Q&A: How To Tip Your Tattoo Artist?

It should be said from the beginning, that tipping for tattoos isn’t just nice it’s expected. Many tattoo artists will tell you “if you can’t afford a tip, you can’t afford a tattoo”.  Tipping in Toronto isn’t complicated, but here’s what you should know before walking into that tattoo shop.

Average Tip is 15-35%

Tipping is absolutely expected. Add 15-35% extra to the cost of the tattoo as a tip. The average tip is around 20%, but some people tip a bit more or less depending on the size and level of detail.

With Multiple Session Tattoos Tipping Is Up To You

Larger tattoos will require multiple sessions to complete it. This can complicate tipping. It’s up to the client whether or not you want to tip at the end of each session or wait until the end. Most tattoo artists prefer smaller tips at the end of each session, but if you let them know you’re waiting until the end they’re fine with that as well. As long as they know they won’t be getting stiffed, tattoo artists are good.

Compliments and Gifts Are Nice, But Not Replacements

Ever hear the saying, “compliments don’t pay bills”? Well, it’s true. As great as gifts and compliments are, they aren’t things we can use to pay our bills. Tattoo artists are professionals that expect to get paid for their services. And like other industries, like salons and restaurants, tips are apart of that payment.

Tattoo Artists Aren’t Rich

While some tattoo artists make it big, most don’t. Tattoo shops often take a percentage of each tattoo. Artists also have to pay for equipment like ink, needles, and other supplies. Tips are important and matter more than people realize.

Tattoo Artists Deserve Tips

You should recognize that this person is marking your body forever. If they do a good job with that, they deserve that tip. Tattoo artists work hard to make clients happy, so give them the respect they deserve and tip accordingly.

Tip Accordingly

While tipping is important, the rules become fuzzy if a client isn’t happy with their tattoos. If you aren’t happy with the final product, discuss this with your artist, and give them a chance to fix it. Tipping is a judgment call. If you love a tattoo tip more than average if you like it tip average, and if you are unhappy tip less or none at all. Just try not to be a jerk.

All Tips Are Great, But Cash Is Best

Tattoo artists aren’t picky, they’ll take tips in whatever form whether that’s cash or credit. Most artists prefer cash though. It’s quick, easy to use right away, and they don’t have to go through the process of calculating and cashing it out at the end of the day.


Tipping tattoo artists in Toronto is pretty simple. It’s just like tipping in a restaurant or salon. A decent tip is expected, but the client determines the amount according to the level of work. Expect to add on at least 20% to the quoted price, if not more. Try to tip in cash, always convey your feelings truthfully to your artist, and most of all if you can’t afford a tip you can’t afford a tattoo. If you have any questions about tipping feel free to contact us or visit our downtown Toronto tattoo shop.


Tattoo Questions: Can I Get My Own Art Tattooed?

We get asked this question a lot in our Toronto tattoo shop. Here is everything you need to know about potentially getting your own artwork tattooed on yourself.


Not All Art Works As Tattoos

Tattoos are a whole other art form in itself. That means that not every drawing will translate well into a tattoo. Don’t be afraid to show your design to the artist, but just know that they’ll likely have to make a few changes to make it looks its best.


It Will Have To Be Redrawn

Even if your artwork can perfectly be turned into a tattoo, that tattoo artist will still have to redraw it. They may have to alter the proportions of the body, or simply redraw it onto the stencil that will be their guide.


Art Style Will Impact Your Artist

Like art, tattoos have different styles. What type of art do you create? This will impact what tattoo artist can best translate it into a tattoo. Finding one with a similar aesthetic will be key to getting the best results.


You’ll Have To Pay The Same Amount

This may seem unfair, but the design is only a portion of what you’re paying the tattoo artist for. The price also covers the equipment, the ink, the artist’s skill, and their time. You may have saved them a few minutes by creating the initial design, but all of the other work is left to them.


Don’t Be Offended If We Say No

If we say no to your tattoo design it isn’t a personal insult. Some tattoos just won’t work. Tattoo artists work for years to reach a level of skill and expertise so if they say it won’t work, they’re not lying to you and it’s not because they don’t like the artwork.


If It Has Meaning, Let Us Know

We understand that tattoos are personal and not everyone feels comfortable opening up. Tattoo artists are like therapist though in that many people do open up to them. Let us know if a piece of artwork has some meaning so that if we have to make any changes we can make sure to still capture what’s so special about it. We don’t want to press you for the whole story, but a little insight will ensure your tattoo artist delivers something that you’ll love.


