Tattoo Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts of Getting a Tattoo

Getting a permanent body art involves both your and the artist’s efforts. You have to be considerate to your artist and cooperate with them to make it a success. Tattooists deserve respect and gratitude to do their best. Regardless of what tattoo you want, the whole process will be much easier if you’re courteous enough.

In this article, we guide you on how to behave when getting a tat, and you will indeed walk out of the studio satisfied and happy.

Tattoo Etiquette: Before the Tattoo

Tattoo Etiquette

Think about it.

You already know you’re going to live with your tat forever, so before you decide, think about it and be sure you want to ink yourself. You have to ask yourself if it will make you happy and how it will impact your life.

You should understand that tattoo removal is painful and expensive, so go in with a fixed mind that you’re not going to regret having it.

Choose a design idea.

You probably want a tat for a particular reason. Whatever it is, you will need to choose a design that corresponds to it. Share the design with the artist and listen to their input. They can help you develop a unique style that suits you. If you don’t have one in mind, they can easily customize personalized designs for you.

Be open to new ideas.

Your tattooist is more knowledgeable when it comes to tattoo styles. They know what may work best. Listen to what they advise you as it may be what could make your tat clearly readable.

Schedule an appointment.

Most tattoo artists prefer clients with booked appointments to just walk-ins. It facilitates proper planning for you and the artist. You can book a slot through the service provider’s website.

Tattoo Etiquette: At the Tattoo Studio

Avoid crowding at the shop.

It’s good manners to show up for your tattoo appointment alone since most shops are tiny and can’t accommodate many people. They might also be too noisy, which may annoy the artist.

Proper hygiene.

During inking, the tattooist works with his nose close to your skin. You wouldn’t want to suffocate him with a foul smell. So, make sure you have a bath before your appointment and put on fresh clothes.

Let your artist focus.

Inking needs maximum concentration. Once you’re under the needle, keep quiet and allow the artist to focus on the art. Let them lead in the conversation as they please. Avoid staring at the artwork as it may make them nervous. You can instead read a book or watch a movie to destruct yourself.

Get into the studio when sober.

Drinking alcohol before a tattoo will thin your blood, leading to more bleeding, which affects the artist’s visibility. This will give them a hard time drawing, and it may take longer.


Tipping is a tattoo etiquette that is not taken seriously by many people. Just the way you tip after receiving any other services, you should do the same after getting a tattoo. It shows you’re satisfied with the artist’s work, and you appreciate their effort on your body. It could be anywhere between 15% and 20% of your bill or a pre-determined amount.

Tattoo Etiquette: After the Tattoo

After you get a tattoo, the artist will give you a detailed aftercare routine to help the wound heal faster. Do follow them to the latter until it completely heals. You can ask questions if you get concerned about something during healing.

If your ink fades too soon, you can schedule a touch-up appointment, although this takes years in most cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it rude not to tip the tattoo artist?

Nobody is mandated to tip a tattoo artist. You only do it out of a good will to show you appreciate their effort and hard work. The artist won’t demand a tip from you, and in fact, they don’t always expect. You can also talk to your artist about it and instead offer to give them a gift or free services. How about a shout out on social platforms? It’s still an appreciation and exposes them to new clients.

Do Tattooists hate copying other artists’ designs?

Well, any tattoo artist would want to come up with an original design. So, showing your artist a tattoo design by someone and asking them to replicate the same is not advisable. While there are numerous tattoo styles, your artist may be uncomfortable working with your style and can try to improve it. Don’t be mad if he suggests an alternative one. Let him sketch it, and then you can decide if you want it or not. If you wish to have your initial design, he can refer you to someone who is best at it. Just maintain your calm if he can’t draw what you want.

Can I ask my tattooist about the whole process before I’m inked?

Yes, you can. It is not against tattoo etiquette to inquire about a number of things before getting under the needle. It’s your body, and you’re cashing enough money to have your favorite art drawn. The research you did may not be enough to get you well informed, so you can always ask for first-hand information from your artist. While at this, be sure to mention to them if you have any pre-existing conditions to avoid issues like ink allergy. If you have conditions like eczema, then you may not be fit for a tattoo.

Be sure to also consult about the aftercare routine, especially on what you can do to speed up healing and keep infections at bay. Each artist may have a totally different idea on how to ensure proper recovery.


If you want the best tattoo experience, you have to be courteous and kind enough to the person working on you. Nobody wants a client who is criticizing every design and telling everyone in the studio how to work. This can distract your artist and even kill his morale. The above tips can help you behave well to get the tattoo you deserve.

Also read:

1. How To Clean Your Tattoo: Key Tricks in Proper Tattoo Aftercare
2. Coconut Oil on Tattoo: Everything You Need to Know

About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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