A great tattoo shop is a gift for newcomers to body art and those exploring second, third and beyond body art options. A solid tattoo parlor is clean with sanitary instruments and a pleasing vibe. Remember, a tattoo is applied with needles, and you want to avoid an infection. If a place feels and looks disgusting, it probably has deeper issues you can't see. When you first enter a shop, ask to look around to get a feel for the setup. If anything makes you uncomfortable, find a new place to ink up. 

A great tattoo shop is a gift for newcomers to body art and those exploring second, third and beyond body art options…

A solid tattoo parlor is clean with sanitary instruments and a pleasing vibe. Remember, a tattoo is applied with needles, and you want to avoid an infection. If a place feels and looks disgusting, it probably has deeper issues you can't see. When you first enter a shop, ask to look around to get a feel for the setup. If anything makes you uncomfortable, find a new place to ink up. 

The experience of having body art applied is part of the joy of tattoos. Having a tattoo makes you part of a larger group connoisseurs, and you should be treated with dignity and respect as you contemplate your options. Do not accept feeling pressured into choosing a certain type of art, a certain location for the tattoo or any upgrades. Enter the shop with a clear idea of what you are looking for and then consult with an experienced artist on the finer points, such as how colors will appear on the skin over time or if the art should be centered on the forearm or offset. 

A good shop and artist will have a book of sample tattoos completed at the site and may have other works displayed on social media or a website. Make sure you review these options before choosing your artist. You need to pick a place that specializes or has a strong grasp on crafting the type of tattoo you want. For example, Kat Von D is killer with portraiture-based tattoos. Joe down the street may not be but could be perfect for line art or symbols. But what if you are still struggling with the type of tattoo you want or if you want one at all? Take the quiz below to find out if it is the right time for you to get inked.