Want to learn more about Side Show Studios? Here are some of our customers’ most common questions. If you’ve never gotten a tattoo before, or you simply have questions that you never got around to asking, this is the place for you! If you’re looking to learn specifics about how to prepare for your tattoo and take care of it, please take the time to read over our before and aftercare instructions.
What makes your studio so darn amazing?
Our artists, of course! They come from a variety of different art backgrounds, giving the studio a supportive environment for fostering creativity. Stop in sometime to check out the gallery space if you are wanting to get a feel for our studio.
How do I make an appointment?
Each of our artists sets their own schedule. When you use our contact form, select the artist you want to be tattooed by. They will contact you directly to set up your consultation/tattoo/piercing appointment. Please keep in mind that our artists choose their hours as well as their travel schedules, so please understand it may take them a little while to get back to you. Some artists will require a deposit, and they will let you know when you contact them for a consultation.
How much does a tattoo cost?
Size, location, detail, and artist are some of the many factors that contribute to the cost of a tattoo. Sometimes your artist can give you a definite price, but other times, like when working on a large, evolving back piece, we may have to break out one of Char Hall‘s favorite quotes: “It is done when it is done, and we won’t know until then.”
I know what I want, but don’t have artwork.
Lucky you! We are an all-custom shop. Sometimes people bring artwork with them, but more often they have a shoe box of ideas floating around in their heads. Find the artist whose art you like the feel of, and make an appointment for a consultation so that you two can take some time to flesh out your ideas.
I have a drawing that I would like to get tattooed. Can you do it?
If we have the permission of the artist, sure! We have done oodles of doodles, as well as detailed drawings. Keep in mind that some artistic mediums don’t transfer well to tattooing, and skin can have some limitations. But if you take a peek at our artists’ galleries, we think you’ll see that nearly anything is possible.
Can you fix/update/cover-up my old/botched/regrettable tattoo?
You bet! Some artists enjoy this challenge more than others. And some tattoos need more love than others. Talk with your chosen artist to find out what the best options are for you and your tattoo. This can take time, pigment, and more skin surface space, so come in with an open mind to a variety of ideas. We will help you as best we can. One thing to keep in mind: a cover-up of a cover-up is drastically more difficult than the first cover-up. If you are wanting to change an old tattoo, give it some thought as to why your old tattoo is no longer working for you. Your new tattoo should be one that makes you happy and isn’t merely a temporary fix.
Can you draw something up for my local tattoo artist to tattoo for me? I can’t make it to California.
Well, many of our artists do travel and you might want to talk to them and see if they are planning to be in your region in the near future. Most of our artists won’t draw something up for another artist to tattoo, simply because the final tattoo just wouldn’t look the same as it would if done by the original artist.
What do I bring to my consultation?
That shoe box of ideas rattling around in your head, the clippings that you hold onto because you love the images in them, a thumb drive full of the ideas you have been hoarding from Pinterest–all of these things can help your artist get an idea of what your tattoo looks like in your mind’s eye. Some people know 100% what they want, while others are still trying to find the right words to communicate it. We want your tattoo to be awesome, and communicating with your artist in the manner most comfortable for you is the best way to ensure that.
While consultations are usually done in person, sometimes your artist will do a consult via email, if geographically necessary. If you are doing an online consultation, the images you provide and the clarity of your communication will be all the more important.
What should I do to prepare for my tattoo?
First of all, smile! You are about to be the recipient of a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of art.
A good night’s rest, nourishing food, and proper hydration will not only make the process of tattooing more comfortable, but will also better prepare your body for healing when the tattoo is done. Blood sugar levels are important for being able to keep those endorphins going, which help to keep pain in check. Receiving a tattoo can be a challenging process, so if you’re getting a big tattoo, snacks and arranging a ride for after could be beneficial.
Right before you receive the tattoo, you will be asked to fill out a release form, as well as a medical questionnaire. Your body’s health is a big factor in how your body heals and retains the ink, so these are important tools for us to provide you the best tattoo we can. We will also need to see your ID to confirm that you are over 18 years of age. We will then give you aftercare instructions. Read them before you get your tattoo. Most people are so excited by their new tattoo that they don’t remember to ask any questions they may have had about taking care of it.
Be sure to wear comfortable clothing that gives the artist ample access to the area being tattooed. Tattoo inks and ointments are notoriously difficult to remove from fabrics, so don’t wear your favorite things if you will be crushed if they also go home with a tattoo.
