Inked: First-Timer Tips

Additional reporting by Emmy Yates and Teran Powell.

Wisdom from Bart on where to go and how to prepare for your rst tattoo


Tattoo Tip #1–Cleanliness

“When you walk into a tattoo shop take a look around. Are the floors dirty, are the countertops clean? If the tattooers at the shop can’t keep the shop clean, what makes you think the equipment they’re using isn’t being handled the same? Making sure the shop is clean, sterile, and has the proper licensing. A blood-borne pathogens certificate and practitioner license are the first steps to getting a tattoo that will ensure you will not be walking out with an infection, Hepatitis, or worse.”

Tattoo Tip #2–Portfolios

“Take a look at the portfolios of each individual artist
in the shop. Look to see if the tattoos that they have done have clean line-work, smooth shading, and solid color. Just because someone has their license to tattoo does not mean they’ll apply good work to your body. You should also be looking through the portfolios to see which artist would best fit the style of tattoo you’re seeking out.”

A realistic eye on a client’s inner arm. Photo by Jon Bartels.

Tattoo Tip #3–Be Aware

“Don’t get tattooed while you’re drunk or on drugs. Most good tattoo shops won’t tattoo you if you’re noticeably impaired anyways, but on the off-chance that they do, you may wake up in the morning regretting the decision you made the night before, like getting your boyfriend’s name tattooed on you.”

Tattoo Tip #4–Don’t Be a Jerk

“Don’t bring your baby to the tattoo shop, this is not a daycare. Your three homies looking over our shoulders can stay home. Don’t shout on your cell phone, and please sit still. Trust your artist. You chose them for a reason.”

A chest piece by Bart. Photo by Jon Bartels.

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