I will start by simply saying that one of the hardest parts of being a tattoo artist is adjusting your technique to suit the many different types of skin. Skin varies from client to client, it can be dry, cracked, stretchy, tough, greasy, supple, fair, tanned, pigmented, sun damaged, weathered, cracked, and everything in-between! Aside from individual peoples skin types, there can also be multiple different textures of skin just on one client, sometimes in just one tattoo.

So, whilst none of the following advice is essential, it is here to help you as clients and us as Tattooers have the best chance of executing and healing a tattoo properly!

There is a separate post about healing your tattoo, this post is more geared towards the weeks and days leading up to your appointment.

Skin science (the absolute basics):

Your skin is made up of three main layers, the epidermis which is the thinnest and outermost layer of skin (protective) the dermis which is the middle layer containing blood vessels, hair follicles, oil glands and nerve endings which sense pain and touch (sensory) and finally the subcutis which is deep down and contains your sweat glands, fat and tissue (padding).

Your epidermis (outer layer) skin regenerates approximately every month, shedding dead cells and replacing them with new ones.

Tattoo science (the absolute basics):

A properly executed tattoo will penetrate the outer layer called the epidermis and inject ink pigment with multiple needle pricks into the middle (dermis) layer of your skin. You may have wondered why tattoos stay in your skin if your skin is constantly regrowing itself. The simple explanation is that when your body heals a wound (which is essentially what a tattoo is) it sends white blood cells to the area to remove any foreign particles such (as infection) and they take them away from the wound allowing the cells to regenerate healthily. But, in the case of tattoo ink injected into the wound made in the dermis, the pigment used is too big for white blood cells to carry away, and instead it is absorbed into the cell and they become trapped in the dermis layer of skin.

Not ALL the tattoo ink is held perfectly under the skin, some of it will be small enough to be removed by your lymphatic system via the white blood cells. This, combined with the newly formed layer of epidermis skin over your tattoo, is why tattoos can look a little less vibrant once healed.

Over time, your body is able to break down the pigment particles making them smaller and therefore easier for your lymphatic system to cope with, this contributes to tattoos fading and looking duller over time. As with any skincare, there are things we can do to help tattoos stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible, these things include avoiding the sun (UV light breaks down colour pigments and allows your body to deal with them like it would an infection), other weather damage, cuts and wounds and poor skincare etc.

However, I am of the opinion that the two MOST important parts of ensuring a tattoo lasts well over time are choosing a competent tattoo artist who’s technique correctly creates your tattoo, and also the client making sure the tattoo heals well in the first place.

This brings me on to why I think the weeks leading up to your tattoo are just as important as the weeks following it. This time is the clients responsibility, we can give them the advice and tools needed but it is up to the client to use them properly.

One of the things we have to contest with as tattoo artists is that we don’t know what state a customers skin is in when they come in.

If they have booked a tattoo in advance, customers have the advantage of being able to prepare their skin and their body in a way which gives them the best chance of receiving a good tattoo, and the tattoo artist the best chance of creating one through eliminating some of the variables which contribute to tricky tattoo sessions and poor healing!


I have found issues with skin that has a dead layer attached to it, it can mean the stencil doesn’t stick well, the ink doesn’t wipe from the skin properly, it can also mean the needles get clogged or blunted, and let’s face it it’s not pleasant to have to see dead skin come off every time we wipe the skin.

What can you do to help?

Two weeks prior to your tattoo, you can start to gently exfoliate your skin in the area you are having tattooed (or all over) daily. It’s best to do this when you shower or bath, this will help to loosen the dead skin cells meaning that using a gentle exfoliating body wash and an exfoliation glove will easily remove dead surface skin with little irritation. Make sure you use soap that won’t irritate your skin, and if you have especially sensitive skin just use warm water and an exfoliating glove or brush. Please also tell your tattoo artist if you do have particularly sensitive skin 🙂

Do this every day for two weeks prior to your appointment and on the morning of your appointment too.

