Getting A Tattoo: What To Think About
Design Selection: What Tattoo To Get?
A tattoo is an extremely personal decision. It is something that you will wear with pride and as such it needs to be something you like and will be happy to have on your skin for a long time. If you have doubts, just wait. Wait until you know what you want permanently inked onto your skin, why you want it, where you want it, and exactly what it means to you.
IF YOU NEED TO ASK SOMEONE ELSE’S OPINION, THEN YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT READY.
Foreign language characters are a very popular choice of tattoos because the characters themselves are beautiful. However unless you or the Artist understand the language, it is definitely not a wise idea to imprint it on your skin permanently. Luckily for us, Chuey speaks and writes Chinese.
We don’t expect you to design your tattoo, that’s our job, but we do need some ideas of the kind of things you like. If you only have a vague idea of what you want, we could do some brainstorming. If you have an image or word already selected, we would need to consult about colour, shading and any alterations to it. We understand that you are going to be eager to dig in, but try to be patient. You want this done right and that means careful planning. Being Patient and Collaborative will yield the best results in the long run.
We only do custom tattoos. However, we can take your picture and redraw it in our preferred style so it is still the same idea but a one-off custom piece. You will always get the best results if you let your Artist interpret your idea rather than copy.
We will not tattoo anything which is racist or horribly offensive and reserve the right to refuse any design.
Placement Selection: Where To Get It And How Big?
You should give considerable thought to size and placement and how it may impact on your life in the future. Sadly, there are some people in the world that may judge you for your ink, which could affect your employment potential.
The folks who choose to get tattoos on body bits that are absolutely impossible to conceal with clothing are making choices about their careers and lifestyles by altering those body parts AND they know it. Face, hand, and throat tattoos are relatively uncommon for this reason. But arm, ankle, wrist, and neck tattoos can also be challenging to mask. The vast majority of tattooed people will want to disguise or downplay their ink under certain circumstances. Your placement choice should make sense in conjunction with your chosen art but do consider your potential concealment- related work-arounds if you put an image on some fairly public skin.
We will not tattoo faces, genitalia, hands (including finger tattoos) and necks (unless you have a huge amount of tattoo coverage, subject to individual consideration).
How Much Will It Cost?
The overall cost of a tattoo will depend on a number of factors: how large the tattoo will be, whether it is colour or black and grey, how well you sit, the placement of the tattoo (rib tattoos typically take longer than anywhere else) and the amount of detail in the design. The best way of getting a ballpark estimate is to come in and chat about your ideas or submit an enquiry with the specific details of your tattoo idea. Cost of the tattoo is calculated by the actual time taken (work of more than 3 hours). Smaller pieces will be charged at a fixed price.
However, please remember – A Quote Is Only An Approximation. Our charges are as follows:
Deposit £20 per hour
Minimum Charge £50
Hourly Rate £80
Day Rate £400
(equivalent of around 6 hours work – Day rate as a set price would prove the best value for money. However if you do not sit for the whole amount of time, you will just be charged by the hour, with the day rate as a cap).
How To Pay?
We love Bank Transfers (although only valid with mobile banking that can be transferred on the spot).
Paym, Cash, Bitcoins and Credit/Debit Cards are also accepted (Card payments will incur a 3% surcharge).
Appointment Making: I Know What I Want, Now What?
Please include the following:
Subject matter (can be a list of things or a description of the specific piece)
Rough size in centimetre (cm)
Colour scheme, greyscale or colour
Reference images of things you like (it would be really helpful if you could include what you like/dislike about each image that you sent)
When you would like to get started and what days/times you are available
For cover-up work, please include photos and measurements of the tattoo you want covering
We will reply within a week or two with ideas or any other queries we might have. Consultation could be done either via email, Zoom, telephone, or in the studio, depending on your preference. Appointment and preparation work will only be undertaken upon receipt of a deposit (which will depend on how long you book in for). Deposits will roll over until, on the last session, it will be deducted from the final amount.
If you need to reschedule or cancel you must do it 48 hours in advance to carry your deposit over. Deposits are non-refundable but can be transferred if you need to change your appointment.
Rough Sketch Before Booking-in
We need an appointment and deposit before we can start the design and preparation process. Once you have booked in, the design should be ready about a week in advance depending on how busy we are. A lot of the time we freehand on the body on the day of the tattoo as we find it fits the body better.
