thinking about getting a tattoo blog post cover with heading over image of a blackwork thigh tattoo of a snake and peony flower by lu loram martin, large blackwork floral tattoo specialist, and illustrator, based in toronto, canada

Thinking about getting a tattoo?

Thinking about getting a tattoo and not sure how best to proceed? You've come to the right place! Whether it’s your first tattoo, first ‘big’ tattoo, or you're just wanting a better experience for your next one, here are some useful tips to consider…


Research the right artist for you! 


Not all tattoo artists are the same! Some are all-rounders and some specialize. Sure, most tattoo artists will be able to execute a simple tattoo reasonably well, but if you want the absolute best tattoo (and why wouldn’t you?) you need to find the right artist for you and the work you want! Just as you wouldn’t go to an eye doctor for a heart problem or a sculptor for a painting, you shouldn't expect to receive a realistic looking tattoo from a traditional tattoo artist, for example. 


Realism, traditional, blackwork, neotraditional, etc. are all different areas of specialization. Each style of tattooing is a unique skill belonging to the artist you select, so you can't go wrong if you ensure that you love their art as much as their tattoo work.


For instance, if you have a look at my tattoos below, you can see that I specialize in floral blackwork designs using fine-line detailing and bold linework.


Tattoos by lu loram martin, large blackwork floral tattoo specialist, and illustrator, based in toronto, canada


Found the perfect design online and now wondering what the next steps to getting this tattoo is?


Start in your local area. Make sure to look beyond just the studios and focus more on the individual artists themselves. Take a look at their portfolios, and social media pages (including their tagged images). Equally importantly, look for healed photos! Ideally they will have photos of tattoos that are more than a couple years old so you can see how their work ages. For instance, you can check out my instagram reels or my other blog post to see how my work ages.


You should also keep an eye out for filters and editing. Below is an example using one of my recent tattoos. On the left is the original unedited photo. The middle image is edited using saturation and the third one on the far right has a filter over it. It's worth keeping in mind that filters may look great in instagram but can hide some stuff.


edited rib tattoo by lu loram martin, large blackwork floral tattoo specialist, and illustrator, based in toronto, canada


Keep in mind most tattoo artists prefer to draw up their own designs, and any artist worth their salt will not copy another’s artwork. If you have a particular image that you like, they can use it as a reference to draw you up something original in their own style.


No one local feeling like the right fit? Or found the perfect tattoo artist but they live in another country?


Consider travelling. Treat it like an investment, in that you are investing in your future self. Hell, it’s going to be on you forever after all! Plus, it means you’ll get to take a trip to a new place (BUT arrange your trip so that your tattoo is at the end, as being a tourist with a brand new tattoo can be limiting!).


Also, see if the artist you like does guest spots, maybe they’ll be closer to you at some point. See if they have a newsletter you can sign up for so you don’t miss any announcements, like mine...

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Don't rush the process!


Ultimately there's a lot to consider when thinking about getting a tattoo. So take your time, do your research, and ensure that you feel confident going into the process. That way you end up having the best possible experience with an end product that you love! 


Hopefully this is somewhat helpful in easing that pre-tattoo anxiety! For more advice feel free to check out some of my other blog posts, like "what not to do before getting a tattoo" or my "tattoo design process".


And as always, thank-you for being interested in what I do!



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