Moisturiser & hydrating your skin:

Dry skin can cause issues for us during the tattoo process, most noticeably the ink will cling to dehydrated skin as your skin tries to absorb it to use as moisture. This means we have to wipe your tattoo more often, to be able to see properly what we are doing, which can irritate the area and cause redness.

What can you do to help?

After exfoliating, you can use a moisturiser like palmers cocoa butter, or even better a tattoo specific balm (such as yayo – link below) to inject your skin with plenty of moisture, plumping it up and replenishing any lost moisture from the exfoliation process. Try to use this twice a day, you can even apply a thick layer and wrap it in clingfilm a couple of times closer to the appointment for a deeper absorption).

Some tattoo artists will ask you not to apply moisturiser the day of your appointment because it can make the stencil harder to apply and stick, but tattooers should be cleaning your skin in the area and around it thoroughly with alcohol and medical grade green soap as standard before applying a stencil solution anyway, so for me this isn’t a problem.

Hydrating your body plays a HUGE part in keeping your skin healthy! We are largely made of water. Drinking plenty of it keeps your body hydrated and refreshed and helps maintain your skin’s elasticity. People who drink large amounts of water heal wounds quicker than those who don’t. Leading up to your tattoo make sure you drink plenty of water, the recommended daily water intake is 6-8 glasses. Bring water with you to your appointment or ask your artist for a glass to sip on through the day 🙂

Supplements and vitamins:

A poorly nourished body or a person with a lowered immune system will be unable to properly heal a wound, and that includes tattoos. We always recommend a full meal before being tattooed and to bring snacks along, but this is just to prevent you feeling feint or having low blood sugar during the process.

What can you do to help?

Try to avoid catching a cold or other virus leading up to your tattoo, we know that’s not always possible but taking steps to stay healthy for your tattoo day is a good idea!

You can increase your protein intake leading up to your tattoo, and continue that after for the extent of the healing process. Your body needs protein to help build and repair muscle, skin, and other body tissues. Protein also helps fight infection, balance body fluids, supports the production of collagen and carries oxygen through your body. When you have a wound that’s healing, think of food as medicine, before during and after!

You can use protein shakes, bars or soups to increase your protein intake, or simply introduce more protein rich foods into your diet! (Link below)

There are many vitamins and minerals that play a role in repairing your body inside and out, and which can contribute to healing a tattoo well. These include; Vit A,B,C,D & E, Collagen, Zinc and Hyaluronic acid.

Things to avoid:

As well as things that may increase the chances of healing your tattoo well, there are things that may decrease it too.

Alcohol: Although a few pints the night before is unlikely to have a big impact on your tattoo appointment, consuming large amounts of alcohol regularly prior to the day certainly will. Alcohol thins the blood and causes your body to bleed more making it harder for the tattoo artist to see what they are doing, as well as potentially washing some of the pigment out as it is being applied.

Drugs: For much the same reasons as above.

Painkillers: It can be tempting to take painkillers prior to a tattoo appointment, and after to help with pain and swelling. BUT keep in mind that in most cases anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen or naproxen) don’t help healing. In fact, it can even delay healing! After a few days it may be safe to use them as your body will have begun the healing process properly. But avoid them completely where possible until your tattoo is fully healed!

There are natural ways such as cold compress (over clingfilm and a layer of material) or elevating the area to reduce swelling and pain. Supplements such as omega 3 and green tea can help to reduce inclination in the body (link below).

Aspirin is well known to thin blood, and for the same reasons as alcohol it is a good idea to avoid them prior to, during and immediately after your tattoo.

There are also other safer methods of pain relief that don’t involve taking anti inflammatory drugs such as paracetamol based products. Please speak to your doctor if you feel your tattoo is excessively painful following an appointment.

For helping reduce pain and inflammation on my own tattoos whilst healing I use a truly magical concoction that I discovered years ago when a tattoo I had became infected.

