Tattoo FAQ

What is an F.A.Q.?
FAQ refers to Frequently Asked Questions.
(approx 20-minute required read, so grab a cup of tea :-))

In this FAQ I will give you information on how I work, pricing, process, policies, and just about every other question you may have. I am unable to give quotes, estimates, or advice via phone, text, social media, messaging, or video conferencing. After you read through this FAQ, and understand my process, if you still want to move forward, we can possibly set up a consultation appointment to discuss your project, in-person 🙂 *There is a secret code-word within the FAQ that you will need to enter, to show you have read the FAQ.

First Off:

  • Come prepared. Have a good attitude, and be willing to be flexible.
  • 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 appointments. (not 10 minutes early, not 15 minutes late) Everybody’s time is valuable, and I keep a very tight schedule.
  • I prefer cash.
  • Visa/MasterCard/Debit are available with a 3% fee.

Due to all the fun illnesses floating around, including Covid, future pandemics, endemics, RSV-demics, M-pox, Flu, Head-colds, flying snakes, and whatever else is out there… **Masks are still required at all times when in the studio, regardless of vaccination status. No exceptions.**

1) How are Above the Pearl’s tattoos priced*?

  • Hourly Tattoo Rate : $190/hr* (one hour minimum)
  • Studio Minimum: $190* (per person, per piece of artwork)
  • Tattoo Deposit: $150* non-refundable/non-transferable, due at the time of the initial consultation, per person, per piece of artwork, and is applied towards the cost of your tattoo. Highly conceptual or complicated tattoos may require larger deposits.
  • Consultation fees:  $50 (per person) non-refundable/non-transferable due in-advance to hold a consult appointment and is applied towards your deposit/tattoo, if schedule a tattoo appointment(s) at the time of the consult.
  • Active Duty Military, Police, Firefighter, First Responder, and Veteran discount:
    5% with proof. Thank you for your service.

    *As of Nov 1st, 2022 rates have slightly increased due to the increased cost of living, tattoo supplies, overhead, and the cost of everything going up. Thank you for your understanding

1) Does it hurt?
Yes. Its a tattoo. Pain varies from person to person, and by location of the tattoo on the body. 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 within a few hours.

2) How long have you been tattooing?
since 2005, and was a graphic designer for 15 years prior.

3) How far are you booked out?
Generally 3+ months out for consultations appointments, then 5-6 months after the consultation to begin tattooing.  Please visit the consultation form for current status.

4) Is the shop clean and safe?
As a State-licensed professional tattoo artist in Oregon, I put the health and safety of myself and my clients first. Covid and other fun illnesses are still out there, so I choose to maintain safety protocols. For everyone’s safety,  **Masks are still required at all times when in the studio, regardless of vaccination status. No exceptions.**  The studio is compliant with State and Federal requirements, including COVID19-era protocols.

The studio is private, by appointment-only, one-on-one, no guests, no walk-ins and no interruptions. I am trained, and certified, in COVID-19 and viral transmission prevention, aseptic Technique, cross-contamination prevention, and universal precautions for the prevention of disease control, Blood Borne Pathogen Training, micro-spray and air-borne transmission reduction, First AID/CPR, and diseases and disorders of the skin. Additionally, I have multiple hours of continuing education related to the industry, annually, as required by the State of Oregon.

The studio is equipped with HVAC filtration and H13 medical grade HEPA filtration. I use High-level Tuberculocidal, bacterial, and viral medical-grade disinfectants on all surfaces, before and after each client, and follow strict sanitation guidelines.

Guests, Children, Pets, Smoking, Eating and Drinking are prohibited.

5) What style of tattoos are your specialty?
My specialty lies in cover-ups/reworks, scar covers, breast cancer mastectomy work, 3D nipple tattoos, bold, crisp line work, color, and black and grey tattoos with black outlines. If you like the style and general look and feel of my tattoos, regardless of subject matter, then I am probably the artist for you.

About my Art:  I am a collage-based-artist, with a graphic-design background.  I take bits and pieces of printed examples/images you bring me, then put them together, with my own twist, to make a unique tattoo that stands the test of time. See examples in my galleries. I am not a ‘fine-artist’. So, if you are looking for a custom “viking-riding-a-tiger-with-a-beer-mug-in-one-hand-a-chess-board-in-the-other-with-a-crazy-but-contemplative-look-on-his-face-amongst-lightening-and-three-swans-one-white-two-black-flying-towards-the-sun-behind-the-clouds-but-looking-at-the-ground”, I am probably not your artist.

