How to Find the Right Tattoo Artist for You
With its origins in Polynesia, the word “tattoo” comes from the Somaon word “tatau” and has grown to become a global phenomenon. From celebrities showing off their latest ink on social media, to sports stars covered from head to toe in the latest tattoo designs, the numbers of shops and artists working in the industry have surged in recent years.
The sheer amount of tattooing around the world has never been higher and great tattoo artists are pushing the boundaries of what can be done. But this rapid rise has seen some lower quality operators springing up and giving tattooing a bad name.
Getting ink done is a choice for life and not one you want to regret. If you know what design you want and where on your body you want it, the final decision is who should do it for you, so it’s crucial to know how to pick the right tattoo artist and shop for you.
Here’s everything that you need to know to help you make the right selection to bring your tattoo dreams to life.
Check out the Tattoo Artist’s Work
Search “tattoo parlors near me” and compare the results. A good artist or tattoo shop will have a website, Facebook page or Instagram account where they showcase their latest designs. By browsing through these pictures you should be able to find a style that speaks to your tastes, whether that’s colorful American traditional or modern geometric designs.
Search the internet for reviews
Check reviews online, especially on Google Maps, as this usually is where you’ll find a number of impartial reviews. People tend to comment on design, cost, quality and experience. Testimonials on tattoo artists’ websites are often cherrypicked and give an overly rosy impression of their work, so try to choose an independent source.
Go and chat to the tattoo artist
You want to feel comfortable before getting inked. A good tattooer will put you at ease before you go under the needle. Speak to them about your design – or, better yet, take sketches and inspirational photos with you – and ask if they’ve done something similar. Their parlor should have plenty of images that highlight some of their other work.
It’s important to ask them how realistic your design is and how it will be modified. A good tattoo artist won’t tell you what you want to hear but should give you an idea of how you can get the design you want.
Get real recommendations
Ask around. If a friend or family member has had a tattoo, see if they were happy with their design. Take a detailed look at their tattoo and ask them how it compared to what they wanted. Also, check how it has changed over time as a good tattoo shouldn’t fade noticeably.
Keep it clean
Any good tattoo artist and shop will be licensed, which requires them to have completed health and safety checks. If you think hygiene isn’t a problem, just google, ‘tattoos gone wrong’ and you’ll be sure to take it seriously. Ask to see their license if you’re not 100% comfortable.
As the old saying goes, measure twice cut once. It’s really important that you’re on the same page as your tattoo artist. Once you’ve agreed on the design, size, time frame and price, get it in writing. That will means there won’t be any confusion later on.
Your last step
Give yourself time to rethink it; don’t rush into it and get swept up in the excitement. If you have any doubts about the design or tattoo shop, call the artist and ask them to go over things. If you’re still not sure then delay or cancel your tattoo. It’s better to give yourself some extra time rather than having to fix an expensive mistake!