Below is an assortment of frequently asked questions that we have received over the years. There is a good chance that your question is answered in this section. If it is not, feel free to email the studio with it, and we will do our best to answer it as well as we can.
Q. Where is your studio located?
A. The studio is located at 2028 State Street in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, about five miles north of Lancaster City. It is easy to get to from routes 30 and 283.
Q. Do I need an appointment to get a tattoo at your studio?
A. Yes, all tattooing is done strictly by appointment to ensure maximum privacy and eliminate needless distractions during your session. This keeps the environment relaxed and secure for both the client and the artist.
Q. How do I schedule an appointment with an artist at the studio?
A. The best way to schedule an appointment is by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org . This is our preferred method, because it establishes a paper trail of the exchange that both parties can refer back to, and allows each to respond at their convenience. You may also call the studio at 717-517-1946, but please be prepared to leave a message, since we are unable to answer the phone while tattooing other clients.
Please be as detailed and precise as possible in your communications, with a thorough description of the tattoo you wish to have done, and a reliable way to contact you back.
Q. Do I need to be 18 to get a tattoo?
A. Yes. We do not tattoo minors under any circumstances, even with parental consent. Absolutely no exceptions.
Q. Do you use new needles for every client?
A. Yes, we use brand new needles, tubes, and ink caps for every client and every session, and adhere to all industry standard BloodbornePathogen and Cross Contamination Prevention best practices.
Q. Is your studio wheelchair accessible?
A. Yes, our studio is on the first floor and we can easily accommodate people with wheelchairs.
Q. Is your studio LGBTQ+ friendly?
A. Yes, this studio is an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. We passionately support the human and Civil rights of all people, and strongly advocate for social justice and equality for historically marginalized and oppressed groups, as well as animal rights and environmental causes.
Q. How well do tattoos show up on darker skin tones, and do you work with Black clients?
A. We work with and welcome clients of all races and ethnicities. We’re cool with everyone here except for bigots. Keep in mind, every client, regardless of race, presents their own unique challenges, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this craft. With that said, generally speaking, the darker the skin complexion, the less contrast there will be with the actual tattoo pigments, and it is that contrast that ultimately makes tattoos “pop” and read well from a distance, which is why you generally see the brightest tattoos on the most pale people. Not everyone takes color ink as well, and typically, the darker the skin tone, the less likely certain colors and subtle shade tones are to show through as well. We can usually get around this by avoiding lighter colors altogether, and using higher contrast designs that do not rely so much on softer shading. Keeping the designs more open so as to work with the natural limitations in contrast is usually the best approach for clients with darker complexions.
Q. What style of tattooing does your studio do?
A. We specialize in several styles and themes, including illustrative, comic book, cartoon, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, realism, graffiti, neo-traditional, art nouveau, and fine art, as well as difficult cover-ups that most other studios and artists won’t tackle. Our goal is to make art that leaps off of the skin, and to be as creative as possible. For this reason, we typically turn down requests for overly simple stuff, like simple script lettering, infinity symbols, and American traditional style tattoos.
Q. I only see really big tattoos in your portfolio. Do you do small tattoos as well?
A. Yes, we do smaller tattoos as time allows, although our specialty and focus is on larger scale work. But large or small, the goal is the same, to make a creative work of art that both the artist and the client will be proud of for decades to come.
Q. Are there any other tattoos that you will not do?
A. We do not tattoo any hateful or gang related imagery, including Confederate flags, MC insignias, or anything that promotes abuse or cruelty of any kind. This isn’t up for debate. We also do not tattoo hands or faces unless the client is already extensively tattooed. Highly visible tattoos in these areas have become something of a trend for younger clients lately, and it often comes with lasting implications. We refer to these kinds of tattoos as “job stoppers” in the industry, as they can negatively impact a person’s chance for gainful employment, among other social hindrances. We do not wish to contribute to that. Such requests are handled on a case-by-case basis at the artist’s discretion.
Q. How long is the waiting list to get an appointment?
A. That really depends on a lot of different factors. Typically, it can take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months to get you in, depending on the nature and complexity of your desired tattoo. Some designs are easier to draw than others. The more challenging the design, the longer the wait, but it is usually no longer than three months.
Q. What should I expect for my first tattoo? Do tattoos hurt?
A. That really depends on what and where it is. If it’s a small or medium size tattoo on a typically easy and less painful area like the outer arm or shoulder, you can expect to feel some mild discomfort during the actual procedure, like a series of hot scratches across the skin. Afterwards, during the healing process, it will feel like a sunburn for a few days, sensitive to the touch and a little itchy, but nothing unbearable. In more painful areas of the body like the ribs or foot, it can feel more like a series of bee stings, which will tend to subside after a little while as your body acclimates to the process.
