(Last Updated On: October 25, 2018)

Tattoo artists used to look quite scary back in the days (yes, I know, some still do). But now the younger tattoo artists can easily be mistaken for a hipster. Sadly most clients still don´t dare to ask these quite important questions to the tattoo artist.

1. How long have you been a tattoo artist for?

It can be nice to know that the artist didn´t start tattooing yesterday. The more experience, the safer you will feel, right? But keep in mind that apprentices can also be super careful just because of their lack of experience, so being tattooed by an apprentice is not automatically a bad decision.

tattoo artist in black gloves drawing a tattoo on a person s arm
Photo by Isabella Mendes on Pexels.com

2. Can I see your portfolio?

If you haven’t seen the portfolio of your tattoo artist before getting a tattoo by them, I think you might be regretting the tattoo later. Who knows if they have any experience with what you are looking to get done? Do they usually do colors? Or only black? Are they into old school or realistic? Is it the style you want?


3. Can I get an estimated price before we start?

It can be difficult to give the final price before if the artist wants to get paid by the hour. But after knowing the motive, size, and placement, the artist should be able to give you an estimate. It can be good to know, so you don´t feel like getting robbed when the tattoo is done.

4. Is the studio approved/licensed?

There are different rules in every country, but where I come from a tattoo shop needs to be approved by the health department. It has hygienic reasons. You want to get tattooed in a studio that is run properly with all necessary cleaning and sterilization procedures, or you can end up with severe infections, allergic reactions or blood diseases.

5. Is your tattoo equipment sterile?

More and more artists now use sterile one-use equipment, that they threw away after use. In that way, we don’t have to sterilize equipment with huge autoclave machines and rooms especially made for sterilization. However, I have heard of so-called artists that don’t use sterile equipment or use them over and over. That is just appalling. Check that your artist has plastic protection on everything they tough while tattooing, and of course gloves.

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6. Do you use only approved inks?

More and more countries are tightening the rules when it comes to tattoo inks. They used to include a lot of materials that weren´t totally safe so it could be a good thing to ask about the inks.


7. How would you like me to prepare for the tattoo session?

Most artists want you to prepare the same way for every tattoo, but maybe your artist has some routines of their own. Or maybe this particular placement needs a different kind of preparation. Check out my video on this subject. It was my first video talking to a camera, so please excuse my shyness…

8. What soap and cream would you recommend?

Not every tattoo shop sells soaps and creams, but if they do, they probably know a bit about the product and can vouch for it. Others will tell you what to get in a pharmacy or drug store. Please don´t listen to your friends or use something you think can work just as well. There is a reason your tattoo artist wants you to use that specific ointment.

9. What is the proper aftercare procedure?

There is a jungle of aftercare instructions out there. I actually don´t know why tattoo artists say different things. But ask your artist. If not, I have one right here.

10. What is the likelihood of an infection and how do I avoid it?

To ask your tattoo artist about risks and how to avoid them is important. If you are getting tattooed on your fingers, there are many things to consider. Different placements on the body have different kinds of risks when it comes to infections. So listen to the advice you get.

As long as you’re here, you should check out 15 Stupid things people say to Tattooed people and 7 things you need to know before getting tattooed!

And don’t forget to check out Attitude tattoo Studio

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