I work best when provided with a good, solid, concept, and examples of what you are hoping to achieve.  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. Much of my business is cover-ups and reworking old tattoos. I know how tattoos age. Tattoos need to last, and look good over time….when you are 80 years old.  If you do not see the ‘style’ of art (regardless of subject matter) you are looking for in my portfolio, I will be happy to refer you to another artist that may be a better match.

6) Do you do custom tattoos?
The art/tattoos I create are a collaborative effort…TO A POINT, based on client desires, and what will make a successful tattoo over the long run. You must be open to what I have to say, and trust my experience, even though it may not be what you want to hear. It is important to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT, and to have a really clear concept of what you are hoping for.  Simplicity of art is key.

7) Can you fix/cover-up/’touch-up’/rework a bad tattoo I have?
Probably. Cover-ups, reworks, and scar covers are a main focus of my work. I have been doing them for many years. Successful cover-ups are a specialty, and can be tricky. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “touching-up” an old tattoo. They need to be redone/reworked.
For Cover-up work….

  • Be willing to be flexible. Each situation is different. There are many possibilities, as well as MANY limitations to a successful cover-up. I can make a lot of things work, some things I cannot.  It really depends on how much you hate the current tattoo. I need to at least know what you are hoping for, and you need to bring me printed visual examples. It doesn’t have to be the exact thing…. but I need somewhere to start. Animal, vegetable, mineral, flora, fauna, machine?
  • You must be open and willing to accept what I have to say, even though it may not be what you want to hear. Your idea may, or may not work, but I will offer guidance for the best possible outcome. Trust my experience. I am just as invested in a successful outcome, as my name is on it for the rest of your life.
  • I will always provide you with the best solution for your situation in order for the tattoo to last over time.
  • There is no such thing as “touching up” an old tattoo. They need to be redone/reworked.
  • In the case of large, dark, dense tattoos, laser removal may be necessary to “knock down” the old tattoo to a point that I can work with it. I will give you a referral to a laser clinic if necessary. Sometimes I can give tattoos new life, without having to drastically change the artwork.
  • Be prepared to go at least 300%-1000%+ larger, than the tattoo you want to cover. Most times, it is not possible to cover a small tattoo with another small tattoo, and be successful. Distraction is key.
  • Cover-ups are a process, and may require multiple sessions/layers beyond the initial tattoo installation. It is necessary to come back after a number of months, to go over the covered-up area, due to sun, ink fading, ghosting etc. Your line art deposit will be applied towards the follow-up session.
  • In general, floral with leaves, crows, and koi fish, work well for cover-ups, but I can make a lot of other things work as well. Come with Ideas of what you are hoping for… not what you may, or may not, think might be possible.
  • FYI: The most frequently covered up tattoo styles are lover’s names, drunk tattoos, tiny blurred tattoos, wrist tattoos, tribal armbands, anything ‘exploding into birds tattoos’, gang-related tattoos, old tattoos with too much detail that blurred over time, blocks of text, trendy, dated tattoos (ie: Pinterest), best-friend tattoos, and impulse walk-in tattoos.
  • I generally ask that tattoos be at least 5+ years old before I will cover or rework them. Exceptions on a case-by-case basis

8) Can you tattoo over a scar?
Most likely. It depends on the severity and maturity of the scar. This is determined on a case-by-case basis, and must be seen in-person. In general, scars should be at least one year old, and have healed to your skin color.

9) Can I bring in my own drawing?
Yes…BUT…  I may need to rework personal drawings based on the drawing’s “tattoo-ability”. Simplicity of art is key. Tiny, highly-detailed drawings tend to blur together over time in the skin.Things that look good on paper, do not necessarily translate well as tattoos that last.

10) Is there anything you won’t tattoo?
I will not tattoo above the collar (necks/faces), below the wrist (hands/fingers), genitals, white-only tattoos, tiny highly-detailed micro-tattoos, tiny blocks of text tattoos, mis-oriented (upside down) tattoos, hate-based or blatantly obscene tattoos, and will only do limited work on feet.
I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, at any point, for any reason…. especially mean, nasty, rude, demanding, indecisive, manipulative, pushy, self-entitled, flaky people, or people with bad attitudes. I am here to HELP you, and help you make good decisions for the future, not argue with you. Feel free to take your attitude elsewhere.

