The only way to tell whether or not an artist is good is to see examples of his or her work. Recommendations are helpful, of course, but the recommendations should carry infinitely more weight if the recommender is proffering a tattooed example of the artist's work.

You can meet people and talk to them about their tattoos at tattoo conventions, in the tattoo studios you visit, and on the street or at a club, so long as you're not an idiot about it. People are usually proud of their tattoos, and if you seem genuinely interested, a lot of people will be happy to tell you about their ink.

Tattoo magazines are also a good source for information. The photo-essays they publish about various artists are likely to be well-researched and legitimate examples of the artists' work. There are also websites such as, which show examples of artists' work.

The most important thing is that you are able to communicate to the tattoo artist what you want in a tattoo. If you don't feel comfortable talking to your tattoo artist, it's not likely that you'll get what you want.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW get a tattoo?