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Every job has secrets that would surprise those who aren’t in the know. Tattoo artists are part of so many of our lives these days, though, that the things they’re keeping behind closed doors are of particular difference.

Also, you figure that tattoo artists see some pretty interesting characters, and therefore have some pretty great stories to tell right?

Buckle up.

10. You should look at their portfolios.

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Even if you go in knowing what you want, they still appreciate it if you take the time to look at their work.

This is something that’s going on your body for all eternity – you shouldn’t be in such a hurry that you can’t even check the talent of the person doing it.

9. It’s tough on the body.

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They spend all day and night hunched over sketch pads and human canvases.

Back, neck, and eye problems are common.

8. Whatever the trend is, it’s boring.

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In particular, tattoo artists are really tired of doing infinity symbols.

It’s simple, and super boring to do over and over again, even if all the coolest celebrities are doing it.

7. Apprentices get hazed.

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Tattooing is a tough industry to get into at all, so apprentices aren’t going to complain about the hazing – which will probably including piercings and/or tattoos.

If you want to play with the big boys, you’ve got to sacrifice, right?

6. Mistakes are common.

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The best tattoo artists know how to cover them up so you’ll never know it happened – a bit of contrast, a little flourish – even better than the original!

5. They practice on themselves.

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There’s a lot of training that takes place before an apprentice is let loose on a client – first, they practice on themselves (and sometimes oranges, fake skin, and pig’s ears).

4. Women have a higher pain tolerance.

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Most artists agree that the more alpha male a guy is, the lower his pain threshold is likely to be.

Women, on the other hand, handle even larger tattoos with much more pluck.

3. They think your parents are right.

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Most experienced tattoo artists will decline face, neck and hand tattoos for younger people – things are changing, but not that quickly.

They could affect things like a kid’s ability to get a job or into a good college.

Your parents are right – you can’t really grasp the full ramifications of your actions at 18.

2. There are only three names you should put on your body.

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Your pets, your kids, or a deceased relative.

That’s it.

1. They only serve who they want.

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Professional tattoo artists reserve the right to refuse to ink any tattoo, or any person, and pretty much for any reason.

They all have their lines – finger tattoos that won’t last, intricate designs that will blur, something that simply isn’t a specialty, whatever.

They get most of their business from referrals, so having subpar work out there doesn’t work in their favor.

Their names are their livelihood, and that means more than the money they would receive from a single commission.

I never would have guessed some of these things!

If you’re a tattoo artist, tell us your trade secrets in the comments!


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