How do tattoos work?

Tattoo pigment is inserted by a puncture made with a needle. The pigment is inserted under the epidermis to the dermis. The epidermis is almost transparent so the pigment is easily seen. The dermis does not shed and therefore the tattoo is there for life.  

There is an amazing video that animates how tattoos work here.   

Check out our blog post called How to Start the Process.

Read more about how tattoos work at HowStuffWorks.com.


How do I make an appointment?

If you’re just starting the exciting process of deciding what you want to get tattooed check out our blog post called How to Start the Process. We work by appointment as we are all booked for anywhere from a week to four months depending on the artist. To set up an appointment we typically recommend a consultation first so we know exactly what you’d like to get done and how much time we will need to do it. Consultations usually last about five to twenty minutes. At that point we would find a day for you to come back to get the tattoo started and take care of the deposit and drawing fee. To set up a consultation appointment simply email us with a brief description of the design and attach any images that apply.

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How much does it cost?

We have an $100 minimum (for most artists) and charge $200 an hour. The minimum varies from artist to artist. You can see specific artist’s minimums on their pages here on our site. This is per person and can not be combined as it covers our costs for each setup and break down and time per person. 

(City of Seattle sales tax is added to the above prices as we are considered retail and not service.)

Special Offer:  You will get a FREE .85 oz. Wild Rose Vegan Ink Balm when you pay for your tattoo with cash!!! (Cash amount must be more than the price of the balm.)   

One important detail, don’t forget your ID! We need legal, state, federal or military issued identification to do your tattoo no mater what age you look. It’s state law. 

We will often require a consultation appointment for tattoos. During this appointment, details of the tattoo are discussed so that you can show us what you have in mind, and then we can determine together what the best plan for you is. Consultations are free. For info on how the process of getting a tattoo check out our blog post here.

Tipping your tattoo artist is normal but varies according to the client. Some people tip based on a percentage like at a restaurant and some people tip a flat rate at each appointment. The artists here only take home a percentage of what they charge for the tattoo so it’s a wonderful show of appreciation and we are very grateful for it.  

To secure a tattoo appointment, we require a non-refundable deposit from $100 to $300. This is to ensure that your appointment will be held just for you. The deposit will be applied to the price of the tattoo on your appointment day or on the last session if it is a multiple session piece. If a drawing needs to be done then we have an $80 drawing fee that will pay your artist for the time they spend working on that drawing. For more information on how deposits and drawing fees work, check out our blog post here

*Please give us at least 72 hours notice for cancellations so that we may attempt to schedule another client.  

If the artist draws a design for you and you decide to change the subject matter of the tattoo then another drawing fee will need to be collected. Additionally, if there is more than 3 changes or adjustments made to the drawing they will need a new drawing fee so that they are fairly compensated for their drawing time. This makes it fair for everyone. The artist is paid for their time and you get exactly what you want tattooed. Your artist will inform you of the additional charges according to the the situation.

*If for some reason you are unable to give us 72 hours notice, or simply don’t show up, we will absorb the deposit to cover the time that was set aside for you. At this point, we would need another deposit to set up another appointment time. This includes appointments where the client is so late that they need to be rescheduled. Please call us if you are running even 5 minutes late. Check out our blog post called How Do Deposits Work.  

 

 


Does it hurt?

It depends on the person. Some people have higher pain tolerance than others. It also depends on the part of the body being tattooed. Some places hurt more than others. Imagine a cat scratching you on different parts of your body. The bicep is going to feel different from the armpit. Also consider that the nerves being triggered are just under the surface of the skin and not under the fat, so more fat will not make it hurt less. Just keep in mind; they are tiny needles penetrating approximately 1/16 of an inch. Most people say that it is irritating and some people say that it hurts but everyone can tolerate it at least for a little while.

 


How should I take care of my new tattoo?

Please understand that these are suggestions, not a prescription. We are not doctors. The instructions may vary from other tattoo studios.  For a full blog post check out Aftercare Tips.

