Researching Your Tattoo

I don’t know about everyone else, but I get visibly bothered when I see someone sporting the same pair of sneakers I own.  I can’t even imagine the self hate and soul crushing experience I would forgo seeing my tattoo on someone else.  Pride in ownership, self respect and limited jail house resources saved me from this massive blow to my inflated ego.  It’s bewildering to me how often I hear from potential clients how their tattoo is going on them and it has to be perfect.  NEWSFLASH!  It’s like magic how this statement always comes from the same person who offers me up a bird silhouette and an infinity symbol as a starting point for a sleeve…Damn this soap box is getting heavy, dragging it out so often… Before I offend any more of my clients who payed for the top ramen cooling on my counter, (Creamy chicken, MERICA!) I’d better get back on topic: Researching your tattoo.


I understand it can be intimidating when looking for, finding and then trusting a tattoo artist to perminitly alter your appearance.  First and foremost, look at portfolios.  If an artist has tattooed for more than a couple of years, their portfolio should be showing their strenghs and what style they would like to tattoo more of.  Just because an artist can knock out a bad ass color portriat doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the same artist to go to for script on the wrist.  I don’t want or expect potential clients to find exactly they want in my books but a basic style I go for that fits their request.

The Internet

If you want a lion tattoo, never Google “lion tattoo”. Check out something like “fierce lion HD photography”or  maybe “gay lion surprised by inequality”.  If your going more for a American tradional style use the Internet to find the baddest artist in your area that’s known for that style and just tell her what you want.  Let the artist do it up.  If the artist is the real deal you’ll have the one off you deserve.  For myself, I appreciate a couple different images to get started on the design, but I can’t duplicate someone else’s tattoo. Duplicating someone else’s would disrespectful to myself, you, the original artist and obiviously the wearer of the original. I couldnt stand behind a generic tattoo just to make a quick buck either. Tattooing shouldn’t fall under the business category of the customer is always right.  I know what works best and will stand the test of time, trust is necessary.  What looks good on the internet is some times deceiving.  My name is also on the line here as well as your body, I won’t burn either for anyone.  If I can’t put it on my site or book, I can’t do it.

Something else to keep in mind is how Google ranks images and search terms.  If you found it with a simple search 10 million other people have done the same, get creative.  Better yet, hit the library like I do for my clients.  It may take me a week or two to get your drawing to you but best believe it will be original.

Be Patient

I don’t believe in virtues, (because I don’t possess any in the classical sense) but patience is huge.  I know what it’s like to be excited, like with the rumors about the New Kids on the Block reunion tour… UHMMM.  Custom art takes time and it’s forever. Please rush out to cop that Starbucks mocha-frocka special edition WE ARE ORLANDO cup or that rat tail attachment for your purse, not your tattoo.  

Be Yourself!

We are all in agreement that Harry Potter quotes rock, but please don’t let them define you.  It’s been done.  Same goes for tribal and Polynesian work. But Mike, you put day of the dead imagery on everyone?  Well, you got me there… All I can say is I don’t see color and I just assume everyone is brown like me. So if you can’t be yourself be like me! 

I just want to see more badass tattoos walking around whether I did them or not.  Please don’t let that lady at Walmart or a tattoo search on Pintrust be your inspiration, we can do better. 

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