Mix in a 100ml sterile spray bottle distilled witchazel with a couple of large spoons of medical grade manuka honey, and a splash of aloe Vera for skin, shake well and spritz onto your tattoo whenever the pain and swelling flares up! Make sure you use this regularly through the day to fight infection and reduce swelling and redness! (Links below)

Blood thinners: This should be fairly self explanatory! If you are taking them you may be able to speak to your doctor and agree a period for which it would be safe to come off them.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics force out foreign antibodies – which is exactly what tattoo pigment is. A new tattoo will not heal well with antibiotics in your system. According to doctors, you need to be off of antibiotics for at least one week before you can get tattooed. Consult your doctor if you have more questions.

Obviously, infections do occur, no matter how careful you have been, and antibiotics are a common treatment for tattoo infections. In this case it is unavoidable and do not put your health at risk by not taking them!!! The tattoo can ALWAYS be touched up later! 🙂

In conclusion, everyone’s skin is different and everyone heals at different rates in different ways, but there are common grounds we can agree on which allow us to promote the best environment for tattoos to be created in and live in!

Thank you for reading, there are some useful links to things I have mentioned below!

Protein for skin health and healing:

Vitamins and minerals for skin health:

Natural anti-inflammatories:

Medical manuka honey:

http://Activon Medical Grade Manuka Honey 25g (Pack of 2)

WHY don’t we send designs to you prior to your appointment?

Firstly, in some circumstances we can do that! On rare occasions we can and do, but these occasions must be agreed at the time of booking in, there will also be a fee for receiving the design prior to the appointment.

For some context, designs can take several hours to draw up, it’s a big part of the process and although you may feel we are only working for you for the hours you are in the shop with us, the time we have spent emailing and time we take designing is also time we are spending working for you on your tattoo.


Tattoo artists usually have their work easily available on social media these days. Customers choose an artist based on the style of tattoo they are interested in having done. 

In that circumstance you should have plenty of confidence in me and my ability to create what you have asked for! 

Potential customers can see our work online, the style each artists has us usually very specific and customers don’t tend to book with an artist unless they know they like what that artist does. We assume that is why people specifically request to be tattooed by an artist, they like that style and want us to work our magic 🙂


If you are booking in with a specific artist, we can only assume it’s because you have seen and loved what they have done in the past, or others have recommended their style based on work they have done for them. Ultimately, we are the professionals and you can trust us to do what we do best. We will never stray from your brief, we will never go rogue and draw something totally outside of the box, and if we have suggestions about the design because we are concerned about it not working perfectly for any reason we will always ask you first! 🙂


Artists each have their own way of gathering information, from booking enquiry forms to a series of emails discussing your ideas. We do this so we can gather enough information as possible to create the tattoo you want. This should leave very little margin for error!

We usually do all drawing the night before an appointment, partly so it is fresh in our mind for your appointment, and partly because we have other clients every day of the week and are drawing for them every evening prior to their appointment.


In the past, we have sent designs to clients prior to the appointment. Unfortunately, some times we have had our designs stolen or taken to another artist to complete, at a much lower quality and lower cost than we would have done. Leaving us out of pocket for the design and for the appointment when the custimer doesn’t show up.


Often when we send a design to a customer prior to the appointment they will show friends and family, who will all have their own opinions (and be keen to tell you them) on the artwork. We have had had numerous ‘my boyfriend thinks I should have a smaller flower’ or ‘auntie June said she thinks the font should be more slanted’ type comments. These mean I have to redraw the design and re-send it to the client. They then show it to friends or family again and send back more small adjustments to make. Just this back and forth process can take hours of our time, outside of the time we have spent drawing it and will spend tattooing it. It is all time that we are not specifically being paid for, and takes away from our focus on other projects, as well as from our personal lives.

It is absolutely fine to ask for other peoples opinions, but don’t forget that this tattoo is on YOU and for YOU only! Partners come and go, mates do too sometimes, and auntie June probably doesn’t like the same things you like anyway! So think about what YOU like and want, don’t rely on other peoples thoughts to form your opinion. 


