l’d like to take a second to address something for any person considering a tattoo. Many styles of tattooing, (especially some of the ones that seem the most simple) fall under the category of specialty. Some of these, like portraits, are very obvious. Others, like writing or tribal, are not. Not all tattoos or tattooers are created the same. I get asked for things from time to time that, while I am completely happy to do them, they are just not in my specialty. Personally this drives me to know more about these certain genres, making me at least as competent with them as any other option. However, I also know enough to know to let the pro’s handle it when it is something specific that needs to be handled just right. Complicated designs often have areas to hide design flaws where something that is simple line-work like lettering or simple shapes like tribal work are very delicate relying on simply lines or positive and negative spaces, and not much can be done to dress up a poor design. Simple doesn’t mean easy.
Be conscious of this when shopping for your tattoo. One person may be awesome with black and gray portraits, but that does not necessarily mean that they will be the best to handle your traditional flowers or your tribal tattoos. You may find someone that does awesome realistic floral pieces, but when asked to do a new school rocket ship or black and gray pet portrait they fall short. Look at your artists portfolio. Chances are, if they have been around a while, it is loaded up with stuff that they enjoy doing and therefore will naturally excel at. I get this all the time “I love this tattoo you did, and now I really want you to tattoo me, but can you do something not at all like that and not like anything I see in your book?”. Just because you see some good tattoos in a book, does not make every piece that person ever did a work of art, or make that the right person for every piece. Play to your artists strengths and allow them to have fun at their job, your tattoo will be much better for it in the long run.
People sometimes ask me for things that I tell them I don’t think will turn out well. The basic thought behind this that is really hard to tell customers is “I think that would be ugly” but in truth, if you make your artist do something that they think in their mind is “ugly” then the finished product will almost certainly be that. As artists, we are not always the best communicators, but it is always in our best interest as well as the customers if their next tattoo is our best tattoo. You will always get a more polished product by letting the artist do what they think is right, if their technique or art doesn’t sit right with you, they are probably not the artist for that piece, and thats OK! Come back to them when you have something that is specific to their taste and find the perfect person for the one you are working on. Thinking of the Art Deposit as a commitment to your tattoo is a pitfall. It is only a commitment for the artist to do the work and for you to check it out. If it is not something you are into, throw in the towel. You’re not losing the deposit, the artist is getting paid for their time and for the price of the deposit (as opposed to the price of the tattoo and having the tattoo for life) you are avoiding getting a tattoo that you would turn out not to like in the end anyway.