Beautiful tattoos are an artistic expression for all to see on your body. Ranging from names to pictures, to ancient symbols, there is an endless number of options from which to creatively express yourself. However, it is not always easy to find a good tattoo shop that will not completely drain your wallet. Granted, the larger and more colorful the tattoo, the more money it will cost but you can still find a good location without breaking the bank. When searching for a good place, online reviews are key. The best tattoo shops are clean, offer a professional vibe, the studio is well-organized, and the artist is open to ideas. Keep reading to uncover some excellent tips for finding a good tattoo shop and artist.

First and foremost, when it comes to choosing a shop, you want to be sure you will have a safe experience. Cleanliness is extremely important to ensure you don't get an infection and end up regretting your tattoo more than anything. Professional tattoo artists are not only well-trained in body art, but they will also follow basic sanitation practices, so you don't get sick. A professional tattoo artist should wear disposable gloves that are thrown away after each client. They should use needles that are properly stored in sealed containers. The shop should also have a sterilization machine for cleaning equipment and make sure that tables and counters are sterilized too.

It is important to have some idea of what you want prior to going to the shop. While this may seem like a no-brainer, knowing your target design will help determine the location. Walking into a location and pointing at a design in the book only works if you have multiple tattoos and can risk one turning out bad (it will be well camouflaged). Instead, think of what type of design you want, find an image online, print it out and bring it to the shop. If you are very industrious, you can email the image to your top shops beforehand to get a feel for what they will design on your body. Since tattoos are permanent, you want to have as much detail as possible to work with the studio, so you get exactly what you want. If you want a better idea of the tattoo artist's skill level, look at their online portfolio or go through their book at the shop. In any case, seeing their past work is the best way to determine the level of detail and skill you want.

You also want to determine which part of your tattoo is the most difficult. If you are looking for an intricate design, then you should go to a shop and artist that focuses on intricate work. If you want to get a portrait then find a shop that specializes in portraits. If you are searching for an animal’s head, got to a location that does exactly that. This is also why it is so critical to have an idea of what you want prior to walking into the shop. This also may sound like a simple tip, but the lesson is that not every tattoo artist is created equal. That means, just because one artist can draw a mean Popeye, doesn’t mean they can design an intricate ancient Hungarian symbol.

Lastly, its exceedingly difficult to overstate the need for recommendations. Those who get tattoos enjoy talking about them so if you see someone out with awesome ink, ask them where they went. If you already have a shop in mind, it is highly likely that the booking assistant got some ink done by the shop so you can ask them for a personal recommendation about which artists are best for the design you want. Online reviews from websites like Yelp are also critical to finding a good place, especially if you are traveling from out-of-town and want to get a sweet tattoo from that city or country. Since tattoos are a permanent addition to your body, it is important to conduct research on the type of tattoo and your target studios before committing. There are many great artists across the world so start looking today for a design you will love forever!