The Custom Tattoo Design Process and Appointment information.
The purpose of this story is to explain our process for designing a tattoo and give you an understanding of the way our business works. We are a Custom Tattoo Studio. In a nutshell, this means everything we do is a one off piece. This means we never directly copy another tattoo artist’s work, or ever use Flash designs either from the internet or from reference brought in by our clients. Reference like this can be used as an indicator of what the client likes in style, or placement and is helpful for both sides to come to an understanding of what is wanted and what can be done, however it’s someone’s else’s tattoo! We pride ourselves in being artists. We draw up each piece as a unique design for every client. It’s like a designer, bespoke request, rather than a shop bought product! We craft our tattoos with our experience and individual artistic style. So each artist has a different way of working.
We all have our preferences of Tattoo style to work in, so it is important that you chose the artist that best suits what you want the tattoo to be! If you want a realistic flower, chose an artist that does realism, if you want black and grey, check you like the artists black and grey work! We have surrealist artists, realistic artists, graphic, illustrative. We also have the right to refuse to take on work that is not to our chosen way of working. There are plenty of shops that will accommodate all styles. We are not one of those shops! Some people cannot understand why we turn away custom, but we are artists, craftspeople not a tattoo factory. If our heart or indeed our mind is not into the idea, we’re not going to be at our best, so we don’t take everything on! Some clients have seen this as arrogance on our part, but that’s because they’re not seeing it from our perspective. We are always willing to work on an idea before we start actually drawing, at a consultation or at discussion stage and share our ideas, but ultimately if we’re not into the idea we will refuse to go further. We have always done this from the beginning of the business to keep our interest in what we do and keep us artistically stimulated and sane!
Examples of custom designs sent to clients pre-appointment, both by Lizi.
To begin with we ask that you email in your ideas, and give us as much detail as possible about what you want, colour preferences, size, placement, and reference Images are super helpful as we are visual people!
If you haven’t specified an artist, then we try to get together once a week and look at those emails and decide who would be best for the idea! Sometimes an artist will feel particularly inspired by a concept, so they will want to take it on. You wouldn’t want an artist who isn’t feeling an idea to do your tattoo, art needs to come from the soul or we won’t be able to do our absolute best for you, which is what you want!
Examples of combination freehand and stencilled custom work. Female head by Luna, Tiger by Jim.
We take pride in our work, and aspire to keep the world of tattooing fresh and unique! We won’t copy another artist’s work, so we will always do our own designs using your ideas to create our interpretation of what you want. Sometimes people come in with very set ideas of what they want, which may not work as a tattoo. It is important to remember that we are experts, we know what works, how to make tattoos fit your body, what looks good, how to create pop and contrast! There is a trust element to the artist/client relationship. If you trust your artist to create you an amazing unique piece of artwork and allow them expression and artistic control, you will get the best out of them!
Pricing depends on the artists’ experience level. We don’t do an hourly rate at Ritual Art Tattoo. We do day sits, half day sits and smaller design prices.
We will either send you a design shortly before your appointment, or sometimes draw it freehand onto you on the day. This all depends what style it is and how the specific artist likes to work. Once you receive your design we will make sure you are happy with everything, and can make adjustments if needed. Colours and size are usually confirmed at the appointment as it’s easier to do that face to face, with your body there!
The appointment starts as you get to the studio, however the setup of the workspace is included in this time, as each setup requires a new hygienic workspace. We don’t start to do this unless we know you are present and we’re tattooing! Each tattoo requires different needle set ups and configurations so it’s very bespoke. Every tattoo uses brand new sterilised needles, grips and tips which hold the needles in the tattoo machine. It also needs a station that’s hygienic and new to each client. Set up normally takes around 15-20 minutes.
After set up we get onto design setup. Depending on how the artist is working this can include drawing directly onto your body with sharpies, or creating a stencil on the machine with the design, or a combination of both. Measuring and fitting takes place at this stage, which again can take a while.
Once everyone’s happy with size, placement, colours, we double check in the mirror together and we’re good to go! If there’s any doubt speak up at this point. We can’t read minds. We need to know at this stage that you are happy.
Then onto the Tattoo procedure. You will be sat or laid down on our chairs, which are the best on the market. We will set up a chair for your things that you may want during the tattoo next to you. Please move slowly or prewarn your artist you are going to move or reach for things however! We normally sit for 4-5 hours at a time without a break, except toilet breaks. This way we get into the tattoo, you get lots done and it’s less painful this way. Each time you stop throughout the process, so does your adrenaline productivity, which helps your pain threshold level. That said, we do serve teas and coffees throughout the session. On a day sit we stop for lunch around 2.30pm for roughly 20-30 mins.
We hope this makes things clear for our prospective clients to better understand how we work at Ritual Art Tattoo. We’ve been established since 2000 and pride ourselves on being client focussed and producers of high end Custom tattooing.