Although you have been given a start time, that doesn’t necessarily mean the time we start tattooing at. You pay by the hour for the time we spend tattooing. The cost of the design is built into this price. 

This means there is always time at the start of the appointment to make adjustments, or tweaks, discuss size and placement and make sure you are absolutely happy with your design. You will only start officially being charged when we start tattooing. 

We design everything on the iPad, so making tweaks and adjustments is fairly straightforward! However, if you decide on the day that you want to make big drastic changes to the design this may impact your appointment and deposit. The big advantage to us working on designs the night before the appointment is that it means you can email us up to 6pm the night before to make any changes or discuss final points! This should almost totally eliminate any margin for error on our part!

We will never tattoo something you aren’t absolutely certain about, there is even a section in our consent form about being happy with the design. Please be open and honest with us at this time and we can alleviate any worries you have or amend anything you feel needs to be changed. 


We want you to feel totally happy and confident about your tattoo, so communication is the most important thing you can give us! Please try to be open and honest during your emails, phone calls and at the appointment, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs as best as we can!

(Belated) Welcome, Gee!

We are so very happy to have the amazing Gee Foskett with us here at Black Moon! She started with us in October 2021 and has been tattooing for over ten years. We love her beautiful florals as well as her gorgeous realism work. She’s a perfect fit here in the studio and we can’t enough of this chatty little munchkin ❤️

Appointments with Jodie & Amy

Jodie and Amy no longer work for Black Moon. We do not have any information on where they are now located, but please feel free get in touch if you have work started by them that you wish to discuss completing with us.


Call: 07422665796 / 01373464699

If you are booked in with either of them your deposit is with them, not us, but they will be able to refund this to you if you wish to come to Black Moon for your tattoo instead of travelling to them.

We are extremely sorry for any inconvenience this has caused, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that you are happy and looked after by one of our incredible team or one of our guest artists!

Thank you!

Black Moon


We have finally been given the go ahead to start tattooing again, but there are some very strict rules on keeping the studio ‘Covid-secure’ so things definitely are not back to normal just yet.

All the artists are trying to contact anyone who was booked in during the lock down period first, then anyone who paid a deposit or had a voucher, and then eventually we will re-open our diaries to new appointments. We are so grateful for your continued patience and support, we couldn’t have got through this if it wasn’t for our amazing clients being so good and so supportive during lock down!

Cannot wait to see you all, even though it won’t be the same, and get back to it!! 🖤











Just a quick update for anyone wondering about the things we have put in place ready for coming back to work and tattooing all of you lovely people! 🖤

As of today we still do not have a specific date for being allowed to trade again. We are hoping for the 13th July, but this is just speculation right now. As soon as we know for certain we will be in touch with all of our customers to rearrange your appointments for you!

In line with the governments recommendations for staying safe and preventing the spread of Coronavirus we have implemented the following procedures: (more to follow as we are given more advice)

  • We have all completed training and received a certificate on the most important information about coronavirus and how to avoid spreading it through cross contamination.
  • During the pandemic we will not be able to allow customers to bring friends or family to wait with them in the studio, this will help us limit the amount of people we have contact with.
  • We will be wearing full PPE, masks, goggles, aprons etc. They are disposable and will be changed for every client.
  • We will require you to bring your own face mask to your appointment which must be worn from the moment you leave your house and during your entire appointment.
  • If you are travelling by public transport you must also wear gloves during your journey which you will need to dispose of at the front of the studio, you will then be required to sanitise your hands on entry to avoid contaminating the hallway, and put on your mask before entering the shop.
  • Everyone will be asked to wash and sanitise their hands upon entry and you must remain in the waiting area until your tattoo artist comes to get you.
  • We will need all customers to bring their lunch/ snacks and drinks with them prior to entering the studio, make sure you bring plenty to eat and drink as you will not be able to go to a shop whilst your appointment is active. We have coffee and tea facilities at the studio if you are comfortable using them.
  • The studio, our stations and any non-disposable equipment is cleaned between clients & daily with extremely powerful medical grade disinfectants and 80% isopropyl spray, all handles and hand rails will be sanitised regularly throughout the day – but this does not mean you can relax! Be vigilant to avoid cross contamination. Please use common sense!
  • We will be staggering our appointment start times to avoid having too many people waiting in the same area at once.
  • There will be 80% alcohol sanitiser readily available throughout the studio please use it regularly during your appointment if you move around the shop.
  • Our tattoo stations are several meters apart and we will make every effort to ensure you do not need to be closer than that to anyone except your tattoo artist. Toilet breaks and lunch breaks will be arranged to avoid crossing paths with others.
  • If you have been unwell or in contact with someone who has been unwell in the last 14 days we will need to discuss with you whether it is safe to tattoo you or not. Being unwell recently does not necessarily mean we cannot tattoo you, but we will need to discuss your symptoms before we can proceed. Please try to contact us before hand to advise us of anything mentioned above.
  • We will not be able to tattoo the side of your neck, face, upper chest, top or front of your shoulders whilst coronavirus is still spreading. This is to avoid too much up close face to face contact and minimise the risk of spreading the virus further.
  • Wherever possible we will avoid contact with you and your belongings.

