We don’t see any reason why you would just walk in to a tattoo shop near you, ask for an available tattoo artist and get a tattoo of the flash wall, but if that’s what you want to do, we are here to help you avoid any regrets.
Getting a tattoo shouldn’t be done on a whim. It’s going to stay on your skin forever, and hasting in to decisions with lifelong consequences is never a good idea. But, you’re a grown up, you can make your own decisions, we’re not the boss of you… So, go and walk in to a tattoo shop, maybe the one near you, point to the drawing on the wall and say “Tattoo that on me!“, but before you do, maybe as you wait for the tattoo artist to get ready, read some words of advice.
1. Do your research before a walk-in
You found this page so you are obviously doing some research. Before you walk in to the nearest tattoo place, use your smartphone, google “Tattoo places near me” and look at their rating, read some reviews. Google maps will provide reviews from different sources and if you spend 10 minutes on your phone, you just might avoid a very bad tattoo experience.
If you’re looking for a tattoo artist in London, use our Free Tattoo Consultation service and get a bespoke recommendation from our tattoo experts. On Inkably, you can check out the artist’s portfolio, read other people’s reviews, find someone who you like.
2. Check the place
Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene! These are the three basic rules of choosing a tattoo shop. If that’s not enough, here’s another one: Infection.
Check the tattoo shop, look for signs on the walls, is there a certificate clearly visible? Is the place clean? Before a new client, did the artist wipe the station? Needles should be new and unwrapped before they are used on you.
3. Don’t get too ambitious with the design
Large and/or complex tattoos take time. Good artists are usually booked ahead and if they do have some time for a walk-in tattoo, it’s probably not going to be a 6-hour session, unless you’re lucky and you com in when another client has just cancelled. Everything larger than your palm is probably not something you want to get on whim, so if you’re looking to get a serious tattoo, take your time, find the right tattoo artist and do it properly.
If it’s a smaller tattoo you’re going for, sure, a quick pop to the tattoo shop is not such a bad idea. Still, it might be better to send us a quick message and we can help you get something booked in with a trusted artist near you.
4. If you don’t know what to get tattooed
Your desire to get a tattoo is stronger than you imagination? Just looking for something nice and decorative? You can always ask the artist to show you some of their available design, see if something catches your eye. Most tattoo shops will have a portfolio of flash tattoos, predefined designs you can choose from.
What you shouldn’t do is ask the artist to copy someone else’s design. It’s a big NO-NO in the tattoo world, and if your artist is willing to do it, maybe they are not the best choice for you. Using another artist’s design is same as stealing, and if your artist isn’t capable of coming up with their own design, why would you give them your skin.
5. Quicker doesn’t mean cheaper
Just because your’re walking in without an appointment, that doesn’t mean you’ll get a better deal on your tattoo. Quite the opposite! The fact that you are probably not going to be a regular client provides the tattoo artist with little or no reason to give you a lower rate. DO NOT try to negotiate the price! The price of a tattoo is determined based on a number of factors, and you not having an appointment is not one of them.
6. Walk-in well prepared
Here are a few things you should do to prepare for your tattoo session before you go to the nearest shop.
Think about the placement – have an idea of where you want the tattoo to be placed, or take your artist’s advice. Make sure it flows well with your body, that it’s placed well. There’s no Undo button on tattoos, do don’t get them somewhere you’ll end up regretting it.
Wash up – It might be a quick tattoo, but don’t go in without a shower.
Eat – Grab a bit before you go. Getting a tattoo is stressful on your body and it will need nutrients and hydration. Bring some water and sugary snacks, they will help if you get a bit lightheaded.
Be prepared for the pain – If this is going to be your first tattoo, maybe you’re not aware of just how much it will hurt. Depending on the body part and your pain threshold, it can get quite painful.
Don’t wear new clothes – Artist use ink, and ink, well, inks stuff. Your clothes are no exception. Wear something you’re OK with getting dirty.
Bring Money – About £60 – £80, that’s going to be the minimum you’re going to need for the smallest tattoo. Make sure to bring enough cash, as most places do not take plastic.
Bring your ID – You’re not going to get a tattoo without a valid document, especially if you are (or look) younger.
Think about your health – Do you have any medical conditions, allergies or something similar? Take it seriously and discuss getting the tattoo with your medical practitioner.
7. Ask questions, talk to your tattoo artist
You should feel comfortable about the whole process of getting the tattoo, so if you’re not comfortable talking to your artist, maybe you should rethink the whole thing? It’s your skin that is getting tattooed, and any questions you may have, deserve an answer. Same goes the other way around. Listen to your artist. Tattooing is their profession, and no matter what you head or saw on Inkmaster, the artist you chose is the artist giving you the tattoo, and they will know what’s best.
Now you’re getting the tattoo it’s time to relax and enjoy yourself. No mater if it’s our first or n-th tattoo, it’s always an exciting moment, the machine starts buzzing, the needles start poking your skin, the adrenaline rushes… We admit it, we just love the feeling!
9. Take care of your new tattoo
You got the tattoo on a whim, but now it’s with you for life. Best thing to do is to take very good care of it. Ask your tattoo artist for tips on after-care, a make sure to follow the advice they give you. The most basic rules are, while it’s healing, wash it gently, do not scratch it, and as it heals, keep it fresh with a solid moisturizing routine and use sunscreen.