Frequently asked questions
I’m interested in getting tattooed, where do I start?
When you email or call the shop, try to provide the following information (the more info I have the better I can assist you):
1) Concept and Placement - What are you looking to get done and where? If you know roughly how big or small (palm size, full arm, large thigh piece etc.) any bit of info helps with estimates and approx. tattoo times
2) Budget - let me know if you have a budget you'd like to stay within
3) References - sometimes it can be difficult to describe what you want, in that case attach/bring any photo references that are somewhat similiar to what you're looking for, this saves us a lot of time in the drawing stage.
4) Availability - let me know if this is something you're wanting for a specific date or if you have flexible availability. However, please keep in mind at this time I'm mostly interested in tattoo ideas that will start within a month or two- I don't book that far in advance unless it's for a convention.
I require a $50 deposit on small-scale tattoos, and $100 deposit on larger scale tattoos. Deposits are non-refundable, no matter what. Deposits cover the artist's drawing time, as well as secure the client's appointment in our schedule. If for whatever reason clients are 30 minutes to an hour late to the appointment without notice, I will mark you as a no-show and will not accept you in my books at a later date.
However, you are welcome to call and notify us of any rescheduling needs. Please provide at least 24 hours notice and we can reschedule and transfer the deposit to the new appointment time.
I really like a tattoo you've done, will you re-do it for me?
No. I appreciate all the support for my drawings and tattoos, but I try my absolute best to make new artwork for each client that is specifically designed for their aesthetic and body. I would be happy to book a consult so that together we can create your own custom tattoo.
I'm nervous for my first tattoo, do you have any pointers??
Yes definitely, getting tattooed hurts, but there are several ways to make you more prepared for this awesome new experience. (Obviously some points won't apply to everyone so just pay attention to what may affect you):
1) Do not be hungover or sick or ailed in any way the day of your appointment. It seems like a little thing, but when your body is already fighting other ailments it makes it that much harder to not only sit for your tattoo, but it can also affect your healing time. Try your absolute best to be well nourished, well hydrated, and mentally prepared for your appointment.
2) I already mentioned food because food is awesome. EAT EAT EAT. Seriously, eat something before your appointment! You are also welcome to bring snacks, water, or Gatorade with you to keep you well-nourished throughout. Eating also greatly reduces the risk of fainting (it is not the end of the world if this happens) it's just a fact that a normal blood sugar prevents this from occuring.
3) No friend-gangs please, at my current studio we have room for our artists and our clients, space only permits one guest if needed, and this is to ensure the safety and tranquility of our work environment.
How do I tip? Do people tip?
Obviously this could differ from artist to artist, but because I work off of a commission where a good amount of my work goes back to the shop, tipping is greatly appreciated. There isn't a standard or expectation per se, but I think 15%-20% in Canada is common.
Here's a picture, how much will it be?
A picture will definitely help towards an estimate, but it is not enough information to understand how much work is needed, as size, detail, and placement will all factor in how long a tattoo can take.
A really simple way of understanding the price of any tattoo is more time means more work, which will cost more money. However, an artist with 30+ years of experience that can do a great tattoo in less time does not mean they deserve less compensation, this is why prices of tattoos can greatly, greatly vary from shop to shop, artist to artist. Some prefer pricing per piece, others work on an hourly so please try to be patient if you are "shopping" and getting different rates. At the end of the day, you should be getting tattooed by the person you want artwork from, not necessarily from who gives you the cheapest deal. Cheap tattoos ain't good, and good tattoos ain't cheap.
For myself, I try to gauge how long my tattoos will take based of the factors mentioned above, for conventions I typically charge by the piece, where my home shop I have a $160 hourly rate. If you can send an email with all the information required, I can do a better job with estimates.
Aftercare, how do I heal my tattoo the best?
Aftercare, like tattoo pricing, can vary greatly from shop to shop and artist to artist. Overtime I have made some changes to how I heal my tattoos now versus 11 years ago when I got my first tattoo. Our industry has progressed a lot with tons of new healing options that didn't exist 5, 10, 20+ years ago. That being said what I recommend is solely based on my own experience with the tattoos on my own body, and from how I've seen my clients heal- it is not a window for people to send me angry emails arguing my stance on this, it is just what works for me and you are welcome to do what works for you.
Okay now that the preamble is over, here is what I use and recommend for optimal healing:
1) Transparent film bandages - these are by far my preferred type of bandages and there are two ways I've heard of them being used:
a) Bandage put on day one for 12-24 hours, and then a second replacement bandage put on for four or five days until removal.
b) Bandage put on day of tattoo and stays on for minimum 24 hours up to four-five days.
I have heard of people using Transparent film bandages and then putting on a second one for the remainder of healing time. I would only ever recommend this method if the client goes back to the tattoo artist to switch to the "replacement" bandage- this is not a method I would suggest if the client is cleaning and applying themselves, as there's no way to guarantee the cleanliness.
That is why I prefer this method:
After the tattoo has completed I have my clients wait for about 10 to 15 minutes for the area to soothe, I clean the tattoo again, dry-wipe (I know ouch), and then apply the transparent bandage to the tattoo area. I then ask my clients to keep the bandage on for a minimum of 24 hours and as long as the barrier has not been broken (meaning no leakage/water/product nothing gets in, nothing gets out), the bandage is safe to stay on for the first critical days of healing. In my experience, on day four or five when the bandage is removed the tattoo is smooth to the touch, with no "scab" or flakey phase.
Regardless of using these transparent bandages, or any other method, here are some general rules that most artists will tell you no matter what:
Your tattoo is artwork, but it is also a wound- treat it as such.
1) No swimming, hot tubs, saunas or prolonged submerging under any circumstances. Chlorine, lake, and/or salt water are all prohibited while you are healing your tattoo. If you choose to do any of these activities during your heal time do not be surprised if infections, abrasions, or itchiness negate the healing time of your tattoo OR worse, damage it
2) Keep your tattoo area dry and clean, treat it like the wound that it is. Don't itch or scratch or irritate the area, it is normal for new skin to regenerate and be itchy during this process, try to leave it alone and let it breathe, which brings me to the next thing
3) Don't drown your tattoo, meaning you do not need mass amounts of
lotions/moisturizers/soaps etc. during the healing time. Unscented soaps in your showers and minimal unscented lotions to help with the itchy sensation is enough, think dime sized amounts not globs of anything. Avoid perfumes or materials that will irritate your tattoo. I also do NOT recommend Vaseline or Polysporin type products, natural unscented products only.
4) No sunbathing or tanning, keep out of the sun during the healing process. Fresh tattoos should not be exposed to any possibility of burning as this can greatly affect your healing time and harm the integrity of your tattoo. Even healed tattoos should have extra care and protection in the sun for optimal longevity.
5) Avoid excessive exertion after your tattoo, since I use transparent bandages we don't want heaps of sweat accumulating in this area. It is best to relax until the bandage is removed and the skin can breathe before crazy work out sessions.
6) Lastly, if you ever have any concerns there are no stupid questions with new bandages and especially none if it is your first time. Please contact myself or our shop for help, Google and Webmd will only cause mindless anxiety, and your friends' opinions on bandages they have never used also doesn't help. Your aftercare instructions should be speciifc to what type of bandage you are using.