DO take the time to select the right artist for your tattoo, especially for custom work.  Although all of our tattoo artists are versatile and skilled in many styles, we each have our own preferred style and will approach the same concept in very different ways.  The first step in ensuring your tattoo will be one that you will love for life is selecting the right artist, and that means that you may have to spend a lot of time looking through portfolios first.  

DO listen to your artist.  Once you've taken the time to carefully select a tattoo shop and an artist to work with, you've already seen the great work that we can do.  Trust that we also have the skill and knowledge to know what works and why.  Be prepared to consider some of the common changes to your idea that we often suggest such as: a simpler design, larger size, specific placement, more black or use of outlines.  We've done thousands of tattoos and we understand how tattoos age.  So these professional suggestions are meant to ensure you get a quality tattoo that stays legible for as many years as possible. 

DO come prepared.  The more comfortable you are physically and mentally, the more relaxed you will be, and therefore the more tolerable the pain will be.  It is extremely important to not get tattooed on an empty stomach, so always eat a full meal before your appointment.  Do not arrive intoxicated or hung over and be sure to get plenty of rest the night before. Dress comfortably and appropriate for your tattoo (so, if you are getting a tattoo on your leg, don't wear tight jeans that day, etc).  Bring a change of clothes just in case if you are unsure.  Other things that are good to bring are: healthy snacks, water, headphones, a sweatshirt, a book or movie on your phone.

DO follow aftercare instructions.  After you get tattooed, we will explain the aftercare process in detail and give you printed instructions.  Improper aftercare can result in loss of ink, need for touch ups, scarring, or infection.   Tattoos take up to a month to heal and until they are healed, tattoos are an open wound that is venerable.  To reduce risks, always follow your artist's specific aftercare instructions.  If you have questions, contact your tattooer or the shop, never consult the internet or your friends for advice.

DO tip your artist.  If you think your tattoo turned out great, show your appreciation with a tip (at least 10-20% is customary). Your happiness is our goal and thanks enough, but an extra show of gratitude (if appropriate and if you can) is a very welcome bonus and your tattooer will be ever so grateful for a cash tip!

DO expect it to hurt.  Everyone has a different pain threshold and some tattoos hurt more or less than others.  Depending on the body placement, the style, your physical and mental comfort, and your pain tolerance, every tattoo may feel different.  The closest descriptions to the feeling of getting tattooed are a "hot scratch" or a "cat scratch on a sunburn".  Some people have fallen asleep while getting tattooed, others have cried or tapped out from pain.  The more comfortable you are physically and mentally, the more tolerable the sensation tends to be. (So try to get a good night's rest, eat a full healthy meal, dress comfortably, and don't have anything stressful on your mind!)

DO speak up.  If you are unsure about the design, size, or placement of your tattoo, let your artist know as soon as possible.  We can redraw it, we can resize it, we can move the stencil.  What we can't do is un-tattoo it!  Tattoos are permanent after all, so please make sure you are happy with it before its too late to turn back.

DO think of the future.  Before getting a tattoo placed in a highly visible part of your body, consider if it may hinder future employment possibilities or disapproval from a family member etc.  Keep yourself, your lifestyle, and your body in mind, rather than fashion or trends.  Tattoos should fit and flatter your body, not just your outfit or your Instagram post.

DO be realistic about your commitment.  If you want a huge tattoo that will take several hours and several sessions, but you only have a limited budget or timeframe, we recommend either starting with a smaller tattoo or waiting to start your larger project until when you have the time and funds to commit to fully completing it.  Although some projects are more flexible than others and can be designed to fit within a budget or time constraints, you or your artist may prefer not to sacrifice quality by placing certain limitations on the project.  A sleeve or other large tattoo will be more consistent, require less rework, and look its best when completed within a number of months rather than a over a number of years.  When too much time has passed between sessions, we may need to rework old work to match the new work, thus prolonging the process further!  Our goal is not about time or money, but about quality and completion of the final tattoo. 

