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  LiveWire / Teen Forums / Glamour & Fashion / Viewing Topic

The Ultimate Guide to Tattoos
Replies: 14Last Post Oct. 8, 2014 9:16pm by jamesish
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The Ultimate Guide to Tattoos!

So as a number of people are curious about tattoos, and a number of members actually have tattoos, I thought I would create a guide for tattoos to help ease some of the tension you may be experiencing.  I did not find anything on the forums that do tattoos justice so I thought I would create it.  This guide is based on personal experience and research.

I have broken this down into three sections:  Before the tattoo, during the tattoo, and after the tattoo.  Here you will find most of all you will ever need to know about the basics of tattoos and answers to some concerns/questions you may have.  This guide will continually be updated as I will strive for it to be an excellent resource for you.

This is an inclusive guide so if you have something to be included or corrected just tell me!

Before the Tattoo

During the Tattoo

After the Tattoo

Post edited at 7:08 pm on Oct. 10, 2014 by jamesish

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Members' Opinions

Here are some things that members of this site have to say about their experience.  To be included just send what you have to say to me!

Lexxisue


My experience with tattoos has always been positive. My parents and grandparents are all tattooed. It was never a foreign or forbidden thing. I waited until i was 18 to get my first tattoo. To me, tattoos should have some significance behind them. It doesn't mean it shouldn't look sick as hell but it should be somewhat meaningful to you. I often recommend playing around with the idea of the tattoo beforehand maybe drawing it on yourself or something. Making sure its something you really want. Waiting between tattoos to really avoid that itch to get more ink.
Before your tattoo, check out many shops for the best price and the artist whose work you really admire. Definitely get it done professionally or you can regret the ink coming out in a couple years and all that money to waste.
During the tattoo, bring someone along with you to get other opinions. Most of the time people are too scared to tell their artist yes or no on placement, colors, drawing. A friend or relative can be that starting voice to get conversation going.
After you are done, listen to your artist when they tell you how to take care of your tattoo. This can help the healing process go much, much faster. Take care of your tattoo to have it look great for years to come.

iamironman


Honestly, to truly explain the experience I'd have to explain all of them. Each tattoo is wildly different. It's not as simple as, "Oh it hurts for a couple hours then you're relieved and itchy." Each day you get tattooed you remember that day. Each of my tattoos has a story, and not just behind the art itself. The one on my right rib cage I got matching with my cousin spur of the moment while she was visiting. That entire experience will be much different than say my first tattoo, which had TONS of planning, which I got on my 18th birthday.
So yeah, summing up a tattoo is hard on the whole. What I can say is that it's exhilarating. They are fun. I'd by lying if I said they didn't hurt(though naturally some are MUCH worse than others), but it's a different kind of pain. It's hard to explain, but even though it's painful, that's part of the experience. Even though when getting my other ribs done when I was sweating and light headed from the pain, I still wouldn't have chosen an option to numb it. It sucks, but it's the nature of a tattoo.
As far as tips, there are the obvious. Artist match, do not price match. The price of a tattoo should be a total non factor. It's a HUGE commitment, and if you get a shitty tattoo it will last forever. If you can't afford the tattoo you want, then save some more. It's not an area to be frugal.
Don't go to the first shop you see, or just because a friend got a good tattoo there. Shopping around is crucially important. Remember, just because someone is a good artist, even a great artist, that doesn't mean they are good at all styles of tattooing. Sure, your friend may have an amazing tattoo, and that's awesome that they do, but keep in mind that some artists do excel in some areas more than others. Shop around to find the artist that fits the style you want.
Ask the shops about sanitation. If they are a responsible artist they will be more than happy to go over what they use to sterilize the equipment, and which are disposable and which are cleaned. Some will even show you their autoclave system. Good body modification artists are happy to inform their clients, and shows that you actually did the research you should have and didn't just go out on a whim not being educated.
Aftercare is actually more of a touchy issue than you'd think. Ask 10 different artists and you'll get 10 different aftercare opinions, and each one will have a reason why the other's doesn't work or is bad for the tattoo. Just ask the shop for an aftercare sheet(any reputable shop has these) and follow what it says.
I'll stop for now. I could go on about tattoos all fucking day. Hope it helps and feel free to ask me more questions!




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Age Limit

Each state there own legislature that determines whether or not you can have a tattoo done on you. It is very important for you to do your research first as laws change. Below are a few links to some sites than can give you specifics. Know that most reputable tattoo shops know the state laws and will follow the proper procedure. To them it is not worth going to jail over.

