Tattoo FAQ

Tattoo Tips from Tanya, and things to know BEFORE you a schedule a consultation to get a tattoo. I am committed to working with you to end up with a beautiful tattoo that will last as long as you do. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

There are five things essential to a quality tattoo:
1. Knowing what you want.
2. A talented artist.
3. A great design.
4. A sterile, sanitary, bright and clean environment.
5. A good attitude.

In This FAQ I will give you general information on how I work, choosing a good artist and
studio. Issues with design are too numerous to mention, but set up a consultation appointment,  and I will be happy to help you, or guide you in the right direction. Below, I address many of the questions to asked, and will give you tips to assure that your tattoo process is a good one…

First Off:

  • Choose your tattoo wisely.
    (It will be around 6 months longer than you will.)
  • Please bathe/shower and pop a breath mint before your appointment.
    (I will do you the same courtesy.)
  • Please be on time for your appointment.
    (not 30 minutes early, not 20 minutes late)
    Everybody’s time is valuable, and I keep a very tight schedule. (If you are going to be more than 10 minutes late, due to traffic, parking, etc….please call and leave a message)
    **If you are 15 minutes late, and you have not called, you are considered a no-show, and I reserve the right to leave the studio, to take care of other business.
  • 48 hours notice on reschedules or cancellations please, or forfeit your deposit.
  • No Alcohol before getting tattooed.
  • I prefer cash.
  • Visa and MasterCard are available with a 3% fee.
  • I reserve the right to refuse to tattoo mean, nasty, rude people, or people with bad attitudes. Feel free to take your attitude elsewhere.

1) What is a F.A.Q.?
FAQ refers to Frequently Asked Questions.

2) Does it hurt?
Yes. Its a tattoo. Pain varies from person to person. Most people compare getting a tattoo to the discomfort of a cat-scratch on a sunburn. Relax, don’t fight it, and it will all be over soon, or in 2-3 hours, depending upon the size of the tattoo.

3) How are tattoos priced?
My rates are $155 per hour, with an $80 studio minimum. Unfortunately, quotes cannot be given over the phone or email.

3a) Do I need a consultation appointment?
Yes. Consultation appointments are $20. If you decide to schedule a tattoo appointment, the consult fee is applied towards the cost of your tattoo. I require a consultation appointment of every client, and a non-refundable deposit of $50/$100 depending on the scope of the artwork. The deposit is applied towards the cost of the tattoo. I do not give hard estimates. Once I have image information, size and a location, I will give you a ballpark figure, at the time of the consultation appointment. Multiple reworks or revisions of artwork may incur additional art charges at $60/hr. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. Please email tanya@abovethepearl.com  or use the contact form to set up a consultation appointment.
Quotes cannot be given over the phone or email.

3b) Do I need to leave a deposit?
Yes. In order to schedule a tattoo appointment or have me do any drawing, at the time of the consultation appointment, I require a non-refundable deposit of $50/$100 depending on the scope of the artwork. The deposit is applied towards the cost of the tattoo. Deposits are absolutely non-refundable. Do not make an appointment unless you are sure.

3c) How far are you booked out?
I am generally booked out 5-7 months from the time of consult.

4) Am I supposed to tip?
Yes, tips are welcome and appreciated. Tips range anywhere from 15%-100%. A tip is nothing more than a compliment on a job well done.

5) How do I know if the tattoo shop is clean?
I, Tanya Magdalena, and Above the Pearl Tattoo, use the highest standards of cleanliness and sterilization techniques dictated by the Oregon State Health Licensing Department. Cleanliness and safety are of the utmost importance. As for other shops, take a look around. Do you like what you see? Trust your eyes and instincts. If you have any doubts, run- don’t walk to the nearest exit. Better safe than sorry. Ask if there is an autoclave on premises and if so, do they spore test? The answer to both questions should be yes and they should be able to show you proof. The artist supplies should be sterile, single-use needles, disposable, and the artist should change their gloves frequently during the tattoo process. Smoking, eating and pets should be restricted on the premises.

6) How old do I have to be to get tattooed?
It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18 in the state of Oregon and Washington. I may choose not to do highly visible tattoos on anyone under the age of 21. This is decided on a case-by-case basis.

7) Can my parent sign for me?
No. All tattoo clients must be over the age of 18 and have valid state or federal issued photo id.

8) Can I have a drink before I get tattooed?
No. It is illegal and ill-advised to get tattooed while you are under the influence. It will not make your experience any better. It actually makes the process more difficult for you and the artist and raises the risk of complications.

9) Can I get tattooed while pregnant or breast -feeding?
No. Getting tattooed while pregnant or breast-feeding has the possibility of complications your health and that of your baby, and is against Oregon State Law

10) Should I eat before I get tattooed?
YES. It is ideal to eat within two hours of being tattooed. Please eat plenty of protein, and be well hydrated. Having stable blood sugar bolsters your immune system and helps the body deal with the fluctuation of endorphins, which are emitted during the tattoo process.

11) What can I do to prepare for my tattoo?
Please bathe/shower and pop a breath mint. (I will do you the same courtesy.) Eat a good meal within 2 hours of your tattoo appt. No alcohol 8 hours before your tattoo. Avoid caffeine and energy drinks the day of your tattoo. Happy, healthy people heal better. Getting tattooed when you are sick, post or pre-surgery or extraordinarily stressed out is not ideal. Furthermore, people with compromised immune systems (e.g. diabetes, Hepatitis, HIV) typically take longer to heal, and I require a doctor’s authorization.

