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skullsoup432

Hello, and shop etiquette advice, please

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Hello, all, I'll try not to be long winded. Well, I have good intentions, but it never works out that way, as I seem to ramble on. Anyways, I'm in my fifties and got my first tattoo a month ago. I live near Kalamazoo, MI, and decided to just stop at a few shops and get some advice on my ideas. I had a book with some drawings of what I wanted (a trilobite) so I could show the artist. I had also looked at portfolios online to get an idea of what the different artists/shops were doing. I narrowed my search to about three shops and set off. It was Saturday, right about noon and I stopped at the first shop off the highway. The owner was the only one there, and told me he had a last minute cancellation and could do a tattoo right then. He looked at my ideas, said give him a few minutes so he could get something ready, and if I liked it he would do it. My book of trilobites had pretty much simple line drawings. Well, the image the guy showed me was awesome, well drawn with great shading, so 
I got the tattoo, and I love it. I went back a few weeks later and got another! While getting my second one, I inquired about a T Rex skeleton, but I don't think he was much interested in doing it. I really liked the owner/artist, and have no ill feelings towards him, but am now thinking of getting someone else in Kalamazoo. I have emailed someone else whose portfolio I saw online and really liked. They agreed to do the T rex skeleton. I told all this because, as you see, I never really had to deal with appointments or q&a, I walked in and that was it.

 Now, finally, my questions!  About time, huh? Is it bad form to just show up to talk to an artist? I mean, if they are in the middle of a job, I feel guilty just stopping to talk. I know there are consultations but I live about 40 miles from Kalamazoo and work six days a week, getting off around noon on Saturdays. It is hard for me to keep appointments, sometimes. It's not like I wanna hang around for a half hour, just kinda get a feeling for the shop and artist(s). Once I've talked to an artist in the shop (and online), is it bad form to ask if someone else in shop could get me in sooner, not having to wait a couple months? Is it alright to ask to see what my design will look like before I make an appointment? I wouldn't mind paying for this, as I don't expect them to work for free, only to have someone end up going to another artist/shop. Thanks, sorry for the loooooooong post.

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These are all good questions.  I'm a noob, and in my opinion (as it were), I think it depends on the artist. Some might have open slots in their schedule for smaller jobs, but others might be strict to scheduling.  But, I think though that if your flow is not conducive with the artist's flow, it would be a shame for you to waste either yours or his/her's time right?  

I actually contacted an artist and they referred me to another artist in their shop.  I decided against it, but I doubt it's unheard of.

However, I do think it's rare that anyone will sketch up your design without you setting up an appointment.

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Hi there and welcome!

AFAIK it's rather unusual to see a design in advance. Depends on the artist though, I guess it's worth asking if they'd do it for money. 

But, isn't the whole point of checking out shops and artists' portfolios to find out who you'd really want the tattoo from? As in, trust them enough that it'll be great? Which also defies the point of asking someone else from the shop to do it because you don't want to wait. Just because they work in the same shop doesn't mean they are equally good or have similar styles...there are of course always things that most decent tattooist can do. But those don't usually need too much of advance design work anyway...

What's the hurry? The tattoo is for life, if you think you've found the right tattoo artist, just enjoy the wait. Look at it like waiting for xmas as a child ;-) 
Good luck!

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12 hours ago, omeletta said:

Hi there and welcome!

AFAIK it's rather unusual to see a design in advance. Depends on the artist though, I guess it's worth asking if they'd do it for money. 

But, isn't the whole point of checking out shops and artists' portfolios to find out who you'd really want the tattoo from? As in, trust them enough that it'll be great? Which also defies the point of asking someone else from the shop to do it because you don't want to wait. Just because they work in the same shop doesn't mean they are equally good or have similar styles...there are of course always things that most decent tattooist can do. But those don't usually need too much of advance design work anyway...

What's the hurry? The tattoo is for life, if you think you've found the right tattoo artist, just enjoy the wait. Look at it like waiting for xmas as a child ;-) 
Good luck!

