Though it may not seem obvious at first, communication is incredibly important to the tattoo process. Proper communication between you and your artist is the absolute best way to ensure a positive experience, and will help you both to bring the project to its full potential.
While getting a tattoo is fun and exciting, there can also be a lot of apprehension about the physical pain, and also about not knowing whether what you want will be understood and interpreted by your artist. Tattoos hurt, that’s a fact which is for the most part unavoidable, but good communication with your artist is a sure-fire way to avoid the bulk of that mental and emotional stress.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Best Communication Possible
Here is a little guide to fostering that positive client-artist connection. Some of these points are specific to getting custom work done, but the other points apply to flash as well:
1. Do your homework first: Make sure you have chosen the artist that you feel is best for the tattoo you are hoping to get. At Seven Eight, as in many places, each artist has a fairly different style from each other, so be sure to look over everyone’s portfolios and social media to insure you have a sense of what their work is like.
2. Have visual references: Having some images of the style/subject you want is very helpful to your artist. It is a good idea to print them out and bring them to your consultation or appointment. Print a few images of other tattoos by your artist so you can point out what elements of their style you would like to see in your piece.
3. Be as clear as possible about what you want: This is pretty self-explanatory. Be direct about what you are looking for, if you are happy to let your artist play and do what they want creatively, that is awesome! But even in this case, make sure you follow the previous steps, so you are happy at the end of the day with what you have. It will be with you forever!
4. Let go a little and have faith in your artist: Now that you have done your research, brought your references, and been clear about what you want, let go a bit and trust that your artist knows what they are doing. Sometimes, they may want to do something a bit differently from what you had envisioned. This is often because they know that in practice that vision may need tweaking to make it work best in proportion to your body, fit in with your existing tattoos, or to be visually impactful. When a client is extremely particular to the point of nit-picking, it can be quite frustrating for both parties. Have faith in your artists’ expertise and trust that they too, want the piece to look fantastic. Of course, this is ultimately your tattoo, money and body, so if you are in doubt, never hesitate to….
5. Ask questions: At our studio, questions are always welcome. Though I can’t speak for other studios, as a tattoo client, you should always feel confident to ask about your piece- if your artist is unwilling to answer your questions, you may want to reconsider working with them.
At the end of the day, you want to feel right about what you are getting tattooed onto your body. Doing your research, and putting effort into communication with your artist, will go a long way towards making that happen.