- If you want to make a decision about what shop to go to, try to see examples of their work in flesh, not just pictures. Look for at their work whichis done in the same style as what you want done. If you want a really intricate and colourful design, or a detailed picture of something, looking at someone else's black tribal swirly design isn't much help. Sure, you can see how well they put the ink in, however it doesn't tell you much about the artist's skill in doing the type of design you want. For example, just because a tattooist can do tribal, it doesn't mean their talents extend any further than that to different art styles.
- The artist should have a portfolio for you to look at. Look through those pictures carefully as well as looking to see if there are pictures of healed tattoos in there. Pictures of healed tattoos mean the customers liked their experience with that artist enough to come back.
- Make sure they autoclave and find out if and how often they test their autoclave. Ask to see results- any good artist should be proud to show you the results and a good artist should have their sterilisation certificates on display for anyone to look at. If they seem offended by you asking about sanitation/sterilisation, it probably means they have something to hide and that you should get out of there and never go back.
- Needles should be torn out of the package in front of you, fresh ink should be poured out into new ink caps and rubber gloves should be worn at all times. Anything that is not disposable such as spray bottles,the tattoo machine and cord etc. should be covered in plastic.
- Try to develop a certain comfort level with your tattooist by getting to know he/she beforehand. If you can't stand your tattooist,you don't want them coming near you with a needle, nor do youwant to give them your money if their personality made it difficult to sit with them. This will also ensure that you feel comfortable enough with the artist to tell him/her to stop if you don't like how it feels or if you want to take a break or you want them to stop. You should never be afraid to ask them to stop or take a break, because it's your body and it's your health. If you're feeling sick, the artist needs to know.
- If all else fails, go by price, however only ever base your decision on price if all the other factors are equal- you don't want to skimp on something that's on you for life. If a more expensive shop is cleaner, the artist is more talented and easier to get along with, paying the extra money is worth it. Don't assume they take cheque or cards as it's likely they only accept cash.
- Once the day of your tattoo, wear comfortable clothes and eat a good meal before going in. Do not have alcohol in your system because it thins the blood causing you to bleed more. A good tattooist will refuse to tattoo if you have alcohol in your system. This means no drinking the night before and certainly no drunken tattoos.
Courtesy of Narfomi & cellophanestarr