Kansinee Tattooing Herself

How To Select A Tattoo Artist

Embarking on the journey to get a tattoo is an exciting adventure, a testament to your freedom of personal expression. As you navigate the world of fine line tattoos, realism, ornamental tattoos, and beyond, choosing the right tattoo artist is crucial. Your chosen artist will not only bring your vision to life but will also leave an indelible mark to be cherished for years. In this guide, we'll delve into how to select a tattoo artist—a professional who can blend skill, creativity, and understanding to craft a masterpiece that resonates with you.

Understand Your Tattoo Vision 

Planning for a tattoo is a thoughtful process that involves careful consideration and preparation to ensure you end up with a piece of art that you'll cherish over your years. Consider the following guidance in preparing for your tattoo voyage:

Define Your Purpose:

Determine the reason behind getting a tattoo. Whether it's self-expression, a significant life event, or purely aesthetic, understanding your motivation will guide the design and placement choices.

    Select Your Tattoo Style

    From floral tattoos to geometric tattoos, each style has unique characteristics. Explore our blog post on different tattoo styles to learn more.

    Choose a Meaningful Design:

    Select a design that holds significance to you in your own way. This could be a symbol, quote, or image that represents your values, experiences, or aspirations or it could be more simply something unexplainable by words (i.e. “I just like it” or “it makes me laugh and smile”). Find a design that resonates with you. 

    Consider Placement:

    Think about where on your body you want the tattoo. Consider factors like pain tolerance, visibility, integration with future tattoos, flow of your body, and how the tattoo will interact with your lifestyle and clothing choices. Furthermore, it's important to consider the amount of sun exposure your tattoo placement will receive, as prolonged sunlight may fade a tattoo faster. Another aspect to consider is the natural changes of your skin over time. Certain tattoo placements may better retain their shape and appearance as your skin changes. If maintaining the integrity of your tattoo's design is a priority for you, choosing a placement that accommodates these changes is advisable.

    At Discovery Ink & Art, we always want to make sure you are making a decision from a place of strength and alignment. If we get the sense you are deciding from a place of uncertainty or haste, we will do our best to work with you to ensure you are getting a piece that you will be happy with… go slow.

      Researching Tattoo Artists

      Start by using online platforms and Instagram to find artists whose portfolio matches the style you’re seeking, such as fine line tattoos or realism tattoos. Assess potential artists against reviews and real-life experiences. Additionally, visiting tattoo shops or meeting artists at tattoo conventions can provide firsthand insight into their work quality.

      Assessing Artist Credentials and Reputation 

      It may be helpful to understand how long an artist has been tattooing, where they gained their experience (i.e. who they apprenticed with) and, if applicable, what kind of art they were engaged with prior to becoming a tattoo artist. This can be a helpful proxy for gauging their style and, importantly, their experience of working with skin. For example, Kansinee at Discovery Ink & Art started tattooing at age 13. Kansinee also worked as a graphite artist doing commissioned pieces for 6-years, so she has a unique perspective and experience when it comes to working in black and grey, fine line and ornamental tattoo styles.. Another potentially helpful tool is to evaluate the artist's reputation within the tattoo community. Seeking the opinion of other artists, perhaps those tattooing in a different style so they are less biased, may help you determine whether an artist is a good fit.

      Selecting A Style and Evaluating for Quality

        We’ve dedicated a whole post to evaluating tattoo quality, focusing on linework, use of space, and shading. It's often better to see healed tattoos to judge the quality, as this reveals how well the work ages.

        Connect with the Artist

          Most artists, like us at Discovery Ink & Art, have a booking request form where you can submit your tattoo ideas. During this initial connection, discuss their process, pricing, and any other pertinent details. We aim to respond within 48 hours, but please be patient as artists often juggle multiple responsibilities.

          Considering the Tattoo Studio

            In evaluating whether a tattoo studio is a good fit for you, you may want to consider its aesthetic and ambiance. Are you looking for a calm and relaxed environment or would you prefer a metal, punk, or gothic style? Artist’s often curate their studios to match their styles, and you may want to consider how the studio’s aesthetic and ambiance may enhance or detract from your tattoo experience. For example, at Discovery Ink & Art we offer a non-judgemental, calm, relaxed, and private space. Furthermore, it is important to assess the cleanliness and professionalism of the studio by reading past reviews, exploring available photos online, or inquiring with peers; stop by for a brief visit if you remain uncertain. If concerns remain, explore the studio's compliance with health regulations by checking in with the local health authority. All tattoo studios should be inspected and approved prior to operation. Detailed listing of any health concerns should be made available to the public.

            Understanding the Cost

            Most tattoo artists, including us, price tattoos based on their size, depth of detail, the artist’s expertise and skill, use of high quality materials (to ensure safety and quality results), and the amount of time spent on consulting and designing. Artists will provide you with a quote once they have received your tattoo ideas and details. It is important to clarify the deposit amount and payment process. Some studios only accept certain kinds of payments, so you’ll want to be prepared on the day of your tattoo. Understand that tattoo artists request a deposit as they will be doing work to design your tattoo prior to your actual tattoo appointment. The deposit guards against time spent creating the design as well as work time lost due to cancellations.

            Lastly but importantly, it is prudent to balance cost considerations with quality. The adage, “you get what you pay for” certainly applies to tattoos, so be cautious of being overly frugal on something that is permanent on your body. That said, a higher price does not always equal a better-quality tattoo. The tattoo market can be skewed based on one’s ability to market themselves (i.e. the larger the following, the more demand, the higher the price commanded). This does not always correlate with quality, and so be sure to consider what makes for a quality tattoo.

            Making the Final Decision

            Reflect on the information gathered and trust your instincts to choose the right artist for your tattoo. Once decided, look forward to the exciting experience ahead!

            With gratitude,


            P.S. If you are a fan of the work we do at Discovery Ink & Art, please consider signing up for the Discovery Ink & Art Community mailing list tfor exclusive tattoo booking opportunities. You can also follow us on Instagram or Facebook 

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