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Am I being ripped off for this tat?


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I'm planning to get a tattoo on my inner forearm. I scoured the internet and found an artist I liked. I always do a shit ton of research before going to an artist because I'm picky and want the tattoo to look flawless in the type of styles I'm into.

Found a guy, made my appointment. Explained to him that I want my inner forearm tatted (top to bottom) and he gave me a quote of $700 - $750.

I was shocked because my previous tattoo, which covers 3/4th of the FRONT of my bicep (no wrap around) was only $550, and I went to a well known artist from my city (so much so that he was booked for months before I got an appointment with him).

I'm a petite female, so my arms are quite small/thin. The length of my forearm is ~ 9 inches, while the the widest base of it (inner elbow) is 4 inches. My wrist is ALMOST 3 inches.

Being an artist myself, I respect any artist's hard work, and I would never try to cheap out on someone. I just want to understand if I'm being ripped off, as my previous experience wasn't as EXPENSIVE. I know every artist's process, rates, etc are different, but I just wanted to make sure if this pricing is fair. 

The design I want has big details, but with my arm being so thin, it'll look underwhelming. Respectfully, I asked him if we can incorporate a "wrap around" element (not entirely a full half-sleeve---just wrapping into the other side a bit) to give it more of an attractive look and compensate for my small forearm, and he told me that doing so would end up costing me even MORE for the tattoo.

I want to be well informed about the world of tattoos, so I'm hoping someone can thoroughly explain to me if this artist is being reasonable.

If a design is good enough, and if the artist's prices are fair, then I am MORE than willing to pay the $750. Especially because it's often SO HARD for me to find a good artist from my city (and I don't have the luxury to travel to other cities/countries for it).

Thanks for the help in advance! I'm new to the world of tattoos, especially when it comes to prices and such, and I want to be well informed to be able to respect and pay an artist properly! 
Picture above: Bicep, $550.

Picture above: Reference for forearm


Picture above: 2nd reference for forearm


Edited by SA_R16
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welcome to LST!

you're correct that every artist's process, rates, etc are different and the amount of detail and coverage in the piece can have a big impact on how long it will take. the artists may also be quoting on the high side, to make sure you bring enough dough, then charge you based on the time it took them to complete the piece. again.. artists all work and do business in different ways, so it's hard to tell. artists also work at different speeds, so charging by time might not even be a great indicator.

some pics of your previous tattoo and the reference pics of what you're looking to get on your inner forearm could help us provide a bit more insight.

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On 5/24/2019 at 5:32 PM, SA_R16 said:

I figured, yeah. If that's the case, I'll definitely pay any amount they ask for. I just wanted to be sure because I'm so new to the tattoo world


thanks for adding the pics for our reference. The forearm tattoo has a lot more intricate and delicate detail... the linework looks to require a bit more precision than your upper arm.

Those are some cool lookin tattoos and will work well together. you're collection will be coming alone nicely!

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  • 1 month later...

I do not have a full forearm piece yet but I did go for a consult. The artist quoted me $1200 for the black work (lower arm, wrap around) and that was just to start. He said the price would go up as we added color. I want a galaxy/space scene. We have not started yet. I know this artist does great work, I have 2 tattoos from him. One piece he did tattoo on me is on the smaller side, charged $200. I have a similar size tattoo (similar location also) from a different artist that I was only charged $60. You definitely pay more for quality work. Pics below...please don't rag on me too hard. I know the animal tattoo is bad. (It was impulsive, from a shop I didn't know anything about.)  If it is quality artwork, I don't think you are getting ripped off. As long as you are happy, that's what matters!

$200 artwork vs. $60 waste of prime ink real estate (trust me, if you don't think its bad in this photo, you should see it now after a few years. BAD BAD!)



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Pricing is very subjective. It depends a lot on your area, the coverage, the design, artist's experience and reputation, their past experience with you, their mood, etc., etc. I wouldn't have a problem asking them (very nicely and non-judgementally) to explain the price and say I thought it would be less. A decent artist shouldn't have a problem explaining that to the person paying for their service.

At the end of the day, you have 2 choices. Pay their price or go to someone else. You're not shopping for a can of soup.

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