Guy walks into the shop and asks for aftercare advice.
Dude: I got tattooed and I'm not too sure what to do with it...
Me: Where did you get your tattoo? Here?
Dude: No, got it from a friend of a friend.
Me: Well ask for his advice
Dude: Well we looked it up on the internet but there are too many opinions on the subject...
Me: Basically you're telling me you got your tattoo in a basement, yet you come see pros to tell you what to do?
I know there is no punch to that joke, because this is not a joke
Fingering and Hand-jobs
What you see, is not necessarily what you get
We all see crazy tattoos, they are on Pinterest, on your best friend’s Facebook feed, shared on Instagram with captions like “Tag a friend who would want that”.
While it can be practical to browse the internet when looking for inspiration for your next tattoo project, there are a few things to take into account!
First thing: know when looking at images of tattoos on the internet that the tattoo is fresh, lines are crisp and colours are radiant. Unless stated as healed, the picture was taken right after being tattooed. Remember that it may not look this way after it heals.
As clients especially for smaller tattoos wont make a trip back to the shop only to have a picture taken of their tattoo, most artists will immortalize their work by taking the snapshot right after tattooing.
We’ve all seen intricate filigrees or architectural or tiny words, they look good don’t they? Well, I’ll just say it’s a good thing there is a photographic proof that at one point it was a stunning piece of art, because chances are that once healed it will look like shit…
These are a few exemples of healed finger tattoos found on the web. (None were done by me)
Second thing to keep in mind: when looking at portfolios online (and sometimes it takes a trained eye to detect these) people use photoshop to either sharpen the details or boost the contrasts and vibrancy. Before you ask, yes this is cheating! Either way, this can be misleading and confusing.
The point is, artist portfolios should not to create false hope or mislead potential clients.
Third thing you should always take into account: images are often cropped so the artwork takes as much space as possible in the shot.
So, unbeknownst to you, the idea you fell in love with might be a whole back piece that won't fit on your forearm. The rule of thumb is: the smaller the tattoo, the simpler the image must be.
About the cost
Even for the tiniest tattoo you will be charged for an hour… Yes, even if the tattoo itself takes 10 minutes.
If you want your finger tattoo to keep looking good over the years, you’ll need to get it touched up fairly regularly. Unless you have money to spend on it regularly, think twice.
Keep it simple stupid…
Bold, simple design will work best and look good the longest.
Knuckle tattoos will also last longer then on the fleshy underpart of the fingers. On the inside, you will end up with a patchy ghost of a tattoo (is it what you really want to invest your money in?)
No. You are not special…
We hear it all the time. People come in and try to convince us (or themselves) that they will beat the odds, and that their finger tattoo will heal perfectly. Well, I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but I havent seen a single finger tattoo that didn't look bad. As state knuckles are not as bad but still… they are tricky.
We often get lines like: nobody wants to do it, but I’m wondering if you’d be willing to give it a try. And that goes for any type of work. Instead of storming out of a shop that might refuse to do a given tattoo, take the time to ask why. If you notice a pattern in the reasons given to you, it might be wise to rethink the project.
Don’t see it as personal, or as a rejection, We all (most of us) take pride in our work and it is in nobody’s interest to go forward with something we don’t believe will age well.
Then again, you will always find someone who's in it for the money and will blindly do it without fretting. But I’m sure you don’t want to be the sucker that will give ‘em your hard earned money.
As they say: knowing is half the battle…
Taking all these informations into account, I’m not saying you should absolutely avoid knuckle or finger tattoos. What I am saying is do your homework, take a close look at people with such tattoos, ask questions, don’t be shy. Also listen to your artist's advice! If you have second thoughts keep asking around!
Even if I don’t do such tattoos, I alway give the same advice. If you are slightly OCD or have a slightly perfectionist personality… Well, stay away from hand and finger tattoos.
Due to the nature and quality of the skin, and the fact that we are using our hands everyday, the blacks might not heal dark, and colors, won’t be as bright. The lines might also become blury. So, if you are super picky, don’t get it on your fingers. It will cost you, it will hurt and it won’t look as good as you’d like.
Bottom line is: you are your own boss, and you should know yourself better then anybody else. So, If you are truly okay with all that, go ahead and get it done! There is nothing wrong with that.
So… You want a tattoo…
I couldn't pass sharing this chart drawn by my good friend and talented artist Olivia Chell.
The first rule is, you have to be 18!
No reputable artist will accept to tattoo a minor (getting it done in a friend’s basement is never the answer).
Do you know what you want?
Whether it is just a memento, or something a bit more complex?
It is important to know before hand, what style appeals to you (minimalistic, old school, Japanese, graphic…) Do your homework, look around.
Sometimes we need a little inspiration, and that’s fine, but I always tell people that what you want should come from within you. Let not the latest fad dictate what you should get.
Tattoos should tell your story, not somebody else’s.
Maybe your best friend says his tattooist is THE Best Artist in town but, it doesn't mean that person is the right fit for you… You always want to look for an artist that you feel is a good fit for a specific project.
It would be pointless to contact me for lets say a tribal piece or for old school work.
It is important to look at as many portfolio as possible.
In this day and age, there are no reasons to walk blindly into a shop without being aware of their work beforehand. (let the internet be your guide: Instagram, Artists and Shop directories, Facebook, City best of, to name a few)
Of course walking into a shop will give you better feel of the actual vibe.
Be Patient! The waiting list varies from one artist to the other. If you want a creation by Yann Black, well, be prepared to wait, but don’t just ask other artists to create in his style, you will only be disappointed. Try to put this in perspective: what’s a little wait for the artist you truly love compared to a copy of his work done by someone else.
Talk with the chosen artist, ask questions.
Do you feel comfortable with the artists attitude, does the artist seem to respect your concerns or belittling you?
Does it click?
If you have concerns walk away. You don’t have to deal with a shitty attitude! Keep looking and you will find the right one!
But if the answer to all these points is YES, well go ahead, do it!
Value your artists opinion, trust his/her judgement. After all, this is why you chose that artist over someone else.
Last but not least, we tend to forget that getting a tattoo is luxury after all. If it is is too expensive, save a little, wait a little longer, to get the awesome, kick ass tattoo that you deserve!
Enjoy your tattoo!
Today, a lot needs to be done.
Sketches, seems they just piled up or appeared over night.
Exciting stuff though.
I'm usually picky with the projects I chose. I love to be challenged and it seems my clients heard me real good this time.
Sometimes they come along without too much trouble but, man, these last few weeks I've I've been racking my brain over complex geometry and morphing images... I've been seeing double for a few days now. (can't wait to show you!)
I'm fortunate enough, on this day off, to have my foreman Zelda keeping an eye on me and making sure I don't stray.
'Tll next time
I'm not to sure what prompte me to start this blog.
I somehow fell compelled to do so, so yeah, here we go.
I'm not sure what I expect to achieve or to get out of this. Like most of what I do, it tends to be very organic an unorganized. Well, we'll see about that.
What I do know is: I don't want this to become a ranting place, I don't like when others do that and I don't intend to do that either. I'm not here to teach anything, but It might be a nice outlet to share my point of view on certain aspects of arts and tattooing.
Working with people has its up and downs (nothing is perfect in life) but it has it's share of crunchy stories.
I will definitely share some slice life in here. I don't want these entries to be only about tattooing, Although it's a huge part of my life, Music is another passion of mine, those of you who have been at Mile-End Tattoo know how broad my music library is and how excited I can become when I talk about it...
So 'tll next time