Connecticut General Assembly
National Conference of State Legislatures

Post edited at 9:22 pm on Oct. 8, 2014 by jamesish

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Selection of Tattoo/Discussion With Artist

Many times all we have is an idea of what we want. We know we really want a tattoo to express something close to us, but we are not sure what to proceed with or exactly how it should look. That is when an experienced tattoo artist comes into play. The experienced artist will ask you questions to have a better image of what you are striving for. They want the finished product to be exactly what you want. Usually you can give an artist a few details and they will run with it. In this scenario they will send you what they have come up with and you can tweak it any way you want. So it goes without saying: Know what you want before going in!

It is important to know, however, that artists that are experienced are still in the business for a reason. They know what works and what does not. A prime example would be trying to tattoo something very large on a small surface area or even trying to tattoo something wide on a horizontal surface. If your artist has to "squeeze" in the sides to fit an area then chances are the tattoo will not look great finished. There could be some discussion on color. Some colors simply will not stand out on a darker complexion. If you are a pale person you probably have more color options.

The right place to be is willing to compromise on the exact details but sticking to the original idea you had in your mind. An artist that just tattoos whatever you say, whatever you want should be questioned as to their motives. What they produce is a reflection of themselves on your skin. If your artist keeps saying, "No that will not work." Take their word for it. Chances are they know more about tattoos than you. Especially if this is your first tattoo and they have tattooed hundreds. Do not expect the artist to simply copy another artist's work. This is simply insulting to ask a professional to do this.

You can usually talk with your artist through different means. Many people go out of state to have a tattoo done (for various reasons) so they can not necessarily drive there multiple times to make sure the drawing is acceptable. You can use Facebook, text messages, voice calls, Skype, etc. Basically before you go into the shop just ask your artist to send you a picture of what they have drawn. This will save you time. Many times if your appointment is a month away, or some extended time like that, your artist can keep sending you what they have drawn so when you do arrive at the shop everything is set and acceptable.

Always consider location and the type of tattoo in your professional career.  As of now many professional environments are still close minded to the profession.  They believe somehow tattoos will lower the standards of their business or deter customers anyway.  If you are worried about this it might be best to consider tattoos in areas that can be easily covered up.  Tattoo sleeves (come in different colors) are made for this very reason.  A tattoo on the hand or neck can't be so easily covered, however.

If you do not have any idea of what you want do not have a tattoo done. Simple, but you would be surprised.

Finding a Reputable Artist

After you have decided what you want this is the second thing you should do. Do not select a shop just because it is close to your home or has a good reputation. You select the artist first and foremost. All shops that you find will have the DHEC stamp of approval because they need this to even have an open sign. Talk to an artist about what they do to stay safe. There is no harm in this conversation because you certainly are going to wish you did if you ever contract a disease from one or have an infected tattoo. You will catch on quickly if you are running into a new artist or one that does not know safety. It is acceptable to be tattooed by a new artist, but know for sure you have one that knows safety. Shops have no outside cleaning crews as the artists run the shop and keep it moving. They are mostly responsible for their own booth and most artists work together with each other to make sure the environment is safe.

Many times I have heard people come into a shop and say, "Hey! My friend told me you were great!" Talk with people that have actually been tattooed by that artist. You will see how the tattoo actually looks on the skin after the artist is done. Of course, look at the artist's portfolio. You will see typically what that artist does and what they feel most comfortable in. However, do not go on the portfolio alone. Pictures are in fact just pictures. There are many artists out there that can draw really great but are not very good putting it to skin. Look at pictures from artists that are actual tattoos and not just drawings.

Find the artist that best suits the type of tattoo you are going for. A simple pink ribbon is different from a koi fish with ponies and waves. One of the hardest types of tattoo is the portrait. If you are looking to have a portrait done, for example, make sure you do your research. An artist that is exceptionally excellent in dragons may not be so hot in realistic tattoos with detailed shadowing.

Many people also have this idea that you have to go to the bigger cities like Los Angeles, Miami, New York City or Atlanta to have the best tattoo done. This is simply not true. Many great artists will go to these cities, but you can find certainly find quality in your state. All you have to do is look up tattoo shops and go from there. After you have found a shop go their website. Reputable artists will have their portfolios online as well. Many have social media accounts that have their artwork as well.

Be mindful of reviews. Many of these reviews are filled with people that simply regret their decision or decide weeks later it was not exactly what they wanted. There a good thing to look at, but not necessarily something to go on solely.

Gender of Artist

It makes mostly no difference if a male or female tattoos you. You may find that some artist tend to not want to draw concepts out of their comfort zone, but this have nothing to do with gender. However, gender should be considered if you have an issue exposing a certain area to a man or woman. Sometimes clothing has to be removed to reach the upper, inner area of the thigh. If you are uncomfortable having a males face so close to your private regions then you may want to consider that if you are having your upper, inner thigh done. Artists tend to lean in close to see what they are doing.

