Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Tattoo Artist


Tattoo artistry schools

Thinking about a new tattoo? Wondering where you should go to get it? In the United States alone, there are more than 21,000 tattoo studios to choose from. How can you decide which place is right for you? Consider these questions to start narrowing down your search.

  • What kind of style do you want?
    Tattoo art can be broken down into a number of general categories: Old school and new school tattoo art, traditional and neo-traditional, tribal, geometric, and more. Think about what you’re looking for in your own tattoo: If you’re memorializing a beloved pet, for example, do you want a realistic portrait or a whimsy caricature?
  • What kind of artist do you need?
    Once you’ve decided on a general aesthetic, you should research individual artists in your area to see what kind of work they specialize in. If you’re looking for classic realism, find an artist with a portfolio that shows off their portraiture skills and attention to detail. If you’re looking for something a little more colorful and interpretive, you might seek out someone who’s skilled in new school tattoo art. You might want to consider their experience and credentials, too. Are they old pros or have they just completed a tattoo apprenticeship? Particularly if it’s your first time, you’ll want someone who’s knowledgeable in not only giving out but caring for a new tattoo.
  • Does the artist understand what you want?
    The artist you choose may be the most important factor in the outcome of your tattoo. Talk with a few whose work you like, preferably in person. Sometimes the final decision comes down to a matter of personality and communication. Even if you have only a rough idea of the design you want, it’s helpful to banter with an artist about general old school tattoo ideas or their philosophy on new school tattoo art, just to see what they can come up with for you.
  • What’s your budget?
    While we’d all like to hire the singular greatest tattoo artist in the world, the reality is that tattoos are expensive, and the real pros will charge you a premium for their expert services. Consider your scope: Any decently trained artist will be able to tattoo the most popular tattoo designs, which for women include things like angels and hearts. If you’re on a budget and are only looking for something simple, it’s worthwhile shopping around for an affordable minimum price.

Whether you’re ready to join the 20% of Americans today with tattoos or you’re already an ink-carrying member, choose your artist carefully. While throwing caution to the wind and hopping into the nearest studio with only a vague idea of what you want might be exciting, a well-planned and well-executed design with someone you trust and whose work you respect will guarantee you a happy outcome for a lifetime.

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