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Some people are new to the tattoo game and have no idea what to look for when they finally get ready to get a tattoo.

Well before all, you need to have a design in mind and take your time with it. Tattoos are very permanent and they need to have some kind of meaning to you. Dont get drunk to go get one because you will end up with someone's name on you and you dont really know who it is..lol.

Anyhow, when looking for a tattoo shop, here are a few tips;

1. Go to a shop and not some dude tattooing out of his house or behind a gas station. Why? Sterilization man. If he is tattooing behind the gas station, how is he cleaning his tools?

2. Make sure they do not reuse needles. Always make sure you see the artist getting prepped for your tattoo so you can see him open the package of needles.

3. The shop looks clean. If its nasty at the front door, its probably nasty in the tattoo room.

4. Ask questions. A good artist will be glad to talk to you about the tattooing procedures and answer all of your questions.

5. Sterilization. Make sure they use an autoclave and an ultrasonic machine. Dry heat does not sterlize tools.

6. War wounds. Dude, if your artist has nasty bed sores on his arms or leaking wounds, please dont let him touch you.

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be sure to ask around too; if someone received bad service or a bogus ink job they will let you know where just as easily as they will tell you where the good artists are. Definitely do your homework.
I will add my $0.02

7. Go into the shop when it is busy, say Saturday around 3:00 PM. You will get an idea of how the artist manages his/her time. The artist should NEVER rush or jump from task to task. You will also get an idea of the artist's attitude, weather he/she is nice. Even the hardcore looking artists are usually very nice.

8. Look at the potential artist's tattoos. If he/she does not have any, probably not a good idea to get ink from them. Unless maybe they are pierced from head to toe.

9. If you have any friends or acquaintances with ink, ask them where they had there work done. Word of mouth is the best way to find the right artist for what design you have in mind. Bartenders are always a wealth of knowledge ;p

10. Once you have found a good shop, look at the various artists photo books. Most tattoo artists are really good at a few styles of tattoo. Pick the artist in the shop that has the best work in the style you want. For example, the guy who did the Taxi Driver tattoo in me is ridiculously good at portraits and fine line styles, another guy in the same shop is fantastic at the old school sailor/pin-up and heavy line style. So when I am ready for my old school mural I will choose the latter, and the other artists should be just fine with you switching artists to meet their specialty.

There are way more things to look for but I am out of ideas, it has been a long time since I have looked at potential artists.
Thanks man. Those are all important tips
some of the best artists have the worst work on them, usually the good ones are working on all the scratchers and have no time to get tattooed themselves. that is NOT a good reason to choose an artist. the most important thing is having a connection between client and artist. you need to be able to clearly explain what you want and be open to artistic suggestions. sterility is an issue of course, but its not as bad as it used to be. no one reuses needles anymore, its too cheap to pull out a new one, we buy a box of 50 for 12 bucks. i've been tattooing for going on 8 years and the industry has taken a dramatic turn. due to educated clients, shops have had to step it up a bit. My suggestion is to find a REPUTABLE shop then find an artist you vibe with, regardless of their tattoos...
I agree because my boyfriend is a great artist and he has a jacked up piece on his back. It sucks because you cant tattoo your own back...lol


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