Post edited at 9:13 am on Oct. 9, 2014 by jamesish

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Deals/Specials

The body modification industry is just like any other in that it thrives on the happiness of its customers.  Most artists want more clients.  They want their whole calendar to be filled with clients.  In order to have people in the shop and build new friendships they will have small fee tattoo days.  They usually publish them on their social media sites (facebook, instagram, tweeter, etc.) so you will know.

Do not expect these tattoos to be very big or detailed, however.  Some people love having small tattoos here and there.  Some people will pass on them because they want all their tattoos to have meaning.

Shops

Not all shops are the same.  The very first tattoo shop I went into had fish tanks and mostly paintings of various abstract/concrete ideas.  Very light.  The second shop I went into had mostly dark/eccentric drawings.  Dark and menace feeling.  Basically shops may have different atmospheres.  As a general rule go into the shop expecting to see many drawings of various sorts and quite a few tattooed people.  There is nothing wrong going with a friend your first time.  It is completely understandable to be intimidated.

Because sometimes artists move from shop to shop (for various reasons) do not be too concerned about the name of the shop or necessarily location.  Go looking for an artist.

When you go into a shop look for cleanliness.  The shop will have drawings everywhere, but there will be some order in the chaos.  If you see things all over the floor and it seems dirty you might want to reconsider your decision to go there.

Some shops do not allow kids inside the building at all.  It best to not bring your children or young family members to the shop at all.  Plan on leaving them with someone so you can enjoy yourself during the tattooing process.  Last thing you want is your child screaming inside the shop disrupting everything.

Some shops also do not want you bringing many people with you either.  One friend probably will not send your artist over the edge, but just remember the space.  Tattoos are done in their own booths.  The safest thing to do would be to ask how many you could bring.  Again, not counting kids.  Leave them at home (with a guardian)!!

Appointments

In most cases you will have to make an appointment.  If you are in a small town then you will most likely not have to make an appointment.  If your artist is in a down phase then chances are their schedule is open.  I have been in a situation where I walked into a shop and the artist said I could come back in a few hours and have it done.  As far as consultations go to discuss a tattoo you can typically walk into a shop and talk to someone.  If you are wanting to talk to a certain artist then it would be best to call them to make sure they are available.

Also, appointments are necessary is cases where you give the artist the chance to draw up something.  They need time because they could have appointments the next few days and little time to draw for you.  Please do not call your artist multiple times if they are done.  Surely enough they will not forget about you and will contact you when they are finished.  They are not going to forget their meal ticket.

When you do have an appointment make sure you have plenty of time before to prepare.  Take this time to relax and have any final decisions in your head ready to tell your artist. Hopefully you have told your artist days before your appointment of any changes to the drawing you want.  Sometimes though something may pop up at the last moment.  Luckily, artists are flexible and can do small changes in a jiffy.  If it is a concept change that will require redrawing a portion of the tattoo your artist probably will not be too happy.  They still may tattoo you though.

Be on time!  You need a happy artist for tattoos to come out beautiful.


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Pricing

Before having any tattoo done make sure you have at least some saved up! Do not go into a shop with no money and say you want something. The artist will think you are crazy if you even mention it and may not even draw something for you. It is really difficult to say how much because a tattoo in North Carolina will not be priced the same as California. The more experience the artist is the more they might charge. The more details included the more they might charge. Remember to not be scammed, however. If it sounds outrageous or something you are just not comfortable paying then do not accept the price. Be kind and express yourself. There are plenty of great artists out there with different pricing schemes.

All shops have a shop minimum. Artists have to buy those sterile needles used to tattoo you. This is in addition to other supplies of course. They need to make enough to at least cover the supplies used on you.

For custom tattoos you will probably have to pay by the hour. Again, if you are familiar with the tattoo artist or have friends in high places they may give you a set price. If you bring in something to an artist and say, "I want this," they may just go ahead and give you a price. Again, it will not fall below the shop minimum. You may also receive an estimated price that may increase. Artists are usually upfront about this if they are unsure how long it will take. They will let you know during the tattoo where you stand in price and how the timing is coming along. All you have to do is ask.

Many people start thinking about how much money they put out for a tattoo when they get home. Before you have any tattoo done you should do your research. You should talk to the artist and mention pricing. You honestly have multiple considerations: The tattoo quality itself like details or intricate lines, color or black/shading, size, time it took to draw the tattoo, professionalism of the artist, etc. Many artists even ask if you want something to drink or eat. I have been asked every time I went. Look at the whole experience and then ask yourself if you overpaid. Most after considering everything will be fine with the price.

As for payment, check with the shop and see what they accept. Some shops only take cash and some take debit/credit cards and cash. Money orders are also an option. Most, if not all, do not accept checks. Returning customers and friends of the shop may use checks, but it is just not that common. Just remember that if you do use a debit/credit card either increase the price a few bucks or tip your artist because card companies charge them a small fee to use the service.

