Top 5 Things That Annoy Tattoo Artists
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Tattooing rocks, if you have tattoos you already know this. If you give tattoos then you especially know this. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the unwritten rules of the tattoo game.
If you don't have any tattoos or you have had to search for a new artist for each of yours, this list is for you. Tattoo artists are the same as any artist; They pour their heart and soul into every piece of work they create. Tattooists tend to collaborate more with their clients, but at the end of the day its their art on display.
The best way to show your respect is to be aware of what annoys tattoo artists before you even walk into the shop. No call/no shows, obnoxious clients, and major last minute design changes are obvious. Drunks, perfectionists, and micro-managers not only annoy, but result in worse tattoos.
Everyone knows not to show up late and drunk to their tattoo, but there are some other unwritten rules as well. Here’s a list of five things that will drive your tattoo artist crazy.
Asking Constant Questions
Be informed sure, but don't be annoying.
“Can We take a break?”
Tattoo artists will understand if you need to take a break from pain, to get something to eat or to use the bathroom. When you are looking to take a smoke break or drop a selfie it becomes an annoyance and distraction. They have to dispose of and use a new set of gloves every time and re-set up their stations.
“How much longer?”
Close, but not as bad as the break is the time question. If you have a 5 hour appointment, expect to be there for 5 hours. If you have booked the day for a session then it's how long you can stand. Asking how much longer is going to make the artist want to hurry and a rushed tattoo is a bad tattoo.
“Why do I need to leave a deposit?”
If you have to ask this question, you are the reason that everyone has to leave a deposit. Tattoo artists are not paid when they are not tattooing or drawing a tattoo. If you want them to take the time to design something for you, you have to show you are serious about the tattoo. It costs you nothing to have an artist take the time to design something, but it costs them their time. Their time is money, so if you take their time you should be paying for it.
“How Much Will This Hurt?/Does This Hurt?/Did Your Tattoos Hurt? ”
Depends on the placement and the person, Yes and yes. This is the least annoying question that gets asked, but it still is one that pops up every day. Yes the tattoo will hurt and yes all the tattoos on the artist hurt them also.
A tattoo artist is providing a service
Tattoo artists get paid to tattoo and only to tattoo. Unless they are a partner or owner they also have to pay a percentage to the shop. Equipment like tattoo ink, machines, and needles are not provided to the artist and comes out of their pay. While you are purchasing the tattoo as a product, the tattoo industry is a service based industry. When you leave a cash tip for your artist that money goes direct into their pocket. Since tips are not included in the percentage given to the studio, it is a way to assist the artist. Aside from being helpful a generous tip will make you stand out in your artists memory. An artist that is happy to see you and work with you makes the experience better for everyone.
You don't try to price match artwork.
Every artist has a different style and vision for their artwork. They charge an hourly rate that they feel is relative to their skill level. Price shopping for a custom piece of artwork is almost impossible as no two artists will be the same. Find an artist that you “need” to get a tattoo from and then save up the money it costs to get it. Trying to get a discount tattoo is like getting discount surgery. It may work out, but is it worth the risk? Your artist may be willing to give you a flat rate for larger pieces, but don't expect a price match. These are masters at their craft, not WalMart and BestBuy.
Expecting Your Mind To Be Read
Tattoo artists are amazing, but they are not telepathic
Tattoo artists bring your creative vision to life, but can't see that vision inside your head. You need to be ready with as many references and descriptions as you can to help the artist. Giving them “creative freedom” only to micromanage the tattoo is the opposite. If you appreciate the artists style and talent and want a one of a kind piece then creative freedom is great. If you have something in mind and need help with the design, that is great as well. If you bring a complete stencil tattoo the the artist then that is awesome as well. The entire point is to be upfront, honest and open with your artist to get the best tattoo possible.
Stealing a Design
Copyright infringement is bad, mm'kaay?
It’s not cool to take a another artist’s design and get your artist to copy it exactly. I repeat. Not cool. It sounds like common sense, but people still do it any way. A reputable tattoo artist won’ tattoo someone else’s design. Beyond the simple fact that it’s lame and disrespectful, it can also be illegal. (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/warner-bros-settles-hangover-ii-203377 ). So if you want a face tattoo that is the same as Mike Tyson's you are out of luck. If you bring that as a reference and trust the artist though, you will get an even better version for yourself.
There are five things that will annoy your tattoo artist. If you are thinking about getting your first tattoo, please don't be a client that would need to be referred back to this post. Keep a positive attitude and be a willing participant in your tattoo for the best experience. Leave a tip for your artist and you will have the best experience each time you get some more ink. If you want to know more about the tattoo industry or about Jake himself, please check out the blog