Thanks for the reply. It's not that I wanted to see the complete design in advance, just a "rendering" or idea, I guess. I had sent a few pics of other tattoos (is that a faux pas?) I found on google images. A few were of outlined bones with shading, and one was in black, completely filled in bones. I like both styles, but wondered what the pros and cons of each were. Also is it going to be a side view, or maybe the 3/4 view? Will the head start at my elbow, then run down my arm, or visa versa? I just don't want to wait two months and have a different vision than what my artist does. I don't want to be rude and say "that's not what I had in mind." i realize a little artistic vision will be involved, but it's a skeleton, for christ sake! I could see if I were requesting say, a T rex on the moon, with a cat playing a violin while a gladiator slays a unicorn. Then, well, I would wants LOTS of input and artistic vision! Sorry, I hope that didn't sound cocky, I wasn't trying to be an ass. 

There was another artists portfolio in the same shop that I liked very much, also. I picked the one artist because she is well, a she,  a female. The other artist is male. What does it matter? Well, my wife wants her first tattoo, and is understandably nervous about it. She (my wife) is an introvert, so I figured I would try a female artist. That way my wife would be a little more at ease.

 

The hurry? We are going to Chicago's Field Museum at the end of July or mid August. I would really like my T Rex tattoo to be done when I pay my respects to Sue, the museums T Rex. I am dying (no extinction jokes, please) to take some pics of my awesome T Rex tattoo next to the real T rex. Corny, but hey, I am a simple man.

 

Okay! Sorry for the long post (again), and I appreciate your feedback. I truly hope I didn't come off as a jerk, as that was not my intentions at all, and apologize if I do/did.

Thanks much!

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18 hours ago, JazzyMac said:

These are all good questions.  I'm a noob, and in my opinion (as it were), I think it depends on the artist. Some might have open slots in their schedule for smaller jobs, but others might be strict to scheduling.  But, I think though that if your flow is not conducive with the artist's flow, it would be a shame for you to waste either yours or his/her's time right?  

I actually contacted an artist and they referred me to another artist in their shop.  I decided against it, but I doubt it's unheard of.

However, I do think it's rare that anyone will sketch up your design without you setting up an appointment.

Thanks for your input. Maybe not a complete sketch, but a good idea of it. I don't know if I should get the bones outlined then shaded, or completely filled in. I sent the artist a few pics of each style. They replied that they could do that, how about this date? Well, I just don't want to get there and they have a different vision than I. If you don't mind, please read my reply in a comment below. I had planned to reply to you a little more, but I am a one finger typist. It takes me forever to get my thoughts together, type them out, reread and clarify my ramblings, blah, blah, lol. 

 

You are correct about our flows being in synch. Also, I would feel bad wasting the artists time then not following through. Thanks for your insight, I appreciate it! 

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8 hours ago, skullsoup432 said:

Thanks for your input. Maybe not a complete sketch, but a good idea of it. I don't know if I should get the bones outlined then shaded, or completely filled in. I sent the artist a few pics of each style. They replied that they could do that, how about this date? Well, I just don't want to get there and they have a different vision than I. If you don't mind, please read my reply in a comment below. I had planned to reply to you a little more, but I am a one finger typist. It takes me forever to get my thoughts together, type them out, reread and clarify my ramblings, blah, blah, lol. 

 

You are correct about our flows being in synch. Also, I would feel bad wasting the artists time then not following through. Thanks for your insight, I appreciate it! 

I think this is where trust comes into play. I did end up finding an artist--a great one. And I'm also apprehensive. However, my deposit is $100 compared to the artist's hourly rate which is bananas. Both of us have a commitment to each other, but with that comes patience and respect. I could tell when pitching my idea to the artist that it wasn't going to be a simple "sketch up what's in my head". Some artists are different though and can do that. Also, I wouldn't want my artist to think I would run off with the sketch and go to someone else (cheaper). Point is, if my artist doesn't do what I want, I'm out $109, but my artist is out thousands. So who really loses?  I also read a lot of reviews from many people from this artist and people from other artists. The happiest people are the ones who's tattoos "came out better than they even originally imagined".  Which to me means the sky is the limit. 