Deposits

Most tattoo artist require a down payment. Mostly because their shops require them to. This is because many people go to a shop, tell them to draw something and then change their mind either during the drawing process or afterwards. Not only is this a waste of the artists time but in the world of tattooing time really is money. If you are being tattooed by a shop owner then maybe you will not have to. If you are a close friend of the shop then maybe you will not have to. If you are having a tattoo done that is covered under the shop minimum then maybe you will not have to.

The deposit amount can range from $40 to a certain percentage of an estimated or given price. Some tattoos are estimated over $1000, so they may require 25 percent down or $250. For tattoos that just fall under the shop minimum then you may not have to pay a deposit. Of course this deposit is counted towards the full price of the tattoo.

Post edited at 4:53 pm on Oct. 10, 2014 by jamesish

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Pain Management

Many people may be worried about the pain so they will take pain medication before the appointment.  This is simply not beneficial because these medications actually thin your blood.  If you take these medications and you keep bleeding uncontrollably your tattoo artist will stop.  Not only is it making you harder to tattoo but you could possibly faint.

However, too much pain for a period of time could also make you faint.  The best solution to this is ask if you can do sessions.  Not only is this financially stabilizing for the bigger tattoos, but you also can handle the pain more.

Same thing applies for drinking before their appointment to possibly "numb" the pain away.  Alcohol is a blood thinner.  Also, if the artist sees/smells you have been drinking, or drunk, they will refuse to tattoo you.

Numbing creams are also a scam.  Not only will they probably not work for you, but they may also increase swelling and prolong your tattoo time.  This will in return increase the cost of your tattoo.  This is primarily due to the cream having to be applied multiple times.  It takes some time for the cream to actually start working and then it only lasts less than a hour.  So a 2 hour tattoo could easily turn into over 4, for example.

Allergies

Allergies can be a problem.  They will cause your tattoo to break out in red bumps because of a reaction with the ink.  One of the biggest, but definitely not cheapest, ways to deal with this is going with vegan ink.  A simple search will provide you with a list of artists that use vegan ink.  If you have a favorite artist you can always ask him to order it for you.  You may be charged more, but at least you do not have to worry about your tattoo being ruined because you have an allergy.

This used to be a problem some time ago because of the materials in the ink, but ink used nowadays is more safe.

Health

If you have ever wanted to be tattooed by someone famous and waited months for an appointment then you know you want absolutely nothing to happen the day prior.  The same goes for a tattoo that you are simply dying to have.  Unfortunately, sometimes we become sick at the worse possible times.  Bluntly, it is not a good idea.  If you are sick your body is already fighting off some bacteria, virus or something worse.  Tattoos need white blood cells to heal.  Also, think about what you are bringing around to other people with open wounds.

If you call your artist he/she may be able to accommodate you to come in another day.  Worse case scenario you scrap up a bigger tip for the trouble.

Food

Always eat before your appointment.  If you are being tattooed right before lunch make sure you have eaten a decent breakfast.  If before dinner make sure you have eaten a decent size lunch and possibly a snack.  Eating within 4 hours being tattooed will help you from throwing up or fainting.

Clothes

Generally speaking you should always wear lose clothing.  Try to avoid tight clothing at all costs.  You want to be at least comfortable if you are going to be stuck by a needle thousands of times.  Shops try to control the temperature inside the shop but that does not guarantee you will not be cold or hot.  If your arm is being done it is acceptable to wear jeans.  If you are having your thigh done it is acceptable to wear long sleeves.  But remember clothing that is in the immediate area of whatever is being tattooed runs the risk of being touched by ink.  Ink can totally ruin your clothes.

Hygiene

You would be surprised how many tattoo websites/shops have information about hygiene.  Some people have tattoos done right after work and some right after sleeping.  If you do the following 4 things before your appointment then your artist will be quite happy.


  • Trimming of hair on and surrounding the immediate area where the tattoo will be
  • Full body shower
  • Underarm deodorant
  • Brush teeth/use mouthwash

Try to avoid heavy colognes/perfumes at all costs.  Tattoos could take hours and your artist will be so close to you they will probably smell it.

Post edited at 10:24 am on Nov. 24, 2014 by jamesish

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General Sequence of Being Tattooed

  • Your artist shows you what they have drawn after you have either brought in or something you have shown them to go on.  This is the time to make sure it is up to your standards.  It usually will not feature any shading as it will just be an outline.

  • You will be given some paperwork to sign.  The paperwork, across most shops, simply asks you if you have done certain things like take aspirin that would hinder you from being tattooed.  It also asks if you understand what you are doing and that you do not hold the shop responsible for any decision you make.  A copy of your drivers license is also taken.  If you come without a drivers license, i.e. left it home, you will not be tattooed until you have it.  The drawing is then transferred to stencil paper.  

