Tips From A Tattoo Artist | How Not To Look A Complete Idiot At The Tattoo Parlour

Thinking of getting a tattoo for the New Year? Read our tips, directly from a tattooist before you take the plunge. So, You’ve decided you want a tattoo. Time to pop in the tattoo parlour and get one then? Well, not quite. There are a few things you should consider before you even contact a tattoo artist…


1. Are you over 18? Seems simple I know but there are a number of myths people believe including its ok to get a tattoo under 18 if you have parental consent. This is untrue. The law says you MUST be 18. There are reasons for this…..a tattoo is for life and what you think is cool at 16 is seldom what you think a year later. More importantly you are still growing. This means your skin will spread and take the tattoo with it, leaving an indecipherable mess! At the end of the day the law is the law and tattooing someone who is underage is assault of a minor. A very serious charge. Don’t ask a tattooist to break the law.

2. Do you have a design or at least and idea of what you would like? You’d be surprised how often we hear ” I want a tattoo but I don’t know what, will you draw something for me?’ Think about it, do you really think I can pull a design out of your head which even you admit isn’t there in the first place?! You should submit a design first or at least a rough subject to work on.

3. Don’t shop by price alone. Check out different artists profiles. See if you like the work they do. Every artist works differently. Tattoos don’t come ‘off the peg’.

Ok. So now you should have your design or idea and have picked at least one artist you would like to do your tattoo. So you can just call or message them and they’ll tell you a price,right? Well actually…..

4. You will need to call in at the tattoo parlour for a consultation first. Especially for larger tattoos. The artist needs to take measurements,check skin type and talk through your choice with you in person. This I’d part of the process that ensures you get the best work possible.

5. Listen to what your artist tells you. They should have years of experience in what will work and what won’t. You will know this if you have looked at their portfolio. Tattoos work differently than any other art form. Skin is nothing like paper or canvas.

6. When you make your appointment make sure you can make it and will be able to pay for it. You will be asked for a security deposit which should come off the price of your tattoo. You will lose this if you fail to turn up or notify the shop you can’t make it in time. 24 hrs before is the latest you should leave it. If you don’t turn up your artist has lost that time. We don’t get paid if we don’t work so we have also lost a portion of our wages for the week.

7. On the day of your appointment please shower. The reasons for this should be self explanatory. Around an hour before your appointment eat a proper meal. This will make the whole process hurt less and a lot easier for everyone. The more calories the better. Your body is going to need them!

8.Try and be a little early. If you’re late you will have a knock on effect on all appointments after you.

9. Don’t bring anything to the tattoo parlour which may distract you. By this I mean such things as children, more than one mate etc. Don’t play with your mobile phone either. If you want to know why then try to draw on a piece of paper and get someone to pull it away mid line. Got it? Good. Now last but by no means least….

10. Your artist will give you an aftercare sheet telling you how to care for your new tattoo. KEEP IT SAFE! Getting your tattoo inked on was just the start of the process. If you don’t follow the aftercare and look after your tattoo properly you can WRECK IT! It’s no good going back to your artist and saying “look, you fucked up here” we know when we’ve fucked up. We know when someone hasn’t looked after their tattoo. Or when they’ve picked at it.

So there you go. I may have missed a few things that someone else would include but tattooist work in different ways. This is the process I think will serve you best. So happy inking. Don’t have the artist muttering ‘twat’ as you leave the shop!

Article by Charlie Hurt of Alternative Skin Tattoo Liverpool.

Leave us your comments...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.