Selecting the drawing hand for your tattoo is a decision that could weigh you down almost as much as whether to get a tattoo in the first place. Not only will you be handing over a chunk of your helpfully-earned cash to this person, but they will then have the opportunity to mark your flesh permanently.
With that in mind, what follows are some of the most important considerations when choosing the artist (and accompanying studio) that will be accompanying you on your journey.
Art & Amiability
Your first step might be to look into artists who are based near you. If they are convenient, it could be worth paying them a visit, but be aware that this is a work of body art that you will have to wear forever, and it will grow tiresome having to constantly explain your tattoo to people.
So, if travel or a bit of extra expenditure is needed, remember, this is a long-term and meaningful investment. You get what you pay for, after all. So try to view samples from a range of artists, including photos of their work on other customers if possible. After all, showing a design doesn’t guarantee they can reproduce it on you. Many artists will have an online portfolio you can view.
If you speak to anyone with a tattoo you like, ask them who worked on it, as a personal recommendation can mean a lot. After all, ideally you want someone you trust to execute your design and are able to ask questions of, both about the tattooing process and the next section…
Health & Hygiene
Perhaps not as exciting as the previous, but arguably a bigger concern, unfortunately. After all, since needles are going right into your skin, health risk will emerge. When you visit your tattoo studio, you should comfortable asking any questions about cleanliness and sterilisation procedures. If the answers are vague, or not forthcoming, it might be best to choose someone else.
Most tattoo artists use an autoclave, or another piece of medical equipment, for sterilisation. If you ask to see the autoclave or equivalent, they should be willing to show it to you and confirm that it is in working order, at the very least.
In a similar vein, needles used for your tattoo should be fresh from a sterilised pouch, not re-used from a previous customer, and disposed of once the artist has completed his work on you. Each colour of ink should be freshly poured into a small cup for each new customer.
There’s no doubt that, having settled on an artist, it would be an almighty let-down to have to walk away from them for reasons of hygiene, but your health should remain paramount. After all, you’ll enjoy your tattoo a lot more if you don’t get some horrible disease from a shared needle.