9545 Reseda Blvd. unit 2, Northridge, CA (818) 700-2818

Twitching Customers

I've just about been a tattooer for three years in a shop now. I have earned a good reputation and I consider my work is going in the right direction. Done a convention and two guest spots.
I am getting confident at what I am doing but then there are these days when you have to do a tattoo on a girls side and she will just not stop moving. Some times they twitch so much that I can't even pull one straight line and I have to break it down to small pieces and then build it up to make it look reasonable. What ever I do these customers DESTROY me every time cos I just can't get the result I would usually get. I can't say stop twitching to them.
How do you guys deal with that crap cos I am now sending all these young customers away in fear of getting a nervous breakdown.


RE:Twitching Customers

Explain to them that although they do not mean to twitch they need to overcome the urge to. Although it is not super easy It is absolutely something they can control. If someone twitches I tell them the first time "Hey, I know you don't mean to but your twitching is going to mess up your tattoo and make me look bad in the process because every time you twitch I may have to fix a mess up and it is going to make your tattoo look bad if it continues" the second time they twitch tell them "Please, I am trying to be nice but if you don't want a fucked up tattoo on your side you need to hold still" and the third time tell them "Look you have to hold still, and point out where you fucked up and tell them that it was because they moved and every time they move they are going to continue to cause more problems in their tattoo." Then fix the mistake and tell them you fixed it but you may not always be able to do so. Normally after the second time they will stop. If they don't then it's on them and just do your best. I understand that customer service is a major deal but above that comes the quality of work. You're not going to be a respected tattooer if all your lines are sculpted out where they obviously shouldn't be. I have a return clientele of almost 100% and I tell each and everyone of them to stop moving if they do.

If that doesn't work try working with a lighter hand, pulling shorter lines, and really holding them down with your stretching hand.

Good Luck!
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RE:Twitching Customers

Dustin, that's some great advice!

I have another approach that seems to work, I tend to get people that switch during leg tattoos more so than ribs. But what ever area that is being tattooed if your client twitches, then maybe they do it again, first thing you have to tell yourself is that you need to understand you have your work cut out for you for that session. Telling the person not to move, your tattoo will come out bad, etc. Sometimes isn't enough, especially if they are in pain, they might start to not care and just want it done. So what I've found that helps other than saying "please hold still, etc." You gotta be fast and know its coming, after a couple twitches you know more are going to come so you have to be quick to pull away, also when you start the line be very gentle and it could ease them into the line that is happening. One of the biggest things I tell someone like this that is either twitching or just not taking the pain well, is tell them what they have to do, and that is just relax and except whats going on, once they do that they most likely will stop twitching, if they cant relax and you told them that the tattoo is getting messed up and you have no other choice. Heres a good one and its true! If someone is twitching on me, and I've tried everything else, these words work great, even better than your messing up your tattoo by twitching or moving. Say "if you keep twitching or moving I have no choice but to push harder and its going to hurt more because I have to get it in there, also if there is a twitch or movement say " If you keep doing that I have to fix little mistakes which also makes the whole process take longer and it will hurt more, please just relax and you'll be fine, we'll be done in no time." Saying things like that which is the truth, stops a good percentage of the twitchers. But also just as important like I said " be ready to move, as tattoo artists gain experience you could almost foresee a twitch before it happens so be ready for it.
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