Whether you’ve decided to get a tattoo or you’re still trying to decide, or have already gone through with it - these are some helpful hints to insure you know what to expect and how to prepare and care.
What to do the night before getting a tattoo
Please don’t drink heavily the night before your tattoo appointment. Even if it’s not enough to make you hung-over, it could still thin your blood the next day.
Drink lots of water!
Get to bed on time and make sure to get plenty of sleep. Sure it might feel like Christmas Eve and be hard for you to get to sleep, but getting plenty of rest tends to make it easier to sit calmly the following day.
Check to make sure you have enough money to cover the cost of the tattoo, a tip, and any bottled water, juice or other snacks you might want either while or after you get tattooed.
If you have an appointment, but are unsure about anything please call the studio well ahead of time to verify your appointment time. Make sure you know exactly when to be there and how much it will cost.
Make sure to print off any reference material you might need to help the artist create your artwork, the more the better.
Some people have medical conditions which require a doctor’s note beforehand. If you fear this may apply to you, please call the studio ahead of time to verify if your condition requires a physician’s authorization form. If necessary you may have come into the studio to obtain the form to have your doctor sign before getting tattooed.
If you’re getting sick, or are outright sick, please call the studio ahead of time to reschedule your appointment. Don’t come in to get tattooed when you are sick! Not only is it unfair to expose the artist, employees, and other clients to your sickness; it may very well hinder your tattoos healing process. If the artist notices you’re sick, they have the right to not tattoo you at the moment, which could result in you losing your deposit.
Check to ensure you have your ID, driver’s license, or passport. If you’re unsure if the identification you have will work, you can always read more about our id policies.
Please be 100% sure about what you would like before booking your appointment. I must approve a project before booking – this means your appointment and deposit are only for you and the project that was discussed at the time of booking. If you have changed your mind, please do not wait until right before your appointment to let me know. Please contact me as soon as possible and we can discuss whether or not I am the right artist for your new idea.
What to do the day of getting a tattoo
Please arrive on time to your appointment. If you are running late, please email or call to let me know. If you are more than 30 minutes late without contact, you will be considered a no-show.
Pack a small bag with: bottled water or juice, a fully charged cell phone (with headphones if you want to listen to your own music or to play games), snacks (particularly ones high in carbohydrates and protein like granola bars, nuts, chips, crackers, or fresh fruit), and a pillow or small (clean) blanket. Do not just walk in and plop your keys down and think you’re ready for several hours of getting tattooed. Comfort and preparation plays a huge role in a long productive tattoo session.
If we are doing a portrait from an old photo, don’t forget to bring it with for me to scan! A photo of a photo is no good.
It might seem to go without saying, but please make sure you shower or bathe beforehand. Unless you’re getting an underarm tattoo, please also wear deodorant. You should consider wearing clothes that it won’t matter if you get ink stains on. Even in the summer it’s a good idea to bring a sweatshirt or something warm to wear because getting tattooed can sometimes make you feel cold.
The area to be tattooed, and usually a large space surrounding it, will need to be shaved to prepare your skin for the tattoo. Some clients prefer to shave the area themselves beforehand and are welcome to do so.
Tanning - this one is HUGE. If you tan, Don’t do it before your session…actually I require you refrain from tanning several weeks before your tattoo session. The most fair your skin can be, the better. Then you shouldn’t be tanning again until your tattoo is healed. If we are doing session work then you’ll need to stop for several months or find a way to cover the tattoo area while you tan the rest of your body. If you plan on enjoying your summer outdoors, do not schedule tattoo sessions during those months please. If you come in for your appointment and I notice a considerable darker tone to your skin, you will be rescheduled and possibly lose your deposit. You’ll always need to wear sunblock on your tattoo afterwards if you want it to last without fading exponentially. If you spray tan, don’t do it before. Not only will you have a big spot scrubbed clean when I prep the area, but scrubbing it clean is a huge, messy, pain in the butt.
Another big one - Always eat a full meal before heading in to get tattooed! Eating heavy and filling foods helps in particular because they tend to last longer. Not being hungry will make it easier for you to sit calmly.
Please do not arrive intoxicated to your appointment. You will be turned away and lose your deposit.
