There have always been tattoo artists who are more sought after that others. Maybe they specialize in portraits, or amazing color. Maybe they happened to win a tattoo reality show, or they really nail cover ups. The fact of the matter is, there are artists out there that have their books filled for months, if not years in advance. These artists have the ability and luxury to pick and choose what they work on as well. That means it’s not as easy as calling a shop or sending an email in order to get a spot with them. So, how did I manage to secure a spot with Halo? I’m glad you asked!
I started following him on Instagram awhile ago and honestly this is my number one tip. It’s the easiest way to find out when they open their books or if they had a cancellation. About a year ago he posted a collage of a few super hero related portraits that he wanted to do. All you had to do was send an email with the subject you wanted. One of those was “Batman Returns” Catwoman. This is actually a tattoo I’ve had in the back of my mind for awhile but wanted to make sure I had the right artist. When I saw she was included, I quickly sent off an email. I was lucky enough to get picked! But the timeline didn’t exactly work. Since it was something he really wanted to do, he opened his books later in the year for me. I put down my deposit and then just waited! Then around October the day finally arrived and 5.5 hours later, I had a beautiful new piece of art on my body.
If you’re open about the subject of the tattoo, you’ll probably have better luck securing a spot. You’ll find a lot of times tattoo artists will do what Halo did. They might post flash they’ve worked on and are looking to tattoo, or just ideas that they’ve been playing around with. Of course you shouldn’t get something done if it’s not something you actually want or like. It is something that will be on you forever. I recommend paying attention to what they like to do as well. Are you going after someone who does portraits mainly? Then maybe don’t submit an idea about flowers. If they do amazing color work, don’t go in looking for black and gray. You want to play to their strengths! If they love doing jewel work like Jenna Kerr above, then that’s what you go for! The most important thing though is to just follow them on as much of their social media as you can. Some artists travel around and don’t really have a “home shop” or they have their own private studio. Speaking of traveling around, tattoo conventions are a huge thing now. If there’s an artist that you’ve had your eye on, be sure to see if they ever do conventions. It’s a great way to get amazing work done by non-local talent. Again, most of the time they’ll post on social media about their con schedule and how to get booked for those events. The most important thing is to just be sure to read everything they ask when it comes to sending in a request. This might include having a few ideas or spots open on your body. It might mean only paying in cash. Maybe they want you to send in reference photos. Just be sure to read and re-read everything before hitting send on that email. You don’t want to miss out because you didn’t read the rules.
That’s it really. It’s not magic or something complicated. It’s just about keeping your eyes open and paying attention to the artists you enjoy. Plus a nice mix of keeping an open mind when it comes to what you want tattooed. If you have any other questions, let me know in the comments!