I am thinking of getting a new tattoo and have a concept to develop, but how do I find or come up with what I want?
There are essentially two types of tattoo scenarios. A walk-in, which is a quick/straight forward tattoo, or an appointment based scenario, which is how most of the artist at Aura operate. We do not often have availability for walk-ins, but everyone is welcome to come by and say hello, meet our team, and inquire about a new tattoo and the booking process.
Ideally, for myself, we will have an interaction where the client and I have discussed an idea and gone over a few photos that may inspire or help explain the vision. From there, I take all the information given and go to the drawing table to explore the concept further.
I will create a concept for our future appointment. During this process, some direction from a client is helpful. For example, instead of just saying you me to create one of my tattoos for you, telling me you want a soft focus/realistic floral tattoo using tropical flowers, or an Asian themed half-sleeve give me a little more direction. Specifics like this help me understand what I am trying to achieve.
Also, while I welcome input, I do ask for creative freedom. I want to ensure my client and I are both happy and I can push the boundaries of what my client is thinking into something new, fun and original. With that, I do a LOT of research for every tattoo, big or small. I am always looking at references for something from different cultures, different art forms, and even my fellow tattooers. I try to use these materials to help me focus on a specific item or feeling in a tattoo and turn it into something that fits my artistic preferences, as seen in my portfolio and online work. Most people come to me having seen my work and would like something similar. That comment most likely comes from them enjoying my artistic preferences, and all work that is published through my social media or website is completely from my own making.
I always have the most fun and seem to do my best when the ball is in my court while keeping my clients best interests in mind.
How much does a tattoo cost?
I simply charge by time, at $200/hr. I generally now only do one tattoo a day and consequently charge a day rate for my committed clients, or clients working on large scale work with me. My day rate is a fixed amount ($1000) that allows both my client and I to work efficiently and effectively without the clock ticking; so to speak. Most of my appointments are booked for noon-6pm unless otherwise discussed.
While other tattooers may charge differently, this is what works best for myself and for my clientele, with a consistent and transparent scale on how cost is measured. I tend to work efficiently, and can usually give a fairly accurate idea on expected time of a project beforehand. Each project differs vastly based on size, detail, and the final look we are trying to achieve. Three tattoos all similar in size, one in just line work, one in black and grey, and one in color could all vary in time and consequently price depending on the specifics and complexity of each.
How do deposits work? Will I be able to get my deposit back?
After we discuss your tattoo idea and are both comfortable with moving forward, I will gather a deposit once we settle on a date for the appointment. This deposit is $200 and will go towards the cost of the tattoo, normally during the last appointment.
The deposit is non-refundable. The deposit simply guarantees that my time leading up to the appointment is not a complete loss should someone not show for a scheduled appointment or plan accordingly.
I start working on concepts once an appointment is booked. After deciding on an approach, I start research, preliminary design, digital concepts and layouts, all leading up to the appointment. There is a lot of behind the scene time and effort that every tattooer puts into their work and I pride myself on the hours I put into a piece no matter the size. I usually say that by the time we meet for our appointment the work leading up to that point is 2-3x the actual tattoo time. Ex. a single sitting 6hr tattoo usually takes 6-12 hours of emails, conceptualizing, research, and draw time leading up to the appointment.
That being said, I am fairly lenient and understand that things happen. Given enough notice, I do not mind re-scheduling a current appointment should something occur. I require at LEAST a 48-hour notice, if not more, for a successful reschedule. Otherwise I will need a new deposit to secure a new appointment with the current deposit forfeited.
Simply put, this is how I make a living for myself. My time is valuable and tightly allocated, but I do understand things happen and each situation will be handled at my discretion.
Can I just come in for the tattoo? How do I go about booking an appointment?
I work in an appointment based setup, where I am contacted by someone who has an interest in my work. Once contacted, I will normally set up a consultation to discuss details, gather a deposit to secure the appointment date, and answer any questions that either of us may have. This can also be done via email, however I do find in-person consults more efficient overall. (out of town clients, we can do a consult by phone or simply handle this via email; no need to make a trip just to meet)
I really like your portfolio and I am interested in a tattoo by you. Do you have ideas that you would like to tattoo specifically?