Some Artists Won’t Under Any Circumstances

You know what they say about artists. Some tattoo artists have worked in the industry so long that they only do their own original work. It’s not personal; they just have reached a place in their career where they can be a bit picky about what they do. Most artists are open to tattoos clients work though; just ask ahead when booking to be sure.



The answer to the question isn’t straightforward. You can get your own artwork tattooed but it may be to be changed and altered for the best outcome. Book a consultation with a tattoo artist in our downtown Toronto tattoo shop today to get started!


Walk-In Etiquette For Toronto Tattoo Shops

Tattoo shops love walk-ins. There’s nothing quite like it to perk up a slow day in the shop. However, it can be frustrating for tattoo artists when new clients don’t understand how walk-ins work or have if they have unrealistic expectations for them. Here is everything you need to know about walk-in etiquette for tattoo shops in Toronto.

Know What You Want

If you book an appointment ahead of time, there is typically a consultation where you and the tattoo artist will discuss what you want and collaborate to come up with a design. With walk-ins, you’re expected to already know what you want. There may be a chance to discuss a few minor things with the artist, but there isn’t time for a full consultation. If you don’t have a design decided on and printed out, or if you have tons of questions or don’t know what you want, then a walk-in tattoo appointment might not be for you.

Call Ahead

It’s always a good idea to call head on the day you’re thinking of coming in. That way you can avoid arriving at the busiest time or on days where everything is booked up. We don’t like making clients wait hours, but unfortunately, that might happen if you just arrive.

Flash Is Your Friend

All tattoo artists have a book of pre-designed tattoos called flash tattoos. For walk-ins, these are great because they’re already designed and ready to go. Some artists are open to small changes but don’t expect to alter anything major.

Expect To Wait

If you’re walking in for a tattoo there will be a waiting period. Even if on the off chance the shop is dead empty, the tattoo artist will still need time to draft up the template. Toronto tattoo shops will also give priority to booked appointments. Expect to wait at least a half an hour, if not more. If you want to avoid longer wait times then call ahead.

Don’t Bring The Whole Gang

We get it, getting a tattoo is fun and exciting and you want to share that with your friends. But please limit how many people you bring. Tattoo shops in Toronto are typically small, so a large crowd can be in the way. A friend or two brought along for moral support is fine, but an entire entourage is not.

Don’t Haggle The Price

People like to think of tattoo shops like farmers markets where they can bargain the price. Prices are set because tattoo artists know exactly how much time it will take, what the materials will cost, and what their art is worth. Negotiations on price aren’t an option for walk-ins or booked appointments.

Show Up Sober

Who hasn’t thought about a tattoo while having a fun night out on the town? Just know that Toronto tattoo shops don’t tattoo people that aren’t fully sober. Alcohol makes blood thinner, which causes more bleeding during the process. Plus, no studio wants to be responsible for a horrible drunken tattoo.

Other Tips

  • Don’t bring pets
  • Don’t bring kids
  • Make sure you have payment available (Call ahead to know what payment types they accept)
  • Dress appropriately
  • Trust your tattoo artist



Don’t be discouraged from walking in to a tattoo shop in Toronto, just know what to expect. Contact us or stop by our downtown Toronto tattoo shop to learn more or get a new sweet tattoo today.

What Medical Details Do I Need to Disclose to Tattoo Artists?



Your tattoo artist doesn’t need your entire medical history, but it is important to let them know if you have certain medical conditionals or are taking certain medications. Tattoos aren’t dangerous usually, but there are cases where medical conditions have made tattoos deadly. Be smart and tell your tattoo artist if any of the following medical details pertain to you.


Medical Conditions to Disclose

Certain medical conditions make getting a tattoo incredibly dangerous. In many cases, having one of these conditions doesn’t mean you can’t get a tattoo. It just means that you and your tattoo artist may need to take extra precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.


If you have any of the following medical conditions you should disclose them to your tattoo artist:

  • Heart Conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Hemophilia
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Severe Allergies
  • Epilepsy
  • Pregnant or Nursing
  • 6 Months (or Less) Postpartum or Post-Weaning


Medications to Disclose

Some medications can make getting tattoos dangerous too as they cause strange reactions. If you’re taking any of the following medications be sure to talk to your doctor first and then tell your tattoo artist.

