Like most artists, tattoo artists have their own specific styles that they excel at and styles that they are not so good at. For example, if you want a realistic portrait of Marilyn Monroe on your arm, don't seek out an artist that specializes in reproducing lurid cartoons.
Ultimately when it comes to tattooing, you are the art director and you are selecting the talent to realize your dream. Some tattoo artists are better at fine line tattoos than others, others have a knack for the rhythms and designs associated with primitive work and some are better at flowers than flaming skulls. Usually you can tell by looking at the artist's in-shop photo-album whether or not they excel at colorful traditional work or the fine shadings that create photo-realism.
Most tattooists have a great deal of enthusiasm for their work and are willing to "get into the spirit" with you when it comes to arriving at the style and size of tattoo that is best for you. If the artist has suggestions about size and color, listen to the voice of experience. They may simply know what looks best or they may be trying to subtly tell you something about the limitations of their own talent.
Once you are in the chair, treat your tattoo artist with respect. Don't try to be a "back seat" artist and annoy him or her with impulsive creative suggestions. Of course, this is not going to happen if you and the artist have mutually agreed on an appropriate design in the first place.
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