Tattoo etiquette- Part 1

This blog is aimed to help form a more educated and comprehensive clientele.

Having some tattoo related knowledge will help you have a better experience every time you will get in touch with your artist to discuss a new tattoo.

So you are thinking about getting a tattoo - great!

You will probably tell your friends - moved by the adrenaline and enthusiasm about finally getting that new tattoo, you’re so excited and just can’t wait to book your appointment until that one friend who always burst your bubble 10 seconds into the conversation will ask you:

-What you getting g?

You’re now staring at your friend, emotionally hurt by someone who you would expect to light your fire like Jim Morrison and instead gave you a hard old fashioned reality check.

The moment you’ll walk into the shop, after we exchange greetings I will have to ask you the same question and even though you’ll give me the same answer you gave your friends, you’ll expect me to tattoo you.

Now, please try to wear my shoes for a second.

We haven’t met before, I have no idea what you like. I have no idea what music you listen to, what’s your favourite movie, what are your beliefs. I need your mate’s number to do some digging on you.

-Hello is this Jane’s friend?

-Yes it is what can I do for you?

-Hi it’s Teo from Lighthouse Tattoo, Jane wants to get a tattoo but she doesn’t know what she wants, do you know what she likes?

-Oh yes she likes penguins

hold on a moment

-Jane do you want to get a penguin?


-give me sec

-Sarah? Yeah it’s Teo again, Jane doesn’t want a penguin tattoo…

Walking in a tattoo shop wanting to get a tattoo is very much like going in to a restaurant because you feel peckish. You sit down, have a look on the menu and then walk out if you don’t fancy anything from the menu.

Although I hate comparing tattoos to any other trade, it would be foolish to deny how easy to access tattoo studios are and not notice the pattern of costumer habits.

What really differentiates the nature of the business and the delivery of the service, is that tattoos, until there are visual references in front of us are an abstract entity and just like a deity, we might be thinking about it in a very very different way.

Now, if you’re still here get ready for another comparison.

Imagine walking into a grocer and asking: I want a bag of groceries!

The poor grocery store employee will look just as confused as I do when customer just shot point blank at me with their: -I want a tattoo but I don’t know what I want.

Now, the grocery store employee might just get lucky enough chucking in your bag a couple of easy to love items like chocolate, coffee and bananas and just get lucky with their weirdest customer of the day and pass on to the next one.

Tattoo artists don’t have the same privilege and we definitely can’t take the risk of doing something you might end up not liking.

There is an old saying in the trade that goes “good customer makes good business”.

Each tattoo is a project made with your tattoo artist, whether you surrender your skin as a canvas with full trust in your artist or if you request for something very specific or also if you are somewhere in the middle where you have a concept that you’d like your artist to express.

You, the customer, are the one who decides where we are starting this journey.

The easiest way to start will be looking at tattoos and artworks, ( this will help you narrowing down this infinite world and start giving a shape to your vision, you will quickly find something that resonates with your idea and that will help me to take it over from there and put you at ease in the co-driver seat.

Thanks for reading and see you for your next tattoo.

Yours truly