Emailing The Design
This is a tricky one... sometimes we can email a low resolution sketch of your tattoo to you but the majority of the time we are too tied up to do this (we will try our best). Our clients usually trust us to do what we think looks best but we will do our best to accommodate your request when we can.
If you like our portfolios, are confident in vocalising your ideas and are happy to put your trust in us then we guarantee we will put 101% of our time and effort into your design, making the best tattoo for you.
Medical Complications: What Existing Health Issues To Worry About?
If you have any sustaining, long-term medical conditions or on long-term medication, please seek doctor’s advice beforehand. If you think this applies to you, please contact the studio ahead of time, a doctor’s note may be required. You may need a doctor’s note if you have medical conditions like a bleeding disorder, a heart condition, or if you have to take antibiotics before going to the dentist. The consent form you’ll have to sign has a detailed list of these conditions.
Don’t worry, saying you have one of these conditions does not usually mean we cannot tattoo you, it may only mean you might be asked to come back with a doctor’s permission. We want you to be safe when getting tattooed so please understand that we do this for your well-being.
What To Expect: Holy Shit! It’s Happening!
Will it hurt?
Yes, it will hurt but probably not nearly as bad as you think it will. Unless you do not think it will hurt at all, then it might hurt really, really bad. Tattoos placed over bones and tendons (spine, neck, back of ankle), on body parts with relatively little padding (feet, hands, joints) and anywhere with loads of nerve endings (nipples, fingers, face) will be the most painful. Your decision about placement is on par with your decision about art, so don’t chicken out just because your chosen area is a sensitive one. The best tattoos are the ones that work organically with the contours of the body. Just be aware that some bits will be more pain-prone than others.
Obviously, larger pieces will hurt more since they will take longer to execute. As you may have heard, the outlining process is generally more painful than the filling/shading process. Most tattoos are outlined in black, and the initial process of setting the outline down will, inevitably, make you grind your teeth.
How much it will hurt will depend on placement, size, complexity, and your own personal pain threshold. Everyone has different levels of tolerance for pain and as such while one person might experience discomfort during an appointment, others find it oddly pleasurable. In our opinion, the pain of receiving a tattoo is unlike any other pain. It’s not sharp, but it’s not dull either. Tattoos have been described as feeling somewhat like an “electric cat scratch”, tingly and scratchy at the same time. It is a bit like getting an absolutely epic sunburn on a very small area of your skin, and then letting someone take a toothpick and poke around on the sunburned area for a while. It is tolerable, as pain goes, but decidedly not fun.
If you are concerned about your ability to manage your pain, please contact us ahead of your appointment.
We strongly discourage the use of topical anaesthetics and other skin numbing creams as these can affect the quality of your tattoo. Not only does the cream dull the sensation for only a short amount of time but also when the sensation returns, it is a shock to the system and the discomfort felt from being tattooed becomes more painful. Without the cream, it would have been annoying and possibly even just discomfort, whereas with the cream, the returning sensation is ten-fold what would have been felt without the use.
Having said that, you are allowed to use numbing creams at your own risk. You will need to detail it in your consent form and sign the studio and artist off of their responsibility.
Do not be afraid to tell your artist that you are nervous or scared. They see nervous and frightened people all the time and can often help your state of mind by explaining the process to you. Usually they can give you some funny anecdotes about other people worse off than you!
Please DO ask for assistance if you are nauseous, dizzy, or feel confused about anything. Sometimes people feel faint when getting tattooed, particularly during the first few minutes, (sometimes even if it’s not their first time!). There is no need to be embarrassed or afraid. Let the artist know if you are feeling anything unusual besides the tattoo itself.
Tattoo needles are not like hypodermic needles! They are not hollow, they do not penetrate the skin entirely (a few millimetres at most) and they do not inject anything into you. If it makes you feel more comfortable, your artist can show you before they start, what they are using. This might help some people feel less anxious.
How Long Will It Take?
Everyone’s skin is different so time will vary from person to person. It also depends on how well you can sit for it. A very small and simple tattoo could take as little as ten minutes to apply. Most will take much longer than this. If you take lots of breaks or move a lot it will take longer.
Except for large tattoos lasting 2 hours or more (which usually get breaks), you are probably going to have to sit still the entire time of the tattoo. You will want to prepare yourself to endure discomfort for that long, without moving around. Figure out how to keep yourself calm and perhaps you might want to practice calming yourself down by breathing through the pain. If you have practiced any yoga or meditation in the past, you will benefit from the breathing exercises you learned.
