Tattoo FAQ

In this FAQ I will give you general information on how I work, pricing, process, policies, Issues with design are too numerous to mention, and I am unable to give quotes or estimates via phone, email, or video conferencing.
After you read through this FAQ, understand my processes, if you still want to move forward, please use the link for the contact form. There is a secret code-word within the FAQ that you will need to enter, to show you have read the FAQ. Let’s set up a consultation appointment to discuss your project, in-person :-)

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 20 minutes early, not 10 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.

What is an F.A.Q.?
FAQ refers to Frequently Asked Questions.

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

  • Hourly Tattoo Rate : $170/hr (one hour minimum)*
  • Studio Minimum: $170*
  • Tattoo Deposit: $100, non-refundable/non-transferable, due at the time of the initial consultation, per piece of artwork, and is applied towards the cost of your tattoo, in order to get scheduled, or begin any artwork. Highly conceptual or complicated tattoos may require larger deposits.
  • Consultation fees:  $20/$50
    $20: (non-cover-up tattoos) non-refundable, non-transferable and is applied towards your deposit, should you decide to get on the books for a tattoo appointment(s), at the time of the consult.
    (please see consult section 4 below)
    $50: (cover-up tattoos) non-refundable, non-transferable and is applied towards your deposit, should you decide to get on the books for a tattoo appointment(s), at the time of the consult.
    (please see consult section 4 below)
    *(rates have slightly increased due to the cost of State mandated COVID19 compliance, associated overhead costs. Thank you for your understanding)

1) Does it hurt?
Yes. Its a tattoo. Pain varies from person to person, and 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 soon, or within in a few hours, depending upon the size of the tattoo.

2) 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, from consult through completion. The studio is COVID-19 compliant with all current State and Federal requirements. The studio is private, by appointment-only, one-on-one, no guests, no walk-ins and no interruptions. I am a germ-o-phobe and perfectionist, in the most positive sense of the terms. I am trained, and  certified, in COVID-19 transmission prevention, in addition to my existing training and certification in Aseptic Technique, Cross-Contamination prevention, 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. I am also required to have multiple hours of continuing education related to the industry, per year, 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 medical-grade disinfectants (which yes, will also kill coronaviruses) on all surfaces, before and after each client, and follow strict guidelines. Your temperature will be recorded before you come in, and for everyone’s safety, masks are required at all times when in the studio. No exceptions.

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

3) How far are you booked out?
Under normal circumstances, 2-3 months out for consultations appointments, and out 3-6 months for the tattoo, after the consultation. Please check the contact/scheduling form for up-to-date time frames.

4) Do I need a consultation appointment?
Yes. Quotes/estimates cannot be given over the phone, email or video conferencing. 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. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, consultation appointments are available twice a month, in order to limit the number of people in the studio on tattoo days. Consultation appointments are $20 for non-cover-up tattoos, $50 for cover-up tattoo consultations. Fees are due at the time of consult. All deposits are non-refundable, non-transferable, per person, per piece of art, and are applied towards your tattoo deposit, should we agree to move forward.

4a) What happens at the consultation appointment?
Consults are 45min appointments TOTAL, and include art discussion, process, paperwork, tracings, photographs and deposits. In order to make everything go smoothly, please come prepared with paper-printouts of ideas, and cash deposits.

I will advise, and gather ideas to create a tattoo based on the printed information/ideas I ask that you provide, and create art based on your individual situation, to be reviewed about 1 month before the first tattoo appointment. In the extremely rare case that I cannot help you, I can refer someone fit for your situation. Due to Phase One State Covid-19 restrictions, consultation appointments are available twice a month, in order to limit the number of people in the studio on tattoo days and no guests are allowed in the studio. You will need to make decisions about your tattoo on your own.

5) How do I make an appointment?
Read through this FAQ then use the CONTACT/SCHEDULING FORM form on the website. We will schedule your work at the time of the consultation appointment.

6) Do I need to leave a deposit?
Once we have determined we will be a good fit, I require a non-refundable deposit of $100, at the time of the consultation appointment, in order to move forward, schedule a tattoo appointment or have me do any drawing. Extremely complicated, complex, or conceptual work may require larger deposits. Deposits are non-refundable, non-transferable, per tattoo, and applied towards the final cost of the tattoo.

