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Hello! Did I just get screwed?


Walker012
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Hello! You can call me Walker, and I just made the appointment to get my first tattoo and made a deposit. I live in Alaska, am getting the tattoo in Maryland, and may or may not end up getting addicted. Member of the Coast Guard, and if is kind of traditional after all.

I immediately started freaking that it was more than I should be paying $300-$350 for a tattoo roughly 3" x 4" depicting an anchor, gold ribbon, and 16 letters of text? Custom designed?

Help? Advice? Opinions? Is this just going to end up being a $300 learning experience?

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Hello fellow Alaskan...... (I'm in Juneau).....I think the deposit is a big one for the size of work you are describing but it really depends more on their hourly rate imo. Just put a $200 deposit on my second tattoo last night which is one hours time for my artist (Vegas). My work will be 5hr so it's a small portion overall, maybe you just won't owe much if anything when it's done. Not sure how long you have been in Alaska but sometimes it's hard to convince folks you are a serious customer which could be why they asked for a significant deposit? At any rate good luck with the work and hope your trip goes well.

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OP

you're anxious about this tattoo which is normal - especially since its your first

but...

you're asking the wrong questions

the money is simple

either you have it or you dont

but the real focus should be have I done research on my chosen artist

what I have seen in the portfolio (IG, in person, etc) that tells me 'this is gonna go well'

thats the vibe i need to have when i set up a tattoo appointment

there are plenty of good artists to choose from

especially in the area you are heading to

and with current technologies there's no excuse for failing check out your artist's recent work

anyway - who you getting work from?

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Aw, come on stinkybutt. I want some of that sweet $20 tattoo action.

I'm in Homer, tc. And I have faith in the trip, just not sure about the tattoo experience. They didn't give me an estimate on time, and it didn't occur to me to ask... I spent all my planning time looking at different shops and portfolios and completely blanked on pricing.

Marley, I looked at a bunch of shops (online) and went with one where I liked all the art they had posted and I saw good reviews-- Bethesda Tattoo. My schedule for my week in MD wasn't as flexible as I'd like, so I was basically down to whichever artist was available when I could come in. A guy named Christian.

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The deposit has a lot to do with the amount of time spent on working up the design prior to the appointment, and also to reserve your spot. This shop, being in a military town, may suffer a high rate of no shows, which eats into the bottom line a great deal. You're coming from a long distance and your plans may be changed for you, so they might charge a higher deposit just because of that. It isn't an easy business.

That said, it is normal to be second guessing yourself, nervous, have dreams/nightmares prior to getting tattooed, so don't feel like that's any indication of a problem, but look carefully at the pic above. That is not an exaggeration. Some things should be "reassuringly expensive"

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why does the tattoo need to be a part of the trip

Long story-- I wanted to get it in 2013, then I started doing paperwork with my recruiter, who said "don't get any tattoos, that will make this harder." Then it took me until 2014 to get to boot camp. I wasn't going to get it on leave after boot camp, because there was no time.

Since it's a memorial tattoo, I didn't want to get it without my other siblings. So I didn't get it at my first duty station (and there was only one tattoo artist within an hour and a half drive anyway, and not many more in two hours).

After my first unit I was at A school, and I could have got it then, but life was busy enough with school. Then I only took a week of leave before my next unit, and again no time. Then I got sent somewhere with 1 (seasonal) tattoo artist within a three and a half hour drive, and again my siblings unavailable. (Note: There are now two tattoo artists. Yay.)

This is my only leave between now and August at the earliest. I've been procrastinating for going on three years since I made the decision that I actually wanted the tattoo. So I just said "fuck it" and pulled the trigger. Which yes, is a lot of factors completely unrelated to my tattoo design, artist, shop, etc. Probably foolish of me. But it WILL end with me actually having my tattoo, so there's that.

The deposit has a lot to do with the amount of time spent on working up the design prior to the appointment, and also to reserve your spot. This shop, being in a military town, may suffer a high rate of no shows, which eats into the bottom line a great deal. You're coming from a long distance and your plans may be changed for you, so they might charge a higher deposit just because of that. It isn't an easy business.

That would make sense. They were initially saying I would have to come in, talk to them, and make the deposit just to make the appointment. They let me do it all over the phone when I said I was coming in from Alaska.

I'm not sure if Bethesda counts as a military town, though. I mean, sure, the Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed are there, but it's always seemed more like "Pricey DC suburb #164/50 billion" to me.

To everyone else, thank you for the rationales. They do make me feel mildly better. I'm a cheap SOB, so I'm still kind of uneasy, but on the other hand... when someone is sticking needles in my skin to make permanent artistic alterations to my physical appearance, being cheap seems like an AWFUL idea.

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@Walker012 hey man I enjoyed the background - you know I'm sure you're gonna end up with a cool tattoo - just make sure you throw up some pics on LST :)

and getting tattooed is something that you learn more about as you get more tattoos (and you can learn alot here as well imo)

but beware...its addicting...and not so cheap - especially if you want good tattoos

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Location, location, location.

Here in Ohio, a reputable artist with a great portfolio will charge $125-$150 per hour.

Figure to add in a 15% - 20% tip.

How long it takes depends on so many things, like body placement, complexity of work,

And your ability

To sit the fuck still.

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Marley, I looked at a bunch of shops (online) and went with one where I liked all the art they had posted and I saw good reviews-- Bethesda Tattoo. My schedule for my week in MD wasn't as flexible as I'd like, so I was basically down to whichever artist was available when I could come in. A guy named Christian.

