I understand that some people may feel anxious about not knowing what their new tattoo will look like. As a tattoo artist myself, I have noticed that many of my clients expect to see the drawing some days in advance before their appointment. I totally understand, and it is normal to expect revisions of your tattoo design in case you want to make some changes.
Unfortunately, the reality is very different, and there are very good reasons why most tattoo artists won’t show your tattoo design until the day of your appointment. Keep reading to find out why.
1. Picky or indecisive clients
I think the main reason why most tattoo artists won’t send a design for revision before the day of the appointment, is because many clients are either really indecisive about what they want and will change their mind every other day, or they are extremely picky and will make an endless amount of changes to the design, which would end up in an endless amount of revisions.
Now, that being said, imagine you have at least 3 different tattoo appointments per day, which take up most of your day, before/after work you must answer new online tattoo requests and consultations, you must answer old clients’ inquiries about their healing tattoo, you must work on the paperwork for your tax declaration (because most tattoo artists are self-employed, and therefore operate as a small business), you must prepare designs of coming up appointments, and on top of that, you also must have a personal life, like every other normal person.
So to put it simply, most tattoo artists don’t have the time to be making revisions for every single client.
My personal experience
I personally have had many bad experiences whenever I have sent designs in advance to clients, I can give you 2 examples:
- I had once a client who sent me an initial design as an inspiration idea, she told me that she loved my style and that she was open to new ideas relating to that topic. She made me send her 5 different designs in advance, and in the end, she decided to get the initial design she first sent me (which was a simple letter btw).
- I have had not only one, but many clients who book an appointment for a certain design they wish, and then some days later they text me saying they changed their mind and want something completely different. For example, one time a girl asked to make a cool geometric design that had a lot of line work. A couple of weeks later, she wrote again saying that she had changed her mind, and now she wanted a realistic tiger. I was lucky that I hadn’t even started working on her design.
So imagine if I were drawing daily for people like this, it would be endless hours of work, hours of work that are not paid.
2. Appointment cancellations
The second reason why your tattoo artist won’t show you a drawing until the day of your appointment is that cancellations can happen, and they happen quite often. Sometimes the client just changed their mind and decided not to get tattooed. Sometimes life happens and there are an endless amount of reasons why someone might have to cancel, even if they didn’t want to. So for us artists, it’s better not to draw so long ahead of an appointment, because we can never know for sure if we will tattoo it or not.
3. Client might go elsewhere with the design
The third reason is the least probable, but it still can happen. Some people don’t really care about quality and will oftentimes send a design to many different tattoo studios asking for a price, and will end up getting tattooed at the cheapest place.
So it’s obvious why most tattoo artists don’t feel comfortable sending their original designs to clients in advance, we don’t want to create an original design only for it to get stolen.
Now, you may be asking yourself: what if I don’t like the tattoo design?
I get it, a tattoo is forever and you must be sure that you absolutely love the design. I have 2 pieces of advice for people like this:
1. Choose the right tattoo artist:
If you really love the work of an artist, and you like almost every single tattoo he or she posts on Instagram, chances are that you will also love your design. Don’t go to any random artist and expect him or her to change their style to suit your taste.
2. Be open with your tattoo artist
Before booking a tattoo appointment, I encourage you to talk with your tattoo artist and explain your concerns, but do it kindly and not in a demanding way. I’m sure you two can get to some form of agreement. If not, then you should find another artist.
What I personally offer to clients like this
Whenever I get a client who is really anxious about not knowing how their design will look, I offer them an extra appointment only to make the design together. This extra appointment, however, is not for free, and they must pay an hourly rate.