How To Get A Great Tattoo

You've got the itch and you're wondering how to get a great tattoo?

But you aren’t quite sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. Answering these questions for yourself might be just what you need to get inspired. Two of the questions I’m asked all the time is how do I get a tattoo? And how does it work on the day? Getting a tattoo should in my opinion be simple. It may seem odd but the first question is really

WHY DO YOU WANT A TATTOO?

Understanding and being able to communicate why you want your new tattoo will really help your chosen tattooist when comes to designing your piece for you. So, what’s going on in your life? Milestone events are often the reason we decide to get some new ink and a great place to begin the brainstorming process.

WHERE DO YOU WANT YOUR TATTOO?

Give a little thought to how large you want the tattoo and remember sometimes the position can lead to really interesting ideas. Talk to your chosen Tattooist. They will have a bunch of ideas and if they don’t… Pick a different Tattooist! If you already have tattoos, perhaps your latest will add to them, or complement your existing ink in some way.
first tattoo scared

It's my first Tattoo, Help!

Don’t Panic, we were all beginners once. Here’s a few tips to help you make sure that your first tattoo is a great tattoo.

Firstly.

There are many, many, tattoo styles out there. So many in fact that finding ‘your style’ might take a minute or two. Pinterest is a fantastic place to start searching for a style you like as people create entire inspiration boards of tattoo they like as they prepare to go get a new piece. They are all collated and collected together making it really easy to find out what your chosen style is actually called.

Secondly.

Pick a professional Tattooist who is working out of a tattoo shop. Serious artists spend approximately three to four years in an apprenticeship at a registered studio. Just like any other apprenticeship, they have to earn their dues, get the coffee, and sweep the floor before they earn those trade secrets. They’ve not learnt solely off the Internet or at some ‘school’ in a six week course. (Don’t believe it if someone cites the Internet as their credentials. They don’t know how to tattoo anything but a bit of plastic.)

Kitchen Wizard? Mobile Artist? Er, no thanks.

There are tattooists out there who will blow your mind with what they can do… and then there are those who should never pick up a machine (yes machine, not gun). ‘Kitchen wizards’ have also taken advantage of the art forms rise in popularity. Colloquially known as “scratchers,” they are responsible for that crappy tattoo on your mate’s cousin that is all blotchy and misspelt and they are universally HATED by industry professionals. All they have ever done for they industry is create future coverup work.

Take Your Time, Find The Right Artist For You

Thankfully, these days its easy to find a great artist who can do exactly the kind of thing you’re looking for. Just be prepared to wait, travel and pay properly for it. In the UK the average price for a ‘high street’ tattoo is around £60 per hour. But you wont necessarily find the best tattooists working in these places. High street tattoo shops are no different to all the other businesses on the High Street. Do you really want your first tattoo to be from an ‘artist’ who has to work next door to primark and the dog and duck pub just to get business? No. Me either.
TERRIBLE TATTOO
Scratcher Tattoo. You Get What You Pay For!

“Good work ain’t cheap, cheap work ain’t good
- Sailor Jerry

Custom work by a well known reputable artist usually starts at around double that of the high street and for good reason. The service and the quality is vastly different.

Once you’ve got your tattoo idea or concept in hand, you’ll have to set up an appointment . At this point you’ll be asked to pay a deposit, don’t worry it’s standard practice to take one and it’ll be deducted fron the final cost of your tattoo.
Most custom artists have will design and consultation procedure. You’ll probably have to go to the artists studio at least once for the design and fitting process. You should expect to pay for this in the same way that you have to pay a tailor for a suit fitting. This is – afterall – a permanent art form so you should be involved and consulted during the design AND it have it fitted to your body shape.
This process to take a couple of hours to a full day for something like a sleeve. Which means they (should) work on the design until you’re totally happy with it before the tattooing actually begins.

On the day of your session

As for the actual session. Wear comfortable clothes you’ll be sitting around all day so loose fitting is generally better. Also think about taking it off to expose the area to be tattooed. 
  • A ‘onesie’ won’t work! It’ll be comfortable but you have to remove it to get tattooed!
  • Tight sleeved T-shirt’s won’t work if your getting your upper arm tattooed
  • Skin tight jeans for a calf tattoo will have to come off etc etc
  • Please don’t bring a mate – current Pandemic restrictions around the world make this impossible.
  • Don’t bring your baby with you
  • Or your kids to leave running around in reception
  • Have a decent breakfast and bring something sugary to drink. Tattooing takes it out of you and keeping your blood sugar up is important
Other than that you can sit back, listen to us talk shit and crack up all day listen to some music and drink great coffee, hopefully!

There are plenty of websites that vet the quality of the artists on their site for you and make it easy to search for the best of the best.

TrueArtists.com features the best artists from around the world in a searchable directory style site.
TattooLife.com is our favourite tattoo magazine that features the very best tattoo art from around the world and interviews with the premier league of tattooists out there.
Tattoo Snob is one of our favourite instagram accounts sharing top quality tattoos in all the genres from all over the world

FIND AN ARTIST WHO’S WORK YOU LIKE

Its much easier to find an artist doing the style you like and ask them to do something similar for you. Not the Same but similar. We don’t generally copy designs unless they are flash. One off is just that… one off.
IE; If you see a portrait that I’ve done of a woman’s face with mickeymouse ears and what something similar it’ll be a different woman with Micky mouse ears laid out slightly different. Or you see a sleeve of patterns and huge Japanese flowers it’ll be slightly different flowers maybe of the same type with a similar pattern. But not exactly the same. Simple right?
Give your artists a bit of creative freedom and try not to be too prescriptive. Understand that they are the expert and that your idea may not work. Find someone you vibe with. Someone who gets you.