Does getting a tattoo hurt? Tattoos can be uncomfortable. The level of discomfort can vary from person to person. On average, the discomfort is mild and sometimes described as more annoying than painful. Some people have compared the sensation of getting tattooed to a hot scratch or similar to a sunburn when healing. It is not the same sensation as having blood drawn or getting a shot. Some areas are more sensitive than others on the body and some people take getting tattooed better than other people. If it was unbearable or extremely painful you wouldn’t see so many people with tattoos.
How long will it take? - It depends on the tattoo you are getting. Each tattoo is different, and the amount of time it requires will vary depending on the size of the tattoo, the complexity of the design, how well you sit, etc. The tattoo artist can always give you a ballpark time estimate once the design, size and location have been chosen.
What do I need to bring to get a tattoo? If you are 18 or older, you will need a government issued ID with your birth date and picture. This can be a drivers license, state i.d. card or passport. School and other forms of i.d. are not accepted.
How much will it cost? - Our shop minimum is $80 and our appointment minimum is $100. Most tattoos are priced individually based on size, body placement, and the level of detail. Larger tattoos that will take multiple sessions are priced hourly at the rate of $200/hr. It is difficult to give an accurate price estimate without visual reference and exact measurements. Once a design is finalized, the tattooer can give you a price. We suggest talking with your tattoo artist to get an estimate before getting your tattoo and also letting them know if you have a budget you are working with.
Can I bring in my own design - We encourage you to bring in visual references of what you like so your tattooer can get a better sense of what you are looking for. Your reference does not have to be exact and can simply be ideas or examples of styles and things you like for the tattooer to draw from. Or, you can bring in exact designs that you would like replicated. Keep in mind that some things that look great on paper or on a screen do not always translate well as a tattoo. Your tattoo artist can work with your design to make sure it works as a tattoo. We also have hundreds of designs on the walls of the shop and in books behind the counter for you to choose from.
Can you fix my old tattoo? Typically yes, although it does depend on the tattoo. While we do re-do tattoos and do cover-ups often, each one is unique and might require a different approach. We recommend you speak to one of our tattoo artists in person and let them take a look at the tattoo to see what options are available.
Do you do cover ups? Yes, we do. Cover-ups typically need to be darker and larger that the original tattoo. There are certain designs that work better for cover-ups, but having an idea of what you would like to cover it with is suggested. We recommend you speak to one of our tattoo artists in person and let them take a look at the tattoo to see that what the best options are.
How old do I need to be to get a tattoo? In the state of Illinois, you must be 18 years or older.
If I’m under 18 can I still get a tattoo with parental or guardian permission? with them being present with me? No, you must be 18 years of age to be tattooed in Illinois there isn’t a parental or guardian consent option.
What is my guardian comes with me? No, you must be 18 years of age to be tattooed in Illinois there isn’t a parental or guardian consent option.
What are the sanitary conditions of getting a tattoo? All of our tattoo supplies are individually wrapped, single-use instruments. They are opened immediately before each tattoo and disposed of after. The entire tattoo area, including counter tops and furniture, is sanitized with medical grade sanitation products after each tattoo. All tattoo artists are compliant with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
How do I take care of my tattoo? Your tattooer will go over tattoo aftercare with you and the counter will give you an aftercare sheet to take with you.
What we recommend is:
Remove the bandage after 3 hours (do not re-bandage at any point)
Wash with warm soapy water.
Gently dry the tattoo.
Apply a thin layer of fragrance free lotion 2-3 times a day after washing.
Keep your tattoo clean, showering IS ok.
In 2-3 days the tattoo will begin to flake or scab
Pick at your new tattoo
submerge your new tattoo in water
expose your tattoo to direct sunlight or tanning beds for 2-3 weeks
How small can my tattoo be? This depends entirely on the tattoo design and the complexity of it. Over time, ink gradually spreads. When tattoos are done correctly with enough space between dimensional lines, the expansion of the lines is barely noticeable. If lines are tattooed too close together, the space between them can disappear and they end up looking like one, thicker, blurred line. This is most likely in tattoos with small lettering, details on a face, other small elements and can make the tattoo less legible after several years. Once this happens it is irreversible. The tattoo artist will let you know if this is a risk for you at your chosen size. With small adjustments to the size or by simplifying the design, we can often give you the tattoo you want that will hold up well over time.