We really appreciate your cooperation whilst we work together through this extremely difficult time in our lives. All of this is to keep you, your artist and everyone else in the studio as safe as we possibly can!

Thank you for understanding, we cannot wait to get back to the shop and see you all! But not until we are told it is safe to do so!


Recently there have been some developments in the tattoo industry regarding a prominent male tattooer from Birmingham and his sexual harassment, inappropriate behaviour and sexual abuse of over 100 women including customers and co-workers. It has also brought to light a number of other male tattooers who have been accused of similar acts of abuse towards their customers and co-workers. We feel it is important to make sure that you, as customers, know that we will always do everything in our power to ensure that you are taken care of, kept safe and happy during your tattoo and the process of booking it.

We are a largely female studio, there are seven staff, five of whom are female. The studio is open plan, but we can offer screens and various options to give you privacy should you feel you need it. Being open plan means that you you are never alone with your tattoo artist. We are always happy to discuss concerns about anything prior to your appointment with any of our staff. You can email queries or concerns to: and our lovely female studio manager (and professional conduct manager) Abey will he happy to help!


Tattooing, by nature is an extremely intimate process, it is not only emotionally personal to both the artist and the client but physically as well, we spend hours together, very close to one another and it is essential that we touch one another for the process to be achieved, so it is really important that we as tattooers and as customers are respectful of one another’s bodies and feelings, male or female.

(Please note that the current outbreak of coronavirus has slightly altered this)

