Will A Tattoo Artist Finish Someone Else’s Work?

So, you have a tattoo that needs to be finished or fixed. Will another tattoo artist finish or fix work from someone else?

The answer is, in most cases, yes. A tattoo artist is most likely to finish or fix another artist’s work.

Some artists do consider it rude to finish another artist’s piece. The reason for this is because there is a fear of messing up the original idea or disrespecting the artist or art itself. If you made a painting of a tree and someone came and painted the leaves purple, would you think this was rude or disrespectful?

However, not every artist believes this. In this day and age, artists are honestly more concerned with their personal businesses and clients. Artists want to make their clients happy and do what they can for them. This is why an artist is willing to use a similar style, as to try to do justice to the original artist. If you do not like the original art because of the style though, an artist can change that or cover it.

What if I already have a piece I need finished?

Unfortunately, many different things can happen to cause a tattoo to be unfinished. If you have a tattoo that cannot be finished by the original artist due to other reasons beyond making mistakes or you dislike your tattoo, here’s what you can do:

  • Local tattoo artists often are friends with one another. If you are still in contact with your original artist, you can ask for recommendations. They are most likely to know who would be the best choice to finish your tattoo.
  • Do your research: depending on the style of tattoo, you may be able to find another shop near you with the same or similar style.

If you need a tattoo finished because you do not like it, or a similar reason, you can use the items listed under “What to be aware of when choosing an artist or shop” to choose a new artist that will better suit your needs.

What to be aware of when choosing an artist or shop:

It is sometimes very difficult to choose a shop or artist you like best when getting something permanent. Here are some things to consider when choosing a shop:

  • You want to make sure that the shop has a good reputation. Cleanliness and personability are something you want to look for as well. If the shop is not nice to you or understanding when you first speak to them, it would be in your best interest to look for another shop, as they would be less likely to work with you through your ideas, especially in the event that it is unfinished or something you do not like.
  • Google searches can sometimes be deceiving, as artists can actually pay to have their shop come up first, rather than the best shop come up first. Make sure to do your research on each shop.
  • If you know someone who has been tattooed by the shop you are looking into, ask about their experience and what their recommendations are.
  • In this day and age, social media is extremely important for a business to thrive. Check their social media accounts for examples of their artwork and information about their shop. This is also a good way to find out an artist’s specific style and what they specialize in.
  • The artist should ALWAYS provide a stencil or artwork to show you of some kind. Unless you really trust the artist you are with, do not let them do a freehand tattoo.
  • When choosing a shop, it is sometimes the best choice to choose based on the style of tattoo you are looking for. If you are looking for a traditional Japanese piece, you would not want to go to a stick-and-poke shop, and vice versa. While most artists can and will tattoo in many styles, everyone has their expertise and it can be beneficial to decide based on this.
  • Be aware that some artists charge a “down-payment” for tattoos and sketches. The reason for this is because some people will ask for a drawing, take the drawing and never return. The down-payment will only be taken off the final price of the tattoo, and is only to ensure you are not taking the artists’ time and efforts away.

Can/Should you ask the next artist to try to replicate the original artist’s style?

Yes, you can, but you should be aware of the precautions before doing so. Some artists are very hesitant to work on another artist’s piece. The reason for this, is because they might feel it is disrespectful to do so in the first place. However, these traditions of protecting another person’s art seem to be less prevalent today than in the past. Most artists today are willing to finish the tattoo. Some may ask why you are choosing another shop and what you are looking for.

Most artists are willing to complete the tattoo in the same style, or they might even offer to cover the tattoo completely if that is something you are looking for. It is an immediate thought for most artists to want to help you achieve your desired tattoo, and will try to replicate the original artist’s style as much as they can. Tattoo artists are usually very clear about what they can and cannot do, and will ask you questions regarding your desired piece.

If the artist does not think they can complete the tattoo in the certain style you have, they might tell you and offer another option. For example, some artists might consider it rude to do this to a very famous or popular artist.  Some might consider it rude or distasteful to cover or finish another artist’s piece, but in the event that this happens, you can always look for another shop/artist.

Most artists are willing to work with you to get the piece that you are looking for, and you should not feel like a bother for asking for specific things. At the end of the day, it is your body and your tattoo.

How do you make sure you both are on the same page with what the final design will look like?

Conversing with your artist is very important. Artists should always provide you with some sort of sketch or drawing before the tattoo begins so that you can see what it will look like. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes, this way you don’t end up with a tattoo you do not like.

For example, my dad owns a shop and has been tattooing for over 25 years. I often sit with him while he is sketching for his clients. He emails with them and asks questions, as well as listens to the clients wants, to get the desired look.

Depending on the size of the piece, it can take minutes to days to draw. No matter the amount of time it takes, you should have the opportunity to change anything you don’t like about the piece. If the artist does not give you the opportunity, make sure you say “I don’t like this” or voice your opinion to ensure you do not end up with something you want covered or fixed.

If your original tattoo artist messed up, do you recommend trying to find a new artist at the same shop or is it better to go to a completely new shop?

In the event that an artist messes up, there are a few things to consider before switching to another shop. Do you like the artist’s work? Was it an honest mistake or do you fear something will happen again? Do you like the shop itself? If you answered yes to these questions, I recommend talking with your original artist before moving onto another. It truly depends on your relationship with your artist and the mistake that was made.

If you answered no to most of these questions, I would recommend trying to find another shop. The only precaution I have about going to another artist in the same shop, is that most shops hire similar artists, in which they have similar styles and mannerisms, which can lead to something else you don’t like.

Will I have to pay to have my tattoo finished or fixed?

Tattoo artists charge by the hour rather than the size of the piece. Depending on what you are having fixed or finished will change the price. In most cases though, if you are having another artist fix or finish another artist’s work, you will be paying full price.

If you are getting something fixed by the original artist, the artist might offer a discount, or sometimes not charge you, to fix their mistakes.

I hope this article helps answer any questions you may have about tattooing and what it means to have a piece finished by another artist.