I want a tattoo at Modern Body Art, how do I go about it?
Firstly we need to assess what you want and, if you don’t already have a preference, which artist is best for you. The easiest way to do this is in person, but if that is not possible we can usually sort things out via email. We only draw designs for people once they have booked in with a deposit. The deposit is £20 per hour of the appointment you book (i.e. a 3 hour appointment would be a £60 deposit). Please note, we don’t send designs out via email, you do have to come into the shop to view. You can cancel or change an appointment but you need to give us at least 72 hours notice or you will lose the deposit.
Can I get a walk in appointment at Modern Body Art?
Quite often we do have space for a walk in appointment. If you would like something that won’t require hours of drawing time and we have appointments available then we will do our best. We always recommend booking ahead to avoid disappointment but feel free to give us a call or pop in to see if we have space that day.
How can I make sure my tattoo is amazing?
Here is the system, in a nutshell, of how to get a good tattoo: Have an idea (but not too many), pick a style or look you would like and then an artist who does that kind of work really well. Give the artist your ideas but be flexible and let them work their magic, that’s all there is to it!
The most common mistakes:
Trying to get too many ideas into one piece. For a sleeve maybe 2 or 3 main elements is plenty. Not everything has to have a meaning and a story (this is reality, not Miami ink) and you don’t have to have everything that’s important to you represented in one tattoo. You have a whole body to spread ideas over.
Picking the wrong artist for the job. Either a bad one or someone who doesn’t specialise in the style you want.
Trying to mix different styles into one piece. You wouldn’t have ketchup with Sushi or put floral print curtains in a minimalist living room and tattoos work in a similar way; try to keep ideas and themes within a similar style.
Thinking that you know better than the artist. Does the artist have a good portfolio (and surely they do if you have picked them out)? If so, then trust their judgement and skills and listen to their suggestions. Everyone at MBA has years of experience of designing tattoos, day in, day out. They are just going to be better at it than you (or your partner/friend/parent, see last mistake!), listen to them.
Waiting too long between sessions. When you wait a year or so between sessions the tattoo has already started the ageing and settling in process and so the new parts never quite look the same and the artist is not likely to be as enthusiastic as they were to finish the tattoo. Surely you want the tattooist to be really enthusiastic about your tattoo too?
Not being patient. It can take some time to start to appreciate the difference between good and bad work so don’t rush into finding the right artist and when you do, they will probably be busy so be patient and wait for them. Waiting a few months is nothing when something is going to be on you for life.
Copying someone else’s tattoo. When you try to just copy someone else’s tattoo (because it’s “perfect and exactly what you had in mind”), all you get is a second rate copy of the original, it is never as good. When does Hollywood ever remake a film and it’s better than the original? Never! And it’s a bit like that. On top of that, no good tattooist will ever just copy someone else’s artwork, it’s unethical and severely frowned upon in the world of decent tattooing.
Shopping for a bargain. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for but unlike pretty much everything else, tattoos will be with you forever. Some people think nothing of spending £100 on some trainers or jeans but want to spend as little as possible on a tattoo, it’s clear which one is gonna last longer. You can always find a cheap car but don’t think you are gonna get the quality of a Mercedes when you pay for a Skoda!
Too many cooks. Good art doesn’t happen by committee. Girlfriends/Mothers/boyfriends etc never help when they get involved, it becomes a nightmare. Tattooing is too personal, just the artist and customer are all that count.
Micro-managing. Good art doesn’t happen by proxy. Just give the artist the vague idea and let them get on with it. Trying to get someone to recreate the image you have in your head is impossible and an exercise in frustration for all parties.
I’ve never been tattooed before. Any advice?
If you have never been tattooed before then here is some advice for you; Make sure you eat before you come in, particularly breakfast. Low blood sugar invariably leads to light headedness which can lead to fainting. Wear something that gives easy access to the place to be tattooed or be prepared to take your clothes off. We can’t tattoo through clothing or while forcing clothes out of the way. Don’t wear anything that you will be upset if it gets inky! Please make sure you and your clothes are clean! No one likes being in the proximity of someone else’s body odour.
Does it hurt?
Yes, a little bit. Sometimes you barely feel it, other times it hurts quite a bit but it is always bearable (otherwise no one would be extensively tattooed). Some places on the body hurt more than others but that varies from person to person (over bone doesn’t necessarily hurt more). Don’t pick a place based on where you think it’ll hurt less, just get it where you want it because the pain is temporary but the results aren’t. Try to relax and not tense up (tensing makes it get very much worse quite quickly), and breathe as slow as possible (breathe out on any bad bits), the trick is to accept it hurts but not let it bother you. The people who work themselves up and decide it is going to be agony invariably find that it is! Taking a painkiller (such as Ibroprofen) an hour or so before you get tattooed often takes the edge off a little bit.
How old do I have to be to get a tattoo?
18 is the minimum age for a tattoo, with or without parental consent. It has been like this since the 1960s and the law is very clear. Anyone (or any studio) that tells you that you can be tattooed at 16 with parental consent instantly falls into the “dodgy” category. If they are slack with this law what else will they be slack with? Sterilisation? Be patient!
How do I start tattooing?
We get loads of these emails and we simply don’t have time to answer them all. You need to be very very good at art, truly love, follow and understand tattooing, be very dedicated, and find an apprenticeship. Getting a portfolio of your art together and presenting yourself well to a studio is a start. We get asked countless times about jobs but I can count on one hand the amount of people who have actually brought a portfolio for us to look at. Get together a portfolio of a variety of artwork (tattoo related and non-tattoo related) and take it around all the studios you know. No-one will pay any attention the first time, so go back in a few months with new artwork and just keep doing that (being clean, well presented and polite every time – obviously). Also take your portfolio to every convention you can get to (you’ll obviously be going to loads of conventions in the UK and abroad anyway because you’re so into tattooing, right?) and show it to your favourite artists (of which there will be dozens because you read all the tattoo magazines every month and know who all the top artists are and what makes them good) and ask for criticism. Show your portfolio to the variety of top tattooists you are undoubtedly getting tattooed by, you will be sat next to them for hours and have a great chance to impress a captive audience. Everybody I know who has done this and actually been good at art has got their chance. Every other 18 year old with one tattoo (sometimes even no tattoos!) thinks it would be a cool job so you need to prove you’re a little bit more serious than that. It is a difficult industry to get into but it is not impossible. Very few people break into tattooing until they’re a little older so don’t plan on getting a job straight from school just to avoid getting a proper hair cut. Get on with life, get a proper job but keep drawing and looking and, if you’re good enough, a chance will come (you will obviously be well known on the tattoo circuit by now because you’ve been going to all the conventions for years and, of course, getting tattooed regularly by a few of the country’s leading artists). This leads on to the next point; you must really be good enough. If you have shown lots of people your art and you’re not getting any good responses maybe it isn’t up to scratch. You have to be really good to make an impression. Finally, wanting to tattoo is very popular and there are lots of people who will take advantage of this. Be careful before working for a local studio for free, paying for a course to teach you in two days what should take years, or buying a starter kit over the internet. Don’t get taken for a ride! Unfortunately we do not have any apprenticeships in our studio.