  • Your arm will now be cleansed with green soap.  This is an agent that disinfects the area.  Then the area will be shaved.  Green soap may be applied again.  Stencil glue is then applied to your skin where the tattoo will be.  The stencil is flattened over your skin carefully.  After a minute or so it will be removed.  You will be given the opportunity to make sure this is the location you want it in, the position, the angle, etc.  A stencil can be easily removed so do not worry about telling your artist to move it up or down.  Once it is there and tattooed you can not move it a single centimeter in another direction.

  • At this point the artist may finish up setting up or may just start.  Many artist do not want to waste time so things will be laid out already and all they have to do is the actual tattoo machine set up, pour distilled water into a cup and ink in the cups.  

  • To go through the whole set up process:  A clean pad is placed on a table.  Clean gloves are donned.  Some petroleum jelly is then placed on the pad using a tongue blade.  Small ink cups are placed on top the jelly to secure them.  Then they are filled with the appropriate ink.  A small cup is secured onto the pad and filled with distilled water.  Green soap bottle and napkins will be placed on the pad.  The needle/tattoo gun is then set up with it being covered with a plastic bag.  The sterile needle will most likely be opened in front of you.  The cord clip is attached from the power supply.

  • Then you are ready to be tattooed!  You will notice after each type the needle touches your skin the artist will pull back and wipe the area with a napkin.  Periodically the artist will put vaseline on the area being tattooed.  This stops some of the bleeding and allows for better lines.  Also, green soap will be used periodically to not only clean the area but it helps remove excess ink as to allow the artist to see the tattoo better.  The soap also feels cool and soothing to the skin.

  • After being tattooed you will be covered with some type of bandage and you are ready to leave.  Your artist will likely give you his/her own personal aftercare instructions.  They should not differ significantly from typical aftercare instructions.  At this point you pay, and if applicable, schedule your next appointment.



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Duration

Many people wonder how long a tattoo takes and that completely depends upon location, detail, color and skill of artist.  Some tattoos take less than 15 minutes while some tattoos last almost a day.  Please be cautious with having a very long tattoo done because you have to consider the lethargy of the artist.  Many artists have told me eventually their eyes start to cross.  Remember almost every detail will show in your tattoo.  You do not want too many small errors because they will eventually be seen.

Also, note that after a while your body will start rejecting ink.  That is why you could be tattooed for a hour with no real inflammation and then all of a sudden your artist is wondering if they should stop.  However, depending upon the amount of swelling, this is when your artist should stop or when you should tell your artist to stop.  Not only is this when it will really start hurting, but if your body is rejecting ink do not expect too much of it to stay after it is done healing.  Some just do not wish to stop because you are almost done, but use your own discretion.

Safety

It needs to be stressed that you need to lay trust in your artist.  You are trusting them to put a permanent piece of art into your skin.  Something that will cost (depending on the size) hundreds or even thousands to remove.  If you trust them to do that you can probably trust them to be clean and tattoo you in the most professional manner.  Many artists will set up everything in front of you.  All artists will open up the sterile needles in front of you so you know you are not using a needle that was used on someone else.  However, do know that some shops reuse equipment because they sterilize on site.  Many shops will be honest with you if they do this.  Artists also have the option to have all disposable equipment (except the actual tattoo machine and power supply).  But ultimately it is your responsibility to ask!  It is always best to research your artists.  Know which ones not only can draw well but know safety.

Pain

As far as pain goes, which is probably the number one thing people worry about, different people do have different opinions but probably only a select few can say "oh, it was nothing!" Absolutely, it is uncomfortable for most.  Sometimes it hurts only for a little while till everything is numb.  Sometimes it is fine in the beginning but then after a few hours your pain threshold has been met. It is also important to consider the location.  To many, the rib cage is incomparable to the upper,outer arm.

Many descriptions of what it feels like have been along the lines of "burning sensation," "scratching a sunburn" or "cat scratch."  Personally to me it felt like an irritating needle pokes more than anything else but some spots felt like, "a hot knife peeling off my skin with no anesthesia."

Also, different size needles are used in tattooing.  The smaller the line the smaller the tattoo.  Some of the thicker needles hurts significantly more.  Shading uses a bigger set of needles and may feel significantly different than a thin line needle.

It is important to make sure you stay still even though you are going to want to naturally pull away from the needle.  Most artist, if not all, stress this before the tattoo starts because if you are having small lines done you do not want these lines crooked.  Luckily most lines can be fixed in a touch up.  However if you are going for small, thin lines realize to fix them a thicker line would be needed.  Or even some shading.