  • Acne Medications: Acne isn’t a major medical condition, but if you’re taking certain medications like Accutane, Minomycin, or any other prescription drug for acne, you probably don’t want to get tattooed. These medications make the skin incredibly sensitive. Getting a tattoo on these medications can lead to pain and scarring.
  • Antibiotics: Discuss all antibiotics you’re taking with your tattoo artist. Some are perfectly safe to get tattoos on, but others make skin hypersensitive or can cause unusual skin reactions when tattooed.
  • Blood Thinners: If you’re taking any medication to thin your blood, your tattoo artist should definitely be informed and you should consult with a doctor. Depending on the medication, it may not be smart to get a tattoo, or it may require shorter sessions.
  • Anti-Rejection Drugs: If you have had an organ transplant or are on anti-rejection meds, getting a tattoo may not be wise. Ask your doctor first to determine if it’s safe. Some medications may interfere with the healing process.


Concealing vs. Revealing

Going ahead with getting a tattoo even knowing it isn’t safe isn’t a smart move. It puts your life at risk and is potentially dangerous to others. Make sure to disclose any of the medical details discussed above. Also, make sure you follow all the aftercare advice. If you have any questions or want to book an appointment please to contact us or visit us at our Toronto tattoo shop.


Cuticle Tattoos 101


Yet another tattoo trend we can credit Rihanna for bringing into popularity. The Queen of Cool first sported cuticle tattoos back in 2013, and since then they have taken over Instagram. These tiny tattoos are just the latest in tattoo trends.



The name says a lot, but cuticle tattoos aren’t actually on the cuticle. Rather, they’re placed around the nail. People usually opt to stick close to the nail but some people have taken to extending the design up the fingers and even across the whole hand. One choice people interested in these tattoos have to make it how many fingers they want to be done. Some get a few, some get only one hand, and others get them all done. It’s all up to you!



Here’s the bad news- the hands hurt to get tattoos. That pain only increases for that area on the finger. Hands and fingers are mostly bone and skin, with very little fat to cushion. The area near the nail is even more bony and sensitive. Ever gotten a hangnail? Imagine that pain times a thousand.



Since most cuticle tattoos are small and have simple designs, the process can be done quickly. Make sure that you find an artist skilled in small tattoos though so that they don’t make any mistakes and can work in the small area.



There is no single design for cuticle tattoos. Some popular designs are geometric shapes, lines, dots, and henna-style designs. Due to the small space simpler designs tend to work best.



It’s super important to follow all aftercare instructions. Since your hands usually come in contact with germs and objects first, it’s important that you keep your new ink clean and dry.



Cuticle tattoos act like jewelry, elevating whatever outfit one is wearing. They can hurt though, and it’s pretty costly for a small tattoo. Some people are opting for alternatives like temporary tattoos or nail art to get the design. If you want to book an appointment please contact us today!



10 Historical Figures You Didn’t Know Had Tattoos


Tattoos have been around for a long time. While they remained taboo in the Western world until recently, quite a few powerful political leaders had hidden ink of their own. So next time someone shames you for your tattoos, inform them about these 10 historical figures that had tattoos of their own.


Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was the 7th president of the United States. He’s mostly remembered for his controversial campaign to kill and relocate Native Americans. As if that wasn’t enough, he ironically had a tattoo of a giant tomahawk on his inner thigh. Yeah, a tomahawk, a weapon, and toll closely associated with the culture he tried to destroy.


James K. Polk

Another president with another hidden tattoo. James Polk spent most of his presidency buying up land for the US. We can also credit him with starting the Chinese character tattoo craze. President Polk had a tattoo of a Chinese character, which translates to “eager”. It could have been worse!


Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th President of the US and had such a great run as president that his face even made it up on Mount Rushmore. What Mount Rushmore didn’t capture was his ink. Roosevelt reportedly had the Roosevelt family crest tattooed on his chest. We would expect nothing less from a man like him.


John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth wasn’t a president, but you probably learned about him in history class. He was a 26-year-old actor that shot and assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. They say actors have big egos, and we believe it after learning that Booth had his own initials tattooed on his hand.


Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison invited a ton of things, but did you know he also had a hand in creating the first tattoo machine? He was the one that created the first electric pen, which Samuel O’Reilly then used to develop the first tattoo machine. Edison was so intrigued that he ended up with 5 cryptic dots on his forearm.


Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was a fantastic leader for Britain during WW2. Many would be surprised to know that he had a tattoo, a classic anchor on his forearm. His mother probably didn’t mind, seeing as she had a tattoo of a snake on her wrist that she hid with jewelry.


