If you’ve made the decision to get a tattoo then you have also, hopefully, made the decision to research some of your local tattoo artists. Tattoo artists are just that: artists. Most have a specific style that they prefer and that they excel at. Some may love to do cartoons, others hyper-realism or portraits, while others may be breaking into the world of watercolour tattoos. Finding the right artist for you is just as important as deciding on what tattoo you want.
A good artist can take your ideas and create something you wouldn’t have been able to dream of, while a bad artist could take a cliché quote with a grammar mistake in it and slap it messily onto your body. Worse even, they could leave you fighting a skin infection that completely destroys your tattoo.
Once you have a fair idea blooming in your head about your next work of art, don’t rush into the first tattoo shop you see. Instead, follow these guidelines:
- Research local tattoo shops. Read reviews and scour the artists’ portfolios. It is usually easy to pick up on what type of tattoo genre the artist tends to stick to. Find a few that stand out to you and have worked on tattoos similar to the one you want. Don’t rush this process; it might not be a “big purchase” compared to a car or a house, but you will still want to take your time shopping around. This is going to be on your body forever!
- Book a consultation and meet your tattoo artist. You may end up waiting months or even over a year to get in for your actual tattoo appointment; however, most shops can take consults quicker and that will allow you to meet your possible artist and talk about your tattoo. Good artists will provide unbiased feedback to you about your ideas. They will tell you if your tattoo won’t work and will help you design it into something that will work and that you will still love.
- Don’t be swindled! No good tattoo artist is going to try to “sell” you on getting a tattoo. You should be seeking their business, not them seeking you. The best artists are the busy artists! And they are the ones that will put passion and experience into your tattoo. Not to say there’s not amazing new artists out there but they, too, should never rush you into a tattoo you’re unsure about!
- Seek recommendations from friends or even strangers. If your buddy has a truly amazing tattoo, ask him where he got it. Even if it’s not your style, they tattoo shop is probably full of many other talented artists. And if you happen to pass someone on the street and can’t help thinking, “now that is a beautiful tattoo!”, then ask them about it. Most tattooed people love to talk about their body art and will happily let you know about their artist.