+ How do I start the tattoo process? I’m completely new to it!

Welcome to the jungle! We got fun and games! We got everything you want; honey, we know the names…. Oh, sorry. I don’t know what happened there.

The first step is to answer these questions for yourself: Do you know what you want for a tattoo? Do you know where you want it on your body? Do you know which tattooer should do your tattoo? Do you have a specific time-frame in mind for getting the tattoo?

We are happy to schedule a consultation with you to help you answer any of the above questions, but it’s a great start to know what you want, where you want it, and whom you want to do it. Based on that, we can tell you how much it will cost, how long the tattoo will take, when we can do it, etc. Once you know most of the above, send us an email, give us a call, or stop by the shop and we’ll take it from there. If you are a visual thinker, please feel free to bring reference photos to your consultation (to illustrate the style, design, line weight, shading, etc. that you are seeking). If your thought process is more verbal, we are equally comfortable in simply having an in-depth conversation about your ideas for the various elements of your tattoo.

We find that in-person consultations are most helpful, but if you are traveling from a great distance, we are able to consult via email for the sake of convenience. Once we have all the particulars nailed down, we’ll set up an appointment for tattooing… and then ta-da! You’ll have a new tattoo!

We live in uncertain times, so it’s nice to be able to get a straight answer for once, isn’t it? It’s what Guns N’ Roses would want, even if they’re missing an apostrophe in front of the N.

+ Do I need an appointment?

No, you don't, but if you want large scale work, an appointment is highly recommended. Depending on the day and time, someone might be available for a walk-in. If you’re feeling spontaneous and struck by the tattoo bug, give the shop a call.

If you have a few days’ lead time, email us (or call us) to set up an appointment (or consultation).

All of our tattooers have different schedule demands, so it’s always worth calling or emailing to check about availability.

Some folks still like to physically walk-in, and we love seeing your faces, but keep in mind that we may or may not have an opening if you’re popping in. But come by anyway—the shop usually smells really nice unless someone just ate a lot of garlic, in which case, come by if you’re hiding from Dracula.

+ How do I set up an appointment?

First, you should have a basic idea of what you want and which tattooer should do your tattoo (please see the first FAQ). If you'd like to brainstorm ideas, we’re happy to do that with you at the shop. Please set up a consultation with someone to do that. We have lots of books, drawings, prints, and designs that might inspire you. Generally speaking, we meet with clients and chit-chat about their tattoo, covering such sundries as: how long will the tattoo take? is this the best placement for it? how much will it cost? what are the chances of the Patriots getting back into the Super Bowl?

To finalize the appointment, clients leave a deposit that reserves their appointment; the deposit goes toward the cost of the tattoo and is refundable with at least one week's prior notice.

+ Which tattooer should do my tattoo?

This is the million dollar question, and unfortunately, it’s not one that we can answer easily for you. Only you can determine who is the right tattooer for you, but we can give you a few things to consider.

There are many aspects to choosing a tattooer, but the primary one is whether you feel that the tattooer can translate your vision onto your skin. Does his/her tattoo work have the qualities that you’re looking to have in your tattoo? For example, some people want solid, bold lines; others want thin, fine lines. Some folks want bright, saturated colors; others want a more muted, subtle palette. Some people want an art nouveau flair; others want a graphic, traditional Americana look. We’re all versatile and comfortable in several modes and styles of tattoos, but a conversation or consultation will usually give you some insight into our familiarity and/or confidence in a particular project or style.

For some clients, the project is time-sensitive, so a specific time-frame may direct you towards one tattooer and not another because of his/her availability.

It’s also worth mentioning that you may be looking for a specific rapport or background from your tattooer. Maybe you want a Star Wars nerd to tattoo your backpiece of Jar Jar Binks? Maybe you want a glam rock fan to tattoo your David Bowie portrait? Maybe you want a Freddy Mercury fan to tattoo a half-sleeve of the Queen? Ha. Maybe you like puns and double-entendres? Maybe you like motorcycles? Maybe you like both and you want a Puns of Anarchy tattoo? We get it. We really do. There are ineffables that you might be looking for in the tattooer and the process, and these are important, too.

We are not here to “sell” you on getting tattooed at our shop. We are supremely confident in our work and feel that it speaks for itself. If you’re in our shop, we want to give you more information (through a consultation and/or conversation) so that you can make an informed decision, not for us to make that decision for you.

We’d never tell you how much salt to put in your soup, and we’ll never tell you what to get and who should do the tattoo for you (unless you specifically solicit our opinion).

+ What do I need to do on the day of my actual tattoo appointment?

You should get a good night's sleep before you get tattooed. We've gotten tattooed when we were tired, and it was no fun.

You also shouldn't get totally wasted the night before you get tattooed. We’ve seen people get tattooed when they were hung over, and it did not look fun.

You should eat breakfast, lunch, or something in the hours leading up to your tattoo. Your blood sugar can drop right before (or while) you get tattooed, and if your blood sugar is already low, you might pass out. That’s no fun.

