Do you need a consultation?

So, you've made an appointment; now what?

If you have already chosen the perfect pattern for your tattoo

(perhaps from the LuckyFish Art Design Shop),

then all we need to do is size and place it. In that case you probably don't need to come to the studio in advance for a consultation.  

Similarly, minor tweaks can often be done the day of your appointment.  We have put together this handy video about the different ways that a Celtic Knot Tattoo can be rendered, so that you can consider your choices for ways it can appear. Let me know ahead of time what you want, as I may need to redraw it for the stencil process before your appointment. And once we discuss it by email I can let you know if I feel further in-person consultation is needed.

If your tattoo is a large scale project or requires custom drawing, or you don't know exactly what you want yet, you must come to the studio in advance to consult.

This can often be accomplished the day before your installation appointment.  For example, you could consult Saturday afternoon for a tattoo installation Sunday, making your visit to Santa Barbara a weekend getaway. 

As a general rule, I do not consult at a distance via phone or email; it’s just too complex, and the potential for misunderstanding is too high.  I’ll want to see your arm (or other body part) in person, make measurements, and then we will work together to create and/or customize your tattoo design.

For the first phase of your consultation, we talk about what you want to express with your tattoo image, discuss color and placement options, and get a realistic idea of how extensive a piece you are ready to commit to.

If your tattoo is a custom piece, you and I will often begin the process of mocking-up the design digitally, so that you can see it come to life on the computer screen. 

It is likely we will begin by taking a picture of you and proceed to design the tattoo right on your body in Photoshop! The goal is to have you visualize the tattoo in advance, and articulate your preferences. Seeing it superimposed on your skin in a portrait may even convince you to get it a little larger than you had planned..... being able to look at yourself as others will, objectively, helps a lot in choosing an appropriate scale for the tattoo.

Once the basic framework has been established, your design becomes my "homework" -  I take it home and spend all the time necessary to craft your final design without having to rush or compromise.  This way, we can get right to work with tattooing on your appointment date. And of course you will have the opportunity to approve the art drawing before we proceed with the tattoo.

I appreciate that it is a big leap of faith for you to see something on paper and imagine it on your body, so it helps if I have overnight to prepare a paper version for you to see, even showing shading, color or dots, so we can be absolutely clear about rendering choices.

If it geographically easy for you to get to the tattoo studio, your consultation does not have to be the day before - it could be the week before, or any other time we agree on. But because so many of my clients fly in from out of state I frequently do the overnight turn-around from concept to custom tattoo.

If you aren’t quite clear on what you want yet, you can also make a deposit to secure a consultation date, and the actual installation appointment can be left open-ended.  That allows us to begin the design process and clarify your ideas.  As we narrow in on a pattern for your tattoo, then you can choose a date for the installation .

It is always my goal to have each person get a tattoo as unique as they are, and yes that takes a little more effort on the client's part than just walking in and pointing at a flash pattern on a wall. But the result is worth it, as the tattoo will be an expression of your aesthetics for the rest of your life.


Here is an animation of an arm through several phases:

1) digital lines

2) color mockup

3) stencil

4) tattooed lines

5) finished colored tattoo.