If you want to get the perfect tattoo, choosing the right artist is just as important as finding the right design. After all, a poor quality artist will take your perfect design and ruin it…permanently.
So here’s a list of the most important questions to ask your tattoo artist. Don’t feel bad or awkward about asking any of these questions. Tattoo artists will have heard them all before and true professionals will be only too happy to give you honest, open answers.
1) How long have you been a tattoo artist?
This is an important part of working out the strength of a tattoo artist’s reputation. In general, the longer they’ve been in the business, the more experience they’ll have and the better their reputation. Artists with a bad reputation don’t tend to last that long.
2) What are your qualifications?
As with all professional trades it’s important that tattoo artists are properly qualified. Tattooing is a precision job that involves the use of needles, so it’s vital that a tattoo artist has been professionally trained and has a thorough knowledge of hygiene procedures.
3) How many tattoos have you done?
This is a good indication of an artist’s level of skill and experience. Tattooing is an art, and the more designs a person has created, the better they’re likely to be. The answer to this question also allows you to work out roughly how busy the artist has been, which is again closely linked to their popularity and reputation.
4) Can I see some of your previous work? Can you provide references?
Top quality artists will be able to provide you with pictures of their work and references from previous clients that they have worked on. But make sure that you see their work once it has healed properly to give you an accurate idea of what it looks like.
An artist who doesn’t have a portfolio of their work or appears evasive when you ask these questions should be avoided at all costs.
5) How much will the work cost?
Large tattoos that are full of intricate detail can be extremely expensive, often running into thousands of dollars. Even smaller designs can cost over a hundred dollars. So if you’re on a tight budget, make sure that you agree on the full cost of your chosen tattoo before work begins. This will avoid any nasty surprises or misunderstandings.
6) Do you guarantee your work?
What happens if you’re not happy with the completed design? Will they drop the charge, or just reduce it? Do they have a refund policy? Make sure you find out your artist’s guarantee policy before work begins as it will have a bearing on the quality of after sale service that you receive.
7) How long will the tattoo take?
This depends upon the size of your chosen design and the level of intricacy. Ultra small tattoos may take a matter of minutes to complete, while a full sleeve design may take several hours spread over a number of sessions. But if it’s your first tattoo, it’s important to know as much about the procedure as possible so that you feel more relaxed about it.
8) How should I care for my tattoo during the healing process?
Aftercare is an important part of the overall tattoo process. Poor aftercare can damage your tattoo design, lead to scarring of your skin and increase the chance of an infection developing. So all competent artists should be able to give you detailed instructions on how to care for your tattoo during the healing process. If they seem more interested in getting the tattoo started, go find another more responsible tattoo artist.
9) How can I reduce the chances of an infection occurring?
All tattoo artists should be able to give you advice that will help you to keep your tattoo clean and reduce the risk of infection. They’ll also be able to advise you what to do if you think that an infection is developing.
10) Are there any medical conditions that can prevent a person from getting a tattoo?
Certain medical conditions mean that individuals should either avoid tattoos completely or take certain precautions prior to being tattooed. Your tattoo artist should be able to give you general advice on this matter. However, if you have any doubts about the effects of a tattoo upon your health, please consult a suitably qualified medical practitioner.