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I've been reading through all of the threads and everything that people have been posting and i havent stumbled upon anything that talks about what artists like to see when it comes to good client behavior.

i am a new tattoo collector and before actually visiting a shop for the first time all i knew was what i saw on tv from the reality shows like Miami or LA ink.

so i like to hear from anyone on what they like to see when it comes to well behaved clients. ( walk ins, consultations, day of the appointment)

i did see that "customer from hell" post and even though it was sooo funny, i felt so bad for the dude in the blue flame shirt

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I'm not a tattooer, but I have been tattooed quite a bit. Things that I always make sure I do...Sit still as possible, go to the bathroom before the tattoo, don't chew gum (I am addicted to gum, and pop it fairly constantly), have fresh breath, don't text or check your phone (until a break), tell the artist up front how much I can spend (and actually bring that amount), tip your artist. I've brought an ipod multiple times, but I have never used it, playing with that would go along with not playing with your phone. I have brought a gift from time to time to an artist that was doing multiple sessions on me, if we talked about it (like a book, magazine, dvd, whatever), but this isn't something I have done most of the time. I'm sure there is more that tattooers want or would want, but this is what I do.

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good suggestions, dan! especially the fresh breath! also, shower and wash your feet if the tattoo is there!!! don't tell me about any depressing shit...like all the dead people your tattoo is for or whatever. sorry, but i don't need to hear about that 5 times a day i just want to do a good tattoo. not get bummed out. i know that sounds cold, but i do probably a thousand tattoos a year and every other person wants to tell me about the deep deep meaning of their tattoo...it's a bit much.

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i'm also not a tattoo artist but here's my two cents (if they value at anything)


sorry, but i'm a firm believer in this. there's a lot more that goes into a tattoo than just time, and non of it is free.

don't be a jerk to the artist. yes, you comissioned them to create a piece for you, but that doesn't mean you get to be an asshole. if there is a difference in design or ideas, talk it out. if you didn't supply any ideas, then don't be a jerk when the design your artist comes up with is something different than what you expected.

if an artist has gone up and out of their way, then show your appreciation. i brought cupcakes when i visited the guys at CTC because Nick and Mario offered to help with suggestions of places, directions, and just a place where i could hang out (considering i was traveling alone, and spending most of my time by myself). i thought that was really nice and generous considering i was a stranger.

i always try to sit still, only really talk when the artist feels comfortable talking (i'm a pretty quiet person most of the time, except online), and i ALWAYS shower before getting tattooed (though i do sweat a lot and can get kind of stinky : / ). i also get gassy when i'm nervous, but that's another story...

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All of the above!


The healthier you are the more prepared your body is for what's about to happen to it. Try not to come in hungover, get a decent nights sleep, eat a good breakfast, and lunch, essentially come in on a full stomach, by hydrated, and be relaxed as much as you can.

I've been told that exfoliating the are you are going to get tattooed for about a week before hand helps greatly with the healing but that's more of a suggestion.

Try to keep an open mind. Tattooers are professionals(for the most part, but not always so do your homework!). We have a wealth of knowledge we can bring to bare at any time for you, so take advantage of that. You will get a great tattoo. A tattooer who cares won;t talk you out of your idea, but might help you do it in a way that transcends your personal whims and trends, and will age gracefully, and compliment you as a person. Though it may be somewhat different than what you initially had in your head. Try to be a little malleable, and trust your tattooer. Try not to be some emotionally attached to every single detail. Remember: you aren't thinking like a tattooer. You think like a person who likes certain images and is used to seeing things on t-shirts, computer screens, and prints. Sometimes things don;t work in skin and we try like hell to make things work the best for you.

Try to remember that as much as tattooing has become a main stream product for most clients, it's still a hand made craft to us. If you are expecting hospital levels of sterility, Professional attitudes and expert technique then see us, not just treat us, but SEE us as professional craftsmen/women. Most of us have your best interest at heart because we can and do see the big picture. We are looking at your tattoo in our heads 10 years into the future. At least. We just want to do a nice tattoo for you. So when a tattooer explains why an idea is too complicated at a certain size, or why there is too much clutter, or that outlining it pink may not be the best idea, pay heed to that. You are hearing the educated opinion of a craftsman.

If you want a tattoo, don;t let your significant other try to do all the talking. Be plain, and straightforward with the things you want out of your tattoo. The less we have to guess, the fast we can get on the same wave length and make you happy.

If you are on vacation and you plan on things like tanning, going to the beach, strenuous activities, swimming, hot tubs, etc. Plan to get your tattoo at the ass end of your vacation so there is less interference with healing(and we can't tattoo sun burned skin so take care of it!), but try to get to the shop at the beginning of your vacation to set the appointment up, or if possible call ahead. Many shops can accommodate walk in's at most times, but since you have a limited time, try your hardest to think ahead. Rush jobs at the last second may not be ideal especially if you want something more involved than a single sitting, quick tattoo.

Avoid food that makes you fart before the tattoo. No one wants be sniffing your pooh ghosts while they work.

Hope some of this helps.

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Alanna - nice to see you posting on here. Glad you're enjoying the site! :-) We hope to see you again in the shop real soon!

I think that as a VERY general, overall suggestion for how to behave when you go in a shop is to observe and react. And by that, I mean, feel out how the shop runs and simply roll with their protocol. Don't take the leads and try to steer the experience because it's likely you'll throw a wrench in the tattooers regular game and often, that kind of treatment makes me feel insulted, like the client is the boss. I'm always trying to do the best tattoo I can for people and I do it my way so just sit back and relax and everything will be fine.

