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If it’s your first time getting a tattoo, then you’re probably going to be unsure about what to expect from your tattoo artist. Maybe you’ve been told about the old stereotypes concerning tattoo artists: that they’re unfriendly and don’t want to hear a word of what you have to say, but the truth is that the tattoo industry has come a long way in recent years, with a friendliness and professionalism.

To help you through the process, we’ve decided to put together this guide to working with a tattoo artist, so that you can be as informed as possible before even stepping in to a tattoo shop in Toronto.

What is the process of working with a tattoo artist?

For this question, we’re going to use our tattoo parlour as an example.

The first step in your journey to getting inked should be the consultation. At Chronic Ink, we offer consultations on all days, although many tattoo shops will only allow consultations on certain days. Make sure to call ahead to make sure the tattoo shop you’re considering is open for a consultation.

During your consultation, you should expect to go through the following areas:

– Subject of the tattoo

– Placement of the tattoo on your body (where do you want it to go?)

– Background

– Style

– Feel

– Colour usage

– Sizing

Not sure about some of these? Don’t worry! Your tattoo artist should understand that you’re not an expert on tattoos and will walk you through each section to help flesh out the design.

Another thing you should understand is that the best tattoo artists won’t be afraid to push back on some of your ideas. Remember that tattoo artists will usually have years of experience, so they may know things you don’t about tattoo designs. Did you know that the inside of your bicep is not a good place for a highly symmetrical tattoo due to the unevenness of the skin in this area? Don’t worry, a good tattoo artist will and they won’t be afraid to speak up.

Once you’ve both agreed upon a design during your consultations, then its time to get inked. Depending on the size of the tattoo, the time to get inked may range from several hours to several days. For larger tattoos, you shouldn’t have the expectation that it will be done in an hour.

 How involved should you get in the design process?

While it’s important to listen to what your tattoo artist has to say, it’s also important to give them input and feedback as you work on the design together.

Our tattoo artists believe that the seed of every tattoo idea should come from the client. Make sure that your artist understands your goals for the piece so that they can keep them mind throughout the design process.

 What should you avoid doing?

While working with a tattoo artist is generally a relaxed process, there are a couple of things that you should avoid doing:

Try to fit too much into one piece: Often times, clients may want to fit too much into a single tattoo, this often results in a crowded tattoo that doesn’t tell the story that it should. When you’re listening to their feedback, remember that your tattoo artist has years of experience, if they say that a tattoo is going to be too crowded, then you may want to reconsider the design.

Micro-managing the piece: Providing constant feedback during the consultation is welcomed, but judging a design before your tattoo artist is finished can be frustrating for both parties. When your tattoo artist is working on a sketch, allow them to explain their rationale before asking for changes.

Rushing your artist: Designing and inking a tattoo is an incredibly personal process. This is going to be a piece of art, which you’ll hopefully carry for the rest of your life. Please avoid rushing your tattoo artist so that they can do the best piece possible for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about the tattooing process, or if you have questions, drop us a line!