Tattoo FAQ

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

This FAQ will explain how Above the Pearl Tattoo Studio and Tanya Magdalena work. It includes pricing, processes, policies, and almost every other question you may have. Other studios may work differently, but this is how we run the ship. We cannot give quotes, estimates, or advice via phone, text, social media, messaging, or video conferencing. After you read through this FAQ and understand the studio process, if you still want to move forward, we can potentially set up an in-person consultation appointment to discuss your project 🙂 *NOTE: There is a secret code word within the FAQ that you will need to enter into the consult request form, 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. (the same courtesy will be reciprocated)
  • Please be on time for your appointments. (not 10 minutes early, not 15 minutes late) Everybody’s time is valuable. We run a tight ship on a tight schedule.
  • Cash is preferred.
  • Visa/MasterCard/Debit are available with a 3% fee.

COVID-ERA HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS ARE STILL IN PLACE! Due to all the fun illnesses floating around, including COVID-19, future pandemics, endemics, RSV-demics, M-pox, Flu, Head-colds, flying snakes, and whatever else is out there… **Masks are still required when in the studio, regardless of vaccination status. No exceptions. By requiring masks, we can reduce the risk of illness transmission and ensure all clients’ safety.

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

  • Hourly Tattoo Rate: $195/hr* (one hour minimum)
  • Studio Minimum: $195* (per person, per piece of artwork)
  • Tattoo Deposit: $150* (total) 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 more extensive 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 you schedule a tattoo appointment(s) at the consult time. First responders, active duty military, and veterans receive a 5% discount.Thank you for your service.

1) Does it hurt?
Yes. It’s 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; it will all be over within a few hours.

2) How long have you been tattooing?
Tanya has been tattooing full-time since 2005 and was a graphic designer for 15 years before tattooing.

3) How far are you booked out?
Generally, 3+ months out for consultation 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 studio in Oregon, Above the Pearl Tattoo puts the artists’ and clients’ health and safety first. COVID-19 and other fun illnesses are still out there, so the studio chooses to maintain safety protocols. **Masks are still required when in the studio for everyone’s safety, regardless of vaccination status. No exceptions.** By requiring masks, we can reduce the risk of illness transmission and ensure the safety of all clients. Your cooperation is crucial in ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone in the studio and their families. Thank you for doing your part to keep the space illness-free.

The studio is private, appointment-only, one-on-one, with no guests, walk-ins, or interruptions. Tanya is trained and certified in COVID-19 and viral transmission prevention, 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, diseases and disorders of the skin. Additionally, she has 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. She uses High-level Tuberculocidal, bacterial, and viral medical-grade disinfectants on all surfaces before and after each client and follows strict sanitation guidelines. Guests, Children, Pets, Smoking, Eating and Drinking are prohibited.
We appreciate your cooperation in keeping the studio safe for everyone.

5) What style of tattoos are your specialty?
Tanya’s 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 her tattoos’ style and general look and feel, regardless of the subject matter, then she is the artist for you.

About Tanya’s 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 solid concept and examples of what you hope to achieve. I take pride in producing tattoos that meet the client’s needs and address design issues necessary for a tattoo to last and look good throughout a lifetime. Much of my business is cover-ups and reworking old tattoos. I know how tattoos age. Tattoos must last and look good over time, even when you are 80. If you do not see the ‘style’ of art (regardless of the subject matter) you are looking for in my portfolio, I will gladly refer you to another artist that may be a better match.”

6) Do you do custom tattoos?
Yes. The art/tattoos Tanya creates 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 she has to say and trust her experience, even though it may not be what you want to hear. It is essential to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT and have a clear concept of what you are hoping for. The simplicity of art is critical.

