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tatdatass

Tattoo ethics! Am I being to unreasonable?

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A customer wanted me to come up with a bunch of designs for a sleve he wants me to do. I took the time to sketch up about 7 different desing ideas based on what he wanted. Free of charge by the way because he is a friend of a friend. lol Anyways I send him all the designs via email and text. I follow up with a "Did you get my designs?" He replies "Yes I got your designs can you fix and clean up the wizard tattoos on my other Arm first.. I told him that I would do my own designs on his other Arm in which I took the time to design. I will also change anything in my deisgns you dont like. However I will not fix up another Artists work. Its insulting to that Artist and insulting to me. I am willing to do a cover up of my work over that tattoo if you can not find that Artist to fix it. But I wont touch up his tattoo as my own. No response back though he has been bad mouthing me as being the disrespectfull asshole. Maybe Im missing something here as I already felt disrespected after doing all those sketches and not even getting a thank you. I am fairly new to tattoos and am learning that dealing with customers is the hardest and worst part of the job. Yet it can be the rewarding part of the job with the right customers.

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Far easier to placate a customer doing some quick touch up work or even re-working the whole tattoo, in my opinion. Is that tattooer still in town? Is he still alive? Did that client have a horrible experience with the original tattooer and not want to go back to that person? All three of those issues have popped up several times in the very short span I've been tattooing, by the way. But they usually come back for the other stuff that they wanted you to do as well, even if it takes awhile.

They don't go in the portfolio, and, depending on the level of work needed, some are just a quick five second touch up as part of another tattoo, some are complete reworks at full price. Also, rather than send e-mail or send texts of images, especially if it's not a super close person you trust, I'd recommend having them come to the shop where you work to see the designs, just in case they find a reason not to get tattooed, then take them to someone else.

Just a few thoughts.

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The lack of appreciation of the amount of homework you did is unsurprising but always disappointing. Get used to that. Also like said above I never let people go home with designs or email them anything of the sort. Even if someone lives as far as 46 minutes or an hour away the in person consultation works better and your effort stays in the shop.

Like person above pointed out, a touch up or rework can be 5 minutes or 5 hours. If it looks like a big job offer to hit it up for 30 minutes to an hour after each sitting on the sleeve you've been working out with him. If he's bad mouthing you around town then cut losses and move on.

If it's a hopeless job to rework the entire existing tattoo then just say so politely and act nice and the client will still stick around if they get a good vibe. Not every tattoo is gonna be a rad tattooers dream; sometimes it's tribal feathers and/or polishing turds. If it's not hopeless then take the opportunity to wow and amaze them with what you can do with a piece of crap and they will be spending their very next paycheck getting the other arm started.

In my experience if you treat people with kindness and respect, do a good job no matter what the job is and make them feel at home they will always come back and will suggest you to all their friends. Your name will be the first one they think of for their next tattoo.

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I think @smiling.politely and @irezumi pretty much nailed it. I just wanna throw out one other piece of advice that you can take or leave, but that I have found helpful.

Pretty much like.. you don't owe anyone your time or talents. If someone wants to pay you for them then get on it, but don't ever feel obligated that you have to go out of your way to draw or tattoo anybody for free. I have found that more often than not, the people who expect a hookup or free work are usually my friends. It's just kind of a bummer because if you like something enough to wear it on you forever, wouldn't you want to support the person/friend doing that for you? The only people who I will ever give the hookup to are loyal clients who have already paid me good money and let me do some fun tattoos. In those situations it's good because, in a sense, you are looking out for each other and it's a two-way street. But more often than not, if you give someone an inch, they will probably expect that inch over again even if they don't try to take a mile.

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wow... I know a artist that is always "polishing turds" just because where he lives there are to many people that tattoo from home or have the friend buy a kit and do it.. they come out horrible usually, and they always need completely reworked.. he offers the, "get a full piece bye and I'll re-work some of the poor pieces you have for a great deal" that way he gets to design something and fix up some other stuff.. good way to make some exta cash..

plus the work he does is REALLY nice..

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Some good advice and thank you. The worse part for me was spending a few hours drawing up sketches and he didnt even mention them. Suddenly he want some other tattoo we never discussed fixed. I ended up telling the guy to get lost after calling the tattoo Artist that did that piece he wanted fixed. The Artist does nice clean work but this guy moved around a lot, and didnt do any of the proper after care, went swimming for hours the next day so scabbed up and lost patches of the tattoo. I believe the Artist from looking at the thing. Hes getting bad mouthed when I can clearly see he is a serious and deidicated artist. Glad I didnt take the job not and I will definatly not forget all this good advice either. thanks all

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