Feel free to ask for breaks if you really need it. However the need to constantly adjust your position or to see the artist’s progress, will make the progress slower. The artist will work as fast as they feel comfortable working. You should be aware that regular stops tend to break up their rhythm and could make it take much longer. Think of it as, “Are we there yet?” syndrome.
You will need to sit however the artist asks you to sit which might be difficult at times. From your perspective it may even seem harder for the artist to reach an area in these positions, but artists are also concerned with stretching out the skin, not just reaching it. Be careful if you find yourself straining to hold a position because it may make you shake or twitch. You will have to try your absolute best to stay completely still in the position they choose. If your leg or arm falls asleep or if you feel like you cannot maintain a position much longer, let the artist know before it becomes a struggle for you! There are often alternative positions the artists will have you try to make it easier for you.
During the entire procedure please pay attention to any instructions the artist might give you. They might need you to remove your belt, lower a sock, turn an elbow, take a breath, sit up straight, slouch over, or whatever, but you will need to be paying attention for when they do ask. If you feel uncomfortable you can always let the artist know.
If you find yourself needing to cough, readjust your position, stretch your leg, wiggle, laugh, or flinch; please give the artist warning first. You should also not assume that because the machine is not running, they do not still need you to be motionless.
We do not mind holding a conversation while tattooing (we love getting to know you!). However it is sometimes distracting and difficult to think of conversation topics while concentrating on the job at hand. If you feel you’ll need to talk to someone to help you cope, feel free to bring a friend. Wearing headphones and listening to music or audio books might also help you relax. Or better yet, bring your favourite music along to share with your artist!
During longer sessions, ask to take breaks if you need them. Usually a tattoo artist will allow a break every hour or so. Much more than that can interrupt the progress. When you do get a break make sure to use it wisely; use the bathroom, smoke a cigarette, drink water and munch on your snacks. You’ll probably notice that after a break the tattoo hurts pretty badly. Consider this another reason to limit the number of breaks you request.
Pre-Tattoo: How To Prepare For Your Appointment?
Appointment Date And Time
Double check the date and time of your appointment and turn up on time (no more than 10 minutes before the time scheduled). Also keep in mind that sometimes an artist may be running a little behind. The person ahead of you might be taking longer than expected. You’ll be happy they take the extra time to make sure you’re happy once it’s your turn, so please try and be understanding. You can use this extra time to get comfortable with the atmosphere, find the bathroom and smoking area, fill out paperwork etc.
Keep In Top Form
Do not drink heavily the night before your tattoo appointment. Even if it is not enough to make you hung-over, it could still thin your blood the next day. And if you are, your artist might refuse to tattoo you therefore risk forfeiting your deposit.
Get to bed on time and make sure to get plenty of sleep. Sure it might feel like Christmas Eve and be hard for you to get to sleep, but getting plenty of rest tends to make it easier to sit calmly the following day.
It might seem to go without saying, but please make sure you shower or bathe beforehand. Unless you’re getting an underarm tattoo, please also wear deodorant. It is best to be as comfortable as you can, we recommend wearing appropriate clothing that you won’t mind getting ink on (expensive/white garments are not a great idea!). Think about the placement of your tattoo. If you’re getting work on a sleeve, wearing a vest is useful. If it is a rib/back piece you might want to bring a cardigan you can wear backwards to keep warm. If it's your legs wear stretchy lounge pants etc. Even in the summer it’s a good idea to bring a sweatshirt or something warm to wear because getting tattooed can sometimes make you feel cold.
The area to be tattooed, and usually a large space surrounding it, will need to be shaved to prepare your skin for the tattoo. Some clients prefer to shave the area themselves beforehand and are welcome to do so especially if it is a very hairy area, so long as they know that if for any reason the artist is unhappy with the client’s shaving job, they will do it again themselves. Tattoo artists are used to shaving people for tattoo preparation so do not worry about being shy or embarrassed, they have seen it all.
If you tan, you will want to get one before getting tattooed because you should not be tanning again until your tattoo is completely healed. You will always need to wear sunblock on your tattoo. If you spray tan, do not do it before. Not only will you have a big spot scrubbed clean when they prep the area, but scrubbing it clean is a huge, messy, pain in the butt.
Always eat a full meal before heading in to get tattooed! Eating heavy and filling foods helps in particular because they tend to last longer. Not being hungry will make it easier for you to sit calmly.