7) Can you fix/cover-up/’touch-up’/rework my lousy tattoo?
Probably. Cover-ups, reworks, and scar covers are a main focus of my work. Tanya has 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 and MANY limitations to a successful cover-up. Tanya can make many things work, some things she cannot. It really depends on how much you hate the current tattoo. She needs to at least know what you are hoping for, and you need to bring her printed visual examples. It doesn’t have to be the exact thing…. but she needs somewhere to start. Animal, vegetable, mineral, flora, fauna, machine?
  • You must be open and willing to accept what she has to say, even though it may not be what you want to hear. Your idea may or may not work, but she will offer guidance for the best possible outcome. Trust her experience. She is just as invested in a successful outcome as you are because her name is on it for the rest of your life.
  • Tanya will always provide the best solution for your situation so that the tattoo lasts over time.There is no such thing as “touching up” an old tattoo. Old tattoos need to be redone entirely/reworked.
  • For large, dark, dense tattoos, laser removal may be necessary to “knock down” the old tattoo to the point that she can work with it. She will give you a referral to a laser clinic if necessary. Sometimes, she can give tattoos new life without drastically changing the artwork.
  • Be prepared to go at least 300%-1000%+ larger than the tattoo you want to cover. It is often impossible to cover a small tattoo with another small one 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 several 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, flowers with leaves, crows, and koi fish work well for cover-ups, but Tanya can also make many other things work. Come up 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, best-friend tattoos, and impulse walk-in tattoos.
  • Tanya generally asks that tattoos be at least 5+ years old before she 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. Generally, 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…  Tanya may need to rework personal drawings based on the drawing’s “tattoo-ability .”The simplicity of art is critical. Tiny, highly detailed drawings blur together in the skin over time. Things that look good on paper do not necessarily translate well as tattoos that last.

10) Is there anything you won’t tattoo?
Tanya 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, misoriented (upside down) tattoos, hate-based or blatantly obscene tattoos, and will only do limited work on feet. Tanya and Above the Pearl Tattoo reserves 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 nasty attitudes. We are 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. Above the Pearl Tattoo requires an in-person consultation appointment for all 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, texts, 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. Should we agree to move forward, deposits are applied toward your tattoo deposit/tattoo. Once we set the appointment date/time via email, it will be saved for you and 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. Let’s keep it fair for everyone who wants an appointment.

12) Do I need to leave a deposit?
Yes. Once we have determined we will be a good fit, an additional non-refundable/non-transferable deposit of $100 (total $150) is due at the time of the consultation appointment to have the drawing started or schedule a tattoo appointment. Extremely complicated cover-ups and complex or highly conceptual work may require more significant deposits. Only make an appointment if you are sure. Art takes time.

12a) What happens at the consultation appointment?
Consultation appointments are 45 minutes total and include art discussion, process, paperwork, tracings, photographs, and deposits. Tanya 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 she cannot help you, she can refer someone fit for your situation. Please come prepared with paper printouts of ideas and cash deposits to make everything go smoothly. 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.

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 tattoo date. Until further notice, no guests are allowed in the studio. You will need to make decisions about your tattoo on your own. The process is not design-by-committee. If you feel you need someone else’s opinion, please hold off on scheduling or find another artist who may be able to accommodate. No photographs or copies of the artwork are allowed to leave the studio. The studio does not offer video conferencing. Once we agree on the artwork concept, an additional $50-$100 non-refundable/non-transferable *’line-art deposit’ will be required and applied towards the final cost of your tattoo.

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

15) What is a *Line Art deposit, and is it in addition to the original deposit?
Once we agree on the artwork concept, an additional $50-$100 non-refundable/non-transferable ‘line-art deposit’ is required and is applied towards the final cost of your tattoo. Getting tattoo art ready for precision installation takes time. This is a good-faith deposit that you will go through with the tattoo. Except for size, no changes are made to the artwork on the day of the tattoo. Large, conceptual, or highly complex designs may require a 50% non-refundable/non-transferable prepayment of the final estimated tattoo cost.

16) What are your Cancellation/Rescheduling/Late arrivals Policies?
Thank you for understanding that this is how Tanya makes a living full-time. It is not a hobby; it is business. A strict policy of 72 hours notice is required on cancellations or reschedules on ANY appointment, or you lose your deposit. It is nearly impossible to fill appointments with less than 72 hours (even then, it is tricky). Generally, one reschedule outside 72 hours is allowed 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. Communication is key. If you communicate, generally, things can be worked out. If you do not communicate, we are SUPER grumpy.

  • 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 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.
  • In the rare case that Tanya cancels within 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 (on a case-by-case basis).

Late arrivals:
Due to limited time-frames, you must be rescheduled with a fee if you are more than 5-10 minutes late. If you are more than 15 minutes late and have yet to communicate, it is considered a no-show, subject to fees. (see above) and Tanya reserves 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 in considerable 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, we 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. Tanya will not tattoo extensive 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?
Traditionally, 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, taxes, licenses, state, and federal health and safety compliance requirements, single-person health insurance, lease obligations, and tattoo and medical supplies are expensive.

