Thinking about your first tattoo? Want to know which tattoo artist to choose? You don't have a good friend who's tattoo artist? Please consider the following.
Am writing this post because I was doing online research as usual to see what's new out there in the tattoo world while looking for inspiration. Typed as I do once a month or so 'Japanese tattoo' and 'flash'. See if I can find anything at all that has the level of a good Japanese style. Well again. What comes up? Websites trying to convince people that Tattoo artists need stencils, hence if you want a new tattoo, why not buy one of the design available online to bring it to your local tattoo artist.
If you have already tattoos or are thinking about your first one. Please! Find an artist who's work you respect, Get him to design something for YOU!. Ok, we all have the right to have impulses and to commit to them. But I already have had too many requests to cover up either badly done work. Or tattoos that people end up regretting.
There is nothing wrong in wanting a cover up because your personality changes. Or if you want it to transform into something else to symbolise a new start in your life. But Ideally, you should love your first tattoo like your first child.
And, there is definitely something wrong about regretting a badly done tattoo because either an apprentice did the job. (But don't get me wrong there is plenty of very talented apprentices out there who'll do the job well), But even worst, getting a quick job done because the guy in front of you only wants your cash.
Tattoo is a business like any others, and it is also an art and a spiritual form. Tattoo artists need to survive like anyone else. So watch out for the sharks. Because there is plenty our there who simply don't care if you gonna regret it or not. Ok, Tattoo artists are not your mum's or dad's. You grown up adults. And you have the right to get what you want or deserve. After all you paying for it and its your own body. So you are right in many ways, no one is there to tell you what you like or not. However, Being on both sides of the business. Believe me I have heard many comments from Very talented tattoo artists about clients who simply rush in and absolutely want THIS THING DONE RIGHT NOW. And in many cases if a serious artist has the time, he's gonna say yes. Thinking, well I am not going to change his life if he is not listening anyway. So please Keep this in mind.
A good tattoo artist, unless he is very impressed and happy with the design you bring in, will have either suggestions on the way to improve it. I.e. Size, placement, white spacing colour. Or even better might take your ideas on board and come up with something totally different that you might like even better.
Even more if I can. A serious artist will break down the reasons why you chose a design and will suggest other ways to make this come to life. Unless as stated above. The design you have chosen is perfect. In which case I expect it is more likely to be a universal symbol such as lets say a HUM/OM, YING YANG or Kanji.
Ok, so for the hard headed who think, Don't tell me if a design is good or not, I like it this way.
What's the difference between an accomplished artist, and Joe Blog who does not practice Art. Right, they both have imagination and will power and the right to choose what they want in their lives. Bu the reality is that what a good artist can do. The untrained Joe Blog might not be able to do it.
1- DRAW, train your eyes and hands for years 2- Spend most of his life, Searching and studying Worldwide Traditions and the various culture around the world. 3- Being able to visualise an idea in more than one way 4- Sit down and draw until he is totally happy with the drawing he has in front of his eyes. Even if it takes him 100 hours to get there or more.
Just a few points here...
And most importantly in my views. A good artist knows what is good and what needs improvement in his work. He knows his heart needs to be pure. His focus As sharp as a needle. His skills to the best it can at that given time. And that's including what he has learned over the years. He will take the time to know you so that he has the best chances of making something that is the real you. And if he is on a spiritual path, and you allow him. He might even help you by explaining why the symbol is good for your or not, while making suggestions for symbols that might be better to balance your life.
So please, get worried, if a tattoo artist just say yes, great, do you want to step in, without even looking at it for more than 5 seconds. That's likely to be a shark, or someone who does not have a clue.
Ask him what he seriously and honestly think about it. Ask him is he has better ideas. And give him the time to show you stuff he likes, or stuff that relates to what you have requested. I.e. similar style or similar symbolism. If he aks you for a few days to sketch something. Give him the time, even if he asks for a bit of cash.
And if you are not happy with what he has done. Well ask him to try again or walk in in another shop. As simple as that. Don't feel the pressure because you stepped in, and you feel obliged to say yes.
Ok, tattoo artist can feel impressive. In many cases they have a lot of background and personality. And if they are fully tattoed and you steppin in for your first one. Well even more impressive. OK they eventually trained for years to master they art. But the most important skill a good tattoo artist can have is the respect for Human beings. Make sure they put their whole self in the work they do for you! Even if it costs you more. It's for life!
Before you go and check a tattoo artist, the internet is great. take the time to look around. Check the work on this blog and on similar tattoo related stuff. Skip the flash websites who tries to rip you off. There is a lot of very good work out there available for viewing for free (Never copy a good tattoo you have seen out there, use it to feel inspired). Actually the best can be seen online for free. So Don't rush thinking, great a design for $15 or what ever.
Also, please keep in mind that if you want the best out of an artist. It has be something he is into; Either his own style. Or a style he really wants to explore.
Ok you have seen this tattoo on someone else. And it looked cool. Just think that if the right artist creates a unique design for you! it's gonna look pretty cool too!
Ah yeah! One last tip if I can, unless you stupidly mad in Love! Don't tattoo you girlfriend or boyfriend name on you. Unless she/he is dead and you want to remember her/him forever.
Because otherwise, you are very likely to regret it later. I have seen it too many times. If I was you I would rather tattoo something that symbolises the love you have for each other. As strong as it is. So that will give you a chance to keep it for your next partner. Not that I don't wish you to send your life with the person you love. But it might even look better.
And for sure. In case you have to move on or meet someone else. Your next lover is not likely to love having to look at your ex girlfriend names for the rest of their lives. Probably of the most common cover up artists need to do.
The main focus here was on design and ideas. Hygiene is even more important as you only die once. Make sure that needles and ink caps are sterile. Surface clean, gloves out of the box. Normally with clean film or something like that.
So that what ever touches you is only used once and thrown away at the end of the session. It is not recommended to use the same needles for two sessions, even on the same person.
I hope this won't stop you in getting your new tattoo :) Just have a think and a look around! If you have any questions! Please do ask!
p.s. Soon I'll write a post on the state of mind I think is good when it actually comes to get the tattoo done.