Getting ready to get some new ink? Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned pro at going under the needles, deciding on a tattoo shop is one of the first steps in the process of securing some new body art. This is a decision you need to be confident in. You need to be comfortable in the shop; assured that the shop meets health and safety standards and that it only hires experienced, high caliber artists. Black Line Studio wants to ensure that you can thoroughly enjoy the Toronto tattoo experience from the moment you walk through the door for a complimentary consultation to the day you leave with your new tattoo and/or piercing. When it comes to making this choice, there are a few key points you can look at in order to guide your decision along.
It sounds easy enough. Pop in. That’s it. Just stop by Black Line Studio yourself and take a quick look around. You can use this time to request a quote, meet the artist, or just check out their portfolios. Most shops expect this behavior, so don’t think you’re going to look like a rambling weirdo if you just swing through to look around and ask questions. Trust me, they’re used to it. They want you to be as comfortable and confident in your decision as you want to be, believe me. However, if you are planning to visit during peak hours, I do recommend booking a consultation ahead of time as artists are often busy with other clients. It won’t take long to determine if the shop is clean, which should be a big requirement for selecting a tattoo shop.
Are their licenses prominently displayed? This includes the shop’s licenses as well as individual licenses for each of the working artists and/or piercers. This shows that they were able to pass their health and safety inspections, a good sign for their clientele. If you can’t see their licenses, ask—they should be displayed in a conspicuous place. Black Line Studio often places our licenses in the window or right behind the counter - if they don’t have any, you may want to consider reporting them to the local health department as operating a tattoo shop, pretty much anywhere in the world, without a license is illegal and considered a criminal offense.
You’ll want to see that they have work on display. You’ll be able to get a feel for each artist by looking at their work. Artists tend to show off their favourite pieces, which will often give you an idea of their strengths and weaknesses and allow you to decide on an artist that fits the style of what you want. Regardless of skill level, an artist tends to put their all into pieces that peak their interest, that fit their style, and you want your artist to truly enjoy working on your piece. Artists with skilled work, that heals well, will always prominently display their work. Their art is their pride and joy, their baby. Each of Black Line Studio’s artist has their own physical portfolio and their professional artist profile on Black Line Studio’s website and their own Instagram profile so you can browse their artwork in person or online. If an artist isn’t showing off his or her work, you may want to ask yourself why.
Does the shop offer aftercare details? Do they have tattoo care kits on hand or sell the ointments that they recommend? Ask questions before booking your appointment; ask for an aftercare sheet up front. Make sure you truly understand the process and requirements of caring for your art. Also, it gives you a good chance to see exactly how knowledgeable the employees of the shop are regarding the aftercare process. And, let’s face it, you want to know you can pick their brains after the fact if you run into questions. Black Line Studio carries high quality cleansers, moisturizers, salt spray, and mouthwash for tattoos and piercings. After every appointment, the counter staff will also go through the aftercare process with you and provide you with an aftercare sheet as well. Never hesitate in calling or emailing Black Line Studio, or any other tattoo shops, after your appointment as well if you have any questions or concerns.
Other small things to check out when doing your due-diligence in selecting a shop include the music level, temperature, and atmosphere. Nobody wants to get tattooed by a grumpy, rude artist and nobody wants to shiver through the entire process because the temperature is set to below freezing. While the cleanliness, licensing, and skill level of the artists in the shop should take priority, being comfortable in the environment is surprisingly important and can really make a world of difference when it comes to your overall experience.