I sometimes get asked how much my tattoos cost. Since they were all done several years ago, the prices I paid then won’t
really be applicable now, but in any case I always say they were worth every penny.
Let’s face it, folks: The best tattoo artists are not going to give their art away. They’ve spent years perfecting their craft, and their talents ought to be appreciated in more than just eyeball time. If you have an artist in mind, and you can’t afford their current rates, don’t try to haggle. It’s insulting to the artist and will likely result in your getting shown the door, permanently. If you don’t have the money now, then it’s time to start saving your pennies. You’re going to be decorating your body with something you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life. Do you want to spend the rest of your life advertising just how cheap you were? Do you want to settle for a second-rate (or worse) tattoo just because the artist’s prices were low? Sure, many people are so thrilled by the idea of getting a tattoo that they want to get it done as fast as possible, but there’s where the old “Act in haste, repent at leisure” saying comes into play in full force.
Most reputable artists will be happy to give you an estimate, based on their hourly rate and the complexity of the design you want. Try to find out when the shop is least busy, and stop by then to discuss your artwork. If you just want to pick some flash off the wall or get a cartoon character on your butt, it probably won’t take more than an hour of the artist’s time (perhaps even less) and you’ll pay accordingly. Your own custom design would be the next step up the ladder, and the artist can give you an idea of how long it will take to apply and how much it is likely to cost. But if you want a custom design by the artist, you’re going to be paying for his or her talent, his or her time to create the design, your time with the artist approving or modifying the design, and then the hourly cost for the actual ink.
And no matter how much that costs, it will be a bargain. You’re getting a precious jewel that will last a lifetime.
So if you want to be a classy, artistic, well-decorated multicolored person, don’t be cheap.