As others may have commented, I think you should be choosing one particular artist more than the shop. You're only going to be tattooed by one person and you should choose him/her. i.e. the work done by other people there doesn't really affect the work done by your artist. And the various people at the shop can specialize in different styles.

If you're going to be in the Bethesda area and you've not already done so, I suggest you check out Tattoo Paradise which has several branches in the area. And going a little farther there are quite a number of places in Baltimore.

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As others may have commented, I think you should be choosing one particular artist more than the shop. You're only going to

be tattooed by one person and you should choose him/her. i.e. the work done by other people there doesn't really affect the

work done by your artist. And the various people at the shop can specialize in different styles.

If you're going to be in the Bethesda area and you've not already done so, I suggest you check out Tattoo Paradise which

has several branches in the area. And going a little farther there are quite a number of places in Baltimore.

Tattoo Paradise is a great choice - I plan to hit that shop in the future - as for just picking a shop over a particular artist a good example where it would work out well would be Smith St. - was kind of what I did going there - ended up with a Steve Boltz piece that I love

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@Walker012 hey man I enjoyed the background - you know I'm sure you're gonna end up with a cool tattoo - just make sure you throw up some pics on LST :)

and getting tattooed is something that you learn more about as you get more tattoos (and you can learn alot here as well imo)

but beware...its addicting...and not so cheap - especially if you want good tattoos

It's okay, you can be honest. Just throw out a nice, forthright "TL;DR," or an irascible "woah, defensive, much?" :-p

Figure to add in a 15% - 20% tip.

See, good thing I came in here, cause I'm sitting here like... "tip? Shit, you tip your tattoo artist? Dammit, that never occurred to me."

As others may have commented, I think you should be choosing one particular artist more than the shop. You're only going to

be tattooed by one person and you should choose him/her. i.e. the work done by other people there doesn't really affect the

work done by your artist. And the various people at the shop can specialize in different styles.

If you're going to be in the Bethesda area and you've not already done so, I suggest you check out Tattoo Paradise which

has several branches in the area. And going a little farther there are quite a number of places in Baltimore.

Yeah, the "picking an artist" ship has sailed. Chalk it up to a valuable learning experience with my own permanently redecorated skin.

B-more is kind of... not out of my way; but my preference would be to patronize somewhere in the DC area. Unless there was someone's art I saw that I thought was really badass. (That being said, if I do continue to get tattoos, my preference would probably be somewhere in MD over somewhere wherever I happen to be living at the time.)

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OP - Seems like this tattoo is something that you have wanted for awhile.....and that everything is finally coming together on it. The artist that you booked has a solid portfolio imo, with some nice, clean, well executed work. Don't see any reason that you shouldn't just go for it. Some solid advice to you in this thread but you are the one who has to finally just do it. The price is the last thing you will remember from the experience anyway.

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Honestly, if you are sure it will be the tattoo you want, forget the money, it's spent now anyway. But, if you are not sure this is the artist and piece that you want permanently on you - my advice is to call, cancel, see if there is any refund this far out, and chalk thee rest up to experience. $300 is definitely not worth getting something that you don't like. Oh, and don't get "tattoo fever" when you see the design, approve it without a careful eye, and have it put on you thinking the actual tattoo will be corrected. Believe me.

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Honestly, if you are sure it will be the tattoo you want, forget the money, it's spent now anyway. But, if you are not sure this is the artist and piece that you want permanently on you - my advice is to call, cancel, see if there is any refund this far out, and chalk thee rest up to experience. $300 is definitely not worth getting something that you don't like. Oh, and don't get "tattoo fever" when you see the design, approve it without a careful eye, and have it put on you thinking the actual tattoo will be corrected. Believe me.

I admit that's one of the other things I worry about. I was told I can only see the design when I get there, which is... worrying. Really easy for me to get there and go "what the heck is this."

Okay, let's be honest, I have a lot of things I'm worrying about with this.

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I admit that's one of the other things I worry about. I was told I can only see the design when I get there, which is... worrying. Really easy for me to get there and go "what the heck is this."

Okay, let's be honest, I have a lot of things I'm worrying about with this.

PLEASE - if you don't like it (and check it carefully!) demand correction or walk away! I have a forearm piece that I still hate almost a year after I got it. Why? I didn't look critically and expected the mistakes that I did see to be corrected when he applied the stencil. He ended up blowing out lines and darkening heavily to try to hide it. I would have been out less than you (his deposit was less), but I'd much rather have lost the money than have to figure out how to get this acceptable.

corrected_fake_day_1_thumb.jpg

But, the odds are that you will love the design and the art will be something you wear proudly!

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I admit that's one of the other things I worry about. I was told I can only see the design when I get there, which is... worrying. Really easy for me to get there and go "what the heck is this."

Okay, let's be honest, I have a lot of things I'm worrying about with this.

I suggest not to worry and just be prepared for either outcome. You could arrive and it turns out better than you expected or not at all what you expected. Don't be afraid to walk away; it's happened before and will happen again.

Most artists have some level of flexibility with the design so if there are minor changes that will make the tattoo better for you, it shouldn't be a problem to work those in to the drawing before the stencil is made. Be willing to talk (and listen!) to the artist about what you do and don't like about the design. Take some time; don't just go with your initial impression of the drawing, both good and bad.

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