Alcohol and painkillers also don’t mix well with getting a tattoo. They can thin the blood, which may slow healing and leave you open to infection for longer. If your doctor has you on medications that thin the blood, please consult with them before getting a tattoo. We will also not tattoo anyone who cannot consent to a modification of their body with a clear mind.
Do you take walk-ins?
We do if we have artists available with open time. Some of our artists have wait lists ranging from a few weeks to several years in length, but depending on the day they just might be able to take a walk-in. Feel free to call the shop if you want to know if someone is available. But please remember that tattoos can live on you forever, so be sure to pick an artist you want to do your forever tattoo, not your right now tattoo.
Can I bring a friend to my appointment?
Sure! A supportive friend or family member is always a great thing. However, it is best to have a friend who isn’t prone to taking over the conversation. We want to make sure that the art is for you, and doesn’t instead reflect your friend’s enthusiasm.
Please make sure that they are over the age of 18, as we do not allow children in the tattoo studios. They can wait in the gift shop, frame studio, or piercing room, if accompanied by an adult who is not getting a procedure.
Is there an age requirement?
In California, the minimum age to get a tattoo is 18. Parents cannot override this law with their permission. Please bring a photo ID with you to your appointment.
Does getting a tattoo hurt?
Yes, but to varying degrees. The pain from receiving a tattoo is personal and hard to describe to the inexperienced. Location, health, age, and hormones can all impact how your session feels. We have clients who have been working with us monthly for years, who describe it as a changing sensation. Some say it is easier when younger, while others say that it gets easier as you get older. Some think that if you can see the work as it’s done, it hurts less, while others say the opposite, or that it makes no difference at all. However, we have never had a client ask for a tattoo to be stopped and not finish it. It is a type of pain that can be managed; it’s simply part of the experience.
Will my tattoo fade?
All pigments can fade, some more than others. How you care for your tattoo will impact how well it lasts. Welders’ arms are notoriously difficult to keep ink in due to the UV exposure. Tanning booths can also cause premature aging of a tattoo. Sunscreen is always a good idea on a healed tattoo. If you live somewhere as sunny as California, like we do, you might just want to be liberal with the sunscreen all over.
When is the best time to get tattooed?
When you are ready. We do encourage people to try and schedule a tattoo for when they won’t be in the sun or water, to allow for ample healing time. In our area people tend to prefer winter, when a big sweater will keep the tattoo protected from the sun. However, if you are in a super cold area, the thought of goosebumps on a fresh tattoo may make you opt for spring instead.
Summer is when most people see everyone’s ink out and on display and start getting inspired. But if you opt for summertime, be sure to give yourself the time to heal before you head out on that big summer adventure. There’s nothing worse than going with your buddies to Hawaii and having to hide inside while they play in the sand and surf.
Is it okay to get tattooed when I’m sick?
Please don’t. Your body needs its immune system to be at 100% to heal your tattoo and keep you infection-free. If your body is already fighting to keep a cold at bay, you run the risk of not having your tattoo heal right. Also, it is inconsiderate to pass on your illness to the artists and other clients getting tattooed.
We know that some of our artists have wait lists that are several years long, but they will try to accommodate for your illness and get you in once you are better. They would much rather reschedule you, than have to reschedule a week’s worth of clients if they catch your cold.
Can I get tattooed while pregnant or breastfeeding?
We would prefer not to work on someone who is breastfeeding or expecting, and would greatly appreciate it if you are honest with us about it. A pregnant or nursing woman is not only caring for her own immune system, but that of her child’s as well. Just give it some time. You won’t be the first person for whom we’ve had to move an appointment back a year.
Are tattoos safe?
We autoclave all reusable equipment after each use. Our preference is pre-sterilized disposable equipment whenever possible. We buy our tattoo inks from reputable companies who sell to businesses in the industry. As independent contractors, our artists are free to choose the products they feel best works for them, while upholding our studio’s safety standards, as well as state and federal requirements. Please let your artist know if you have any specific questions, allergies, or health conditions.
Are tattoos permanent?
That is the goal. Sun exposure and poor aftercare can damage your tattoo. Tattoos on locations such as hands and feet may eventually fade away completely. However, don’t use this possibility as a way of getting a temporary tattoo. Depending on skin type and other factors, even poorly cared for tattoos can sometimes last for decades.
What colors are best for my skin color?
Our skin’s pigment is kept in a layer of skin just above where the tattoo ink heals. This means that darker skin can create a filter that appears to mute some of the colors. They are still there under the skin, but some of the contrast might be lost. If you are concerned about what would show best for you, please schedule an appointment with your artist.