  • It is normal for us to need to ask you to fully remove certain items of clothing, especially when tattooing ribs, sternum, chest or buttox. However you will always be offered some kind of alternative to protect your modesty, this could be nipple covers, plastic aprons, tissue or couch roll and a privacy screen. We cannot use fabric coverings for hygiene reasons but disposable items will always be provided to ensure you are covered adequately.
  • It is not normal to be expected to remove an item of clothing fully and then not be offered some alternative to cover up with. It is certainly not normal to be asked to remove all your clothes entirely.
  • It is normal for us to need to touch the part of your body which we are tattooing, during the cleaning of the skin, during the stencil application and during the tattoo itself. We may occasionally need to gently move things (such as hair or clothing or even a body part) out of the way or ask you to adjust your position or clothing so we can access tricky areas, but we will always check with you first and be gentle and respectful as we move these things.
  • It is not normal For a tattoo artist to suddenly grope or touch any part of your body that is not being tattooed, you must always be alert and make sure you ask if it is necessary to be touching these areas and if you ever feel uncomfortable with a tattooer touching part of you, you have the right to ask them to stop and cease the session.
  • It is normal that occasionally we may accidentally nudge or gently lean on a body part that in normal circumstances would be unusual to do so, but we do often have to contort ourselves into strange positions in order to reach the part of you we are tattooing. We will always check if you are comfortable and if you are happy for us to touch this area. We may also occasionally rest against the bench or perch on the ends of it.
  • It is not normal for a tattoo artist to mount the bed or chair on top of you in order to reach a body part. There is never any need, nor is it hygienic for an artist to be on the bed fully or to be pinning a customer down with their body weight.
  • It is normal for there to be some level of conversational ‘banter’ between the artists and sometimes customers too, this can be on all kinds of subjects but we will always try to avoid saying anything that could be offensive to our customers. We do swear, we do joke around and we do always try to keep it fun and lighthearted. It is important that if anything that is said offends you or upsets you for personal reasons then you must let us know so we can change the subject!
  • It is not normal for a tattoo artist to comment sexually on your body or appearance, or to directly ask you about your sex life or your relationship status, or to make suggestive comments about you or any of the staff or customers. It is also not normal for them to discuss their own sexual activities in or out of the studio. If a tattoo artist does this you should stop the conversation and tell them you are not comfortable discussing this subject.
  • It is normal that friends are often not allowed in the tattooing area for long periods due to space restrictions and hygiene standards. If the studio has a waiting area they will be allowed to wait there for you and can check on you regularly or bring you food and drink to keep you going.
  • It is not normal to be told you cannot bring anyone in with you, especially if you are vulnerable or it is your first time at this studio. If you want to bring someone with you for safety then you are within your rights to do so. (During the coronavirus pandemic this is a little different and we are not allowed to let friends into the studio with you, if you prefer to rearrange for later in the year we are happy to do this).
  • It is normal that you may be the only ones left in the shop if you have a very long session. You may also be offered a session on our day off if we are extremely busy and want to fit you in sooner. In this case the shop may be empty and you should always bring a friend so that you feel safe.
  • It is not normal for you to be encouraged to come in to an empty shop specifically to be there alone with an artist, or to be asked not to bring a friend on an occasion where it will be an empty shop.
  • It is normal to Have general chit chat and discussions prior to and after your appointment with your artist via email, or social media.
  • Before the tattoo they may also ask to see a photo of the area you are having tattooed, especially if it is a cover up, but you can hide or blur anything you do not wish to be seen in a photo and there are alternatives to photos such as measuring or tracing the area if you do not wish to send an image.
  • It is normal to be offered the opportunity to take your own painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol if you so wish. We may also provide a soothing spray during the process which will help to keep the pain to a minimum.
  • It is not normal to be offered by your artist or anyone else in the shop any opiates or barbiturates such as tramadol, codiene or diazepam to ease the pain. This is immoral and illegal.
  • It is not normal for your tattoo artist to demand images of your body, this is your choice, and it absolutely isn’t ever necessary to send an image of anywhere other than the area you wish to have tattooed.
  • It is normal for your tattoo artist to discuss your tattoo specifics and appointment info prior to your appointment. They may occasionally contact you (usually by email) after your tattoo session to check that your tattoo is healing and make sure you don’t need any additional info, small talk and general chit-chat related to your discussions during your appointment is acceptable and not unusual.
  • It is not normal for your tattoo artist to take your mobile number from your consent form or message you on your personal social media in order to discuss anything other than your tattoo or things you discussed during your appointment. Any kind of inappropriate messaging should be reported to the studio manager or someone you trust.
  • It is normal for us to take a photo of your tattoo after we complete it, we may also ask to take photos of the process or of us tattooing, or add videos to our stories but we will always ask if you are happy for that to happen and if you wish to be tagged you can give us your handle and we can do that. These images and videos will always be tasteful and not displaying anything inappropriate or personal.
  • It is not normal for a tattooer to take a photo of you without your permission or the opportunity to decline, or from an angle you are not happy with, or of a part of your body that you do not wish to have photographed. They should also ask your permission to post images of anything other than the completed tattoo. They should never make comments on your photos regarding your physical appearance.
  • It is normal for you to sometimes be offered a deal or a discount for work we are really keen to do.
  • It is not normal for a tattoo artist to offer to reduce the rate of your tattoo cost in return for nude images of yourself or any kind of sexual favour. This is sexual harassment and you must report it immediately to another member of the team or the police.
  • It could be normal (although unusual) for your artist to invite you to join them for a drink if you finish early or offer to walk you to your train if the session ran late, especially if you got on very well during your session, that is most likely just us being polite and friendly.
  • It is not normal that a tattoo artist encourage you to drink alone excessively with them after your session. If it transpires that you are alone at any point it is absolutely NOT normal for them to attempt to kiss, touch or encourage you to do anything sexual that you have not indicated you consent to. That is sexual harassment and assault.


