I don't even understand people who don't think this process through.
I'm sure there are many of you happy with scratchy tattoos, but the majority of folks out there want something nice that they can show forever. I hope this list will help you hone in a piece that you will look good and you'll be proud to show off forever.
It Needs to Be Done in a Clean, Sterile Enviroment
I've been inked by several very old-school, very experienced tattoo artists, and they wash their hands more than I have ever seen my doctor or dentist wash up. When was the last time your doctor showed you his needles coming out of sterile packages? Serious tattoo artists do not want to infect you. They want their art to live forever, and that is not going to happen if you get an infection (and it's bad for business, too).
Give the Artist an Idea, Not a Picture
You know that "unique" idea you had for a tattoo? It's probably been done before. You know those footprints you wanted? They'll probably be blobby looking. So it goes for tattoo artists when someone tries to explain art to them.
If you want a dragon, don't take your artist a picture of a dragon; commission them to draw you a picture of a dragon. It will be original, look good on the skin, and you will ultimately be a million times more happy with it.
I don't know physiology. Therefore, I find it odd which tattoos hurt more than others.
For instance, I thought my shin would hurt worse than the meatier calf of my leg, but it was just the opposite. I didn't think the pain would change that much when it got near my armpit, but it felt more like a knife then a series of pricks. It hurts, and it changes based on placement.
Do Not Ever Miss an Appointment
Tattoo artists sell their time as much as their skill. If you miss an appointment, you cost that artist a bag of groceries and you may never get booked again.
Tattooing is a business and there are only so many work hours in the day, so be respectful of that. Also, be on time or you may find your window cut short. There's no reason for an artist to make the next person who showed up on time wait because you arrived late.
The best tattoos are the ones with meaning. By "best," I mean the ones that you will ultimately hold near and dear to your heart.
Sometimes it's not the art, but the story behind the art that really makes a piece that you are proud of. I know this seems to contradict my original thought about letting your artist have some creative control, but it doesn't have to. If your friend loves Tweety Bird, I'm sure an artist will accommodate you. But if you tell him it's an in memoriam, I'm sure he'll present that bird in a way that will truly honor your friend and not make you look like you have a lick-and-stick tattoo.
Sorry, but professional tattoo artists charge money; up-and-comers (scratchers) do not. You do end up with something that is of the quality you put into it.
I supposed it's possible that you might catch a person on their way up that wants a little practice, but why would you even take that chance on something that's going to be on your body forever?
Go to a professional shop, look through the artist's portfolio and spend a few bucks getting a piece you'll love for a lifetime.