11) Do I need a consultation appointment?
Yes. I require an in-person consultation appointment of all my clients, regardless of the size, scope, and perceived simplicity or complexity, especially with cover-ups and scar work. Quotes/estimates cannot be given over the phone, email, txts, messaging, or video conferencing.

**Due to the limited availability and long wait times of appointments, consultation appointments require a $50 non-refundable/non-transferable deposit, per person, per piece of art/tattoo, at the time of consultation scheduling. Deposits are applied towards your tattoo deposit/tattoo, should we agree to move forward. Once we set the appointment date/time via email, it will be saved just for you secured with a deposit. You will receive an emailed PayPal invoice due on receipt, to hold the appointment. The prepaid deposit is valid for your agreed upon day and time ONLY. No shows and reschedules forfeit the deposit. Lets keep it fair for everyone who wants an appointment.

11a) What happens at the consultation appointment?
Consultation appointments are 45min TOTAL, and include art discussion, process, paperwork, tracings, photographs and deposits. I will advise, and gather ideas to create a tattoo based on the printed information/ideas you provide, to create artwork based on your individual situation. In the extremely rare case that I cannot help you, I can refer someone fit for your situation. In order to make everything go smoothly, please come prepared with paper-printouts of ideas, and cash deposits. Consultation appointments are available twice a month, and no guests are allowed in the studio. You will need to make decisions about your tattoo on your own.

12) Do I need to leave a deposit?
Once we have determined we will be a good fit, I require a additional non-refundable/non-transferable deposit of $100 (total $150), at the time of the consultation appointment to have me do any drawing, or schedule a tattoo appointment. Extremely complicated cover-ups, complex, or highly conceptual work may require larger deposits. Do not make an appointment unless you are sure. Art takes time.

13) Do I get to preview the art/sketches before the day of the tattoo?
Yes. We will meet for an art/sketch review roughly 3-4 weeks before the actual tattoo date. Until further notice, no guests are allowed in the studio. The process is not design-by-committee. If you feel that you need someone else’s opinion, I ask hold off on scheduling, or find another artist that may be able accommodate. I do not allow photographs or copies of the artwork to leave the studio. I do not offer video conferencing.  You will need to make decisions about your tattoo on your own. Once we agree on the artwork concept, I will require an additional $50-$100 non-refundable/non-transferable *’line-art deposit’ which is applied towards the final cost of your tattoo.

The initial $150 deposit includes one set of sketches (up to roughly 2 hours drawing time) and one set of minor revisions, if needed. Major revisions or additional versions beyond the initial set of sketches, are subject to $150/hr non-refundable/non-transferable design-fee on top of the cost of the tattoo, plus a $50 non-refundable/non-transferable charge for an additional meeting. I will only revise one time. In the case of major revisions/or multiple versions, if we cannot agree on artwork by the second go-around, we are either not a good fit, or it may not be time for you to get tattooed yet, and the process stops.

14) Can I have the drawing if I decide not to be tattooed?
Drawing is part of the tattoo process. The deposit is money down on a tattoo, for a tattoo. All artwork/sketches/comps are property of Above the Pearl Tattoo, LLC.  I do not allow photographs or copies of the artwork to leave the studio, even if it had been tattooed on you. NO EXCEPTIONS.

15) What is a *Line Art deposit, and is it in addition to the original deposit?
Getting tattoo art ready for precision installation takes time. Once we agree on the artwork concept, I will require an additional $50-$100 non-refundable/non-transferable ‘line-art deposit’ which is applied towards the final cost of your tattoo. This is a good-faith deposit that you will go through with the tattoo.  I do not make changes to the artwork the day of the tattoo except for size. Large, conceptual or extremely complex designs may require a 50% non-refundable/non-transferable prepayment of the final estimated cost of the tattoo.

16) What are your Cancellation/Rescheduling/Late arrivals Policies?
Strict. Thank you for understanding that this is how I make my living, full-time. 72 hours notice is required on cancellations or reschedules on ANY appointment, or lose your deposit. It is nearly impossible to fill appointments with less than 72 hours (and even then it is difficult) I will generally reschedule one time outside 72 hours, without a fee, depending on the circumstance. Additional reschedules are subject to a $50 non-refundable/non-transferable rescheduling fee, in advance, in addition to the cost of the tattoo.

