Whether it's your first tattoo or your fifth, picking the right tattoo studio can make the difference between a great tattoo experience or a horrid one.
Finding a Tattoo Studio
Not everyone lives in a big city where there are many studios to choose from, so how do you find a tattoo studio near you? One of the best ways to do this is to find out where others have gotten inked. In addition to the many tips found on LoveToKnow, like tattoo parlor and tattoo shops, here are some here are some additional ideas:
- Don't be afraid to "case" out a studio before you decide to get some work done. Stop by without an appointment to see the environment.
- Check out the portfolio of the artists before choosing between different parlors. If you're looking for something specific, such as Japanese Tattoos, it's good to find a studio that specializes in this style.
Tattoo Studios to Avoid
There are a few types of tattoo places that you should avoid if you're looking for a positive tattoo experience.
- Don't allow someone to tattoo who is not experienced or wants to tattoo outside of a studio setting. Just because a friend of a friend owns a tattoo gun, it doesn't make him a tattoo artist.
- A good tattoo studio will always allow you to look through a portfolio and chat with the tattoo artist before getting work done. If they aren't willing to accommodate you, then go to another studio.
- Places or artists that refuse to allow you to ask questions about the sterility of their equipment or don't show you that your tattoo needle is coming out of a sterile environment should also be avoided.
The Makings of a Good Tattoo Experience
Some of the best studios are the ones that really take their time with their clients. From beginning to end, these studios, and the tattoo artists that work in them, are dedicated to making your tattoo experience great. They may have gruff exteriors, or seem a bit intimidating at first, but they are true artists and will not sacrifice quality for speed or quantity.If you're going to a new place for the first time, bring in an idea of what kind of tattoo you want. Ask to speak with the tattoo artist and take a look around the shop. Even if you end up picking your tattoo from the Tattoo Flash seen in store, it's best to discuss what you're looking for with the artist.
Many tattoo studios specialize in custom work, meaning that if you bring in an image, they can draw up a custom tattoo for you.
Another hallmark of good tattoo studios is you can get an estimate of what your chosen tattoo will cost. Be prepared to spend a bit of money for a large tattoo - some studios charge by the piece, some by the hour, but either way, a good tattoo is not cheap.
While the best review of a tattoo studio can often be from local customers or friends, there are also quite a few resources online that can help you. These sites are also great places to get ideas for your next tattoo, because they often show pictures and even have detailed experiences of tattoo clients.
- Tattooz.net provides some real world experiences and a gallery of different tattoo ideas.
- The BMEzine can give you great ideas for your next body modification - whether it's a piercing or tattoo. Be wary of some of the pictures if you're squeamish!
In the UK
- The Tattoo Club of Great Britain offers Brits a great selection of links to tattoo studios and reviews.
Just remember - don't go to a tattoo studio on a dare, without research or without reviews. Tattoos are serious business, and you don't want just anyone putting ink under your skin!