You’re ready to get a tattoo, but you don’t want to select a design from the large binders nor framed flash that line the walls, shelves, and countertops of your local tattoo parlor. Endlessly scrolling through Instagram portfolios to find a match won’t cut it either. Instead, you want something distinguishing so that it reflects your personality, passions, or tastes or all of the above. In fact, you already have a clear vision of the desired design in mind. The problem, is that you’re not an artist. Every attempt that you’ve made to sketch a rendition that translates your vision to paper has been a flop. You’re ultimately left wondering – how to get a custom tattoo that will actually mirror what’s in your head? Follow the tips below.

3 Things to do to Get a Custom Tattoo that Matches the Design You Have in Mind (even if you’re not totally sure of what that is)

Budget for It

Pre-designed tattoos (flash, etc.) are generally lower cost than custom tattoos, so be sure to budget for your custom design before choosing a studio and tattooist to work with. Artists charge per custom piece, with a minimum cost of $120 for an extra small size tattoo. Medium to large tattoos from a quality studio typically run from $175 to $190 per hour, with the rate varying by a tattooist’s length of tenure and specializations (i.e. American traditional. blackwork, fine line, etc.).

The more leeway you have with your budget, the less stress there will be in coming up with a custom design (with a tattooist) that you’ll be really excited about. For this reason, it may be worth delaying the tattoo until you can save more money (as applicable). Of course, there’s only one way to get an idea of the cost for a custom piece – you will need to schedule a noncommittal consultation. A lot of people are afraid to reach out for this initial consultation due to the reputation that many studios have for not being patient with new and inexperienced clients. This leads us to our next point.

Choose a Studio that’s Welcoming and Patient

Nearly every tattoo studio does custom tattoos unless their gimmick is that they don’t. So the question about how to get a custom tattoo doesn’t hit a roadblock with respect to access to studios that are able to do the work.

Without a doubt, the biggest impediment to getting a custom design that you’ll be excited about is the culture of customer/client service (or lack thereof) in a tattoo shop. We have heard about so many bad experiences that people have had with shops across Greater Vancouver and other cities. These shops’ tattooists exhibit a lack of patience when working with new clients to come up with designs that they (the clients) are comfortable with. Consequently, you will want to find a place that has made it explicitly clear that they will be understanding and patient and will work with you on a custom design to the point that you’re completely satisfied to move forward with the actual tattoo. Follow this guide for How to Choose a Tattoo Studio and this guide for What to Look for in a Tattoo Artist which will help you weed out the bad apples.

Choose an Ideal Style for Your Custom Design

How your custom tattoo design comes together greatly depends upon the style of tattooing used to make the vision come to reality. Styles range from American traditional and blackwork to biomechanical and surrealism, and beyond. Reference this guide for How to Choose a Tattoo Style prior to working with your tattooist to come up with your custom design.

Remember, schedule a consultation with a professional tattooist that works from a studio that has developed a reputation for being welcoming and patient with all clients. If located in, or visiting, the Greater Vancouver BC area, be sure to schedule your appointment with Sleight of Hand (SOH) Tattoo today.

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Sleight of Hand

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