Reasons include, but are not limited to: repeated illness, scheduling conflicts, vet appointments, doctors appointments, kid emergencies, lack of childcare, travel, flight cancellations, work obligations, job changes, lack of funds, car emergencies, Covid quarantines, vacations, school tests, camping trips, family gatherings, time mismanagement, memory issues, or your dog ate your appointment card.

  • Tattoo appointment cancellations with less than 72 hours may be billed for up to half the scheduled session, subject to collections.
  • Tattoo appointment cancellations with less than 48 hours will be billed for half the scheduled session, subject to collections.
  • Day-of-tattoo cancellations will be billed for up to the entire session, subject to collections.
  • No-call-no-shows, on any appointment, will not be rescheduled, forfeit any deposits/fees and all scheduled appointments, and will be billed for the full session, subject to collections.
  • If I (Tanya) cancels inside the 72 hour window, $50 will be credited toward the next session.

Inclement weather, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other unforeseen acts from the Universe that affect the studio, are generally exempt (case-by-case basis).

Late arrivals: Due to limited time-frames, if you are more than 5-10 minutes late, you will need to be rescheduled with a fee. If you are more than 15 minutes late it is considered a no-show, subject to fees. (see above) and I reserve the right to leave the studio. If you cancel/reschedule a tattoo appointment, know that it may take up to 6-9+ months to get back in, or result large time gaps in-between sessions. Habitual reschedules may not be rescheduled. Rare exceptions on a case-by-case basis. For unexpected acts of the Universe, I will be in touch.

16) How do I make an appointment?
—-keep going…you’re halfway there!—-

17) This will be my first tattoo. Any advice?
Listen to your artist.
Avoid trendy tattoos (ie: Pinterest, Instagram, etc) I personally will not tattoo extremely large tattoos, sleeves, or body-pieces as your first tattoo. Start small/medium-ish. Work with something that can be expanded upon, over time. The idea and dream of a large tattoo may be grand, but reality will quickly set in as soon as the first line goes in. Tattoos hurt. Large tattoos are expen$$$$ive, and require a long-term commitment of pain, time, and money. Long tattoo sessions require physical and mental endurance. Get your feet wet…then decide if you want to continue, rather than having a partially finished tattoo that never gets seen to completion.

18) Am I supposed to tip?
Yes. Tips are always welcome, appropriate, and appreciated. A tip is nothing more than a compliment on a job well done. Tips range anywhere from 15%-100+%….and YES, if the person doing your tattoo owns the shop, it is good form, and appropriate to tip them, especially if they work by themselves. Overhead, state and federal health and safety compliance requirements, single person health insurance, lease obligations, overhead, supplies, and taxes are expen$$$ive.

19) How old do I have to be to get tattooed?
18 years old with valid State or Federal Issued ID or Passport. It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18 in most states, including Oregon and Washington, even with parental consent.

19a) Can my parent sign for me?
No.  All tattoo clients must be 18 years or older, and have valid state or federal issued photo ID, regardless of parental consent.

20) How do I take care of my tattoo? Aftercare Instructions -CLICK HERE!
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 you healing properly, as you are. I know what heals my tattoos best, and will know when you have not followed the aftercare instructions, or have deviated from them, and there is a charge to fix.

21) How long can I expect my tattoo to take to heal?
Tattoos take roughly 10-14 days for the initial healing process. It can take up to 2 months for your skin and hair to grow back to normal.

22) 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 pivotal movement is constant, can also take longer to heal. Areas of the body with natural seams, like elbows and knees can also take longer to heal.

23) Is it normal for my new tattoo to scab?
Light 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 me directly.

24) Are there any health issues, or medications that may prohibit me from getting tattooed?
It depends. Please notify me of any health conditions prior to scheduling. 
Health and  Safety are of the upmost importance. Getting tattooed puts stress on the body.  I am unable to tattoo anyone on blood thinners besides baby-aspirin (ie: Cumadin/warfarin, Elequis, Pradaxa, Savaysa, Xarelto, etc), hemophiliacs, or anyone pregnant or nursing. Diabetes (see above), some Heart conditions, Hepatitis, HIV, Asthma, Epilepsy or other conditions, may require a doctors clearance. Extremely thin, severely sun-damaged, or compromised skin may be an issue, but I have to see you in-person. Every situation is case-by-case basis.

