A guide to some basic tattoo etiquette

Updated: January 2019

Ah, tattoos.

Chances are you’ve thought about getting a tattoo or have one already. However, I’ve worked in a tattoo shop/hung out in shops and have broken some of these rules (like one, but I was young)

So I’ve compiled a list of things one should/shouldn’t do in a shop or to a tattooed person.

DON’T TOUCH (without permission)

The amount of times some random person has touched my skin to see if the very permanent tattoo is “real” gives me high blood pressure. So, if you don’t know someone but you like their art – ASK. JUST ASK.
I will show you if you ASK. Don’t grab my arm or bend down in front of me or think my personal space is yours for the taking. Have some manners, goddammit.

Don’t ask for a discount

That needle is going to go into your skin and create something that’s going to be there for life. The hourly rate you pay goes towards brand-new needles, sterile gloves, drawing up your artwork and the artist’s labour.

Have you asked a manicurist or hairstylist for a discount? (when you trust them with your appearance and pay them to do so) Then don’t ask the person who is creating art on your body to give you a discount. You get what you pay for.
And a cheap tattoo usually means a shitty tattoo.

Even Riri is judging you.

Come prepared

Don’t come through without having your design in place or at least some clue of what you want. Bring a reference photo or several for your consultation. The more there is for your artist to work with, the better. Don’t forget eat something before your session and ask about what time you should arrive.  Shower/brush your teeth/don’t booze beforehand (you’d think this would be common knowledge but alas…).
Lastly, don’t bring all your friends with – they will be bored. I promise you.

Ask plenty of questions

It’s a pretty big decision and if you feel nervous, ask all the questions you need to. It’s your body and you have a right to know what is going to happen to it. A good artist will thoroughly explain the process and your aftercare instructions, etc. Do your research and find a decent tattoo artist in your area. You can search Instagram hashtags for inspiration and find more artists near you.

But don’t ask me how much mine cost

Please. It’s none of your business and if you want a guesstimation go visit a shop or book a consultation. I’m not a walking advert for the artists who have worked on me. Prices change and increase, don’t rely on someone else’s tattoo fee for a reference.

Please refrain from asking the following

1. Did it hurt?
2. How are you going to get a job with those?
3. What did your mother say?
4. How will they look when you’re older?
5. Who’s gonna marry you with that?

I might reply politely (can’t promise that) but in my head I’m doing this

Hope this helps!

x A

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