Where to start? Well we know where know to start, getting a tattoo is easy, right?!
You go to the Studio closest to you, walk in through the door, take a look at some books (or flash on a wall), say "I want that one", and hey presto, they sit you down there and then and get to work!
No, No, No, No, No!!!
The key to a great tattoo, rather than a good tattoo, or even in some cases, a not so good tattoo, is the same as anything in life......Preparation.
Don't just walk into the first studio you see, shop around!
If you were buying a house you wouldn't just look at one house and buy it, you'd take a look at what else is available on the market. You would compare not only prices, but the styles of the houses, their surroundings, the quality of the builds, and then make an informed decision from there.
Getting a tattoo is no different, you need to take a look around, check out various studios, look at the cleanliness of them, how they are presented, what the artists are like, and more importantly, what is their work like?!
Every artist should have a portfolio of work to show you, be it printed or an electronic version. They should also be able to discuss past work and talk about previous experiences.
The studio should be clean and well presented, the artists should be wearing gloves at all times when tattooing, their work spaces and accessories should be covered where applicable, and they should be using new and sterile equipment for every customer. You should also be able to ask to see their sterilising room (current health and safety standards state that this should be an area completely separate from where tattoos are being carried out).
On a more personal note, you should feel comfortable with your artist and their surroundings. The last thing you need is to feel uneasy whilst your tattoo is being carried out, after all you may be sat there for some time depending on what you intend to have done. If you are uncomfortable with others watching you being tattooed, or at the prospect for being disturbed, many artists may also be able to offer you a private tattooing area so always ask the question if this concerns you.
Once all of these factors have been taken into consideration and you are feeling happy and confident with your choices then this is the time to discuss your designs fully with your artist, book your tattoo, and walk away with an amazing piece of art afterwards.
Not quite so simple as you first thought, eh? Trust me though when I say, it is always better to make an informed decision rather than a bad one!
Happy researching :)