Do not drink a bunch of caffeine or energy drinks before coming in! Not only thinning your blood, it will make it harder to sit still. Do, however, drink lots of water to keep hydrated
What To Bring
Pack a bag with:
bottled water/juice and a sugary drink
fully charged mobile phone
headphones if you want to listen to your own music or to play games
snacks (particularly ones high in carbohydrates and protein like granola bars, nuts, crisps, crackers, or fresh fruit)
a pillow or small blanket
anything you want to keep you entertained (books etc)
You might want to arrange for a ride home if you think there’s a chance you’ll need one.
Medication / Intoxication
We will not tattoo anyone under the influence. It is actually illegal. Even just being badly hung-over could get you turned away. If you have an appointment and are turned away for being intoxicated and/or under the influence, you may lose your deposit. If you feel you must take something beforehand, please ask your artist ahead of time if what you take will be an issue.
Aspirin, Ibuprofen or other similar products does not help with the tattoo pains and will thin your blood which could potentially make you harder to tattoo. If you are on any regular medications, you might need your doctor’s permission ahead of time.
Is It OK To Get A Tattoo When Sick?
Getting a tattoo when your immune system is not at 100% is not a good idea. You are going to need your strength and your white blood cells to heal your tattoo, something your body will not be able to do if it is already doing battle against virus and bacteria. Not to mention the fact that it is inconsiderate to bring your illness into the tattoo studio and risk passing the germs onto others, particularly your artist. If you are getting sick or are outright sick, please call the studio ahead of time to reschedule your appointment for when you’re feeling well again. If the artist notices you are sick, they have the right to not tattoo you at the moment, which could result in you losing your deposit.
Under 18 or look under 18
It is against the law to tattoo under 18’s. Check to ensure you have your Student ID, National ID, driver’s license, or passport. Other forms of identification might be accepted if it has your photograph and birthdate present. Please get in touch if unsure.
Post-Tattoo: The Wind-Down To A Good Tattoo
Remember it takes two people to have a successful tattoo experience – a skilled tattoo artist, and a customer who is educated and diligent about properly taking care of their tattoo during its entire healing time.
Plan to rest after getting tattooed. Taking time afterward to relax and clean up your new artwork can help with the healing. Preparing dinner earlier in the day is sometimes helpful because getting a tattoo can make you surprisingly hungry and tired.
Don’t be afraid to call your artist or the studio with questions about the tattoo. Our artists and staff are more than willing to explain aftercare, do follow-up check-ins, or just give you any information you may need.
Leave it alone. Do not poke, pick, soak, or otherwise molest a healing tattoo. It is a wound and needs to be dealt with gingerly. No matter how much it itches, do not scratch. No matter how much you want to fondle it, do not touch. It is yours for life. Do not mess with it while it is healing and remember you do have until the end of your days to admire it. Following the correct aftercare procedures will ensure that your tattoo looks as good as it can, for as long as possible.
The aftercare for your tattoo will be given to you both orally and here on the website for your reference. If you need a printout, please do let your artist know and we’ll be more than happy to print out a copy for you. Even if you’re feeling kind of out of it or are tired, it’s still very important to listen to and pay close attention to your aftercare instructions. Do not listen to advice from anyone else except you artist.
Keep the area clean
Moisturise regularly using the product we advise at the time of your appointment
Under no circumstances should you pick or scratch your new tattoo
Allow the tattoo to heal naturally with air
Do not pick the scabs as they form. Let them heal and fall off on their own
Keep your new tattoo out of the sun, the rays can damage the pigment. Sunblocks (at least SPF 50) can be use after a month
If you lose your instructions, they are available here.
Ask about our aftercare products to aid in the healing of your tattoo. Our studio conveniently offers aftercare products for sale from the artist.
As with any healing, the better you take care of yourself the better your body will heal. In the days preceding your new tattoo please take good care of yourself. Drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, and try and keep your body fed and nourished. Excessive drinking will inhibit your healing processes, particularly the first night after getting a new tattoo although a beer or two is fine. A beer does taste so good after a tattoo, yum! Take it easy and your tattoo should thank you with a quick, trouble free heal.
We usually offer a free touch-up if you get in touch within 2 months and have taken care of your tattoo. Be aware that if you do not follow the aftercare instructions and choose to do something detrimental to your tattoo, your artist might not only be disappointed with you, they also reserve the right not do touch-ups for free. Your artist will be able to tell if you have picked or neglected it!
If you get in touch after 2 months or have neglected/abused your tattoo, touch ups will be charged at the minimum charge.