– You do not owe your tattoo artist any kind of interaction other than that of the actual tattoo, never be afraid to say no and never keep it to yourself if you have been made to feel uncomfortable.

– Friendships do form from spending a long time with your tattoo artist, this is normal and we are proud to call many of our customers our friends.

– It is important to remember that we are only human and sometimes (all) People say stupid things that are inconsiderate or offensive because they simply weren’t thinking at the time! Usually if you call them out they will see their error and apologise for it, these kind of genuine mistakes, whilst they should be acknowledged and apologised for, should not be mistaken for the far more serious accusations of sexual assault and harassment.

-There are several pages set up on Instagram now to help raise awareness regarding what to look out for and how to check that the person tattooing you is respectable, respectful, fully licensed and hasn’t been previously accused of any kind of sexual abuse or harassment. Visit Instagram: @tsass_uk for support and advice on surviving sexual assaults by tattoo artists. They will listen to your concerns and discuss with you weather the artist you are worried about has ever been accused of anything untoward. @tattoometoorecoveryartists can help you if you have previously been tattooed by a now known sexual predator and wish to have it covered or altered.

We will always do our best to make sure you are safe and happy whilst you are being tattooed at Black Moon, and we hope this helps some of you to understand how you should expect to be treated by any tattoo artist, not just us! We are always here to answer your questions, you can email or call and speak to Jo or Abey on 01373464699. 🖤🖤🖤


By Jo Black

If you have clicked on this post, it’s probably because you are genuinely intrigued about ‘how you become a tattoo artist’ and there is a chance that this post is not the step by step guide to success that you were hoping it would be…

Firstly, let me point out that there is a very straightforward answer… Get an apprenticeship.

In my time as a tattoo artist (almost a decade at the time of writing this post) I have apprenticed six people, five of whom are still tattooing to this day and three of whom still work with me in Black Moon. Usually they have come to me almost by coincidence at the right time, or have been people who I knew were interested in learning to tattoo and who were already involved in the industry in some way.

Traditionally, an apprentice is treated really very badly, given the cleaning jobs, the boring tasks that tattoo artists don’t want to do like hand making stencils and scrubbing tips and grips. They have usually started off as a kind of ‘hang around’ at the studio, someone who probably gets tattooed there, hangs about to chat, makes friends with the artists, starts making tea and coffee and often this would develop into a full blown apprenticeship. THESE DAYS, however, it’s a little different… social media being what it is, everyone under the sun can post their artwork online and claim to be an ‘aspiring tattoo artist’ and finding your next apprentice has suddenly become incredibly easy because everyone wants to learn to tattoo.

Aside from that, there are also now ‘tattoo schools’ which charge YOU money to learn to tattoo in a very short space of time. This is not respected in the industry, don’t bother (perhaps the subject of another post for another time).

The reason I am taking the time to write this post is because over the last few weeks I have been inundated with emails, usually starting with some combination or variation of the words ‘just wanted to drop a quick email, I’m sorry if you get asked this a lot, but I wanted to know how do I get into tattooing?’

I’m going to be utterly and brutally honest here, this immediately puts me off giving advice and winds me up immensely. If you find that comment or anything else I say in this post offensive then frankly you are probably not cut out to be a tattoo artist so just stop reading now. It’s a VERY HARD job, it’s exhausting AND it you need thick skin which is why traditional apprenticeships are usually so tough, to prepare you for the real deal (again perhaps the topic of another blog).

