Top Things That Tattoo Artists Love

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 9, 2020
    Last Updated: January 1, 2021

In recent years, it seems like more and more people have gotten tattooed. Everywhere you look, you see somebody with some ink, from family and friends to celebrities. However, if you’re new to the tattooing world, getting inked can seem intimidating. After all, it stays on your body forever.

If you’ve thought long and hard and decided to get a tattoo, you might wonder how you can prepare for your appointment. There are some issues that many tattoo artists face from their clients and by knowing a few details beforehand, you can save them a lot of time and frustration.

Below are a few things that tattoo artists love to see from their clients, so keep these in mind when booking your future appointments.

Understanding Your Budget

Many people opt for a small tattoo for the first time because they think it will be cheaper. That isn’t always true. While small tattoos take less time and generally require less ink, sometimes they have extra detail that could jack up the price. Usually, you get what you pay for and if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Discuss prices with the particular artist to understand their fees. Some charge an hourly rate while others determine a fixed cost based on the design. Many tattoo shops have minimum prices to cover supplies, meet health and safety guidelines and adequately set-up, prep, and sterilize the area.

Don’t jump the shark and get a tattoo without knowing the pricing. Tattoo artists love when you have a tattoo idea and ask about the cost of the piece. No matter what, bring extra money so that if your tattoo takes longer than predicted, you’ll have it covered and you can tip the artist. 

Also, you may want to purchase some aftercare products. You also might want to buy food or a drink for your session, no to mention the parking fee. We recommend a sugary, carb-laden snack for long tattoos to maintain blood sugar levels and a meal with protein, vitamin C, zinc and plenty of water before the session.

Cooperate and Collaborate

Tattoo artists appreciate when clients abide by company protocols without complaint. Make sure to bring your ID, fill out the paperwork and pay the agreed price with a tip. Different states have different laws about the age you can get a tattoo, but most shops will require you to show an ID no matter how old you look.

Thoroughly discuss the design with the artist beforehand, whether in person or through email. Many people opt for small tattoos at first, although, the little details fade over time. Maybe your design is too intricate to be small and the artist will require a larger area to put it on to retain the same detail level. Trust the artist’s creative instinct and you’ll end up with a stellar work of art.

Remember that tattooing is a creative occupation and constantly designing innovative pieces can take a toll. Having a decent idea for your tattoo will help them drastically in the creative process. Presenting them with sample images and asking for something similar will help you get the best outcome. 

However, try not to ask for a replica of one of their previous works. While you can take inspiration, let them design something new and personalized. Share your ideas, but avoid micromanaging the artist. Speak up if you dislike something they’ve done, yet allow them to work their magic.

Pay Your Respects

Show your tattoo artist some respect. Their job isn’t easy and they worked hard to become professionals. Make sure you tip because most of what you pay will go to maintaining the shop’s operating expenses and supplies. Tip at least 20% of the tattoo cost to ensure your artist makes a fair wage.

While some places take walk-ins, it is much better to book an appointment. You can call, check out their website or email the artist to secure a time. You may not get the tattoo on the spot. Your first time seeing them might only result in a finalized design. Also, some pieces take multiple sessions to finish.

Shower before your appointment to create a clean canvas and avoid stinking up the room. Nobody wants to work with a smelly patron. Wear clothes that won’t interfere with its placement and that you don’t mind ruining. Let the artist shave the area to prevent razor burn or cuts.

Arrive on time and in a healthy, sober condition. Getting tattooed while sick is a horrible idea. Not only will you put your artist at risk of getting sick, you will more than likely move from sneezing or coughing, making it a challenge to design correctly. Additionally, getting a drunk tattoo can result in regrets and an uncomfortable time for the artist. Even avoid days when you’re on your period, as the pain may be more intense.

Bring one friend, though avoid a crowd. Too many people can distract the tattoo artist. Never bring a young child as they are less likely to have controlled behavior and could damage the expensive supplies.

Spread the Word

A lot of tattoo artists make business through word of mouth. While social media makes it easier to show off their work, telling your friends and family about your artist will help them out immensely. Make sure you do your research before booking an appointment. Removing a tattoo takes ages and you do not want to walk around with a regrettable piece. The resulting tattoo will reflect you and the artist, therefore, if you dislike their style in any regard, look elsewhere.


There are many things to keep in mind when getting your first tattoo, but most importantly, you need to respect the craft. Paying a fair price, tipping well, researching the art, providing a solid idea, trusting the creative process and following the Golden Rule will provide the best experience for you and your tattoo artist.

When you eventually go ahead with getting your dream tattoo, it’s imperative that you always follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality tattoo healing lotion to aid recovery.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan-friendly aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated, but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times, and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​

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