19) How old do I have to be to get tattooed?
18 years old with a 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 you are given at the time of your tattoo. 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 tattoo itself. It directly affects how your tattoo will turn out. Tanya is just as invested in your healing correctly as you are. She knows what heals her tattoos best and will know when you have not followed the aftercare instructions or have deviated from them. In that case, there is a charge to fix them.

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 body 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, and dryness are all natural parts of the healing process. Severe deep and thick scabs 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 disclose any health conditions before scheduling. Health and  Safety are of the utmost importance. Getting tattooed puts stress on the body. We cannot tattoo anyone on blood thinners besides baby aspirin (i.e., Coumadin/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 doctor’s clearance. Extremely thin, severely sun-damaged, or compromised skin may be an issue and must be seen in person. Every situation is on a case-by-case basis.

(24a) I’m Diabetic, Can I get a tattoo?
It depends. There are some restrictions. Written doctor’s clearance is required, 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?
Please inform Tanya of any and all allergic tendencies. Above the Pearl Tattoo uses latex alternatives.

24c) Can I get tattooed while pregnant or breast -feeding?
No. Getting tattooed while pregnant or breastfeeding has the possibility of complications for your health and that of your baby and is against Oregon State Law.

25) Can I bring my kids?
No. 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?
Yes. Above the Pearl Tattoo uses 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. (Tanya 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 appointment. 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. Do not have caffeine 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 Tanya requires a doctor’s authorization.

28) Should I eat before I get tattooed?
YES. Eating within two hours of being tattooed is ideal, ideally immediately before your appointment. Please eat plenty of protein and be well-hydrated. Having stable blood sugar bolsters your immune system. It helps the body deal with the fluctuation of endorphins 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. The 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.

30a) Can I use a pre-deadener?
No. Topical pre-numbing products compromise the integrity of the skin and make the skin difficult to tattoo. Contrary to popular belief, the tattoo actually ends up being MORE painful as the product wears off. Your body’s natural endorphin system will take care of you. I use products that contain lidocaine to make the tattoo session more comfortable, as well as work on breathing exercises with you. I have people fall asleep regularly. I will discuss this in more detail at the consultation appointment.

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 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 worshipper, Tanya recommends a SPF 50+ sunblock for the rest of your life after the tattoo is healed. It is generally best to stay out of the sun and tanning booths, especially during healing.

33) Do you do free touch-ups?
One $50 touch-up is included within 9 months of the last tattoo appointment, on Tanya’s own work, on non-cover-up/rework/scar-cover tattoos..only IF NEEDED. Blatant disregard of the instructions in the tattoo aftercare instructions, or lack of common sense and hygiene, will require a charge to fix at the regular hourly rate. YES, she can tell when someone has deviated from the instructions. Anything beyond the 9-month $50 touch-up window is a $195 minimum and is charged at the current hourly rate. For cover-ups/reworks/scar covers, the line art deposit is applied toward the final touch-up session. The last exception to a $50 touch-up is if you blow off a touch-up appointment, disregarding the importance of time and effort. She may or may not reschedule you.

34) What if I don’t like it?
Choosing your artist and design wisely is best to circumvent the need for tattoo removal or cover-ups. As a general rule, if you do not see examples of the tattoo style you are looking for in Tanya’s portfolio, then she does not specialize in that particular area and may not be a good fit for your project. Tanya will always offer you the absolute best tattoo solution and installation for your specific situation that she is capable of at the time. Good reference material is critical. Her name is associated with the tattoo for the rest of your life, so she is highly invested in the outcome. Tanya has 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 installed. She spends many valuable hours developing 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! It’s probably not time to get tattooed, or the two of you 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 it’s in, it’s IN. Tattoo removal and cover-up are painful, expensive, and imprecise.

Congratulations! You made it! Good job!  Thank you for reading everything. You will need to enter the code word on the contact form to prove you have read FAQ. The code word is Whitebird. Suppose you do not enter the correct code word, or ask questions in the consult form that are already covered in the FAQ, text repeatedly, or call….we will know you have not read the FAQ, you have failed the first test, you shall not pass go, and we will not get back to you. Please understand every policy and procedure is here for a reason.Thank you for understanding. Let’s do this!

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