If you feel you must take something beforehand for pain, please ask me ahead of time if what you take will be an issue. Following the directions/warnings on the bottle and taking a small amount of Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Midol or other similar products is usually fine. If you are on any regular medications, you might consider asking your doctor ahead of time.
Don’t drink a bunch of caffeine or energy drinks before coming in! It will not only thin your blood; it will make it harder to sit still.
You may need a doctor’s note if you have medical conditions like a bleeding disorder, a heart condition, or if you have to take antibiotics before going to the dentist. The consent form you’ll have to sign has a detailed list of these conditions. Don’t worry, saying you have one of these conditions doesn’t usually mean we can’t tattoo you; it may only mean you’ll be asked to come back with a doctor’s permission. We want you to be safe when getting tattooed so please understand that we do this for your well-being.
You need to always show up on time, while also keeping in mind that sometimes I may be running a little behind. If that happens I will do my best to let you know. You can use this extra time to get comfortable with the atmosphere, find the restroom and smoking area, fill out paperwork, and introduce yourself to the front counter employee. This is always a good idea in case you need to ask them for assistance while you’re getting tattooed. Counter staff is usually willing to help you if you need it, as long as they’re not too busy.
If you would like, you may bring a friend; however, please do not bring a group of people to your appointment, and do not bring children or anyone under the age of 18.
Do not leave a child or pet in your car while getting tattooed – please arrange for someone to take care of them somewhere else during your appointment.
Please feel welcome to track the time i spend tattooing you. I work at a rate to do my best work possible, I have no reason to milk or extend a session, when I have more people wanting to get tattooed than my time allows. I have had enough people react surprisingly when I have told them the price after a session and my hourly rate is always discussed upfront so there should be no need for situations like that.
Please do not try to haggle – this is generally considered rude. Also, no one needs a tattoo - it’s a luxury. There are plenty of cheaper artists out there, so if price is a big deal please explore other options. You can’t get filet mignon for the price of a hotdog.
Bring proper means of payment. I accept both cash and card….but please keep in mind, all card transactions will have a 3% processing fee added on.
While getting tattooed, do not touch the area being tattooed. This includes applying any numbing agents. This can irritate your skin, cause infection, smear the stencil and negatively affect the tattooing process. If you would like to use a numbing agent, please ask me to apply their preferred brand. If you touch the area by accident, please let me know, do not touch anything and wash your hands immediately to avoid contamination.
Tipping is never required but always appreciated. If you are unsure how much to tip, 15-25% is standard for a personal service.
What to do and what to expect while getting a tattoo
Yes it will hurt, but probably not nearly as bad as you think it will. Unless you don’t think it will hurt at all. Then it might hurt really, really bad. Tattoos have been described as feeling somewhat like an “electric cat scratch”; tingly and scratchy at the same time.
Since I usually only schedule long sessions for large pieces, you’re probably going to have to sit still for several hours. Please prepare to do so. Being a non-smoker, I do not take many breaks. You will want to prepare yourself to endure pain for that long, without moving around. You’ll have to figure out how to keep yourself calm and will perhaps want to practice calming yourself down by breathing through the pain. If you’ve taken classes or practiced any yoga or meditation you’ll benefit from the breathing exercises you learned.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you are nauseous, dizzy, or feel confused about anything. Sometimes people feel faint when getting tattooed, particularly during the first few minutes, (sometimes even if it’s not their first time!) there’s no need to be embarrassed or afraid. Let me know if you are feeling anything unusual besides the tattoo itself. I’ve seen the biggest guys with many hours of tattoos on them, faint before. Usually because they come in cocky without any rest, proper hydration, or food in their belly.
You’ll need to sit however I ask you to sit which might be difficult at times. From your perspective it may seem harder for me to reach an area in these positions, but I am also concerned with stretching out the skin not just reaching it. Be careful if you find yourself straining to hold a position because it may make you shake or twitch. You’ll have to try your absolute best to stay completely still in the position I choose. If your leg or arm falls asleep or if you feel like you can’t maintain a position much longer, let me know before it becomes a struggle for you! There are often alternative positions I will have you try to make it easier for you.
Needless to say, if you ask to take frequent breaks or feel the need to constantly adjust your position to see the artist’s progress, it’s going to take longer. The artist will work as fast as they feel comfortable working, but you should be aware that regular stops tend to break up their rhythm and could make it take much longer. Think of it as, “Are we there yet?” syndrome.
