Q&A

Questions and Answers
In this Section, I’d like to discuss several questions that I’m asked very often.  This area is meant to help inform and not insult.  Sorry in advance if anyone feels singled out, but that is not my intention.

1. “How much do you charge for a tattoo?
This one has a different answer for each individual asking it.  There are several factors involved in evaluating the price of a tattoo, most of which are relevant to the amount of time spent on a tattoo.

  • Details
  • Size of your tattoo/Amount of space covered
  • Placement on the body/ Some areas are more difficult to tattoo than others therefore more time is spent working in those spots.
  • Amount of Colors/Shades/Tints Applied

These factors are different to each individual and cannot be fashioned into a single answer.  The fairest way to establish a total price is to work at an hourly rate.  I understand that not everyone has unlimited funds so I do take that into account when designing your tattoo.

2. “I want a sleeve, how much do you charge?
This is actually one of the most common questions I’m asked and one that I get the most shocked responses from when I answer.  There really isn’t a specific price tag on tattoos of this nature.  Large Scale tattooing is always done at an hourly rate for each hour it’s worked on for each session.  Sleeve-work can range between 30-60+ hours depending on what you’re having done but even that is relative to what you are getting.  There are different styles of tattooing and some take more time than others.  For instance: you’re more than likely going to finish a Tribal sleeve much faster than a highly detailed color sleeve.  Both have very different imagery and time frames.  However there are also other factors in that equation which can change the amount of time spent on either tattoo.  A tribal sleeve may take longer on a large arm than a full color sleeve on a short/slender arm.  It all varies so much on each individual.  Large scale tattooing like this requires a great deal of dedication and a significant commitment on both mine and the client’s behalf and should be given much consideration before beginning.

3. “How long will my tattoo take to complete?”
That actually depends on what you’re having done.  Most small tattoos can be completed in one session, however if your piece has a lot of work involved it may take longer.  Also keep in mind that ANY tattoo requires time to heal before we begin work on it again.  Each individual piece will range with different amounts of time which makes it difficult to estimate a specific answer.

4. “I will keep coming back to you, will you cut me a deal?
Sorry, but no.  I don’t cut deals.  Most of my clients are repeat customers that are quite satisfied with the prices and quality of work they get from me.  It’s a supply and demand market.  Just because you’re getting larger-scale work or lots of small tattoo work, doesn’t entitle you to any special treatment on pricing.  This is my job and my livelihood, my means for living and supporting my family. It may seem like a rude answer, but I don’t think the general public understands how rude of a question it actually is.

5. “But I’m traveling from far away, can’t you cut me a deal?
Sorry, but no.  Just because you are traveling from out-of-town doesn’t obligate me to decrease the cost of your tattoo.  If that were the case, then I just wouldn’t tattoo people from out of my local area and rely on locals who are willing to pay what I ask for their work.  YOU are making the choice to travel.

6.  “I’d like to get a tattoo, but I don’t know what I want. Can you give me some ideas?
Yes, I can.  But unfortunately that doesn’t mean you’re going to like any of them.  To me, tattoos are a very personal form of self-expression.  Since I don’t know most of you on a personal basis, who am I to explain who you are?  Your likes and interests are all unique and what make you an individual.  Take the time to consider what you want and do your research.  That’s the best idea I can give. *Also see #13

7.  “How do I research my Tattoo?
If your reading this, then I assume you have some means to search the internet for ideas and reference.  Consider your likes and dislikes.  What visually pleases you in a design and placement?  Compile a list of things you enjoy looking at.  Utilize tools like “image search” functions and try different word variations when searching for imagery/ideas.  You can find visual reference in many other places as well: Art books, comics, magazines, children’s books, original artworks, sculptures, movies, sketches, or even written descriptions.  Providing lots of reference material really helps with creating the best tattoo I can for you and it helps me to understand what your likes are to render in my own style.

8.  “Can you draw something for me to see if I like it?
Unfortunately no.  There just isn’t enough time in my schedule to draw for people just so they can see if they may or may not like it.  Take your time, research your ideas, and compile references so that you have a better idea of what you want and the means to express what that is.

9.  “Is there anything you don’t like to tattoo?
There’s plenty of subjects which I enjoy tattooing more than others and am fortunate enough for the ability to be selective about which projects I will work on.  I feel that there are other artists I work with or that are located within the area that just comprehend other styles/subjects better than I do.