Czar Nicholas II

He’s known as the last emperor of Imperial Russia, but Czar Nicholas also had some ink. In 1891 he traveled to Japan to try to improve Russo-Japanese relations. He came back with a little souvenir- a colorful dragon tattoo on his arm. That’s one way to mend a relationship.


George Orwell

The famed author of classics like, 1984, no only used ink to get his words across but also to mark his body. While serving as a policeman in Burma in his youth, Orwell for a blue dot on each knuckle, the dots were supposed to protect the wearer from harm.


King Frederick IX of Denmark

King Frederick led Denmark for 25 years, and he was known for being a badass. His number of tattoos only reinforced this. His ink covered his arms and chest and he acquired them during his time as a sailor.


R.H. Macy

You might not know the name, but you sure know his legacy. R.H. Macy was the founder of Macy’s department store. You probably know the red star logo, but did you know it was inspired from R.H. Macy’s own tattoo? He had a red star on his forearm that he got in his youth when he was a sailor.


Want some cool ink? Contact us to set up an appointment today.


Q&A: Should I Be Worried About My Raised Tattoo?

First things first, don’t panic. Tattoos become raised for a variety of reasons, most of them nothing to worry about. We understand it can be concerning to see lumps and bumps where your ink is. Here are a few reasons as to why your tattoo may be raised and what you should do about it.


Rising Reasons

As we said, tattoos rise for a number of reasons. It’s not always easy to figure out the exact cause so take notes as to when, how often, and what you’re doing when the rising happens. The more information you have, the better chance you have at figuring out what’s causing it to happen. Here are a few of the likely candidates causing your tattoo to rise.



A big reason tattoo artists don’t freak out when a client tells us their tattoos are raised is that that is a perfectly normal part of the tattoo healing process. It’s caused by the body trying to heal itself. You may also notice scabbing, flaking, fading and oozing as your tattoo heals. None of it sounds pleasant, and it doesn’t always look it, but it’s perfectly normal. All of this should go away if you follow aftercare advice. Don’t panic if it doesn’t go away right away either. It can take months for a raised tattoo to go down. 



We told you to take notes on everything because the weather can have a big impact on your skin. A lot of people notice that their tattoos rise during warmer weather, like during summer. The reasons are simply your body swelling due to the heat. Humidity, heat, and dry air can all irritate skin, which can cause your tattoo to rise. It’s totally normal and if this is the cause you probably notice it goes away once it becomes cooler.



Scaring is one cause that is permanent. Scar tissue can form during the tattoo process and cause it to stay raised, even once it’s fully healed. It’s pretty uncommon, but it can happen if the tattoo artist isn’t trained. The scarring happens when the artist pushes too deep into the skin causing scar tissue to form. The scarring can go down, but it will still remain. This is why it’s important to go to a licensed tattoo shop and see a professionally trained tattoo artist.



It’s rare, but unfortunately, sometimes tattoos become infected. The chances of infections are low when you follow proper aftercare advice and visit reputable tattoo shops, but they do still happen. Symptoms of infection depend on the individual but common ones are swelling, white dots, rashes, and oozing in the tattooed area. Always get an infected tattoo treated as quickly as possible to limit the amount of damage to your body.



Being allergic to tattoo ink is uncommon, but it’s been known to happen. Allergies could cause the tattoo to rise, even if it’s been awhile since the tattoo was done. Allergies can develop at any stage of life so you may not notice them when you first get inked. If an allergy is serious you may have to get the tattoo removed. In most cases, the tattoo just becomes slightly raised, swollen, and irritated. Creams, aloe vera, and allergy medication can help relieve symptoms.



Honestly, this isn’t what people want to hear, but sometimes it’s just the individual. People’s bodies are different, so each person reacts differently to tattoos. That’s why it’s so hard to give an exact healing time because it’s different for everyone. If you have sensitive skin the tattoo may stay raised longer after healing or rise more often. If you have other skin conditions such as eczema, they could cause the tattoo to rise too. Don’t worry though because usually, a raised tattoo isn’t noticeable to others.


What To Do

Don’t panic right away if your tattoo is rising. If the rising is causing pain, discomfort, or lasts for a long time you may want to consult with a doctor. Don’t irritate a raised tattoo further by scratching it.


Contact us if you have any questions about your tattoos. If you are interested in getting a tattoo come by our downtown Toronto tattoo shop to set up an appointment.