I am always excited for something new, especially when someone approaches me wanting an original concept. I often have concepts ready that I would like to create in tattooing. I will usually offer these up as someone approaches me simply wanting a neat piece and is looking to collect my work, or has a matching concept to one of my ideas. (Ex: if someone came to me and wanted a watercolor rose, or an illustrative bird, I have created some drawings previously that match this idea and would love to do it!)
I will also often post ideas on the rare occasion I have a cancelation, these are usually first come first serve at a discounted rate; so keep up with me on social media for these!
Please send me an email to coordinate a consultation, appointment, or ask any questions AFTER reading the FAQ section (this may delay booking otherwise)
How do big tattoo projects work?
Tattoos take time. Even some small-medium size tattoos that are very well done take hours. Large tattoos (half-sleeves, full-sleeves, “thigh-pieces”, and back-pieces, etc.) can take considerable time. Anywhere from 12-40 hours on big projects.
Usually large pieces are completed in multiple sittings. Most people can comfortably handle around 4-6 hours per sitting during tattooing. After that your body generally starts to wear down, so unless we have planned for a longer day (6+ hours) most of my appointments are in this range, allowing us to get the most work done in the most comfortable amount of time. This is repeated until completion with sittings being a minimum of 2-4 weeks apart based on healing time, budget, and scheduling. I can get a fairly good estimate on roughly how long (and how many sittings) I think a large piece we start will take.
If this is your first tattoo, or first large tattoo; I will be sure to cover this topic in depth during our consultation.
I am nervous about the tattoo process. What should I expect? Is there anything I should bring to my appointment?
Every time I start a tattoo, even on a first-timer, it’s almost always the same: “This isn’t nearly as tough as I thought!”. You’ll hear all kinds of stuff from friends about tattoos. Either they don’t hurt, or they’re the worst. I personally think they’re both exaggerations and while some discomfort is expected with any sort of skin trauma, for the most part tattoos are tolerable and usually described as more “annoying” than painful. Some areas, on the other hand, do tend to be quite sensitive, most notoriously the feet and ribs are examples of some more tender areas and I RARELY take on projects in those areas.
There is nothing specific you NEED to bring to the studio. I always recommend that you eat and sleep well before hand to help ensure your body and immune system are ready for the appointment. Staying hydrated and bringing a snack for blood sugar is also helpful for longer sittings. Feel free to ask me about this ahead of time, but as long as you are ready and have your creature comforts, I will take care of the rest!
For large projects I do request a timely reoccurring appointment so that we can finish a piece, and generally book multiple appointments to begin.
My tattoo is on a difficult to reach area (ex. ribs), what should I wear?
This is a good question. Often I am approached for various tattoos (ribs, “under-boob”/sternum, torso, hip, back, etc.) and not everyone comes quite prepared for these areas. Some areas maybe be simple and for a foot tattoo for example, may simply require the removal of footwear. Other areas like the torso or hip are generally less accessible in daily clothing and require the removal of excess clothing to easily work on a designated area.
I have no desire to make myself or my clients uncomfortable in my studio. In fact, I have worked hard to keep a comfortable, high end studio setting allowing for a very easy-going experience. There are times with difficult to reach tattoos where some clothing, rarely all, will need to be removed. I will do my best to ensure you are comfortable, covered, and not overly exposed. Please be sure to wear clothing appropriate for the tattoo or understand that torso (front or back), for example, (on men and women) may require the removal of a shirt, etc.
Discuss this with me prior to the appointment for questions or concerns.
Do you do small tattoos?
Small tattoos are welcome! I do have a minimum of $200, but do not mind doing this at all.
I don’t have small tattoos often, and usually try to fit these into little windows I may have in my schedule here and there. I think when done well, small tattoos can be just as neat as large tattoos and I often find myself having fun when playing with little details. Contact me for more info on your “small” tattoo idea and if I can’t help; one of my studio mates can surely assist!
Can I bring a friend(s) with me? I am nervous/excited and enjoy company.
The studio is fairly open concept and I have no issue with bringing a friend or a loved one. I do prefer to keep this to a minimum (1-2 guests max, unless otherwise discussed for multiple tattoo subjects). We also ask to be courteous of others in the studio who may also be tattooing or getting tattooed and keep a reasonable volume amongst yourselves. I enjoy meeting and talking to people throughout the tattoo process and encourage socializing, while being respectful to my studio mates. We are all focused in creating a memorable experience for our clients and unless prompted, outside distractions can be disruptive for artists and clients who may be working alongside us.