12) How long have you been tattooing?
I have been tattooing since 2005, and was a graphic designer for 15 years prior. A portfolio is the best judge of an artist’s proficiency. While I am versatile in my styles, at this time, I do not do photo-realistic portraits. As a general rule, take a thorough look at the photographs of work that artists have accomplished. Most artists are able to do a variety of styles but they may have a particular style that they enjoy and are considered exceptional in. If you like my style and general look and feel of my tattoos, then I am artist for you. Feel free to ask any questions. If I end up not doing your tattoo, I will be happy to refer you to another artist that may be a better match.

13) Can I bring in my own drawing?
YES. I encourage you to bring in your own print-outs of artwork or references and ideas to use, to draw you a custom tattoo! The more the better. I may need to rework personal drawings based on the drawing’s “tattoo-ability”.

I will generally schedule you an “art/sketch appointment”, to make sure we are on the same creative wavelength. I will show you rough sketches at that time. I will generally have more than one version of your art to choose from. Any tweaks or changes can be discussed at that time. Final line work will be revealed the day of your tattoo appointment. .

I take pride in producing tattoos that meet both the client’s needs, as well as addressing design issues that are necessary for a tattoo to last, and look good, over the course of a lifetime. Simplicity is key.

Any minor requested changes to the design will be done before your appointment. I do not make changes to the artwork the day of the appointment, except for size. Extensive reworks will require a reschedule. Multiple revisions may be subject to an additional $60/hr drawing charge. Artwork is done in the days leading up to, if not the day before, the appointment. Your deposit will be applied to the cost of the tattoo. If you choose not to be tattooed, the deposit is considered a drawing fee/ appointment retainer fee, and is nonrefundable.

14) Can you fix/cover-up a bad tattoo I have?
Probably. A consult is typically required to determine what imagery is necessary to adequately cover the old work. Be prepared to go at least 70-100% larger than the tattoo you want to cover. I can give tattoos new life, without covering it up. FYI: The most frequently covered up tattoo styles are gang-related, lover’s names, tribal armbands, and blocks of text.

15) Can you tattoo over a scar?
It depends on the severity and maturity of the scar. This is judged on a case-by-case basis. In general, a scar should be at least one year old, and have healed to your skin color.

16) What is the most painful place to be tattooed?
Pain varies from person to person. General consensus is ribs, tops of feet, inside the elbow, back of the knee are the most painful. Don’t choose an area or a size based on the pain factor. The tattoos beauty will last for decades longer than the minimal difference in sensation.

17) What if I¹m allergic to latex?
Inform me of any and all allergic tendencies. I use latex alternatives.

18) How do I take care of my tattoo?
Follow the aftercare instructions I give you. Not your friend, not your previous tattoo artists, not the internet, not your mail person, or your Uncle Joe. Aftercare is AS, if not MORE, important than the actual tattoo itself. It directly affects how your tattoo will turn out. I am just as invested in your healing properly, as you are. I know what heals my tattoos best, as well as what is recommended by the health department.

Aftercare Instructions -CLICK HERE!

19) How long can I expect my tattoo to take to heal?
Tattoos take between 7-10 days for the initial healing process. It can take up to 2 months for your skin and hair to grow back to normal.

20) What area of the body is hardest to heal?
Blood flow is an integral part of the healing process so the closer to the heart the better the healing. Extremities can take longer to heal. The other significant factor affecting healing, is friction and creases. Tattoos on the torso where pants can constrict and where pivotal movement is constant can also take longer to heal. Areas of the body with natural seams, like elbows and knees can also heal rough.

21) Is it normal for my new tattoo to scab?
Scabbing, flaking, peeling, dryness are all natural parts of the healing process. Severe scabs that are deep and thick may indicate a need to change your aftercare routine and should be addressed with your tattoo artist.

22) What happens if it gets infected?
Infections or allergic reactions are VERY RARE. More often than not, what you perceive as an infection, is actually an irritation. If you think there is an issue, please come speak to me. If there is an actual infection, a physician will help you get healthy, hopefully without allowing personal prejudice against tattoos or tattoo artists to cloud their professional responsibility.

23) Do you do free touch-ups?
Yes, on my own work, if needed. One free touch-up is included within one year of the tattoo appt. Feet and white tattoos are an exception to this rule. Another exception would be blatant disregard of the rules of common sense and tattoo aftercare. The final exception to free touch-ups is if you blow off a touch-up appointment, thereby disregarding the importance of my time and efforts. Future appointments may require deposits, gifts, or cost you money. It all depends on how badly you offend me.

24) Can I tan?
Any form of tanning can, and will, damage and fade a tattoo. If you are a sun worshipper, I recommend a SPF 30+ sun block. In general it is best to stay out of the sun and tanning booths, especially during the healing process.

25) Is there anything you won’t tattoo?
I will not tattoo hate-based, blatantly obscene tattoos, anything above the collar, below the wrist, genitals, and will only do limited work on feet. At the present time I do not offer photo-realistic portraiture.

I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. Especially mean, nasty, rude people, or people with bad attitudes. Feel free to take your attitude elsewhere

26) What if I don’t like it?
I will always give you the absolute best tattoo I am capable of at the time. It is best to circumvent the need for tattoo removal by choosing your artist and your design wisely. Check their portfolio.  If you do not see examples of the style of tattoo you are looking for in their portfolio, then they probably do not specialize in that particular area.  If you are not 100% sure…then don’t do it. Avoid trendy tattoos, lovers names, and go for something symbolic and timeless. Remember that you are getting a tattoo that you want to be able to live with for the rest of your life. Tattoo removal is still a painful, expensive, and imprecise process.

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