  • Wash your hands and remove the bandage after about two hours or when you get somewhere that you know is clean unless you have our special clear, breathable bandage. Then we like to wear them overnight.
  • Clean the tattoo gently with soap and water. There will be blood and plasma seeping out of your tattoo. Wash this seepage off and gently clean off any remaining ointment. Don’t scrub it! Wash it gently with clean hands. Do not use a wash cloth.
  • Dab off any seepage or clear fluid gently with the wipes in our aftercare kit or a clean paper towel throughout the evening after the tattoo is applied (unless you have the clear bandage that you can wear overnight).
  • The next day begin applying a small amount of moisturizer or balm from the aftercare kit to the tattoo until the tattoo is fully healed. Usually about two to four weeks. (You can get a FREE .85 oz. Wild Rose Vegan Ink Balm when you pay for your tattoo with cash!)  Drop a pea size dollop of balm on your clean hand and then rub your hands together until the balm is very thin. Then simply press your hand over the tattoo to apply the balm. Do not rub.
  • Moisture is needed so the scabs do not crack. Cracking can result in light spots on the healed tattoo. Use a very small amount of moisturizer. Too little is better than too much.
  • Be sure to wash your hands before and after touching your tattoo for any reason. You have an open wound until the scabbing is completely flaked off. This means you are open to infection. Always wash your hands before and after applying moisturizer and never let anyone touch your tattoo while it’s healing.
  • Gently wash your tattoo every day with soap in the shower. Keep yourself and your tattoo as clean as possible. Wash your tattoo at the end of the shower so your hands are very clean and all the shampoo and conditioner will be washed off. Use your hands. Never use a washcloth or sponge.
  • Do not let the tattoo dry out or get too saturated. Drying may result in cracking which can cause loss of color in the healed tattoo. On the other hand if there is too much moisture and the tattoo is completely soaked with balm than the scabs may be easily rubbed off before they are ready. Your tattoo also needs to breathe. If there is a layer over the top of it, it can’t get any of the oxygen it needs to heal quickly.
  • Do not expose a healing tattoo to salt water or chlorine. Any body of water whether it be a pool, bathtub, lake, ocean, or river has bacteria in it and could cause an infection. Chlorine can severely irritate a tattoo causing infection and/or loss of color.
  • Do not pick or scratch the tattoo. If a scab was to accidentally or intentionally be removed, it may pull up all the tattooed skin underneath it. That means you will have a spot with no color or a scar. Tattoos will fade if skin damage such as tanning or sunburn occur. The tattoo is under the layer of skin that is somewhat transparent, that is why you can see the colors after the new skin heals over it. The sun and other sources of UV light will damage the ink causing it to lose it’s vibrancy. You are left with lighter colors, lighter blacks, and sometimes a complete loss of color. This can happen especially while you’re healing but can happen easily after you’re healed as well. UV light will fade old tattoos just as much as newer ones.
  • If you have a clear bandage, we have a video on how to remove it and replace it on our blog post Aftercare Tips.   

Can I drink alcohol or take other drugs to relax before I get tattooed?

The short answer is, No. Alcohol and other drugs such as aspirin may thin the blood. Excessive bleeding can make it very difficult to tattoo and can lead to a tattoo that could have been better. If you appear intoxicated when you arrive for your appointment we will not be able to tattoo you, we will have to take your deposit for our time. To make another appointment you will have to leave another deposit.

Additionally, alcohol and other drugs stay in your system for days after you have stopped ingesting them. This will prolong your healing time. Good physical condition and good health will raise your pain tolerance and help you heal faster.

 


Is there a health risk?

We are blood borne pathogen certified. Our needles are new and sterilized, only used once, and then disposed of in a sharps container. The tubes that hold the needle are also sterile and single use. All reusable items do not enter the skin and are either covered in plastic and then disinfected or, if they are exposed to blood, are autoclaved. An autoclave is the same appliance that hospitals and dentists use to sterilize their instruments.

When you have an open wound there is always a chance of infection. Being diligent about cleanliness and aftercare can greatly benefit you.

 


Are tattoos permanent? How can they be removed?

Most doctors warn that complete removal is usually not possible, at least without scars. There are many ways to try to remove a tattoo:

  1. Derma-brasion — A doctor will freeze the skin and “sand” the tattoo off.
  2. Skin graft — A surgeon cuts off the tattoo and uses skin from another part of your body to fill in the hole.
  3. Excision — The surgeon cuts out the tattoo and then pulls the sides together.
  4. Laser removal — The most popular method. Lasers use pulses of light directed at the tattoo to break up the tattoo pigment. The body’s scavenger cells, over the next couple of weeks, remove the treated pigment. More than one treatment is usually necessary.

