Five Steps to Choose Your Tattoo Artist

You may have dozens of tattoos already. You might be interested in getting your very first design. No matter what kind of collector you are, it’s always important to take time and thought to choose your tattoo artist. As with any art, the investment is important and always personal. Though we may be a little weird, we take the art of tattooing seriously here at Loose Screw Tattoo. Many of our artists have been tattooing for decades, featured on television, and highlighting during events around the world. Each one has his or her own personal tattoo collection. They make these big decisions for themselves, too! 

We put together our top list of tips when it comes time to get your first or 20th tattoo. Keep reading and let us know if we can help you with any questions and decisions!

Portrait by resident artist Jen Bean
  1. Determine what you want. This may seem like a big duh, but this part is key. Knowing what type of tattoo you want will help you narrow down the artists you choose from. There are many types of tattoos: illustrative, neotraditional, old school, portraits, and more. Make sure you know whether you want certain features such as bright colors, a portrait, fine line work, cartoons, or wording. That will help you begin your search and also help when you begin to consult with artists.
  2. Start on social media. Before you head into a shop, be sure to follow the shop’s social media accounts.  Shops like Loose Screw feature their artist’s work on its Instagram account, for example. Each artist also has his or her own social media pages where they showcase their own work. Most tattoo artists share their work this way. You can begin to understand what the tattoo artist is best at creating and also what they enjoy working on. You may also discover that they sell paintings, apparel and more, which is a great way to support them, too.
  3. Learn about the shop’s practices. Hygiene practices, professionalism, deposits, cancellation policies–these are just a few things that vary from shop to shop. Ask the receptionists and artists questions.  Discover if they have a 16-step sterilization process like the Loose Screw team does. Ask for references–they more than likely have gotten some work done by someone else there. Determine if the shop’s team is friendly and willing to help. You want to be sure your investment is safe and worthwhile.
Banana Shark deign by Chris Jenkins.


4. Narrow down by artistic personality. Most tattoo artists are flexible and experienced artists. They can create several styles and themes of tattoos. Many, though, prefer a certain style or two.  Nick Mitchell, for example, is well known for his caricature work. Review an artist’s portfolio to be sure his or her style matches with your vision. They may want extra creative license to design something for you and you’ll want them to produce something you’ll genuinely love.

5. Set up a personal consultation: This step is important for many reasons. Firstly, part of getting a tattoo is the experience. You’ll want to be sure you’re working with someone who you can communicate with clearly and feel comfortable around. They’ll be experts when it comes to placement and design details, but you want to be comfortable speaking up if the creative planning process doesn’t fulfill your desires. It’s also important to have a consultation so you can discuss final details including timeline, budget, color scheme, and more. 

Once you’ve passed through step five, you’re ready to make a deposit and schedule your appointments. If you’re getting a larger tattoo, you may need to schedule more than one appointment.  

Call us to learn more about getting more than just a great tattoo, but a weird and wonderful experience: (804) 342-1981.

Click here to learn more about our resident artists.