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Getting Tattooed - All You Need to Know Part II : Studio

From Consultation to Aftercare: Everything you need to know about the tattooing process

By now you have probably heard a 100 stories about the Experience you are about to undergo and although there will be an element of of truth in some of them, there will be even more “tall tales” and exaggeration. You have to keep in mind, that Everyone’s Experience is Different.

Tattooing as an art form is Evolving at a Awesome Rate. There have been several styles of artwork & techniques of hygiene developed in the last 50 years. There is a Safer way to make Art on Skin now than ever before.

The purpose of this series is to clarify the decisions, process and care needed when choosing and receiving a Tattoo. The end goal is to not only knowing what makes a hygienic studio, but also the recognition of genuine tattoos as an art form.

Part II : Studio

How Do I Know If I’m In the Right Tattoo Stu


To paraphrase: When it comes to matters of opinion, there is no accounting for taste.

Everyone will have varying requirements when it comes to choosing their tattoo studio. No matter what studio you do end up in – how you got there should be from an educated decision.


Any extra time spent researching artists and studios will pay off. Remember that like any other industry there are reputable studios and ones that you should stay away from. Find an artist with a style that speaks to you. There is often an excitement that accompanies the prospect of getting inked right away. Instead of making quick decisions try and transfer that energy into the design itself; quality before speed.


A good tattoo studio will always take the time to answer your questions, schedule a free artist consultation and provide or point you in the direction of any tattoo related information. Artist’s portfolios should be readily available online. At any time if you feel the studio is not being forthcoming with any information – go to another one!


No matter your level of experience bad tattoos are easy to spot.

  • Are the lines of the tattoo straight and clean? Good work will retain the same shape and flow you find in any other artwork.

  • Is everything in proportion? There are natural bodily contours and curves that have to be accounted for in tattooing. Due to the way the image is placed and the contours of the body there might be parts on an image looking unatural.

  • Is the shading smooth? Good artists can create a range of tones using black ink. This is the smooth shading depth and effect found in grayscale works.

  • Complexity and positioning of colors? Good artists can, if they work with color, create an amazing array of complex colors. There are various shading and alignment techniques but in general look for pieces that don’t simply consist of large areas filled in with solid block colors.

Important Recommendations while deciding on a studio to get Inked:

1) Make sure the studio uses an autoclave.

Why this is important: An autoclave is a sterilization tool used in hospitals. It is basically a powerful steamer that ensures all reusable items in the tattooing process are properly cleansed between clients. Tubes and grips are the two items most commonly sent through an autoclave. The use of an autoclave is the only method that guarantees hygiene when cleaning reusable equipment.

2)Always ask to see examples of the artist’s finished work.

Why this is important: Full portfolios should be readily available. The best artists’ work will be displayed in a variety of sources. A quick internet search should yield plenty of results.

3)Are they vaccinated for Hepatitis B?

Why this is important: Hepatitis B is an extremely serious infection. It is spread through the contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. It is absolutely essential that your tattoo artist be vaccinated for Hepatitis B.

4)Find out if the artist has formally trained in any other areas.

Why this is important: Tattooing is an art form that has traditionally been passed down from master to student. But the modern tattoo studio and working environment should be held to the same levels of cleanliness and hygiene as any doctor’s office. There are numerous courses in sterilization, studio maintenance and first aid available. Quality studios will promote these kinds of certificates and training

5)The artist should be wearing gloves.

Why this is important: This is standard hygienic practice. To stop the transmission of any bacteria it is crucial that the artist use these protective barriers. You are undergoing a procedure where your skin is being pierced. The use of gloves protects both you and the artist. If an artist is not wearing gloves during your appointment – chances are they didn’t for the last customer either!

6) All ink and materials should be in disposable cups or ‘caps’.

Why this is important: You’ve probably seen photos of rows of tiny white or clear caps on an tattoo artists work station. The ink is placed into these caps because throughout the tattooing process the artist has to constantly dip the tattoo needle into the color of ink they’re using. If they were to keep dipping the tattoo needle into a central, main pot of ink it would then cross contaminate every client. Ink, cream and other materials used throughout the tattooing process must be divided into separate containers for each client.

7) New sterile needles must be used always.

Why this is important: This is for the same reason as above – only the risk that would arise should needles be shared is far more direct. As tattooing needles piece the skin they can be exposed to bodily fluids. Needles must be sealed containers, opened in front of you before the tattoo and disposed of in a proper receptacle afterwards.

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