Can bring my dog/pet?
While I am dog lover, we cannot allow pets in the studio. This happens rarely, but I am always sad to deny entry because of this. We follow the highest safety standards possible and pets simply cannot guarantee sanitation nor are they allowed in by the Health Department.
Now that I have my tattoo, what does tattoo maintenance look like? I've heard tattoos can fade over time. How do I ensure mine will age well, and what is a good regimen for my tattooed skin?
I have two healing methods (see “Aftercare” tab on website) which explains the healing process thoroughly. I will also go over the method needed for the tattoo after our appointment as well as send the instructions needed.
For longevity, I use the pigments I trust for my tattoo ink, which over the years have greatly improved. This gives us the best chance at making a long lasting tattoo. Once the tattoo is completed and healed, the rest is up to you. Your skin is constantly exfoliating and regrowing new cells. Taking care of your skin by regularly moisturizing it and using sunscreen or avoiding heavy sun exposure are things you can do in your daily life to ensure the tattoo lasts as long as possible.
I am interested to know more about finger tattoos?
Finger tattoos have become more popular. If you search online and try to find HEALED photos, there are not many that hold up well. These tattoos tend to spread fairly quickly and look “aged” shortly after completion. While great in theory, I generally would encourage someone to commit their keepsake idea into another area or something more visually appealing to the body art medium.
Do you do blacklight/uv ink tattoos?
I personally do not trust or believe in this idea. Therefore I myself do not do them but I know a few people who do, and can recommend someone if need be.
Do you do white ink tattoos?
White ink works similarly to the above finger tattoo question. These are considered a “temporary” tattoo and tend to not last. Gathering some healed photos will show a white ink tattoo in a more realistic perspective. Every once in a while the person with perfect skin has been able to get a white ink tattoo and, on a few occasions, even get a larger white ink tattoo that healed well. White ink, most of the time, has the subtle look of a scar and is rarely, if ever “white,” usually appearing as a lighter skin tone.
I like your portfolio, but there is nothing that quite matches my idea. Would you recommend anyone?
I try to be as versatile as possible while still keeping my artistic goals in sight. Occasionally I do a piece that isn’t in my norm (ex: Script, Japanese influenced art, etc.). I select these projects based on my current interest. Every once in a while I am approached with a challenging idea, or see something in the process that is useful to me as an artist.
That being said, I do not do every kind of tattoo. For example, a traditional style tattoo (like the classic Sailor Jerry imagery), or script is NOT my forte. Though I have done quite a few, I know plenty of artists in town that do amazing work. Most of this you will find in your research, but I always offer myself as a research tool when direction is needed, and I am happy to help. I would rather get someone in contact with the right person for the job than see another bad tattoo that was easily avoided.
Where do I begin when looking for a tattoo artist?
Most people at some point decide whether they are comfortable and confident enough to commit to a tattoo. This process can be a challenge, as a specific tattoo could spark your interest, or you could have an idea and not know how to even start bringing it to life.
I encourage EVERYONE to do their research! It is very important to yourself that you find someone who is not only reputable, but has a strong portfolio that fits your wants and needs in a project. Today there are many different ways to search, find, and follow artists from all over the world. I am lucky enough to be friends with many people I see floating around the world and there are tons of good materials. In research, you should be able to find a few people that have a style, or a tattoo, or an overall aesthetic that is visually pleasing and could potentially match what is in your head. Every artist works differently, so next I would encourage you to find these people and contact them via email, or in person if they happen to be in your city. Talk with them and see how it goes. I’ve heard bad stories, and experienced a sadly common obstacle in that sometimes an artist, or a client, don’t seem to click with the idea in one way or another. I would suggest looking further, go to the next person on your list or ask around. I’ve seen some really awesome concepts be put on by the wrong artist, or simply by someone who didn’t share their creative preference.
Do your research and be patient.
Good tattoos cost money. Rarely have I seen what I would consider a GREAT tattoo, and thought to myself, “Wow, you got a deal.” Most of the time that internal conversation is closer to me simply understanding that the person obviously went through the steps in collecting a great tattoo, and allowing an artist to bring their work to life based on the portfolio that probably caught the client’s eye.
PLEASE CONTACT ME WITH FURTHER QUESTIONS. FAILURE TO READ THE ABOVE FAQ’S MAY DELAY BOOKING WITH ME