If you don’t have a tattoo and you are already wondering about removal, you should probably wait. Wait until you are ready to make a lifetime commitment. We try to help people make the best decision based on our experience covering up tattoos. If you have a tattoo that you want to cover up laser removal is a good option for lightening but make sure you go to a reputable office. We like http://www.caddellslaserclinic.com

More details on tattoo removal at HowStuffWorks.com.

 


Can you tattoo on scars?

This depends on if the scar is still healing. If it is, then it’s a good idea to wait until it is healed. Scars can take a long time to heal if they are deep. Tattoos should not change the texture of the skin so covering up a scar with a tattoo doesn’t mean you won’t still see it. The only way to know for sure is to set up a consultation appointment and let us take a look at your scar. We should be able to tell you at that point if it’s a good idea or not. To inquire about consultations appointments email the artist directly or email info@damasktattoo.com  

 


Do I have to have a black outline?

Some tattoo artists insist that it is necessary. We have had some luck without outlines. If done properly, a tattoo can look incredible without black at all. We don’t suggest this for every tattoo though. Some designs look best as tattoos if they have outlines. If you want to know about your design you can either e-mail it to us or make an appointment for a consultation. To inquire about consultations appointments email the artist directly or email info@damasktattoo.com  

 


Where can I find a tattoo design?

We do custom tattoos drawn just for the wearer or photo realistic tattoos take directly from a photo. We can draw a lot of things from our heads but it is best to have at least something for us to go on when you walk in the door. Even if it’s a really rough sketch. It will save us a lot of time and makes it easier for us to visualize that perfect image that’s just right for you. To find reference material we often use Google image search. Type in the subject of your tattoo but refrain from using the word “tattoo” in your search. You’ll get much better results that way. Check out our blog post How to Start the Process.  

 


Are there any tattoos that you won’t do?

Yes, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. We will not tattoo images that offend us personally. These include but are not limited to racially bigoted designs and sexist designs. We will not do gang related designs, such as street gang or motorcycle club designs.


Are there medical or physical conditions that would prevent me from getting tattooed at Damask?

Yes. We have to consider the most extreme possibilities when we decide to tattoo someone or not for everyone’s safety. There is always a chance of infection any time the skin is opened. Because of this we have policies to not tattoo people who are pregnant, breast feeding, have severe acne on the intended tattoo site, have heart conditions or are hemophiliacs. 

 


How do I get an apprenticeship?

The most important thing to do is to get together a portfolio of your art. If you don’t have one I would start taking art classes at the local community colleges to get one together or just enroll in an art school. Being an educated and talented artist is extremely important in this increasingly competitive industry. If I could go back and do it all over I would have gone to art school. Focus on your art, start or continue painting in oils and watercolors and assemble an exemplary portfolio. If you can show that you are an excellent artist with a portfolio of art in several different mediums than your chances are a lot higher of finding an apprenticeship. After you’ve done this, start or continue to get tattoos from artists that you admire and hold in high esteem. The really hard part is finding someone to apprentice you. Everyone seems to want to be a tattoo artist right now and hardly anyone is teaching. The so called “tattoo schools” are a complete waste of time and they steal your money. No one can teach you how to tattoo in a few weeks. It would be difficult to teach someone everything they need to know about cross contamination, infectious diseases, and sterilization in just a few weeks. Do not accept an apprenticeship from someone that you don’t think is an amazing tattoo artist. If you learn the wrong way or teach yourself the wrong way it is very difficult to unlearn bad habits. Set a high standard for yourself and aim for the best. Lastly, do not teach yourself how to tattoo. Period. You can not learn to tattoo from videos or guessing. You can give yourself, your family, or your friends infections or diseases by using incorrect methods of tattooing and you will not know what is incorrect if you are not taught by a professional.

-Christy Brooker

 


Can a Tattoo Studio be ecologically friendly?

The studio itself is in a professional building. Decorated with salvaged, reused and local artists furniture, we try to support the arts and the environment. We provide a discreet salon-style experience and a patient and empathetic approach with our clients. We have private tattoo rooms where we do custom tattoos that compliment the body’s natural shape and embody the vision of the wearer.  It’s truly a joy for me to know that I’m doing what I can to reduce the chemicals that my clients and I come into contact with, and reducing the demand for those products overall. I’m very excited with the direction we’ve taken with Damask Tattoo, and look forward to progressing even further into the world of green in the future.

-Christy Brooker