Design Your Own Tattoo Biography
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You can find a reputable tattoo artist several ways. Word of mouth (in other words, ask). Or you can take it upon yourself to do the dirty work. As in, the inspection of the shop and the portfolios.
Don't buy into the idea that the busiest or most well-known artist in your area is the best. Would you apply that same rule to your hairdresser, mechanic or nail technician? Of course not. So shop around and find the artist that's creative, trustworthy and most of all, clean.
Take a tour: Before you start calling around tattoo studios let your feet do the walking instead. There's no better way to get a feel for an artist than to pop right in. See what the artists are doing, who's available to chat, and most importantly decide if you like the atmosphere. You'll be spending quite some time there.
Next, is the place clean? See a license? Chairs look wiped off? Good. Now introduce yourself and get ready to plan the tattoo process.
Start talking ideas: Here's your chance to interview an artist. Spill your thoughts. Lots of people have fears about tattoo artists as stereotypes have created a certain culture club associated with the craft. Tattooists are human. Don't be afraid to talk to them. Show them your body and let them listen to your ideas. See where it goes. Are they spilling back design suggestions? If yes, keep talking. Explore colors and go over flash or custom sketch options. If not, head out the door. This isn't the artist for you.
Do a trial: Any reputable artist should be willing to create a few sample sketches and even let you test drive a temporary design. This is your body. Don't be in such a hurry. If it's not right, try again. There is no room for permanent errors. This is especially important to note if you're planning a name, cultural symbol or language tattoo.
Get inked: Once you found the guy who has envisioned your tattoo just as you have, it's time to pick a date. Get to your appointment on time and sober. Make sure you have some cash for a tip. Your tattooist deserves it. He's worked hard. An extra twenty percent added to your bill will do.
Spread the word: Celebrity tattooists rely on the same thing. Publicity. If you discovered hidden talent in your local area, spread the word. Fan page your artist on Facebook and social media sites, provide credit and post photographs.
You don't have to be part of a culture club to find a talented artist. You just have to be someone who appreciates a creative, trustworthy and most of all, clean tattooist. You know, just like your hairdresser. (And the chairs are more comfortable!)
I’ve already stated in previous articles that tattoo shops are not yard sales; it’s not proper to try to haggle with the artist over the cost for their time and expertise. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t sympathize with the fact that tattoos can be expensive. So, even though I don’t condone you trying to talk an artist down on his/her asking price, I thought I’d share a few tips on other ways to save on some new ink.
Sometimes, it’s all about catching an artist when they really need the work. The winter months tend to be the slowest in many tattoo shops, which means the artists are making less—and they have families to feed and holiday gifts to buy, too. So, keep a close watch on specials, coupons and other discounts being offered at your local tattoo shops during the colder months of the year.
I have noticed that I get see a lot of bulletins and notices being posted on MySpace by artists offering discounted work. Adding them as a friend or signing up for their newsletter (if they offer one) is a great way to keep up with any sales going on.
If you offer a service that your artist is interested in – such as mechanic work, haircuts, meals, painting, roofing, taxes, etc. – you might be able to trade work for ink. This kind of arrangement needs to be clearly outlined in a contract, though, so both parties are protected.
Offering your services in trade for ink isn’t rude like asking for a discount. But if they say no, don’t keep pushing the issue.
Sometimes, artists get bored doing simple stuff and flash work all the time and really love a chance to be creative. They may offer deep discounts or even free ink time if you’re willing to offer them a leg, an arm or a back that they can do whatever they want with.
Some artists will post bulletins/ads that they’re looking for a willing participant, but you can also ask your artist if they would be willing to offer a discount if you offer them creative freedom.