If you’re familiar with other kinds of artists, you won’t be surprised to find that sometimes tattoo artists can be very introverted. They may prefer not holding a conversation while they’re tattooing. It wouldn’t hurt to ask them beforehand if they’ll mind conversation. If they don’t and you feel you’ll need to talk to someone to help you cope, bring a friend. Wearing headphones and listening to music or audio books might also help you relax.
During the entire procedure you’ll need to pay attention to any instructions the artist might give you. They might need you to remove your belt, lower a sock, turn an elbow, take a breath, sit up straight, slouch over, or whatever, but you’ll need to be paying attention for when they do ask. If you feel uncomfortable you can always let the artist know.
During longer sessions, ask to take breaks if you need them. Usually a tattoo artist will allow a break every hour or so. Much more than that can interrupt the progress. When you do get a break make sure to use it wisely; use the bathroom, smoke a cigarette, drink water and munch on your snacks. You’ll probably notice that after a break the tattoo hurts pretty badly. Consider this another reason to limit the number of breaks you request.
Hold still! If you find yourself needing to cough, readjust your position, stretch your leg, wiggle, laugh, or flinch; you have to give the artist warning first. You should also not assume that because you don’t hear the machine running, they don’t still need you to be motionless.
What to do after getting a tattoo
The aftercare for your tattoo will be given to you verbally after the session is done. It’s very important to listen to and pay close attention to your aftercare instructions. Or you can refer back to this site and check out the Tattoo Aftercare Instructions listed below.
TATTOO AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1 - Keep bandage on OVERNIGHT!
The bandage must be worn until the tattoo has finished bleeding or scabbing will occur **this is the most important step to a smooth healing
STEP 2 - Wash twice a day with Dial soap
Starting when you take the bandage off, gently wash the tattoo once in the a.m. and once in the PM. Gently build the soap up in your palms and pat the suds on to the tattoo to ensure a gentle application. I personally prefer to use the foaming Dial soap to make this step easier. Rinse with water and gently pat dry with paper towels (Avoid hand rags or wash rags and bathroom towels)
STEP 3 - Aquaphor / Curel, Lubriderm, or another brand of fragrant free lotion
Aquaphor - Apply twice a day for the first two days **VERY THIN**
Lotion - Apply 2-3 times a day starting on day three until healed (14 days at least)
**IMPORTANT** AQUAPHOR MUST BE THIN - Use a very small amount, spread it as far as you can, and use a paper towel to blot off the excess, I generally blot the tattoo 5-10 times
STEP 4 - Avoid sunlight / Excess water
No sun for 2 weeks. Once the tattoo is healed, use sunblock to prevent fading anytime you plan on getting some sun. Sun is the main cause of fading overtime. No swimming or submerging the tattoo in water for 2 weeks (no baths, pool, hot tubs, etc.) Avoid really long showers while healing as well.
**IMPORTANT** Do not pick scabs or flakes! Let them fall off naturally. Be cautious while showering and rubbing on lotion, this is when flakes and scabs tend to get accidentally ripped off the easiest. After all flaking is done your tattoo might appear shiny for up to several weeks afterwards. This is normal.
Tattoos usually take anywhere from 10-21 days to heal
As with any healing, the better you take care of yourself the better your body will heal. In the days preceding your new tattoo please take good care of yourself. Drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, and try and keep your body fed and nourished.
Excessive drinking will inhibit your healing processes, particularly the first night after getting a new tattoo. Take it easy and your tattoo should thank you with a quick, trouble free heal.
If you had a good experience, tell others about it. Feel free to post well taken photos on your social media and feel free to tag me, etc. Social media as well as word-of-mouth is an artist’s best form of advertising.
If you had a bad experience, or feel the tattoo needs a touch-up or second pass, then feel free to let me know by directly contacting me. There are many factors to a well healed, good-looking tattoo. Everything from the artist doing it, to the application, to the clients skin, and how well you are sitting just to name a few. At any rate I will do my best to fix any issues.
Don’t be afraid to contact me with questions about the tattoo. I am usually more than willing to explain aftercare, do follow-up checks, or just give you any information you may need.