Also, I love clients who are CLEAR. They know what they want, and they don't make you draw something and make needless changes. The WORST is when you have a customer who says, "I'd love a lady head! ANY kind of lady head at all, your choice Liz!" And then I draw it up and they're like "Ohhhhhhh, wait! I don't want that at all. I want a train conductor lady." It's wildly frustrating. How was I supposed to guess out of the infinite ways to do a lady head that's what you were hoping I'd draw?! Being clear about your exepctations is crucial. If your expectations are to let the artist do what they want, then that's fine, as long as it is CLEARLY your hope for the final product.

Be nice, smile, consider suggestions carefully (because they ARAE coming from the professional that YOu chose) and don't be intense.

Oh also, bring cookies. but Alanna, you've got that covered already

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I've been told that exfoliating the are you are going to get tattooed for about a week before hand helps greatly with the healing but that's more of a suggestion.

i'll have to try this as i usually have a long healing period and the skin disorder that i have creates my skin from exfoliating properly. maybe the two are connected?

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just be respectful. yes tips and cupcakes are awfully nice, but thats not what gets me to work on time everyday. just be nice. leave your tuff guy attitude at the door. dont try to impress us, just be nice. if you know some jokes, please share. if some crazy shit happened to you earlier in the week, tell us the story. if you are coming to us because you saw how awesome we did of a job on your friends japanese sleeve, dont be surprised when we are bummed that you want us to do your celtic armband. haha

come in clean and with a good attitude. thats all i can ask for. anything extra is frosting on the cake

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wow i cant believe all the responses this thread got but i was so happy to read everyones thoughts!!! thanks for all the great info!

Liz- for sure you will see me again soon! i already know what i want but im just trying to pace myself! im glad you liked the cookies, my intension was they would be accepted as a friendly gift and not that i was being a kiss ass or anything. :)

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I've brought an ipod multiple times, but I have never used it, playing with that would go along with not playing with your phone.

I think bringing an ipod's cool as long as you're not jumping around to change the music every few minutes. I've used an ipod because I can listen to music that relaxes me and helps me to stay still. It also takes the pressure off the tattooer to entertain the client, they can just get in their own groove with the tattoo. And it certainly beats bitching about whatever music's being played at the shop! But everyone's different, check with your tattooer if the ipod's cool with them.

Oh, one major don't-

Do not ask them to fax you their drawing, and then send it back to them with big circles and x's all over it like it's a spelling test and you're the teacher! (Not that you would.) And it's true, baked goods are always a hit.

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I once had this wonderful young lady bake me a dozen cupcakes after I covered up some crap on the back of her neck. They were the most amazing cupcakes I have EVER had in my life. Instead of oil or whatever one uses in delicious cupcakes, she used pudding. They were intense!!!! I occasionally still bug her about them. How this angel only weighs about 103 pounds is beyond me. She will always have a special place in my heart. I believe my heart is located somewhere in my stomach.

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  • 2 months later...

Surprised that and unsure why this thread has become silent I will try to rejuvenate it. Surprised it is silent because I believe, have seen on this forum and heard in conversation that this is an arena where customers have too many myths, false perceptions, etc on what the "tattoo experience" is and should be. So tattooers and tattoo shops have at it. Educate us so you and us can have a better experience....

As always here are some relevant threads and blogs:

Your Favorite Clients & Client Experiences

Cancellation List

Tattoos Today and Research

Tattoo appointment etiquette

Least Painful Spot to get Tattooed

Most Painful Spot to get Tattooed

Yelp and Tattoo Shops

Best Post Tattoo Care

Tattooers Most Hated Request

LST Preferred Tattoo Professionals

Funniest Tattoo You Have

Question for Tattoo Customers, Tattooers Portfolios

Now That I'm Sixty, Do I regret it?

Walk-in Horror Stories

Cable Invasion

Artist That Sign Their Tattoos

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Hey Everyone. I would love to add my good client behaviors that I do while I am at a shop getting tattooed.

-A shower beforehand is a definitely a must. Got to smell good but not coated in a bottle of cologne, put yourself in their shoes.

-Eat a nice meal not too heavy just enough to keep you satisfied, Nuts are a good just before snack (if your not allergic).

-Go to the washroom beforehand, or use the one at the shop before you start.

-Follow the artists instructions. Some areas of your tattoo are going to hurt and your body will flinch weather you want it to or not. So the artist will need to get into a rhythm so they can work with your bodies reactions to the tattoo.

-Sit still, and don't watch the clock. Don't rush your artist.

-If you cant see whats being tattooed wait till breaks to have a look, if your limb goes numb that's being tattooed heck all the better not as much pain LOL again wait till a break to get some feeling in the limb.

-Tip your artist. They do more than you think when it comes to your tattoo. They are working on it all the time even when they are not at the shop, always thinking on what needs to be done and how to execute your tattoo with flawless precision. Treats or gifts are also cool but not as an every visit thing.

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It's pretty simple, unless you're super thick headed or have a mental disorder, being respectful in any close quarters one on one situation isn't that hard to figure out, but I guess people always seem to find a way to screw it up. Everything I've read so far is solid advise. Just DON'T use any of the TV shows as reference, trust me when I say it's all total staged bullshit and it never goes down like that in a real shop. The only thing that's real on the shows is the actual tattoo.

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