This is long over due.
Tattoo shop etiquette is not necessarily common knowledge. This industry isn't like most so we know it can be intimidating and overwhelming. So here are some inside tips on things you should and shouldn't do. Enjoy!
Know what you want. It’s beyond frustrating for the artist if they draw something up based on what you said you wanted and then you change it. To ensure that you and your artist are on the same page as far as a design, bring in a couple images showing the style, colors, placement, size, etc. Even if it’s a shitty drawing that you did yourself, bring it. We’ll all have a laugh and your artist will get a better idea of what you want.
Trust your artist. Here’s the thing; we get it, it’s your tattoo and it’s on you forever and all that. WE KNOW. What most people don’t realize is that not everything can be or should be tattooed. You really have to come in with an open mind, willing to bend, and open to taking your artist’s suggestions. If they say it won’t work, it won’t work.
Don’t Haggle. Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good. Period..
Show up on time! When you are booked in your artist will book out enough time to do what they need for your tattoo and not much more. There’s nothing wrong with showing up a bit early even, 10-15 mins before your appointment will give you a chance to talk a bit and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Call if you’re going to be late. Again, your artist is working on a schedule; it’s just nice to give them a head’s up if you’re going to be late.
Eat well. We’re not saying you need to make some drastic diet change, but before you get tattooed it’s a good idea that you have a decent meal, maybe some sweets. It will help keep you feeling good while you get tattooed, especially if you’re a fainter. I’m a fainter so I usually get JACKED UP on soda and Slurpees and candy and chocolate.
Practice good hygiene. Shower before you come. Seems like common sense but a little reminder never hurt. Stinky butt isn’t cool, friends.
Pee first. This one is my favorite only because one time, while getting tattooed, I fainted and peed. No joke, that happened. So take my advice and pee first. Also, once your artist gets going you don’t want to have to interrupt them to tinkle. (For the record I was pretty hungover. Which brings me to my next point…)
Don’t show up hungover. It makes it so much worse on you and if it’s hard on you, it’s hard on your artist. Also, what if you faint and pee and have to leave in pee pants? No bueno. Showing up drunk is also not the answer here. WE WILL NOT TATTOO YOU. So that’s that.
Don’t bring 60 friends. One or two is fine but beyond that is just a huge pain in the ass. For one thing, there isn’t enough room for your whole squad. Second, it gets loud with that many people and your artist is trying to give you a great tattoo, it can be distracting with an imperial shitload of people in the room.
Arrange for a babysitter. It isn’t a matter of how well behaved your kids are as much as it can just be a huge distraction for you, your artist, other artists, and other clients. So please make arrangements for them elsewhere. Children are welcome in the shop; it’s not that we don’t like kids, we do. (Except mine, we don't like her very much) But when you are getting tattooed you cant be taking breaks to make sure little Timmy isn’t trying to tattoo his sister or getting boogers on the walls.
Don’t be demanding. This goes along with trusting your artist. Don’t come in and tell them how it’s going to be, that will get you nowhere. Again, some things just can’t be done and you being pushy or demanding isn’t going to change that. Ultimately, they want you to have a great tattoo that you are happy with and they are proud of.
Pay attention to aftercare instructions. How you take care of your tattoo is really going to make or break the healing process. Your artist knows what they are talking about and while mom’s old Cracked Heel Cream is probably divine on your super dry hands, it’s probably not good for your tattoo. Pay attention and do as you are instructed.
Tip your artist. A lot of people truly just don't think to. It's not that they wouldn't, they just don't realize it's a gesture that is really really appreciated. It’s definitely not expected but it is appreciated and it shows that you are happy with their work which mean a lot to them.
I hope this helps clarify why some things are done the way they are. At the end of the day, we just want you to leave happy with an awesome tattoo.