Tattooing—both the acts of getting and giving tattoos—is a complicated thing. In fact, there are way more ins-and-outs to the process than the average person realizes. If you don’t spend 60 hours a week in a tattoo shop you might not know all of the proper etiquette that will make your session go far more smoothly. In the past we have given tips on how what you should do in order to prepare for your tattoo, how to go about picking a tattoo design and who you should bring with you to get that ink. Now we are going to let you in on 10 things your tattoo artist wants you to know. Some of these are relatively obvious while others are things you might never have thought about, but the common factor between them all is that your tattoo artist’s life will be far easier if you had this knowledge.
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It’s a tattoo machine, not a gun.
One thing that is sure to irritate (most) tattoo artists is hearing the machine get called a gun. Guns shoot people, machines create art.
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Trust us, we’re professionals.
Unless your artist is Zoidberg, that is. Trust in your artist to make the right decisions when it comes to designing/creating your tattoo. This is what they do for a living, after all. Questioning every aspect of their process can be demeaning.
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Yes, it’s going to hurt.
Everyone should know this by now, right? Right? (Amazingly, this is not true.)
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Don’t negotiate price.
Your tattoo artist is not Monty Hall. It’s really disrespectful to haggle over the price of a tattoo.
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It’s going to take some time.
Good work, like this tattoo by Remis, takes time. We hate to break it to you but you’re not going to get your entire back tattooed in time for dinner. Or all at once. Or all this month. Be patient and you’ll end up with a phenomenal piece in due time.
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Not every idea that works on paper (or in your head) will work as a tattoo.
While the best artists in the game are getting damn close to completely replicating photos there are still some things, like this amazing drawing by Iza-Nagi, that just wouldn’t work as a tattoo.
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Proofread your tattoo. No, seriously, PROOFREAD YOUR TATTOO.
This is especially true with names and foreign languages. The tattoo artist is going to do his best but it never hurts to have a second person to double check.
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There’s no need to bring everyone you know to your session.
Tattoo shops are small and cramped—don’t bring 70 people with you to your session. For some advice on who you should bring with read this article.
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Tip your artist.
Tattoo artists rely on tips. Not all of the money you are paying for your tattoo goes to them, they usually have to give a cut to the shop. Plus supplies aren’t cheap. 20% is standard, but if you love your work be generous.