  • I don’t enjoy doing color realism as I feel I’m just not that great at them.  Refer to my co-workers portfolios, they are much better than I.
  • I don’t enjoy working on portraits of family members from poor quality photos.  A portrait tattoo will only look as good as the photo I am to reproduce and since most home shots are sub par that tattoo is very limited to how it will look.
  • I don’t enjoy tattooing, thug/gangster imagery.  I know little about the culture so my visual interpretation doesn’t do the art justice.
  • There’s several ideas which I don’t think make for great tattoos and will be able to let you know if it’s something I can’t help you with.

10.  “Can you book me an appointment for next month?
I only book appointments for one month at a time.  I feel that by doing this, it gives everyone a chance at getting tattooed without very much of a wait.

11. “What can I do to prepare for my tattoo?
Some folks find that getting tattooed can be a very unpleasant feeling so it’s best to make sure you’re going to be as comfortable as you can be.

  • Purchase aftercare products prior to your appointment: Antibacterial Soap, Paper towels, Moisturizer/Ointment/Lotion
  • Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before.
  • Make sure to have clean sheets for your bed before you leave for your tattoo, you’ll need them that evening and may not have time to wash/dry them after your tattoo is completed.
  • Take a bath/shower before and don’t overuse perfume/cologne. Just because you like the smell, doesn’t mean that I will and I’m going to be in close proximity to you.
  • Wear clothes that are clean, loose/comfortable, and allow for easy access to the area you’re getting tattooed.  Don’t wear anything you will be upset about if it gets damaged.  Tattoos can get a little messy and I don’t want to get ink on your expensive clothes.
  • If you are going to be sitting for a lengthy session please consider bringing a snack or tasty beverage.

12. “Can I, or do I need to, drink alcohol or take drugs before my tattoo?”
Please don’t.  Contrary to popular belief this is a very bad idea and will result in you not getting tattooed by me.  Some people believe, or have been told that, drinking or doing drugs before a tattoo will help you to “deal” with the pain better.  This is not true.  Generally when a person is drunk or high it is harder for them to maintain control, especially when they’re in pain.  Getting a tattoo does demand a certain level of self-control.  If you are concerned about the pain you can take a product such as Aleve, Ibuprofen, or Tylenol 30 minutes prior to your appointment according to the bottles directions(I am not a Doctor or Pharmacist, please use common sense if you have any preexisting medical conditions or allergies that may prohibit you from taking these medications).  However, products such as Aspirin will cause you to bleed excessively.  Alcohol will do this as well and can potentially disrupt the tattoo process!

13. “Is there anything you want to tattoo?
Absolutely!!!!

  • Mythological creatures: Fenrir, Sleipnir, Harpies, Cyclops
  • Animals: Mammals (more specifically but not limited to: Horses and Wolves), Snakes, Fish, Birds, Insects, DINOSAURS!
  • Plants: Assorted Flowers and floral themes, Magnolias, Lilies, Roses, Etc.
  • Traditional Americana Designs
  • Skulls: Human, Animal, Grim Reapers
  • Voodoo/Hoodoo Imagery, The Baron Samedi, Tarot Cards/Symbology
  • Christian Icons: St. Francis, St. Christopher, St. Expedite
  • Medieval Weaponry: Axe, Mace, Armor, Swords
  • And above all, any Asian Themed designs: Water, Wind, Leaves, Lotus, Cherry Blossoms, Oni, Hannya, Tengu, Big Shige Rocks, Lightning, Buddha, Shishi(Foo Lion or Fu), Yokai, Tanuki, Daruma, Lucky Cats, Tigers, Dragons! It’s the year of the Dragon!

I do hope this helps answer some of the questions you may have.  If there is something I haven’t addressed here, then please drop me an e-mail.  I’d be happy to help if I can.
chrisblacktattoo@gmail.com

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One Response to “Q&A”

  1. Christian Says:

    Hey Chris ,
    Roughly 6 years ago you did a grim reaper on my right shoulder blade ( very big ) , I now have 6 tattoos and by far my reaper is the most talked about and best tattoo yet !! Even other artist ask me who did my reaper !! It’s a great piece and since then I lost touch of where u were tattooing at ? So am glad to know your still pushing ink , can’t wait to set an appointment with you for the left shoulder !!!! Keep up good work !

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