Accommodations

You can sleep if you wish.  ...if you can!  Some people have tattoos done after working a full shift at their jobs.  They are physically exhausted so their body can ignore what is being done.  While this has pros and cons it is ultimately up to you.  You may be asked to reposition a few times depending on the location so you may be woken up.

Something to drink (water most likely) will be offered to you.  If not offered you can ask as shops usually do not charge you for water.  It is usually bottled as well.

Many shops have big televisions that you can watch.  Most, if not all, play music.  Depending on the artist you can sometimes bring your own music or ask the artist to play something you like.

You can also bring your own headphones.  Many artist highly appreciate this for complex tattoos because they can concentrate more.  Do not continue to talk to your artist and try to have long conversations.  Chances are they are having a difficult time talking to you and doing your intricate lines.


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Tipping

A very common question and topic of debate is tipping. Some say you pay so much for the tattoo that tipping seems excessive. Some say it is common courtesy. The same reason you tip a waiter or valet.

It would be a good place to start to know how tattoo shops are usually structured. Typically you have at the top the shop owner. Under the shop owner are usually a few managers. If it is a small shop the owner is usually always on the premise so there really are no managers. Then you have your artist. This artist is usually independent which means the shop owner rents out his/her booths to this artist to use, but they must pay rent. The artist may also have to give a certain percentage of their money to the shop owner. For artists that are doing an apprenticeship this could be as much as 70%. Eventually you work there long enough to lower the amount to possibly 50%. This could go even lower if the artist makes so much money and has so many clients that the owner only wants a certain amount. It is not uncommon to run into a tattoo artist that wants to have his/her own shop just for this reason alone. When you are handing so much of your money to someone else after you do all the work you can understand the frustration.

Usually artists have to buy their own supplies! Artists have to be really good at their art to just make ends meet. Sometimes the shop will buy supplies, but this is up to the shop. They may have certain agreements with the artist.

If you decide to tip the next part is exactly how much. Typically if you are going to tip you should keep it simple and go with a calculator. Most tips range from 10% to as much as 30% per session. Some may tip more but that is not too common.

For example:

Given price: $650
Deposit: $50
Remaining balance: $600
Decide to go in two sessions: 1) outlining 2) line work/coloring
Session 1: $300
Tip 1: (15%) $45
Session 2: $300
Tip 2: (15%) $45
Total payment: $650
Total tips: $90

Now let us assume the artist keeps 60% and has to give 40% to the shop:

Total Payment: $650
Keep (60%): $390
Shop (40%): $260
Tips: $90
Artist takes home (keep and tips): $480

Most tattoos do not cost this much, however. This is actually a really good day for an artist. Without the tip though you could see how many "big" tattoos it would take to pay rent and the personal bills of the artist. If you have most of your clients coming in for smaller tattoos costing less than $100, and few tipping, it could take quite a few tattoos to make ends meet.

Artist are not guaranteed any customers. If an artist is in a down phase then honestly they do not know if another customer is walking through that door. Whenever someone does come in they could be looking for someone in particular.

It is not too uncommon for an artist to sometimes lower the price of the tattoo so you can increase the tip. That is more in his pocket and a happier artist. It is always good to build a relationship with your artist. There may be a time where you really want a tattoo, do not have enough money for a tattoo, and then the artist will still do it for you.

Tipping is basically you showing your appreciation for the time and effort to give a product to you. You paid for the product already, but how about the time, effort and difficulty in putting on your skin? Apprenticeships can take years to complete. Not just anyone can tattoo properly especially if you have different size lines, shading, multi coloring, etc.

If you would rather tip without money then you can always do a referral. Tell your friends about the artist. Leave some business cards around so someone can happen to see them. That is of much more value than $15 tip for a $100 dollar tattoo because they could potentially have a recurring customer.

Post edited at 8:50 am on Oct. 9, 2014 by jamesish

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Tattoo Aftercare Timeline

First, let us just know different artists have different opinions. The general idea is the same, but actual time specifics can vary.

From the time you pay the artist till the day you die your tattoo is YOUR responsibility. There is such a thing as your artist using improper techniques and botching your tattoo, but this is really not that common if you are going to a respectable institution. If you are having a tattoo done at the basement of your friend then you certainly automatically assume the risk before the needle first touches your skin.

Day 1

1) Application of Bandage:

  • Have a bandage put on your new tattoo by the artist.

2) Removal of Bandage:

  • If plastic wrap go home and remove the dressing. (maximum 2 hours)

  • If ABD wound dressing you may leave it on for longer. (minimum of 2 hours, maximum of 24 hours).

