Before Your Consultation
A tattoo consultation is usually the first step toward getting a tattoo. It’s an important meeting that generally takes only 10 or 15 minutes, where artist and client exchange important information to prepare them both for the actual tattoo appointment.
Today we’re going to help you learn how to get the most out of your consultation.
How do you decide if this artist is the right artist for you?
When requesting your consultation, you’ll need to know which artist you would like to see.
To help you decide, look at their portfolio. Of course it’s important to find an artist with good strong line work and well executed tattoos, but you’ll also want to make sure that you like their choices and how they design their pieces. Be sure that their style and artistic ability will compliment your idea. Asking someone who only tattoos traditional skulls and daggers to design your delicate, photorealistic floral tattoo may not yield the best results. Asking yourself these two questions can be very helpful:
* Do I really like their work?
* Do I see tattoos in their portfolio that I would be happy to have on my own body?
If you are still unsure who is the right artist for you, the front desk staff at the shop can be a wonderful resource. Tell them about your idea and see which artist they feel would enjoy working on your piece and would do the best job.
By the time you have your consultation, you should be certain that this is the artist that you want to work with. In the same way that the artist would not decide whether or not they wanted to tattoo you after you showed up for your tattoo appointment, it’s important to be respectful of their time as well. Ask questions, look at all of your options, and consider carefully before choosing.
Once you’ve booked your consultation
Now that your consultation is booked, it’s time to prepare. Be sure that you know what you want. You don’t need to have a perfect concrete idea of what your tattoo should look like, but you do need to know what you want the subject matter to be.
So if all you know is that you want a symphony of lilies and pears covering your arm, your artist will be happy to worry about layout and composition, and suggest elements that can compliment your idea (leaves, filigree, etc). But if you show up wanting ‘a sleeve’ that’s not very helpful. Do you like unicorns, skulls, flowers, german shepherds, spaghetti, antique books, or airplanes? Your artist is not a mind reader.
Remember, the artist’s job is not to make up your mind, or tell you what tattoo you should get.
Their job is to take your idea and make it the best it can be.
Arrive on time or early for your appointment and in the interest of clarity, print out any picture examples that you may want to show the artist. (Having pictures of things that you do not like can be helpful too if you are trying to explain a particular style of art that you are thinking about.)
You can use this list to help you prepare:
* What is the subject of my tattoo?
* Where on my body do I want the tattoo?
* How big would I like the tattoo to be?
* Do I want a simple outline, shading, or colour?
* What style am I interested in (realistic, stylized, traditional, etc)?
Other important things to discuss:
Beyond the art itself, your consultation also provides an important opportunity to discuss anything that may impact your tattoo appointment, or the way that your new tattoo will heal. This could include;
* Any medications you’re taking.
* Any recent or upcoming surgeries.
* A recent pregnancy.
* Any allergies.
* Any anxieties or personal concerns.
* Whether of not you can bring a friend with you into the tattoo room.
* Anything else you can think of that may impact your experience.
Having good expectations will ensure that everyone involved in the process has an enjoyable experience. Let your artist know how you imagine the next steps going, or ask them what their process is leading up to the tattoo.
At our shop for example, the artists create one design for you based on what was discussed at your consultation. We do not change for the consultation, or for the artist’s drawing time, only for the time that you spend in the chair getting tattooed. If there are small details that need to be adjusted in their design, they are happy to do that for you. But if you change your mind and would like a complete redesign, or to get a different tattoo, you would be expected to compensate them for the time spent drawing the piece that will not be tattooed. (This is one of the reasons why it is so important to know what you want before your consultation.)
Our artists keep tight schedules, and usually draw in the evenings or on their days off. Often they will complete each drawing only a day or two before the appointment, or if their schedule gets really hectic, the night before. If you are hoping to see your design farther in advance, you’ll have to ask the artist if that is possible, and when they can reasonably have it finished.
Also, not all tattoos require an actual drawing. With portraits, for example, the artist may draw some guidelines on the photograph, or clean it up in Photoshop, but in order to preserve the little details and create the most accurate portrait possible, they will use the actual photograph of the person or animal to tattoo from, not a drawing they made. The same can be true of realistic flowers, where a stencil may be made from the photograph of the flower, with no actual drawing needed.
Booking your tattoo appointment:
Now that your artist knows what you want, they can tell you how long your tattoo will take and how much it will cost. Sometimes this quote will be exact ($450), and sometime it will be an estimate (around 3 hours, at $150 per hour).
This is the part where we book your actual appointment, far enough in advance to let the artist prepare. (They will need time to draw or design your tattoo for you.)
Next up is the deposit. Deposits are collected on every tattoo, and in most shops are non refundable. They will include a standard timeframe within which the appointment cannot be cancelled or changed (at our shop, it is 48 hours before your appointment). If you have to cancel your appointment at the last minute, the deposit will be paid to your artist. (Remember, without you in their chair, they wouldn’t make any money.) With enough notice however, appointments can be easily rescheduled.
And there you have it; choose your artist, know what you want, and book your appointment. We’ll see you soon!