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How should I prepare for a tattoo?

Getting A Tattoo

Mark Schwab (Tattoo Artist) gives expert video advice on: How should I prepare for a tattoo?; Is it painful to get a tattoo?; Should I tip my tattoo artist? and more...

What are the common steps in getting a tattoo?

The common steps that we go through from start to finish of a tattoo, is that we will meet the prospective client, go over their tattoo designs, sit down to get the design ready, then stencil the line work onto your body so that you can check the placement to ensure that you like where your tattoo is going. Generally, we will start out by doing an outline on you, which is then followed by shading and coloring. After, we take a look at it in the mirror, and then we will bandage you up, and send you on your way.

Should I bring a sketch to my tattoo artist?

When you're getting a tattoo done, you can bring in your own design; a sketch or a drawing. Often, tattoo artists will prefer to do their own drawing, but a lot will also be happy to take your own artwork or design, and put it right on your body for you.

Should I have a few drinks before getting my tattoo?

Before a tattoo session, it is usually not a good idea to have had much to drink - most tattoo artists don't want to tattoo anybody that has been drinking. But if you have had a drink, just don't hit the bottle too hard, as it is preferable not to tattoo intoxicated people - they're just hard to deal with in general.

Does a tattoo needle cause bleeding?

During the tattoo procedure, the tattoo needles are poking into your skin, so a minor amount of bleeding can be expected. A lot of bleeding usually won't be occurring, but a little bit of blood is generally involved in a tattoo room.

Is it painful to get a tattoo?

During the tattoo, you will experience a little bit of discomfort. Everybody is different and every tattoo location on your body is going to feel a little bit different, but it is not going to be enough to make you get up and run out of the chair. Be patient - the tattoo will be over before you know it. There are certain spots on the body that you will experience more discomfort than others, it just depends on where your nerve endings are. It doesn't have much to do with fat or bone or anything like that.

What should I do if I feel faint while getting a tattoo?

During the tattoo procedure, you might start to feel a little bit dizzy or lightheaded. Just ask your tattoo artist to give you a minute. That way is best, as we don't want you to faint or pass out. It gives your body a minute for your endorphins and your adrenaline to catch up with what we have just started to do.

Do I have to hold still while getting a tattoo?

It is usually a really good idea to hold still while you're getting a tattoo. Often, people want to turn and talk to their friends, but it will cause a shake in the line or the shading to become a little bit uneven. Be sure to hold still.

How long does it take to get a tattoo?

Smaller designs can take as little as a few minutes, possibly ten minutes. But you can plan on being at the shop for an hour or two. It's always a good idea to not give the tattoo artist too much time restraints on when you need to get out by. So give the tattoo artist a little bit of time. Usually, it takes longer to set up for smaller tattoos than to finish them.

What is the length of time needed to complete a tattoo sleeve?

Larger tattoo pieces such as sleeves and back pieces can be very lengthy procedures. You might expect to start out with just an outline for the first session, and then return for several or many more tattoo appointments to work on the shading and coloring of your piece. On the bigger pieces, you can expect several sessions, because there is only so long that a person really wants to sit. Getting tattooed can be a little traumatic to your body, and you might only want to sit for several hours, so larger pieces can take 30, 40 hours to work on. You are definitely not going to sit for 30 hours straight for a tattoo.

What can I do to work well with my tattoo artist?

Things that you can do to work well with your tattoo artist is to show up on time, and sober, to your tattoo appointment. If you're bringing your own design make sure that you have brought it by the shop before your appointment - that way we don't end up running into complications getting the right design on you. Not putting any time restraints on us is important too, because we do need to take the appropriate time to get your tattoo done. During the tattoo, sitting still is pretty important, sometimes people get preoccupied with their friends or being on their cell phone, and it just makes it a little bit more difficult to do a good tattoo.

Will my tattoo artist let me see the work in progress?

During the tattoo, usually you can look down and see us working directly on it. If it's somewhere that is not visible, usually you can take a break at some point and you can go over to a mirror and look at your tattoo using a hand mirror and another mirror.

Should I tip my tattoo artist?

After your tattoo, it's always nice to receive a tip from a client. Any service that people do, it is usually customary. And it's good for the karma of your tattoo. It will heal nicer, the bigger the tip we get.