    ***Many artist debate the minimum and maximum times but remember the idea is just to protect your wound. If you're headed straight home and not to the nearest convenience store you don't have to have the dressing on for too long because you're in a more clean environment. Be mindful that some dressings are allowed to stay on longer because they absorb all the ointment, blood and plasma that's on your tattoo. If you leave that liquid material on top too long you will scab. Your tattoo may not turn out properly so be mindful. Also, think about oxygen. Oxygen is needed to heal wounds. Plastic wrap prevents air from reaching the wound and ABD wound dressings allow air to get through.***

  • You may have to apply warm water to remove the dressing to prevent it from sticking to your skin.

3) Cleansing of Tattoo

  • Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap.

  • After removing the bandage, wash your tattoo gently with unscented,mild antibacterial soap and lukewarm water.

  • Only use the tips of your fingers in a circular motion. Make sure to remove all the ointment, blood and plasma from your skin or scabs will form.

  • Pat dry the area with a small, clean hand towel.

    ***Some sources will suggest using paper towels but they may stick to your skin. Last thing you need is having pieces of paper sticking to your stick and you have to pick them off. If you are gentle a hand towel is fine.***

  • Leave open to air for 20 minutes to a hour.

4) Application of ointment

  • Apply a thin layer of A&D ointment to the area.

    ***Too much ointment will not only have bacteria forming but it will cause the tattoo to scab. Scabbing may lead to loss of pigmentation.***

5) Continuation of Care

  • If you have your tattoo done early in the morning you will have to repeat steps 3 and 4 at least once before the end of the day  

  • If you have your tattoo done late in the afternoon you can go to Day 2.

Day 2-3

6) Continuation of Care 2

  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 from Day 1 three (3) times throughout the day.

    ***Some sites recommend more depending upon your lifestyle and/or location of the tattoo. A tattoo on your upper arm may not have to be washed as much as a tattoo on top of your hand***

Day 4-Fully Healed

7) Continuation of Care 3

  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 from Day 1 three (3) times throughout the day.

  • You may now use a fragrance free lotion instead of A&D ointment.

    ***Some sites recommend more depending upon your lifestyle and/or location of the tattoo. A tattoo on your upper arm may not have to be washed as much as a tattoo on top of your hand***

Post edited at 10:55 am on Oct. 9, 2014 by jamesish

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Ointments/Lotions

For the first 3 days of your new tattoo do not use lotion at all. Use A&D ointment three times throughout the day.

Do not use anything other than regular A&D ointment. It is very simple. Some say Bacitracin or Neosporin or Tattoo Goo or H2Ocean are great to use. All of those have the risk of an allergic reaction that could lead to lost of pigmentation or are not any better than just using simple A&D ointment. I see no reason to buy a fancy multicolored bottle in hopes that it "works better." If your artist recommends Bacitracin or Tattoo Goo then by all means go for it.

From days 4 till it is fully healed use a non fragrant, non greasy lotion. All you are looking for is a simple moisturizing lotion that says "fragrance free" or something similar on the front. Specialty lotions from bath&body shops in the mall are unnecessary. You can apply that after it is fully healed.

With the ointment and lotion all you are going for is a thin film on top. If you are looking greasy then chances are you put too much on. Note that A&D ointment will naturally be a little greasy to touch. Applying extra lotion is not going to help your tattoo. If you see it becoming excessively dry then you have to consider what else you are doing. Do not expect to drink just 2 cups of water a day and magically somehow only lotion is needed to keep your skin healthy. You have to take care of yourself. Normally taking care of yourself mixed with applying lotion to your skin 3 times throughout the day should be sufficient in most cases.

Random Tips

Do not submerge your tattoo in water. Stay away from swimming pools, jacuzzis, bubble baths, etc. for at least 2 weeks.

It is acceptable to shower. Your tattoo is allowed to become wet from the spray, just not submerged.

Do not go to the gym and start lifting weights or putting extra stress on your body using the machines.

Do not wear tight clothes afterwards. Your tattoo will not properly heal.

You may have pain medication after being tattooed.  Typically you should wait till at least 24 hours after being tattooed.  If you take something while still weeping you may end up with more drainage.

Stay out of the sun! Your tattoo will lose ink or become excessively dry from the UV rays.


Scabbing

If you have ever had a wound you know scabs are just part of the healing process. Sometimes tattoos will simply just have some scabbing. It is not anything to be losing sleep over but it is something to be mindful of. Scabbing can be due to improper tattooing as well.

Scabbing occurs when plasma, ink and air mix together. The plasma coagulates and a scab forms. This will occur if you do not remove all the ink, plasma and blood from your tattoo when you remove your bandage the first day. Even after you clean your tattoo more plasma may leak out. It is extremely important to make sure you wash your tattoo at least 3 times a day in the first few days of having a tattoo. If you do not you will regret it.

