tattoo questions and answers
Where is MD Tattoo Studio located? What are your hours?
MD Tattoo Studio is located at 9545 Reseda Blvd. #2, Northridge, California 91324. Our hours are Tues.-Thurs. 10am to 7:30pm. Fri-Sat. 10am to 8:30pm. Mondays we are open by appointment only.
How do I set up an appointment to get tattooed by you at MD Tattoo Studio in Northridge CA?
I get a lot of requests for appointments and I want to let you know that I appreciate every single one! I am honored to know that you are interested in getting my artwork tattooed on you, and I understand that every idea comes from the heart. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to tattoo every request I get. Please send me an email and if I'm interested in taking on the project, I will send you a personal response with more details. When we start talking more I will let you know my rates and approximately how long the tattoo will take. Emailing me by filling out the entire consultation form on the contact link is the best way to go about setting up an appointment and within that email please give a brief description of what you would like to get done, including placement of your tattoo, the size, and if you prefer color or a black and grey tattoo. Also mention if you would like to get your tattoo done at my studio in Northridge, CA, or if you see that I will be at a convention, please specify which one you would like to get work done at.
What type of tattoos do you like to do?
Looking through the galleries of my work, it will give you an idea of what I like to do. I prefer to keep it in the realistic spectrum, but I'm always open to go outside the box. At this current time I'm taking a break from color portraits (specifically speaking; family member portraits). I would like to do more black and grey and I like working on clients that are 100% open to suggestions. I prefer hearing your idea and then let me run with it. If you're not sure if I would be into your idea, still run it by me and I'll let you know what I think.
What type of tattoos do you not do?
There are certain types of tattoos that I won't do at all, which include: racist, gang-related, and anti-biblical imagery. Just not into it!
Are there parts of the body you do not like to tattoo?
Yes, I try and stay away from tattooing the ribs, stomach, chest and neck, besides the back of the neck I don't mind tattooing. Reason being, I stay away from those because after a long tattoo session in those spots, it ends up tweaking my back and I'm trying to save it for as long as I can. If it's something small in those areas I might make an exception.
Can I set up a consultation with you?
If you would like to meet in person that would be great. It's not necessary, but it is fine is you would like to stop by MD Tattoo Studio to discuss your ideas in person. Again, please email me first and once we get going we can set up a time to meet. You can also swing by the studio at any time when we are open and I would definitely have a few minutes to talk. We would have more time if we set up that appointment beforehand. It is best to give the shop a call and make sure I'm here before you come down, especially if it's a far drive.
How do I set up an appointment with you for a portrait?
I have done so many portraits day in and day out for years and I'm currently taking a break on tattooing color portrait tattoos of family member photos. I will change this post when I start taking them on again. I do make some exceptions if you live local and if it's either a really cool, funny, or vintage style photo and if it's in black and grey. If you're not sure you can send over a picture and I'll let you know. Please don't take it personally if I pass on the project! We have a few other artists that work at MD Tattoo Studio that do good portrait tattoos as well and would be more than happy to do something for you. Other types of portraits that I'm still interested in tattooing are movie characters or pictures of someone famous, those are fun for me!
How do I go about setting up an appointment if I live out of town?
The majority of my email tattoo requests that I get are from people that live far away from me. If you're not within driving distance it's very possible I will pass on the project. When there are flights involved it puts my schedule and life on lockdown because of the flights people book. So I'm fortunate enough to keep busy just tattooing locals. So if something comes up that I have to attend to, I can reschedule easily, and/or do a second pass on a tattoo if need be. If someone flies in to get tattooed by me it also makes for a very long day for me because I try and finish the tattoo but if something comes up and I have to cut out early, it makes it very difficult. So if you're emailing me from another state you will probably get an email from me recommending someone else in my shop. Please understand and don't take it personally if I turn down your tattoo idea. It's not you, it's me, I swear:/
What do I have to do in order to get an appointment at a convention?
Emailing me with a brief description of want you would like to get done is the best start. Conventions are a bit harder to catch me at, and I get more selective on what I will do at a convention. I don't like to start big pieces, I prefer to start and finish a piece at a convention in one day. It's also harder to get in because there are only a few slots open. I only do one tattoo a day, so that leaves three openings at the most; and at some conventions I put on a seminar on one of the days, which takes up a day. So sometimes there are only two days for two tattoos. There is a "Catch Mike On The Road" link on my website where I will post my travel dates. As soon as I post new dates, email me as soon as you can, because I do tend to fill those slots within a week of posting the dates. When I'm booked for the convention I'll post that as well in that travel section.
How long are you booked out?
I usually stay booked out about three months. I don't like to book out farther than that. Usually when I hit that three month mark I'll start cutting back on how many appointments I set up, just so my schedule doesn't get too crazy; so I do start to get selective on the work I decide to take on at that point.
What is your deposit requirement? Do you charge by the hour or by the piece?
