Most experienced clients know that there is a certain etiquette to be expected in a tattoo parlor. Most artists, and other clients, will judge you for your behavior and it may affect your service. Many shops sport signs that bad attitudes will cost you more for a tattoo and at the very least you can expect people to laugh at you.
Turn Up Not Knowing What You Want
Showing up with no idea of what you want just to get a tattoo often means looking at books of flash that 10 other people before you got today, yesterday, and for the last 365 or more days last year. While most artists don’t mind doing flash it’s not very original. Most artists would prefer that you brought photos or drawings to them. Similarly, don’t expect them to be fluent in Chinese, Sanskrit, Japanese etc. That’s up to you to find translations and double check to make sure they’re right. If you bring in something that says Love and in reality it says Chicken Fried Rice, that’s not your artist’s fault. Do your homework BEFORE going into the studio.
Don’t waste yours, or the artists, time by coming in and asking “what should I get?”.
Not Showering Beforehand!
No one likes BO, and there’s nothing worse as an artist to be nose deep to someone’s skin when they haven’t bathed. I’ve even made someone go wash their feet when I wasn’t tattooing near there because their feet smelled so bad. Even if you don’t think you smell, hygiene is a must. Similarly, dousing yourself in cologne or perfume can be irritating to the artist, especially if they have allergies. You might think smelling of spring flowers is wonderful, but when you smell like someone literally spilled the bottle over you it’s hard to concentrate. Be clean, and don’t overdo the perfumes.
Not Listening to the Artist
No one likes a know-it-all, but if you’ve picked a specific shop or artist you obviously think they are a professional and are competent enough to do your tattoo. Arguing with your tattoo artist about what is or isn’t possible is not only irritating but it’s unlikely that you know more than they do. Listen to them when it comes to design and placement, as they want the tattoo to look good too. Trust your artist because they have experience in their job, and if you don’t trust them why on earth are you getting tattooed by them??
Not Having Patience
Art takes time. Yes, that tattoo show last night did a whole sleeve in 30 minutes. It’s not possible in real life. Custom designs take time to research and create. Your artist likely isn’t being paid to draw the tattoo, your deposit goes towards the cost of the tattoo itself. This means that research and drawing has to be done on their own time when they’re not tattooing. For a good artist you might also have to wait for an appointment. Good artists and artwork are popular, and if you truly want quality then you know it’s worth the wait.
Asking for Discounts
No. Just NO. You’re paying for the artists time, materials, vision, and skills. If someone came to your job and offered you less, would you still do your job? You’d probably say no because you know you’re getting paid more and so your artist knows that their time is valuable. It’s likely if you won’t pay their rates someone else will. Not only that, but saying your “mate” can do it cheaper just makes you sound desperate. Good tattoos aren’t cheap, and if you go somewhere else you’ll likely get a poorer quality tattoo that will cost you more in the end to fix. Set aside money or buy gift cards for the parlor until you have what you need then get tattooed.