience and ask the hard questions

You should be prepared to ask your tattoo artist some hard questions. You are essentially interviewing someone for a job. You want to know what experience the person has, and most artists have a photo book or catalog that will let you see the work they have done in the past. Often looking at their past work can give you inspiration for what you want to be done.

Ask about the measures the person uses to sterilize their equipment and prevent complications like infections. Your artist will not be offended if they are taking the proper precautions. They will be glad to tell you how they sanitize their instruments and what they do to protect you and all other clients.

Main Considerations

The main things you have to remember when talking to a tattoo professional are

  • Be honest
  • Be kind
  • Be decisive
  • Listen to the advice and suggestions of the professional
  • Look the person in the eye when you speak to them
  • Have an in-person interview because talking over the phone or online can allow for confusion to occur
  • Be open and let the artist see the real you

People Also Asked About Tattoo Artist

Do I need to bring a picture of the tattoo I want when I visit the tattoo shop?

If you are creative you can draw your own original design and your artist can use that design as a guideline. You can also bring pictures of designs and elements you want to be incorporated into your tattoo. You must remember that the artist is going to make suggestions and give you advice so the final tattoo may be slightly different than your original thought.

Should you tip a tattoo artist?

A tattoo artist should receive a tip for their work. It is customary for clients to leave a 20% tip for the artist that does their body art creation. Remember that doing the work for you took time, materials, and skill so be generous with your artist and show them you appreciate their efforts.

Will I insult the artist by asking the price of the tattoo before I decide?

The majority of artists want you to discuss the price. They do not want to invest hours of time creating a design for you and then have to haggle over the amount they charge for their work. By discussing the cost and the payment options prior to the work beginning you get the opportunity to ask what you could do to reduce the cost and that opens the door for the artist to tell you what options you have available to you.

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