(24a) I’m Diabetic, Can I get a tattoo?
It depends
. There are some restrictions, I require written doctors clearance, and your A1C levels must be 7 or below, managed, and consistently within range. Each individual situation is different, and on a case-by-case basis. Please see this helpful article on tattoos and diabetes.
Click HERE

24b) What if I’m allergic to latex?
Inform me of any and all allergic tendencies. I use latex alternatives.

24c) 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

25) Can I bring my kids?
No one under the age of 18 is allowed in the studio. No exceptions. Please arrange for child-care before your scheduled appointments.

26) Do you use Vegan-friendly ink?
I use the highest quality tested, industry-standard pigments/ink.

27) What can I do to prepare for my tattoo?
Please bathe/shower and pop a breath mint. (I will do you the same courtesy.) Be well rested and well hydrated. Wear clean clothes and clean socks. Bring a hair tie if you have long hair. Eat a good meal with lots of protein, within 2 hours of your tattoo appt. No alcohol 8 hours before your tattoo. Don’t come in hung-over, it will just make you bleed more due to the blood-thinning properties of the alcohol still in your system. Avoid caffeine and energy drinks the day of your tattoo. Avoid strenuous workouts the morning of your tattoo. It will make you bleed more. Happy, healthy people heal better. Getting tattooed when you are sick, pre or post-surgery, or extraordinarily stressed out is not ideal. Furthermore, people with compromised immune systems typically take longer to heal, and I require a doctor’s authorization.

28) Should I eat before I get tattooed?
YES. It is ideal to eat within two hours of being tattooed, ideally, immediately before your appointment. 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.

29) Can I have a drink or smoke weed 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.

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

31) 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, due to improper aftercare, and not following the provided aftercare instructions. If you think there is an issue, please 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.

32) Can I tan?
Any form of tanning can, and will, damage and fade a tattoo. If you are a sun worshiper, I recommend a SPF 50+ sun block, after the tattoo is healed for the rest of your life. In general, it is best to stay out of the sun and tanning booths, especially during the healing process.

33) Do you do free touch-ups?
No. One $50 touch-up is included within 9 months of the last tattoo appointment, on my own work, on non-cover-up/rework/scar-cover tattoos..only IF NEEDED. Blatant disregard of the instructions provided in the tattoo aftercare instructions, or lack common sense and hygiene, will require a charge to fix at the normal hourly rate. YES I can tell when someone has deviated from the instructions. Anything beyond the 9 month $50 touch-up window is a $190 minimum and is charged at the current hourly rate. For cover-ups/reworks/scar covers, the line art deposit is applied towards the final touch-up session. The final exception to $50 touch-up is if you blow off a touch-up appointment, thereby disregarding the importance of my time and efforts. I may or may not reschedule you. Future appointments may require deposits, gifts, or cost you money. It all depends on how badly you offend me.

34) What if I don’t like it?
It is best to circumvent the need for tattoo removal or cover-ups by choosing your artist and your design wisely. As a general rule, if you do not see examples of the style of tattoo you are looking for in my portfolio, then I do not specialize in that particular area.  I will always offer you the absolute best tattoo solution, and installation, for your situation I am capable of at the time. Good reference material is key. My name is associated with the tattoo for the rest of your life, so I am highly invested in the outcome. I have a rigorous art creation and approval process before we even get to the point of installation. You will approve the artwork and placement 3 times before it is actually installed.  I spend many valuable hours coming up with custom solutions for your unique situation. If you cannot make up your mind, or have any doubts, at any point in the process, speak-up! Its probably just not time to get tattooed, or we may not be a good fit. If you are not 100% sure…then don’t do it. 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. Once its in, its IN. Tattoo removal and cover-up is painful, expensive, and imprecise.

Congratulations! You made it! Good job!. Thank you for reading everything. The code-word is Blackbird. You will need to enter the code word on the contact form to prove you have read  FAQ. If you do not enter the correct code word, or ask questions in the consult form that are already covered in the FAQ, text me repeatedly, or call me, you have failed the first test, you shall not pass, and I will not get back to you. Sorry. Otherwise, lets do this!

To schedule a consultation appointment, or be considered for the waiting list, please use the contact/scheduling form 🙂 or Click Here