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Posted on Sep 21, 2018

How to Choose a Tattoo Artist

Finding the right tattoo artist is kind of like finding the right date. Ultimately, you want somebody who respects your vision, who gets your style and who you’re comfortable enough to be alone with w...

Finding the right tattoo artist is kind of like finding the right date. Ultimately, you want somebody who respects your vision, who gets your style and who you’re comfortable enough to be alone with while they have control over your cringe level. And if it doesn’t work out? Well, at least with a date you can call it a loss, go home and order takeout. With a tattoo, you’re stuck. Unless, of course, you’re going semi-permanent. Either way, it pays to do your research and ensure you make the perfect choice when it comes to choosing your tattoo artist. Here’s how:

The hunt

As retro as it sounds, word of mouth can be a great way to find a tattoo artist whose work you love, especially if you’re lucky enough to have friends with covetable designs or connections in business. If you’re in an area where tattoo parlors are plentiful – or even not so plentiful! – dropping by and asking if they have an artist they can recommend for your image works too, plus it gives you a chance to inspect the place itself. Failing those, social media or the internet in general can be useful too, not to mention a great way to scope out portfolios online, which brings us to our next point.

Check 'em out

In the age of social media, there’s no excuse for not doing your research. A little bit of stalking never hurt anybody, right? Almost every artist has a digital portfolio somewhere, at least if they’re proud of their work, which they should be. If they’re not? Well, that’s probably a red flag in itself. Take a look at their designs closely. Are the colors bold, bright and within the lines? Does the shading integrate well? Are the lines smooth and defined? Is the detail meticulous? Ultimately, can you see yourself rocking one of their designs?

All tats are not equal

Like any form of art, artists tend to excel at certain styles, and you want to capitalize on that. No matter how awesome that tattoo artist specializing in watercolor designs is, if you want something in really elaborate cursive, it makes sense to seek out an artist that has a track record for that. If you want something iconic from a particular time period or anything that falls under a very specific theme, you want someone who has experience with that and can back it up. There are so many styles to choose from, but remember, the duration of someone’s experience is just as crucial as the type of experience.



Book a consultation

A quality tattoo guru will offer a free consultation, or perhaps charge a small fee that will be put toward your finished work. This is because someone who really values their craft wants to make sure that your needs and their skillset are a good match. Bring a copy of the design you’re interested in or at least images for comparison. This is a great time to ask questions about whether they have experience with styles like this, and whether they have any suggestions in terms of custom touches. You can even ask if they'd be willing to let you test out their design with our custom platform like Vanessa did! 

An in-person meeting also gives you a sense of them as a person; are they easy to talk to? Knowledgeable? Do they provide aftercare or offer touch-ups? At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable letting this person handle your pain and comfort levels, so pay attention to the vibe! 

At worst, choosing an unqualified tattoo artist could result in infection or illness transmission. But it’s far more likely that an artist who’s not a good match will - like a bad first date - result in disappointment and regret. The end game, however, is much more permanent. So take your time, do your research and enjoy the results.

Written by Lana H