Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I can go onto many of the other Tattoo community websites. Why should I use yours?

A: We are the UK’s number one tattoo community website

Q: Seriously, what's the difference?

A: We have a dedicated staff of 4 people whose purpose is to expand the website, constantly delivering valid information and facilities. Add to this a wealth of knowledge from our Tattoo magazine and Tattoo event team. Most of our ideas for the site are developed over a period of 6 to 12 months, and we have a positive long term plan how the site will continue to develop. We have a huge investment in finance, time and effort for each element of the site. Have a serious browse around all the information on the site and judge for yourself. If there is any additional information you would like to see please share it with us in our future ideas section.

Q: Probably the most asked question... Does it hurt?

A: Pain is a very personal thing. Some people have a high pain threshold, others whimper at a splinter in their finger. The very process of being tattooed means that a single or series of needles will be puncturing your skin, albeit at a reasonably fast speed, and not going too deep beneath the skin. So yep, you’re certainly going to feel something, that’s for sure. The position on your body where the tattoo will be placed will have a direct bearing on the amount of discomfort that you will feel. Basically, the more flesh that you have in an area the less it will smart. Upper arms and buttocks are less uncomfortable than say, shins, the spine and armpits. Many people say that the outline is the most uncomfortable part of a tattoo and the shading is the easiest and speaking from experience, I find this to be the case. Whatever you do when sitting in the tattooist’s chair, don’t fidget and move about; it’s harder for your tattooist to hit a moving target!

Some studios now offer a ‘Numbing’ service. This will consist of the tattooist applying the numbing cream and giving the cream time to work before the tattoo is started. Talking to folk who have opted for this option, they say that it helps quite a lot for the outline of the tattoo, making it an altogether more pleasant experience.

If a session gets that little bit ‘too much’ there are solutions that tattooists can apply to the skin as they are working. Super Juice and Vasocaine operate by constricting blood vessels close to the skin’s surface and can be applied as required during the session, although it’s best to read up about these products before giving them a road test so you know what to expect.

You may also want to consider what type of clothing to wear when going for your appointment. If you are having your upper arm tattooed, wear a vest. Ladies, if you are having the top of your thigh tattooed, you might want to think about wearing a skirt unless you want to be sitting there in your knickers for the duration! It is common sense really. And there’s a very good chance that you will get some ink or blood on your clothes, so don’t wear your favourite Gucci number.

You may be tempted to have a drink to steady your nerves. Don’t! It could make the process more uncomfortable and could possibly make you bleed a bit more than normal, as alcohol thins the blood. Also, if you are on any form of medication, let the tattooist know. Again, medicines such as aspirin, warfarin and other anti-blood clotting substances might make you bleed more. If in doubt, just tell the tattooist about any medication that you are taking. It is worth having something to eat at least two hours prior to your appointment to keep your blood sugar levels up during your tattoo.

As I mentioned earlier, you will feel some sort of discomfort and if at any point you start to feel faint or sick, let the tattooist know and he/ she will stop and give you some time to recover your composure. They won’t be too chuffed if you decide to empty your breakfast all over them. I find that if the pain gets intense, I relax by breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, which always works for me.

Q: How old do I need to be to get a Tattoo?

You must be aged 18 or over to get a tattoo in the UK and it is an offence to tattoo anyone under 18. Do not be offended if the tattooist asks you to show proof of age.

Q: Is there anything I should do before I get a Tattoo?

Research, research, research! It is really important that before you have your first Tattoo is that you ask various basic questions. Including: Where you want the Tattoo? Colour/ Black & Grey? Tattoo Style? Subject matter? Size? You then need to find a Tattoo artist who’s style suits your requirements and ideally get recommendations of several artists from communities such as

Talk to these recommended tattoo artists, they don’t bite! If there is anything you do not feel comfortable with, simply walk away, do not be afraid to go elsewhere and seek advice until you are happy.

Do not use and artist ‘solely’ because they are local to you ‘or’ are cheap ‘or’ they are your mates’ mate! Make sure they tick a lot more boxes than this.

Make sure you use a registered tattooist, as unregistered tattooists could be dangerous. If a person is tattooing in their kitchen and not in a tattoo studio, then perhaps there is a reason for that.

Q: How do I get an apprenticeship in a Tattoo studio?

A: Visit our Apprenticeship Forum and you will get all the advice you need by reading through this element of our community section. If you cannot find the advice you are looking for create a new thread and simply ask. Please remember, write some good questions that show some thought and genuine interest and the community will give you good honest responses.

Q: I am an art school student and I am doing a report on Tattooing. Can I ask you guys some questions?

A: Please get in touch with us and we will be able to direct you to the best part of the site to get advice. Alternatively join in the community and pose your questions. Please write some good questions that show some thought and genuine interest in tattooing and the community here will readily present you with articulate, honest responses.

Q: What Happens After I have had my Tattoo?

A: After your tattooist has applied your design, they will wash off the excess ink with a spray and depending on the artist some will cover your new ink with cling film, others will use a paper towel and tape in over the new tattoo. You will be given aftercare instructions from the tattooist, which will list a healing procedure. This list will give you valuable advice for the care of your ink, so follow it to the letter. The tattooist didn’t give it to you just for fun; the information is good, sound advice based on years of experience. The more you look after your new ink over the healing process, the better and brighter your tattoo will look.

Whatever you do, don’t scratch it! Your new ink will form a light scab after a few days and can itch like a bugger. If you scratch or pick at the scabs you will be pulling the fresh ink out of your skin and your tattoo will end up looking faded and blotchy.

Don’t go swimming or soak your new design until it is fully healed, so if you are thinking of getting some ink to show off on the beach on your holidays – think again! It’s worth waiting until you get back to have the work done.

We all take different times to heal but as a rule of thumb it will heal in about a week to ten days, after which you will experience a form of light skin peeling (a bit like sunburn). After this has gone your tattoo’s colour will come through and be as bright and vibrant as the day it was applied. NOW you can show it off.

Once it is healed you will need to look after your tattoo with a moisturiser and if you go out in the sun, use a high factor sun block. The sun can really kill your artwork and make it look old before its time!

Q: How do I go about getting inked at a Tattoo convention?

A: The best way to guarantee getting a tattoo by your chosen artist at convention is to get in touch with them directly before the show (the earlier the better). Discuss your ideas with them and book a time slot at the show, prior to the convention. Some artists work on a first come first serve basis at conventions, but they will tell you this when you get in touch with them. If this is the case you best get to the show early!

Q: How much is it to have a tattoo?

A: How long is a piece of string? Quite simply, you get what you pay for. There are unfortunately plenty of people tattooing out there, (known as scratchers and kitchen wizards in the trade) that will tattoo you for very little money, but you'll probably end up going to a real artist to have it covered up. Look for quality; research the style you want and be willing to pay for it (and travel if necessary). If you cannot afford it once you have discussed your ideas with the artist of your choice, then save until you can, it will definitely be worth the wait. DO NOT go into a Tattoo Studio and haggle over the price of a tattoo, as this is not only disrespectful to the artist, but you are likely to get an earful back. If you can't pay for quality, you really should not get a tattoo. Please remember this is a piece of art you will wear for the rest of your life.

Q: Come on, how much for just a little tattoo?

A: How much for one rib?