Questions answered… Let’s talk about tattoos.

I received quite a few questions, both in the comments on the post and some in email form as people didn’t want to sound like cheeky monkeys.

I noticed several different categories of questions asked, so I’ve group them as such.

This round up is concerning all the tattoo-related questions I was asked.

Have you ever given someone a tattoo that was a total mess (either because of their decision or your mistake), but you kept a straight face and instead just reassured them about how good it was? My barber has great stories on this subject, so I guess you might as well.

That probably depends on how we define “total mess”.

I’ve had a few clients come in and want me to replicate something that a child or friend drew for them, which would be the equivalent of Comic Sans compared to Times New Roman. Or they wanted something rather hideous and I couldn’t persuade them into something better. For those I just have to bite my tongue and remind myself I’m giving them exactly what they want.

I can think of one tattoo in particular a long, long time ago that was attempted that shouldn’t have been done. Mostly because the subject matter wouldn’t translate well into a tattoo. And also because it was the first time I allowed a customer to rush me through the process. Neither of us were happy with the end result, and I definitely learned a few things from it.

As for the straight face, I’ve never had one of those. 😉

How does one become a tattoo artist? Is there state boards to get accredited?

I can only answer for the state in which I live, Arkansas. Tattooing and body piercing is regulated by the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services. (If you want, you can read a complete list of the rules here.)

The legal jargon:
“Tattoo, permanent cosmetic, and body piercing artists are required to be certified in Arkansas. Certification requirements include a minimum of six-month artist in training program with an artist who has been certified in Arkansas for a minimum of three years. The training facility must be approved by the Board of Private Career Education. An application for apprenticeship must be completed as well as a written exam which is based on the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Permanent Cosmetic and Tattoo Establishments. A practical exam is conducted near the end of the training period.”

Which boils down to say that a prospective tattooist apprentices under a master artist to learn the craft. The apprentice is then tested by the Department of Health and Human Services. A license is then renewed yearly through the Department.

We have all seen posters that have been in the sun so long that only the cyan print is left. I’m curious as to whether there are any tattoo ink colors that fade faster than others.

Just like anything that’s left out in the sun eventually UV exposure takes its toll on tattoo pigment. Lighter colors like whites and yellows and pastel shades tend to blend into skin tones faster than colors that are darker. But even darker colors will fade over time when exposed to UV radiation.

Sunblock or wear protective clothing to extend the life of your artwork!

Did you have any angst before you got your first tattoo? Is there advice you give to clients who have angst?


Oddly enough, I don’t remember any angst. Or much of anything about the experience. I think I was 20 when I got it. I don’t even remember the reason I got it either. I know alcohol wasn’t involved, as I wasn’t old enough to drink yet. That, and I lived in a dry county and went to a religious college. I don’t remember the tattoo hurting. I think I may have actually fallen asleep during the procedure. I’m a little odd. 😉

As far as advice to clients. If I can tell someone is nervous or they say they are, I tell them the truth: it doesn’t hurt as bad as they think it’s going to, or as their friends have led them to believe. Granted, I’m a somewhat light-handed tattooist, so that makes a difference in the experience.

What is the funniest tattoo you’ve seen or one that you’ve done on someone?


Funny is definitely in the eye of the beholder. There’s been a few that stand out. But probably the funniest one was on a client. She was easily in her 60s. She wanted a rose tattoo, with a stem and thorn. But with a man making up the stem. And as for the thorn….

Do you get aroused when you tattoo someone?


I have not. Yet. I’ve had several very, very drool-worthy clients to be sure. But I’ve always been extremely professional when it comes to my business. That, and my brain isn’t quite wired in the typical sexual way.

Have you ever pierced another human?


I have not. The piercing procedure makes me both squeamish and nervous. And it’s not something I have a desire to do, nor have I been trained or licensed to pierce anyone.

What made you want to become a tattoo artist?

It was a suggestion from someone else, actually. I grew up doing all types of art things. It was always encouraged as a hobby by the parental units, but not something a respectable member of society would do. So I did the college thing. And then the working in IT for 15 years. Then the light came when the suggestion was made, and here I am now getting to use that art “hobby”.

What type of tattoos do you most like? What type do you most dislike?

I LOVE cartoon/manga/anime-style tattoos. My favorite thing on the planet to do. I dislike most typical, solid black, tribal tattoos. Meh.

Until next time...

4 thoughts on “Questions answered… Let’s talk about tattoos.

  1. The question about getting aroused triggered a natural followup. Do any of you clients find getting tattooed arousing vs. just being aroused by you?

    1. I’ve never had any client come right out and tell me they were getting aroused during the tattoo process from the tattoo (or from me, for that matter). And usually I’m so focused on the tattoo that I wouldn’t notice typically if they were. I tend to be oblivious to such things, even outside of the studio.

  2. I was thinking the same as Sean. I remember when I got a tattoo on my arm, the tingly feeling as the artist shaded in the design, I started to feel aroused. It felt good. The guy doing it was not attractive but I had, had a couple of beers. I was in Amsterdam at the time.

    Your question request, got a much better response than mine did. Really enjoyed reading this.

    1. I personally have never gotten an arousing sensation when getting a tattoo. My wiring is just off I suppose. Then again, I’ve never had anyone I’d consider hot poking me at the time either. 😉

      However, if I was maybe at a tattoo convention, there might be some hotties walking about that might get my motor running a little.

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