IMG_4211I am very much of the belief that you should acquire tattoos when you are ready, and and when you are happy with the design. Like almost everything in life. The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it is going to be for you to manifest it.

Here are a few suggestions to prepare for the reality of your next tattoo.

1.Create a folder on your computer or a board on Pinterest where you can add me or even a good old fashioned notebook. Start to search for images for the particular theme you have chosen. Collect and save the copies of the ones you like. Notice the ones you like. Notice the ones you do not like. Try to clairfy what works about the ones you like and what does not with the ones you don’t.

You can look anywhere for reference materials, children’s books, artbooks, magazines, catalogs, photographs of the subject, posters, paintings, Cd’s, DVD’s even designs on clothes or other objects that you like. The web is a wonderful place to start. DO NOT start by trying to find a tattoo image. They often lead to mediocre images that are not nearly as spectacular as a photo or illustration. Instead just look for a good representation of the subject you want your tattoo to be about. For example: instead of searching for “dragonfly tattoos” search for illustrations and photos of real dragonflies. A good tattoo artist will take the reference materials you provide and design a wonderful tattoo for you. Google Image Search is a great resource for all kinds of pictures

2. Start looking through tattoo magazines and on tattoo websites for examples of work that you especially like, copy or save the ones that especially appeal to you.
Note who the artists you like are.
And also note if there are particular styles you are especially drawn to.

3. Take your time to find the best artist for you. There are three primary issues to take into consideration.

The quality & style of their work.
The safety protocals of their studio
Their attitude  & philosophy and your mutual compatibility.

4. Save some money and plan to budget for your piece.
Obviously smaller tattoos are going to cost you less than a larger one, however in tattooing the most important thing is that the size of the piece should be proportiate to the placement on your body as well as the degree of detail you desire. In tattooing size does matter. The larger a piece is, the more detail will read well, and the better it will hold up over time.

Rates can range between $120–$400 or higher an hour and some of us charge based on the project. Please note it is important to take into consideration experience & speed when comparing rates as a seasoned tattooer will often accomplish twice as much in the same time frame as a newer one so even though someone’s rate may appear to be lower the actual total may be similar or even higher depending on their skill and speed.
Small pieces usually take between 1/2-1-1/2 hours
medium pieces between 2-6 hours
Large pieces usually take mutliple 3-6 hour sittings. Full back pieces and sleeves generally take upwards of a year or longer with appointments scheduled every 3-6 weeks apart.

So, as you anticipate your next tattoo, remember the three P’s of tattooing. . .

By making the effort to plan and prepare for the design of your next tattoo and by having the patience to wait for the right time with the right artist, you will be well on your way to assuring yourself a piece of art you can happily wear on your body for the rest of your life.