If you have a severe cold or the flu, you should consider rescheduling your appointment. We won't be mad. We promise. We’ve gotten tattooed when we were sick, and it was no fun. And let’s face it: we’re all about fun at the shop.

+ How should I take care of my tattoo?

Your healthy body is a healing machine, and the less you do to get in its way, the better. The most important thing that you can do for your new tattoo is to keep it clean. This does not, however, mean washing it every five minutes because that would dry it out. Just keep it clean, as a referee would say. Leave the bandage on for a few hours or until you are ready to go to bed (whichever comes first.) Wash your hands. Run water over the bandage either in the sink or in the shower. Peel the bandage off slowly in the shower/sink. Gently soap and rinse your tattoo. Pat your tattoo dry with a clean towel. Put a pea-sized amount of unscented lotion on your tattoo. Do this once or twice a day for two weeks. MAKE SURE YOUR HANDS ARE CLEAN! The lotion will keep your tattoo from drying out. DO NOT PICK AT YOUR TATTOO OR ITS SCABS. Once your tattoo is healed, the only thing that will destroy it is the sun, so put on sun-block it when you go to the sun. And if you’re going to Mars, put on Matt Damon. He can do anything.

+ How long do tattoos take to heal?

Everyone heals at a different rate, but the great consensus is that a tattoo is done peeling, flaking and itching in about two weeks. It may take another two weeks for your skin to return to its normal consistency. DO NOT PICK AT YOUR TATTOO OR ITS SCABS.

+ Can you cover up or fix my old tattoo?

In 99% of cases, yes we can! Figure out who should do your tattoo (see that FAQ above) and drop us a line.

+ Can you cover up a scar or birthmark?

Maybe. For scars, it depends on how old, how raised, and where they are. For birthmarks, it also depends on where they are, and whether they are purple and hairy or petite and mauve.

+ What methods of sterilization does Tsunami use?

We use hospital grade sterilization, autoclaving all reusable metal grips.

Tsunami Tattoo uses single-use materials where possible; that is, nearly everything that comes in contact with you has and will only come in contact with you. All needles, ink caps, inks, plastic barriers, etc., are single-use and are disposed after each client. We throw all these items away by electrocuting them with Sith lightning and throwing them down the power-generator shaft of a Death Star, hurling them to their doom… This might sound a lot like a scene in Return of the Jedi, but it’s just a coincidence. A really, really, really weird coincidence…

+ Does it hurt to get tattooed?

Yes. No. Maybe. It depends. Tattooing is by no means comfortable, but the discomfort is bearable. I have always likened it to a hot-pinch, but hey, that's me. How many people have been hot-pinched anyway? The bottom line is that if you feel somehow incomplete and feel like you're not "you" without a tattoo, you ought to get it where you want it, pain be damned. The pain will soon pass, and then you'll have a great tattoo right where you wanted it, right?

The late, great Felix Leu said that the best anesthesia for getting a tattoo is wanting a tattoo. Ne'er were truer words spoken.

+ Why doesn’t anyone ever answer the phone?

Well, geez… I mean, we try to answer the phone! We really do! The thing is: we don’t have a dedicated receptionist. All our tattooers are highly-trained, telephonic interface analysts, but if they’re tattooing, they are unable to stop and answer the phone.

We do have a robot that takes your messages. His name is Voys Male, and although he speaks only in a single, long beep, just tell him what your message is, and we’ll get it from him.

He’s awesomely reliable, but not very versatile. Also, we don’t know what he looks like. I imagine he looks a lot like Matt Damon.

+ How old do I have to be to get a tattoo?

According to Maine State law, you must be 18-years-old with a government-issued ID that says so. No college ID, no parents co-signing, no friends vouching for you, no sawing off your leg and counting the rings. Government-issued ID means: valid driver's license, passport, military ID, or Bill Clinton (or any ex-president) vouching for you.

+ How much do tattoos cost?

Our tattooers all charge slightly different hourly and session rates (these rates are set by the tattooers individually). Once you’ve figured out which tattooer will be working with you (see that specific FAQ), s/he can tell you what his/her tattooing rates are based on your project, the location on the body, how long it will take, etc.

The cost of a tattoo is determined by where it's going on the body, how complex and large it is, and how long it will take. Once we have a good idea of what you're going to get, we can give you an exact price on smaller pieces and an approximate price for bigger pieces.

All that said, we can say that our shop minimum is $80. This $80 covers the cost of all the single-use items that are used on you and only you. It's kind of touching, isn’t it? Here's what you get for your $80 that is used only on you because you are so special: gloves, surgical bibs, inks, NEEDLES, paper towels, puns, etc. All I can say is, "Wow! What a bargain!"

In the long run, you'll be happier with beautiful work that is worth every penny rather than cheap work that is worthless. If you don't have the money, save. There's no point in compromising yourself or your tattoo because you are impatient; in ten years you won't remember how much you "saved" on your tattoo, but you will know whether you are happy with it or not.