By Imani K. Brown

Here, we’re starting with the basics of how to choose a tattoo artist! 😀 However, if you ever have questions or anything you would like me to address, I’ll be leaving deets below so stick around, ok?! We are gonna jump straight to the chase on this one. These tips are especially good for tattoo first timers, but a little reminder never hurts if you are in the market for new ink and/ or a new artist.  So here are the four tips that I advise my clients and anyone else in the market for a new tattoo~

  1. Check out portfolios. It’s the best homework you can do.

Again with the “well anyone can do that,” and then you get messed up and have to pay more to get that cluster f*ck corrected. It’s your skin and you don’t get it back, so taking a few moments to see what the work is hitting on will save you so much heartache and money in the end.

*Remember THIS tip if nothing else. It’s the end all to be all of getting tattooed*

  1. Do they have HEALED pics of dark skin in their portfolio?

Every artist doesn’t know how to work on dark skin. YES! It’s skin, but it is a canvas type artists really have to know their way around to provide the best of the best in body art. Again with this portfolio thing, right?! Check it out and specifically look for tattoos on dark skin, preferably healed. If it’s none there don’t fret but do ask questions before you just go handing over body parts.

  1. Do NOT price match! Who does that anyway … UGH >.<

There’s a saying, “a good tattoo ain’t cheap & a cheap tattoo ain’t good.”  That saying has never ever been far from the truth. Unlike most things we purchase, tattoos are an INVESTMENT and seeing that you don’t get your skin back, you might as well get a return on your investment by having a tattoo with a longer lifespan than you. No artist wants to hear, “well, such & such can do it for x amount.”  Why? Well, because that’s just plain rude! We’re not in that business and you certainly shouldn’t be either. If you’re dead set on spending x amount, have an honest conversation with your artist about your budget. You never know … they may be to oblige. Otherwise, don’t be mad when an artist carefreely chucks you the deuces.

  1. How’s the energy between you guys?!

NO! We’re not talking about anything sexual so get your mind ouf of the gutter! *sheesh*

Seriously, is your artist willing to take time and answer your questions, no matter how silly they may seem? Are they taking time to fully listen to your ideas and give their professional (and honest) opinion? I certainly hope so. That always makes for great chemistry and amazing art. IF you feel like you still have questions or feel like the questions you already have weren’t fully answered (← this happens on occasion) you probably should not hop in the chair until there is a resolve. Let’s be CLEAR though. This does NOT mean shop around until someone tells you what you want to hear. (← because that is a thing too) Not heeding to professional advice for something there is absolutely no refunds on would be absolutely ridiculous on your part. So please, use a great deal of common sense when navigating this last tip. K?!

I do hope that these tips (& each and every article) gives way to more consideration of how you go about collecting your body art. Remember that info I promised?!

If you have any questions (nothing’s silly except for a question you didn’t ask) or would like to discuss a topic here, feel free to email me through the contact form below. I’ll be more than happy to help you as best I can.

If you want to know more about me and my tattoo qualifications, interests, or current projects, please feel free to mosey on over to my site My portfolio can be found there too!

Until we meet again,

~je t’adore! =^.^=

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Kon’nichiwa~ I'm Imani K. Brown, iPukeKawaii- a tattoo artist and illustrator native to Washington, DC. Having been featured in a few publications for my tattoo art, affectionately known as INKPLAY, I currently works in the States at Pinz-n-Needlez Tattoo and abroad in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. My creative house, I.P. Brand Ink & Art (イッピーブランド) houses all of my INKPLAY tattoos, illustration, and Japanese/ kawaii lifestyle interests. I have been tattooing for over 10 years and specialize in fine line detail, with a special panache for whimsical lines, script, and Japanese inspired art. I am currently fundraising to open my own private tattoo studio and art gallery. → ← My art mantra- "... fine (tattoo) art should be the standard, NOT the exception" My daily mantra- “Remember to remember to paint everyday BRIGHT!”