7) 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.  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 specialize in. If you like the style and general look and feel of my tattoos, then I am probably artist for you. Feel free to ask any questions at the consultation. If I end up not doing your tattoo, I will be happy to refer you to another artist that may be a better match.

8) What style of tattoo is your specialty?
While I am versed in many different styles of tattoos, my specialty lies in cover-ups, reworks, line-work, color, and bold, crisp, color tattoos with black outlines. I am good at replicating what I see. I am not a fine-artist, I am a collage-artist, with a graphic-design background. I take bits and pieces of examples/images you bring and put them together, with my own twist, to make a unique tattoo that stands the test of time. I work best when provided with a good, solid, concept, and general examples of what you are hoping to achieve. See examples in my galleries.

9) Do you do custom tattoos?
The art/tattoos I create are a collaborative effort…to a point, based on what my client wants, 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. I take bits and pieces of visual reference you supply at the consultation, and put them together to make a unique, custom piece of artwork based on what you envision, within the scope and limitations of the medium, in order to last, and look good over time. You want your tattoo to look good when you are 80 years old. 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.

We will meet for an art/sketch review roughly 2-3 weeks before the actual tattoo date. The initial $100 deposit is applied towards the cost of the tattoo and includes one set of sketches (up to roughly 2 hours drawing time) and one set of minor revisions. I will always provide you the best solution possible for your situation. Major revisions or additional versions beyond the initial set of sketches, are subject to $100/hr non-refundable design-fee on top of the cost of the tattoo, plus a $50 charge for each additional time we have to meet. 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.

Once we agree on the artwork concept, I will require an additional $50-$100 line-art deposit which is applied towards the final cost of your tattoo. Getting tattoo art ready for installation, takes time. All deposits and drawing costs are absolutely non-refundable and non-transferable. Art takes time. Large, conceptual or extremely complex designs may require a 50% non-refundable prepayment of the final estimated cost of the tattoo. Do not make an appointment unless you are sure.

10) Can you fix/cover-up a bad tattoo I have?
Probably. Successful cover-ups are a specialty, and can be tricky. Cover-ups and reworks are a main focus of my work, and I have been doing them for many years. I have seen just about everything.  I know how tattoos work long-term.
For Cover-up work….

  • Be willing to be flexible. 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. Each situation is different. I need to at least know what you are hoping for, and you need to bring me printed visual examples.
  • You must be open and willing to accept what I have to say, even though it may not be what you want to hear. Trust my experience. Your idea may, or may not work, but I will offer guidance for the best possible outcome.
  • 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.
  • 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 may be necessary to come back within a number of months, to go over the covered-up area, due to sun, ink fading, ghosting etc. This is considered part of the process, and not included in the free touch-up period.
  • In general, floral with leaves, crows, 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 think may, or may not, be possible.
  • FYI: The most frequently covered up tattoo styles are lover’s names, drunk tattoos, tiny blurred tattoos, wrist tattoos, tribal armbands, gang-related tattoos, old tattoos with too much detail that blurred over time, blocks of tiny-text, and trendy, dated tattoos.

11) 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. In general, a scar should be at least one year old, and have healed to your skin color.

12) Can I bring in my own drawing?
Yes…BUT…  I may need to rework personal drawings based on the drawing’s “tattoo-ability”. Simplicity 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.

13) Is there anything you won’t tattoo?
I will not tattoo anything 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 tattoos, hate-based, blatantly obscene tattoos, and will only do limited work on feet. While I am versatile in my styles, at this time, I do not offer photo-realistic portraits, black and grey realism.
I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, at any point, for any reason…. especially mean, nasty, rude, demanding, manipulative, pushy 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.