I require a $300 deposit to solidify your appointment. If the tattoo is big and needs multiple sessions, the deposit goes towards your last appointment, if we get it done in one day it goes towards the finished piece for that day. If for any reason you need to reschedule your appointment I need at least 48 hours notice, then we'll reschedule you onto another day and you will not lose your deposit. Deposits are also non-refundable, but if you need to move your appointment just give me a couple days notice and we'll move you and you won't lose your deposit. I charge by the hour and could give you a ball bark figure on time once I know what we are doing, the size, color or a black and grey tattoo, etc. If you would like to get tattooed and find out more info click the contact link and please fill out the form and we'll go from there.
How long does a portrait usually take?
On average, a portrait in color could take between 3-6 hours depending on size, placement on the body, and how detailed the image is. In black and grey, a portrait could take anywhere between 2-5 hours, also depending on those factors; and obviously, if the tattoo is really big it could take longer. These estimates are based on an average size, around 4 x 6 inches, give or take a little. I could give you a closer estimate of time after I see the picture and know size and placement.
Can I get you to draw a tattoo for me even if you don't tattoo it yourself? Do you sell stencils?
I wish I could. The problem is lack of time. I have so many appointments set in stone that I have to get ready for, that it is hard for me to make time for such a request. And sorry, I don't sell stencils. If there is something you like that I have done and I'm not going to be the one tattooing it, find the artist that you're going with and have him design a piece for you so it is more custom for you. Out of respect for me and the collector please don't copy the exact tattoo, but rather get ideas and inspiration from them.
In your shop, do I have the option of being tattooed in a private room?
At MD Tattoo Studio we work in an open environment in separated cubicle style booths. It's not very private, but we do have one private tattoo room that is available upon request. If you want to get tattooed in privacy please provide me or any one of us at MD studio with at least 24 hours of notice.
How do you feel about doing big projects on long distance clients?
I tend to get really picky on any big projects, whether it's on a local client or long distance. The reason for that is the commitment behind it, I really have to be into it for me to take it on. Especially long distance clients, as they don't realize how many trips it could take and the appointments get spaced out so far apart that it takes too long to get it finished. If you would like a big piece from me such as a back piece or full leg, you have to understand that it is not cheap and takes a lot of time. If I decide to take it on you have to be willing to come a minimum of once a month until it's complete; twice a month is even better. I turn down a lot of big projects even from locals, please don't take it personally if I don't take on your tattoo project.
Do you do cover-ups?
Within the first few years of my career that's all it seems like I did. I still do them every now and then. If it's a cover-up that you need, please email a picture of your existing tattoo and let me know what you would like to cover it with and I will let you know. Sometimes your ideas for it just won't work, but I'll give you my opinion on it. Sometimes it might take some laser treatments before we could go and cover it, but it all depends on how dark the piece is and what you want to stick over it. Remember that full-color works best for cover-ups.
Do you do touch-ups on other artists work?
I would like to say no to this question, but every now and then I might take one on. I wouldn't re-work a back piece, sleeve or anything big, but if it's a small tattoo that you're not happy with and you're not ever going back to that artist (and I don't know him/her), I might do it. If this is something you need, please send me an email of your existing piece that needs help. Keep in mind that I won't do something like this at a convention.
Do you usually do a second sitting on your work?
If it's a piece that is average size it usually won't get a second pass. If it's bigger and we just start it (map it in) that first day, then of course it's going to need a second pass to finish on another day once it's healed. If I do a tattoo that is called finished after that first session I may suggest a second sitting just to make it better. Most realistic portrait tattoos could use a second sitting, even if it doesn't really look like it needs it, it will just help with the longevity of the tattoo and make it look even better. Think of it as an oil painting, revisiting it is always a plus, so you can get in there and tighten, smooth and detail things out.
Do you take on apprentices? Any advice for someone looking for one?
At this time I have a new apprentice and will not be taking on another one for a long time. If you're looking for an apprenticeship, I would suggest building a strong portfolio of drawings and paintings and researching the good tattoo shops in your area. Take your portfolio there and see if they would be interested in taking you on as an apprentice. If you get turned down, ask them what it would take? It might take making your portfolio stronger. Don't get discouraged; use that as fuel to get better and keep trying.
What do you recommend for aftercare? How long will it take for my tattoo to heal?
Everybody has a little different method but this is what I recommend. When you leave the shop you'll have your new tattoo wrapped up. Leave that wrap on for a couple hours, then take it off and go directly in the shower. Clean it really well with soap and water, lathered up in your hand (don't use a wash cloth or loofah). You don't want to wrap the tattoo again (unless you are sleeping in a hotel bed). The main thing you need to do is keep it clean. I suggest washing it at least 3 times a day until it's healed. I recommend applying a thin coat of Redemption Tattoo Care on it 2-3 times a day for 3-4 days, or once it wants to start peeling, then use a fragrance-free lotion, such as Lubriderm or Curel lotion, apply that a few times a day until it's healed, your tattoo should be healed in 9-14 days (give or take). During the healing phase you don't want to go swimming or soak in the tub; and don't scratch it.
Do you do guest spots?