If scabs (not your usual scabbing like over line work which you just have to ignore) do form apply warm wet compress to scabs for 5 minutes 2-3 times throughout the day. They will come off on their own. Do not apply any ointment to these areas immediately after applying the compress because you may rip off the scab. Wait for it to dry and then proceed with your ointment routine.

Itching

Itching is related to the peeling process all tattoos must go through. In fact, if your tattoo is not itching you might want to make sure your tattoo is healing properly. If you were to scratch your tattoo you would be removing some of the ink from the dermis layer of your skin. The ink goes into your epidermis layer (top layer). Once it is there it will either fall off or some may go back into the dermis. However, it will never go back the same or look the same. Also, the bacteria under your nails will go into the tattoo. This is especially true if your tattoo is fresh and just starting to itch. This bacteria may lead to an infection. Let us assume you just washed your hands and you scratch. How many people clean under their nails when they wash their hands? The simple solution: Do not scratch under any circumstances.

Placing a cover over your tattoo and gently running your nails over it could help with the itching. You are not directly touching the tattoo so you would not damage it. Gently patting your tattoo with the center of your palm could work. Some even suggest to leave your palm there. One of the most natural things you could do is just trying to focus on something else. Something mind stimulating.

Peeling


Right before you tattoo will peel you will see an almost "cracking film" over it. Then the real peeling will start. This peeling skin is just skin cells that have basically "died" because they were perforated with needles hundreds of times. It has been replaced with a new layer of skin

Some of the peeled skin may also contain actual ink. Do not be too disheartened by this. As your tattoo peels some of the ink will fall out. It is completely natural. The only time your tattoo looks absolutely perfect is right after it is done. If it is too faded there is nothing wrong with having a little touch up. That is exactly why touch ups are free as long as you return to the same artist. Many suggest a small tip like $10 or so but that is completely up to you. This is mostly just to cover the cost of using a new sterile needle, more paper towels, gloves, etc.

It is important to continue to apply lotion to your tattoo as it peels. Once it does start to peel use just unscented lotion. No need for the A&D ointment any more. During this process your skin will be very dry and not only will the lotion help protect your tattoo but also help some of the flakes come off. Do not be worried if your hand is covered with flakes of inked skin after applying lotion. Just remember to be gentle.

Infection

It is highly important to take care of your tattoo because once it is infected with bacteria the treatment could turn it into one big mess. If you have a large tattoo done you can see how problematic this would be.

Signs and symptoms of infection:

Inflammation
Swelling
Fever
Discharge
Odor
Excessive Pain

It is important to note that your tattoo will might be a little swollen or red in the early states of healing. That is the normal response of your body to foreign ink and having its cells penetrated by a needle. However, if you mix this redness and swelling with the other signs and symptoms you may have a problem on your hands.

GO TO A DOCTOR. This can not be stressed enough. Some infections can be life threatening or limb threatening. Sometimes infections can arise when you do not properly care for your tattoo and sometimes when your artist did not use proper cleanliness.

Post edited at 4:54 pm on Oct. 10, 2014 by jamesish

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Curious People

By all means show your friends your tattoo... after the bandage or cover over the tattoo is ready to come off. Some artist cover new tattoos with wrap and some with some other type of cloth. Plastic wrap is very common, but should not be left on for long. Do not just take off the dressing or wrap to show someone though. This is where you just have to trust the experts and leave it alone. If you are showing a child you run the risk of him/her touching it. Or anyone for that matter. Do not let anyone touch it! Remember that your new tattoo is an open flesh wound. Air-born bacteria can get into your tattoo and then infection may set in.

You can certainly ignore people who ask you about your tattoos and you do not have to answer them. You would be quite surprised how many complete strangers will come up to you and ask you the story behind your tattoo. Or go up to you and comment on it. Sometimes this can be quite annoying.

Touch Ups/Cover Ups

 

If some color is lost during the healing process then you can go in for a touch up about a month later. Or when it is healed. This is such a common thing that artist do not charge for touch ups. Just remember that you have to go to the same artist. Do not be too disappointed you have to go back because many people do. Having a touch up done is no reflection of the artist if it is related to some of the color falling out. If you need a complete do-over then you would be better suited to go to a different artist.

As far as content goes just remember that you can always wait until the tattoo fades a little and get something tattooed over it. For big tattoos this is quite problematic. For small tattoos this is certainly possible after some time.

When colors do fade, and your tattoo is at least a year old, you can go in for a cover up. Just remember that the cover up always has to be larger than the original. Color can not go over black, but black can usually go over any color.

There are a maximum number of times you can tattoo over an area. Usually after a few times scar tissue with form and this type of skin will not accept ink. So make sure you take your time in selecting a tattoo.

Post edited at 6:58 am on Oct. 11, 2014 by jamesish

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