14) Can I have the drawing if I decide not to be tattooed?
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 are your Cancellation/Rescheduling Policies?
72 hours notice required on cancellations or reschedules. Cancellations with less that 72 hours will forfeit your deposit/fees. Exceptions determined on a case-by-case basis. Please know that If you cancel/reschedule your tattoo appointment, it could take up to 8-10+ months to get back on the schedule. A $50 non-refundable rescheduling-fee will be required for multiple cancellations/reschedules, regardless of reason, in addition to the cost of your tattoo.  If you are unsure of your schedule due to work, health matters, or otherwise, please hold off on scheduling until you are sure you can keep the appointment. Habitual cancellations/reschedules may not be rescheduled. No-call no-shows will forfeit any deposits and will not be rescheduled. Tattoo deposits are valid for 9-12 months from the time of the initial consultation appointment, depending on my schedule.
All monies put forth are absolutely non-refundable.

16) 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 the state of Oregon and Washington, even with parental consent. 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.

16a) This will be my first tattoo. Any advice?
Listen to your artist. Avoid trendy tattoos (ie: pinterest) I personally advise not signing up for a back-piece or extremely large body-piece 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. Long tattoo sessions require physical and mental endurance. Large tattoos are expen$ive, and require a long-term commitment of pain, time, and money. Get your feet wet…then decide if you want to continue, rather than having a partially finished tattoo that never gets seen to completion.

17) Can my parent sign for me?
No. It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18 in the state of Oregon and Washington. All tattoo clients must be over the age of 18 and have valid state or federal issued photo ID, regardless of parental consent. Anyone who says they will do a tattoo underage with parental consent, is being untruthful.

18) 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 your healing properly, as you are. I know what heals my tattoos best, as well as what is recommended by the health department. I know when you have not followed, or deviated from the aftercare instructions.

19) How long can I expect my tattoo to take to heal?
Tattoos take roughly 10-14 days for the initial healing process. Everyone is different. 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) I’m Diabetic, Can I get a tattoo?
it depends. There are some restrictions, I require a written doctors clearance, and your levels will need to be managed and 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

22) 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 me directly.

23) Can I bring my kids?
No one under the age of 18 is allowed in the studio. No exceptions. By new State regulations, only one person is allowed in the studio at a time. Please arrange for child-care before your scheduled appointments.

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

25) 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, COVID-19 State mandated compliance requirements, single person health insurance, and taxes are expen$ive.

26) 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.

27) 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

28) 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. Eat a good meal with lots of protein, within 2 hours of your tattoo appt. No alcohol 8 hours before your tattoo. Best not to come in hung-over, it will just make you bleed more due to the blood-thinning properties of the alcohol still in your system. Eat a big meal with lots of protein within 2 hours of your appointment. 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.

29) 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.

30) What is the most painful place to be tattooed?
Pain varies from person to person. General consensus is ribs, tops of feet, elbow, 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 if I’m allergic to latex?
Inform me of any and all allergic tendencies. I use latex alternatives.

32) 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 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.

33) Can I tan?
Any form of tanning can, and will, damage and fade a tattoo. You need to keep a new tattoo out of the sun until it is healed. If you are a sun worshiper, I recommend a SPF 30+ sun block, after the tattoo is healed. In general it is best to stay out of the sun and tanning booths, especially during the healing process.

34) Do you do free touch-ups?
If needed, one free touch-up is included within 9 months of the tattoo appointment…except in the case of blatant disregard of the rules provided tattoo aftercare instructions, or basic common sense. YES I can tell when someone has deviated from the instructions, and there is a charge to fix it at the normal hourly rate. Anything beyond the free 9 month touch-up is a $170 minimum. For Cover-ups and feet, the initial $100 non-refundable deposit is applied towards the final touch-up session. 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. 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.

35) What if I don’t like it?
I will always offer you the absolute best tattoo solution, and installation, for your situation I am capable of at the time, in order to look good and last a lifetime. 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, its probably just not time to get tattooed. Wait until you are absolutely sure.

It is best to circumvent the need for tattoo removal 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 an artist’s 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 and kids 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.

Thank you for reading everything. The code word is Harley. You will need to enter the code word on the contact form to prove you have read  FAQ, or I will send you back to read it before I get you scheduled 😉

Please use the contact/scheduling form to schedule a consultation appointment :-)

Share Button