I don't usually do guest spots, but if one comes up I'll post it in the "Catch Mike On The Road" link.
Can I guest spot at your studio?
Right now we don't have any extra room to accommodate a guest artist.
How long have you been tattooing?
I've been tattooing since 2003.
What kind of tattoo machines do you use?
The last few years I have been in a massive tattoo machine trial period, using all sorts of coil machines, rotaries, and air driven tattoo machines. I have come to the conclusion that out of Coil machines, I love the machines I have that are made from Iko out of France. Aaron Cane machines are great and I also like Fk Irons, there are a ton of great tattoo machine builders out there! To say one is the best versus another is hard to say, it's all personal preference. As far as rotary machines I like the Stigma Bizarre V2, Stigma Hyper V2, NeoTat and InkJecta, and I had a good run with Neuma but I no longer use them anymore. There are a lot of great machines out there and these that I mentioned are my personal favorites. Companies are coming out with new and improved tattoo machines all the time, so my opinion could change but that is where it stands as of now.
What kind of needles and ink do you use?
I use Mithra needles, 17-mag bug pins (curved), 9-mag bug pins, and 5 & 7 rounds. As far as ink is concerned, I use Fusion, Eternal, & Intenze tattoo Ink. I have favorite colors from each, you can't go wrong with a set of any of these.
What kind of camera do you use to photograph your tattoos?
There are a lot of good cameras out there, but I have the Nikon D-5000. I love it.
How do you decide to do a tattoo in black & gray/gray monochrome or full-color?
It's usually not my decision. Usually my clients know what they want, but I will give my opinion when they ask for it or if I see something that seems odd or might not work well. For example, if someone wants the full gray color monochromatic and they have dark skin, I would suggest doing traditional black and gray, as it will look better over time. Usually I will go over the pros and cons of each before we start, if they are undecided on what colors they want.
Can I get the same tattoo you have already done on somebody? Or can I use photos of your tattoos for myself or to use it on my website?
When I do a tattoo I take pride in its individuality and the custom work I put into it. I won't duplicate the same tattoo, so please be respectful of me and the recipient of the tattoo. If you are interested in using a picture of my work for anything please write me and let me know, and I'll give you personal permission.
How do I book an appointment with an artist that works with you?
On www.mdtattoostudio.com you can email them directly by clicking "artists". You can also call the studio at 818-700-2818 or just swing by if you're in the area.
MD Store/Ordering Questions
Do you ship all over the world?
Yes, we ship all over the world. We do have some distributors in different parts of the world too. You can check online or with your local supplier and see if they offer what you're looking for and if they do, it will save on shipping too.
Do you wholesale your books and DVDs?
Yes, we do. If you would like carry my books or DVDs, please email us thru the contact page. Attention: Serena
What are the shipping costs?
It varies depending on what you purchase. DVDs, shirts, hats and stencil products are five dollars to ship within the United States; and ten dollars outside of it. Books are $15.00 in the US and $30.00 outside the US.
What is Stencil Stuff and how does it work?
Stencil Stuff® is a tattoo transfer solution that was designed in 2005 by Mario Rosenau and Mike DeVries for tattoo artists to help apply longer lasting tattoo stencils on the skin. It is a non-toxic stencil transfer solution (lotion type gel) that you rub on the skin before applying the tattoo stencil. Stencil Stuff keeps that tattoo stencil from rubbing off so easily and it doesn't mess up the tattoo stencil if you need to reapply it to get it right. It is also, and most importantly, a cleaner, safer way to transfer tattoo stencils. It is used by thousands of tattoo artists every day. You can check out www.tattoostuff.com for more info. Tricks to using it: Shake bottle before using it, clean the area properly before applying the stencil. I like to use hand sanitizer or an alcohol-based product that cleans and also dries out the skin a little bit, which helps keep the stencil on even better. Once I do that, I rub it in like a lotion, leaving the area consistent (not too wet and not too dry) and after that it is ready for the stencil. Allow about 10 minutes to dry. I usually apply the stencil before I set up so it allows for a good amount of drying time. If it's a small piece and you are not worried about it staying on for a long time, you could get away with just a few minutes of dry time.
What is Spray Stuff and how does it work?
Spray Stuff was developed by the makers of Stencil Stuff®. It was designed for tattoo artists that do free-hand drawings on the skin. Spray Stuff contains no harsh chemicals. It is 100% non-toxic & vegan friendly. Spray Stuff is a non-toxic spray that you apply over a marker/pen drawing that you free-hand on the skin. It helps in the longevity of that drawing. There's nothing worse than losing your free-hand drawing half way thru a tattoo. For more info on Spray Stuff you can visit www.tattoostuff.com. Tricks to using it: Shake before using it after the area has been prepped and drawn on, either with pens or different types of markers, including Sharpie markers. Spray a light mist about 8 inches away from the area. A lighter mist is better than too much. Let dry for about 10 minutes and you should be good to go. It will definitely buy you more time than not using anything at all. You can even spray a couple of layers if you're looking for extra hold.