Q. What should I do in preparation for a tattoo session?
A. It is vitally important that you be completely sober and well rested, fed, and fully hydrated before you sit for a tattoo, in order to help your body regulate its response to the process. Never get tattooed on an empty stomach, or while intoxicated or hung over. The more healthy, relaxed and at ease you are, the better you will cope mentally and physically with the pain and discomfort of the tattoo process.
Q. What is your policy on numbing creams? Do you recommend any brands?
A. We strongly discourage the use of topical numbing agents and creams and do not recommend any of them, as they tend to wear off rather quickly, make the skin harder to work with, and often lead to prolonged and rougher healing that dulls the color and shade tones considerably. At the end of the day, tattoos hurt, and must be earned. Pain is part of the process.
Q. How much does a medium size tattoo cost?
A. It is impossible to say, because so much determines the amount of time a tattoo will take, which ultimately determines the price. The amount of detail and complexity of the design, whether or not a cover-up is involved, how receptive your skin is to the process, and your endurance level all factor into the time it will take, and thus the final price. Pricing is done on an hourly and session rate basis which we can discuss during an in-person consultation.
Q. Do consultations cost anything?
A. No, consultations are free of charge. We do however take non-refundable deposits for all tattoo appointments, which will be deducted from the price of your last paid session. Touch-up sessions are generally free, provided that you took good care to follow the aftercare instructions in order to properly heal your tattoo.
Q. Can I bring my friends along for my tattoo appointment?
A. You may bring only one companion along for moral support. The studio space is small, and too many people crowd it up very quickly. Remember, the goal is to keep this space comfortable and secure for both the client and the artist, so that we can focus on making the best tattoos possible. A crowded room takes away from that ability.
Q. Can I bring my kids along with me for my tattoo session? They are well behaved.
A. No. We do not allow anyone under the age of 18 in the studio, with no exceptions. Due to the more mature nature of what we do, we feel that this is not an appropriate environment for children, and we do not want to have the distraction of having to keep any eye on them during the appointment. This is an ironclad rule that has sadly arisen from past experiences with other peoples’ supposedly “well-behaved” kids making a mess of the waiting area.
Q. I want to get a full sleeve or a full backpiece. About how long do these normally take to complete?
A. Typically, a full sleeve can take anywhere from 30 to 60 hours, sometimes even longer depending on the nature of the design and how agreeable your skin is to the process. A backpiece can take upwards of 80 hours or more. If a cover-up is involved, it could take substantially longer. At the end of the day, they take as long as they need to in order to finish the job correctly.
Q. I want a tattoo, I just don’t know what exactly. How do I get past my indecisiveness?
A. A tattoo is permanent, especially the large tattoos we typically do here at this studio. It should be something either deeply meaningful to you, or something that truly reflects an aspect of your personality and interests that will carry with you for decades to come. Sometimes it is best to keep a journal of all of your ideas, and write in it whenever you think about your possible tattoo. Over the course of several weeks or months, you will notice certain themes and elements reoccurring throughout the pages of that journal. Those are typically the ideas that you most strongly identify with, and are a pretty good indicator of where to focus your attention
Q. I want to become a tattoo artist. What is the best way to start? Should I do an apprenticeship, and if so, how do I get one?
A. The best way to start a career in tattooing is definitely through an apprenticeship, and the best way to land an apprenticeship is to have a strong art portfolio.
These days, tattooing is more creative and competitive than ever before. The level of artistic talent has skyrocketed in recent years, coupled with new innovations in technology and techniques that have taken tattooing well beyond what was thought possible just a few years ago. As such, the requirement to be an exceptional artist goes without saying. Most shops and studios these days are focused on doing custom work, so you will be required to draw and design every tattoo you do as a one-of-a-kind custom piece. The ability to draw in pencil, and pen, as well as digitally, and work in other mediums is crucial to making it in this business. Beyond that, the ability to do on-the-fly problem solving is essential to success, as every new project and client present their own sets of challenges. Empathy, and good communication and people skills, as well as excellent hygiene are also fundamental to doing this job successfully. You will need to demonstrate that you can think outside the box, on the spot, and keep an open mind, in addition to possessing an already well-developed artistic skill set and imagination. Your best bet is to assemble a strong portfolio of your best artwork that showcases your unique style and approach to art. Ideally you will have at least one or two sketchbooks filled from front to back, as well as some examples of other mediums you have dabbled in, such as watercolor, oil paint, sculpture, and digital art. That will at least get you the attention of a prospective mentor.
Q. Does your studio offer apprenticeships?
A. Possibly, for the right candidate who can demonstrate remarkable art and problem-solving skills, as well as a lot of heart, dedication, and spirit, and a genuine love for this craft who will be an asset to the studio and the tattoo community.