Questions to Ask a Tattoo Artist – How to Talk to Your Tattoo Artist?

First tattoo ideas - First appointment with tattoo artist - first tattoo what to expect

What Questions to Ask a Tattoo Artist? The tattoo service differs from any other service industry. The majority of tattoo artists are actual artists and have creative personalities so they work according to their own schedule.

That is why you shouldn’t expect an immediate response from them. At the same time, it is important to NOT ask stupid questions and to be very polite.

Tattoo artists understand that you don’t have much experience in the sphere of tattooing. Generally, a tattoo artist provides all the necessary information without needing to ask additional questions. It is always pleasant and more efficient to work with a person you have an understanding with.

Study this article for advice on how to establish a good connection with your tattoo artist.


1. How to start communication with a tattoo artist?
2. How to explain a tattoo artist my idea?
3. Frequently asked questions to tattoo artists

How to start communication? How to start a conversation with your tattoo artist?

Review your tattoo artist’s work

Before contacting an artist (or a salon manager) carefully review their work. It will help to understand the style in which they work. For example, it is not a good idea to ask an old school artist for a watercolor tattoo.

Determine an idea and a part of your body for your tattoo

Even if you don’t have a picture, it is better to think about the idea behind and meaning of your tattoo. The phrase “I don’t know what I want” is pointless, and this approach is exhausting and physically demanding for both you and your artist.

Follow business correspondence rules

If you contact a tattoo artist via social media, don’t forget to introduce yourself and be polite. Follow the simple rules of business correspondence: be friendly, show interest, compliment their tattoo portfolio if you like their work.

Ask a tattoo artist about sketch drawing

As a rule, artists always have sketches that you can choose from for your tattoo. If you have an idea, discuss a sketch drawing based on your idea with your artist. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions about the sketch – your picture should meet your requirements.

Ask your artist whether they work with other artists’ sketches

As it is possible to find good sketches on the internet, it is a good idea to make sure that your tattoo artist isn’t against creating a tattoo from someone else’s sketch. Specify this important point at the beginning of your appointment, but be ready for the majority of artists to refuse to use someone else’s design.

Vegan inks for vegans

If you are a vegetarian, ask your artist whether they work with special vegan ink. Such ink doesn’t contain animal-derived components and the inks aren’t tested on animals.

Tattoo Artist Questions - Questions To Ask Your Tattoo Artists - Questions to Ask before Getting a Tattoo

How to correctly explain my idea to a tattoo artist?

  1. A tattoo subject and idea. For example, if you want to get a tattoo with a rose and a dagger with an important date near it; or if you want a tiger, but can’t decide between just the head or a whole tiger jumping, ask your artist for help. They can recommend a picture to suit the area you choose for your tattoo.
  2. Size matters. Remember, it isn’t correct terminology to speak about size in terms of “a coin”, “a box of matches” or “a pack of cigarettes”. Every sketch has a length and a width. For example, a 15×20 tattoo on a shoulder blade. At the very least, you can describe the size from the beginning to the end point, e.g. from your wrist to elbow. Sometimes it happens that a picture you want can’t be tattooed in a particular size. In this case, your tattoo artist will offer you some other variants.
  3. A tattoo area. Phrases like “on my arm” or “on my leg” don’t provide enough information for a tattoo artist. If you aren’t familiar with anatomy and can’t describe which part of your arm (the inner shoulder, the forearm, the elbow or the wrist etc.), find a picture of an arm on the internet and highlight the exact place using a photo editor.

This is an example of a good tattoo description for an artist:

“I want a colorful rose bud tattoo on my wrist, measuring 5×5”.


“I want a tattoo of a compass and a map on my forearm (between the inside of my elbow and my wrist), measuring 10×6”.

  • Your tattoo artist will understand the scope of their work from your description. After this, ask questions about the price. An artist will estimate the amount of time and intricacy before naming a price.
  • Specify whether you want your artist to work with anaesthetic tattoo gels or not, and enquire what disinfectants are used, to make sure that you don’t have an allergic reaction to them.
  • If you agree with all the terms, you can set up an appointment time and a preliminary meeting to discuss amendments to the design if necessary.
  • If you need to cancel an appointment, inform your tattoo artist as early as possible and apologize for the inconvenience. In many salons, the artist will cancel an appointment, if you are more than 15 minutes late.

Tattoo Artist Questions - Questions To Ask Your Tattoo Artists - Questions to Ask before Getting a Tattoo

Frequently asked questions about tattoos:

Should I bring anything along to an appointment?

Usually, you won’t need to bring anything. The artist has all the necessary equipment for tattooing. But they might ask you to bring a bandage for your tattoo as it is possible that they don’t have a suitable one, especially if the size of the tattoo is unusual.

Can I take a friend with me to an appointment?

Everything depends on your artist. Some artists prefer to work without presence of strangers, which is their professional right. Some of them are happy to work in the presence of good company and will be glad to welcome your friend too.

Can I ask for a break during the tattoo procedure?

Of course you can! If you are tired or want a drink or to go to the lavatory, don’t be shy and ask your artist. It is also important for them to make you feel comfortable.

How to take care of a tattoo?

Read more about this topic in our article.

Can I look at the tattoo on my body before the procedure?

When a tattoo artist transfers a picture to your skin, you will see your tattoo location and can approve all the details. But it is impossible to see the final picture before being tattooed. Every person’s skin is unique and even similar inks can look different depending on the skin type.

If there is any difference in tattoo ink quality? What ink will be used for my tattoo?

Inks stability and color depend not only on the pigment components, but on the skin as well. The same ink heals differently and can look different on depending on the skin type. You can specify an ink manufacturer but this won’t help you to make a final decision. Most artists are interested in the quality of their work, and they don’t want to damage their reputation by doing defective tattoos.

Tattoo Artist Questions - Questions To Ask Your Tattoo Artists - Questions to Ask before Getting a Tattoo

Things not to ask your tattoo artist:

1. Why is tattooing so expensive?

An artist sets the price of their work and you can either agree or refuse. It is not wise to try to haggle with the price or to shame an artist into lowering the cost. Thank them for the information and say goodbye.

2. Can I get a discount?

An artist estimates their work and sets a certain price. It is inappropriate to ask for a discount or to try to divide a sum into parts. Tattoo artists usually don’t like when clients try to bargain. If your artist decides to offer you a discount, they will inform you of that.

3. Can I get this tattoo but in another style?

You should make sure that you are happy with your artist’s style. You can of course make suggestions concerning your sketch but they should be like: “a longer flower stem” or “a red rose instead of a yellow one”. It is not good to ask to remove elements like a thick contour in an old school style tattoo, because it goes against the aesthetics of that style.

4. What about hygiene? Is it possible to get an infection?

A question like this confuses tattoo artists. Nowadays, all artists work with disposable tattoo needles and they open every needle in front of their client. It is not only a question of hygiene, but your artist’s comfort as well. The skin is also disinfected before and after tattooing. For these reasons, it is impossible to get infections from the tattoo process.

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