DO understand the deposit policy.  Once you are ready to schedule a tattoo, your artist may require a deposit to reserve an appointment.  All deposits are non-refundable but are applied towards the cost of the final session of your tattoo.  Deposits reserve your artist's time for the session so that they can prepare for or draw for your tattoo in advance and also assure your commitment to the tattoo.  If you need to reschedule an appointment, let your artist know in advance and they will apply your deposit to your rescheduled date.  However, if you do not show up for an appointment without notice, cancel or reschedule excessively or last minute, change your idea, or change your mind entirely, your deposit will be forfeited.  Keep in mind that your artist may have already spent time drawing or preparing for your tattoo and at the very least has turned away other clients for that day because their time was already reserved.  

DON'T rely on your friends' advice.  When it comes to the technical aspects of the tattoo, such as healing and aging, leave that to the professionals and consult your tattooer rather than your friend.  Remember that its your tattoo and you will have it forever.  While getting a friend's opinion on if the stencil is centered or the design looks awesome is fine, remember that you are the one who will see the tattoo every day, not your friend. 

DON'T bring a posse.  Getting a tattoo is exciting and fun, and bringing a friend can ease your nerves.  But bringing a group of friends can be very distracting not only to you, but to everyone else in the tattoo shop (including your tattoo artist, who needs to focus on your tattoo!)  You are allowed to bring one quiet and calm friend to sit beside you while you get tattooed, but only one.  Please leave all kids and pets at home as well.

DON'T tattoo your hands, neck, face, or feet.  The skin on these parts of the body is different from the rest of your skin and they do not tend to hold pigment well.  Because of this, we often cannot guarantee results and you may need numerous (paid) touch ups (that still will likely yield the same inconsistent results).  The only thing we can guarantee for a tattoo on the hands, feet, or head is that it probably won't heal looking nearly as good as the day you got it.  Also these parts of the body are highly visible and difficult to cover with clothing.  So not only will you get more glances or comments from strangers in public, but you may also have a blotchy looking tattoo that is always on display!  For these reasons, we often warn against getting tattooed on your hands (especially fingers), parts of the feet, or anything above the neckline.

DON'T assume any tattoo can be covered up.  Tattoos are meant to be a permanent commitment, and although spontaneity is fine at times, please don't take your decision to get tattooed lightly.  We understand that many people have old, bad, or regrettable tattoos and we have done hundreds of successful cover ups.  However, not every tattoo can be covered.  In many cases, laser tattoo removal may be your best option.  For a successful cover up, we recommend being as flexible as possible with the size, design, timing, and budget of your new tattoo.  We also recommend not rushing to cover up an old tattoo for any reason, we would hate for you to be in the same position in the future trying to cover up a cover up!   

DON'T cancel or reschedule last minute.  Your tattoo artist may have spent time drawing and preparing for your appointment and has also likely turned away other clients because their time was reserved for you.  Please be respectful and show your commitment to getting tattooed by showing up for your appointment.  If you need to reschedule, please give ample notice so that your artist has time not only to find another client to fill the spot, but time to draw and prepare for that other client too.  Keep in mind that tattoo artists only get paid if they are tattooing, you wouldn't like it if you found out last minute that you weren't getting paid for a day of work would you?

DON'T ask us to copy.  Custom tattoos are just that: custom and are meant to be one of a kind.  If you see a tattoo that you love online, feel free to show it to us as an example or inspiration.  But we will not copy another tattoo unless it is flash meant to be duplicated. You wouldn't want a personal tattoo on your body copied and worn by some stranger across the country would you?  We will gladly create something similar for you and customize it for your personal specifications.

DON'T be in a hurry.  Tattoo sessions can take many hours and you may have a lot of downtime while waiting for your artist to set up, draw, or prepare for your tattoo.   It is never a good idea to rush something permanent like a tattoo, so clear some time on the day of your appointment or come on a day that you don't have a dinner party or a plane to catch!

DON'T expect your healed tattoo to look exactly like your fresh tattoo.  Most tattoo pictures online and in artist portfolios are of fresh tattoos taken the day of the tattoo.  But once the tattoo heals and settles in below your epidermis, some details and colors may look different (especially as your skin ages over time).  Responsible tattooers know how to technically execute a tattoo that heals and ages well.  Responsible tattoo collectors find an artist well suited for the style of their tattoo, follow aftercare instructions, and take care of their tattoos for years to come.

Alayna Magnan