Five things to think about when considering a tattoo

Well, it’s taken us long enough, but we’ve finally got the blog up-and-going and have some stuff to say. Expect to see some changes in how it looks in the near future, but the words should start flowing with some regularity from this point forward.

We decided the first thing we wanted to do was shed some light on the process of figuring out your tattoo design. While there aren’t too many hard-and-fast rules, there are a few, and more importantly, there are some guidelines that make the whole process simpler and easier for everyone involved. We hope you find this information useful. Please let us know if you have any questions.

What’chu want?
Before you arrive, it’s important to have an idea of what you want. Even the most experienced artist and seasoned tattoo host can have difficulty understanding your tattoo design if you aren’t sure what you want, at least in general terms.  Bring in visual references that can help convey what you have in mind.  It’s OK if the pictures aren’t exactly what you want.  We can help work out the details, but the more references you have, the better.

Getting it your way
Are you interested in a custom design?  Most artists enjoy doing custom work the most. Keep in mind however, custom tattoo work is often a multi-step process. An artist takes your ideas and references and creates a unique piece of personalized artwork for permanent placement on your body. This typically requires a revision or two of the design based upon your input. If It sounds involved, that’s because it is…and it should be.

It can be difficult to create custom work quickly.  Thanks to several television programs and their clever use of editing, there exists the popular myth of the “come back in an hour or two” custom tattoo.  While this is sometimes possible, be aware that, generally speaking, any large–scale, and even many smaller, custom designs may require a couple of weeks for an artist to create.  This is because of the time involved in possible research of the subject, drawing and refinement of the design, and the fact that you probably aren’t the first person in line.

Size matters.
Do you want something small?  The smaller a design is, the simpler it needs to be.  Pencil and ink can make much thinner lines than a tattoo machine can. Thus, a design that might look nice on paper may not be practical as a tattoo.  But you really love it? Simplifying the design is usually an option.  This may involve removing some details or lines but generally allows you to retain the essential elements that you like about the image.  A host or artist can assist you with this process.  Another option is to get the design done larger.  A larger image allows for more detail and often times a much more dynamic tattoo.  This is especially the case with images that contain faces (animal or human), hands, and generally anything that needs to look photorealistic. A larger tattoo may mean changing the placement, which brings us to…

Location, location…
As you might imagine, some parts of the body are more challenging to tattoo than others. Hips, breasts, the lower abdomen, & buttocks for example are challenging due to the underlying bone-structure (or lack there of) and the skin consistency. Areas such as the ribs, tops of feet, and the neck can be difficult due to the uneven nature of those particular parts of anantomy. This often means that getting a quality tattoo on these locations requires more time and effort on behalf of the artist. This is often reflected in the price.

Our tattoo artists want the tattoos they create to look as good as possible for as long as possible.  How does this affect the location of a tattoo? Some parts of the body just don’t tattoo well.  Some of these areas include hands, fingers, toes, sides of the feet, the Achilles tendon, faces, ears and genitals.  Some artists may be willing to tattoo these areas, but they may not guarantee (for touch-ups) work performed on certain parts of the body. Some artists simply don’t tattoo those spots at all.  If you’re interested in getting tattooed on one of these spots, or another part of the body that you’re not too sure about, just ask.  An artist or a tattoo host will be happy to discuss the options with you.

Staying in the lines.
All tattoos inherently fade and spread given enough time.  How quickly this happens is relative to how well you take care of your fresh tattoo, how much sun the tattoo gets exposed to in its lifetime, and your own personal body chemistry.  Black pigment holds up and stays true the longest.  Because of this fact, many tattoo artists agree the vast majority of tattoos need a black outline.  “No-outline” tattoos can be done and tend to look nice for the first few years but the majority of them have a strong likelihood of bleeding out, becoming fuzzy and muddy, and ultimately indistinguishable.  While there is some debate on this in the industry and everyone has their own experiences and opinions…

…our artist’s choices about what they will and won’t tattoo are based upon the years of hands-on experience and their understanding of their craft. They want you to have a tattoo you are happy with and proud of and they also want to be proud of the work they do. Most tattoo artists aren’t a big fan of rules to begin with, so if they have adopted a few, those rules exist for a pretty good reason.

3 thoughts on “Five things to think about when considering a tattoo

  1. Hi Derek and company!

    This is some great info for the masses. My husband works as a solo artist doing all custom work and this blog covers many of the topics we encounter with his clients every day. Especially with the advent of what we call the “Miami Ink mentality”, people think they can get a custom sleeve designed and executed in the time it takes to eat dinner. Keep these blogs coming!

  2. All the way from ut just want to know the truth other than what I was lead to believe. A Mr. Steib (Jamie) Hendrickson said that he had worked there at you place. After only two tattoos I had to kick him out of my shop for reusing his equipment and not at all being steril it is also all over Facebook that he has worked there as an artist? I’ve heard all the way here in UT that your place is top notch. So did this person actually work there or just using your name to pass on his unacceptable work?

  3. Summer: In the 10 years that I’ve been the general manager here, no one by that name has ever worked here as a tattoo artist. I’m not sure when he’s claiming to have worked here, but it certainly hasn’t been any time in the last 10 years. We’ve been open 18 years, so he may have worked here at some point. Sorry I can’t shed any more light on the topic and I’m sorry you had to deal with someone who sounds like they were pretty awful.

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