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The only thing I might add is to address the comment you made about just showing up at a shop to talk to an artist....
if I had made an appointment to have a tattoo done and you just decided to pop in and took my artist and my time away from me, I'd be pissed....pissed enough to say something to you about it on the spot.

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9 hours ago, gtrjunior said:

The only thing I might add is to address the comment you made about just showing up at a shop to talk to an artist....
if I had made an appointment to have a tattoo done and you just decided to pop in and took my artist and my time away from me, I'd be pissed....pissed enough to say something to you about it on the spot.

And that is why I asked, and wanted to avoid that situation. Now, when I got my first tattoo the owner of the shop did it. It's a small shop, and when you walk in the main entrance you can see into the room where the artist is working. Him and I were the only two there. Well, and my wife. A few people came in, he looked up, greeted them and asked how he could help. I didn't mind, it's not like the guy couldn't work and talk. He even checked his schedule. I believe he answered the phone, too. I wouldn't dream of getting pissed at the customer, nor saying saying to him/her ON THE SPOT. Now, IF I were PISSED, I think saying something to my tattoo artist for neglecting me would be more in order, why blame the customer? 

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Yeah, you have a point there. I was just thinking of the no appointment aspect. But yes, I suppose somebody that didn't know better may think that just going in as a walk-in would be acceptable.
The shop I go to has a receptionist that handles all of that.

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55 minutes ago, gtrjunior said:

Yeah, you have a point there. I was just thinking of the no appointment aspect. But yes, I suppose somebody that didn't know better may think that just going in as a walk-in would be acceptable.
The shop I go to has a receptionist that handles all of that.

I actually have a true story about this very thing, that happened today. I SWEAR, THIS HAPPENED AT 12:30 THIS AFTERNOON. I SWEAR!! I went to a shop that lists 4 artists on their website, so I decided I would stop and talk to someone. The receptionist greeted us, I explained about wanting a T Rex skeleton. She showed me where the portfolios were and told me to pick someones art that I liked. There were about 6 books there, but only two had the artists name. Well I picked out two and went to the desk. The one guy wasn't in today, but she would ask the other one if it was ok if I talked to him. She went down a hallway, came back, said to follow her, the guy would talk to me. Well, when I walked in, the artist was coloring in a customers forearm tattoo. It was a good size tattoo. The artist (I'm gonna call him Tom) listened to what I wanted and where. He flatly said that I probably don't have enough room on my arm. I asked about maybe just a skull with some vertebrae, he agreed to that. In the mean time, the customer started talking to me, and showed me something he had on his other arm, and how he wished he'd done it differently, as in the working area and design. The customers wife was in the room, too, and even jokingly said to me "you need to gain a whole lot of weight before a skeleton will fit on your arm". They were all cool, no problems. Tom said he had time to do the skull at 4:00 today. Well, wanting to kinda get a feeling for the guy, I asked if he would do a trilobite, on my forearm below my other one, about 3 inches long. Then, while tattooing that one, we could discuss the T Rex skull. He agreed. I went back at 4 and got the trilobite, which I like. But I don't know if I want Tom to do any other. He had a TV going while he worked, which was rather loud. A few times I was talking to him he would have to say "huh?", as he was busy listening to the tv and wasn't paying attention to me. Also, I took my wife in with me, and the guy was pretty course, letting the F bomb fly a lot. Also kinda crude comments about some woman on the tv. F*** (that's the F bomb!) we're no prudes, and I realize that it's a tattoo shop, but I was kinda put off by him. Kinda unprofessional. Then, too, maybe that's what some people like. 

Sorry for the long reply.

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Well, sounds like you don't have a great feeling re this guy, so I'd recommend to follow your gut and look around a bit more. I think it's totally reasonable if you're after a different experience, people are just different...luckily ;-)

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