What is your minimum - Our shop minimum is $80 and or appointment minimum is $100
How do I set up an appointment- To book in for an appointment with one of our artists you can come by, call, or email the shop. We will then go over the following information with you regarding your tattoo;
• what you want to get tattooed
• where you want to put it
• the size you would like it to be
• and if you are working with a budget
A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required to book in for all appointments.
The deposit goes towards the price of the tattoo and and can be paid by cash or credit in the shop or by credit card over the phone.
If you need help picking a tattooer you can see up to date work from everyone under the “Portfolio and Instagram" pages on our website.
Do you take walk-ins? We do accept and highly recommend walk-ins. Walk-ins are taken every day on a first come, first served basis. If something is not able to be done as a walk in due to the complexity of the design or time permitting that day, we can schedule you in for an appointment. Typically we can accommodate walk-in requests.
Do I tip my tattoo artist?- Tipping is not required, but is always greatly appreciated by your tattoo artist. We recommend tipping like you would any other service professional.
How much are touch ups? Touch ups for tattoos done at Great Lakes Tattoo are complimentary for up to a year. For tattoos not done at Great Lakes Tattoo or done over a year ago, the cost is dependent on how much work needs to be done on the tattoo.
Can I get tattooed over scars? It is possible to cover scars with tattoos, but each scar is different. This is definitely a case by case situation. The age, size and type of scarring all make a difference on whether or not covering it with a tattoo is possible. We recommend you speak to one of our tattoo artists in person and let them take a look at the scar to see that what the best options are.
Can I bring a friend? - Yes, you can absolutely bring a friend with you. However, only the person getting tattooed can be in the station with the tattoo artist. Friends are welcome to stand on the outside of the station up against the wall to watch or sit in the lobby. If you do plan to bring a friend to support you, less is more. The more people you bring with you, the more distractions you will have and the less room they and other customers will have to wait while you get tattooed.
Do you do white tattoos? We will do white ink in tattoos. However, the longevity and quality of white tattoos cannot be guaranteed. This means that unlike other tattoos done at Great Lakes Tattoo, touch-ups are not included in the price of tattoos done only in white ink. Although white pigment is used in tattoos, it is mostly used for highlights and mixing, not as the main color of a tattoo. White pigment fades and loses it’s shape more quickly than other pigment. It can also develop a yellow, brown or pink tint to it that is irreversible. All of these things can happen within a few weeks of getting the tattoo or sometimes after a longer time has passed. Most of the photos of white ink tattoos you see are taken right after the tattoo is completed and not after it has healed.
Finger tattoos? We will tattoo the fingers, but the tattoos are not guaranteed. This means that unlike other tattoos done at Great Lakes Tattoo, touch-ups are not included in the price of finger tattoos. Unfortunately finger tattoos do not hold up well over time. Your hands are used almost constantly - washing, reaching into pockets or bags, driving, holding your phone etc. Also, the skin on your hands and feet is different from the rest of your body and does not hold ink as well. This along with so much use of your hands can stop your tattoo from healing in the correct way and cause fading, blurriness, and disappearing lines. The options to fix or repair this are very limited. Sometimes these issues can be resolved with touch-ups, but more often the same or similar issues reoccur. The same applies for any spot on the foot located below the ankle.
Do you have vegan ink? - Our tattooers tattoo with brands listed as vegan such as Eternal and Solid ink. When you are signing in for the tattoo, please let the counter and tattoo artist know that you only want vegan inks used. This will ensure that the artist sets up correctly for your tattoo. We highly recommend you do your research on brands of ink labeled vegan. While we can guarantee only Solid Ink or Eternal brand inks are used in a tattoo, because we do not manufacture them, we cannot guarantee they are animal product free.