Let me be clear, I am not saying that all of the emails I get asking for advice wind me up, sometimes they come from a genuine place of curiosity or passion, and I am certainly not suggesting that every person who asks me on behalf of their friend or their kid who’s doing art at GCSE falls under the same heading of ‘annoying’, but what I am saying is that in this day and age where everything has to be instant and immediate, sometimes taking your time and doing a little research goes a LONG way to showing you are the real deal. In a time when everyone wants to learn to tattoo, you need to be the person who stands out, goes the extra mile and proves that you are serious before anyone will take a second look at you.

The reason it winds me up so much is that the majority of these enquiries come from people who claim to have ‘always been into art’ or who have ‘been illustrating for a while now and fancy a change of career’ or even figured they would make a better living out of tattooing than drawing’. We as an industry are desperately passionate about our craft, about the history of the industry, about the art and about the immense level of skill and dedication it takes to learn. We respect each other and for the most part we encourage each other to continue to learn and improve all the time. When I get these emails from people who don’t seem to have any involvement in the world of tattooing at all, by which I mean they don’t get tattooed, they don’t attend conventions, they don’t spend hours reading blogs or watching documentaries about the industry, they probably don’t even buy skin deep or total tattoo, it gets me angry! Tattooing is fashionable right now, it’s also more accepted and appreciated in mainstream media and in work environments then it has ever been before, and suddenly every Tom Dick and Harry wants to jump on the bandwagon and avoid the hard work.

My genuine advice to anyone who seriously wants to consider tattooing as a career (and it is a lifestyle not just a career) is this:

Immerse yourself in the industry, buy magazines and books, watch vice documentaries, read our blogs, follow tattoo pages and artists, visit conventions but MOST importantly GO AND GET TATTOOED, not just a little one, but go get heavily tattooed, by several artists, invest your time and your money in spending time in studios that you respect, getting tattooed by artists you admire, when you invest in us and you have built up a friendship and a trust with the artists who work on you, then and only then should you approach the subject of how you could potentially get an apprenticeship. Show us that you are as passionate about our industry as we are and that you are serious about taking this career on as a lifestyle and we will have all the time in the world to chat with you about the best way to get into the industry!

I just want to reiterate here that I am not trying to be a dick, or belittle anyone’s attempts to gather information about how you learn to tattoo, I understand that you have to start somewhere and asking a question of a tattoo artist seems like the most direct route to an answer, I get that it’s not always obvious, people are new to all of this and I’m not trying to put anyone off asking questions. However, if you aren’t serious enough to already be involved in the industry to some level (even just reading magazines and watching documentaries) then you probably aren’t that serious at all.

As I said before, this industry is brutal and passionate and if you cannot take a bit of hard hitting honesty, if any of this offends you, step away now because this is the tip of the iceberg.

Okay, that’s me done.


We want to try and educate clients on the best practices to avoid contaminating fresh tattoos with bacteria during aftercare.

Recently the issue of ‘Sepsis’ commonly known as blood poisoning has been in the media a lot, partly due to soap opera storylines about how getting a simple graze on your knee that you don’t clean properly turns into an infection at the site and eventually into potentially fatal sepsis or septic shock.

This kind of hygiene awareness is so important in hospitals, in day to day life but also in the tattoo and piercing industry.

We do everything in our power to ensure that you leave the studio with a perfectly clean, sterile, disinfected tattoo or piercing, tattoos are wrapped in sterile dressing and we then provide you with all the instructions needed to properly heal your tattoo.

We also offer a first day cleaning pack and butterluxe antibacterial aftercare balm at £5 each.

Infections are very rare, and hardly ever picked up from tattoo studios or their equipment directly, especially not reputable ones like ours! This is because of the amount of disinfectant and antibacterial products used, we can confidently eliminate the possibility of bacteria growing anywhere that the tattoo is exposed to. All of our equipment is single use & disposable, machines and power units are sterilised after every client with medical grade disinfectant and an autoclave and all furniture and surfaces are double protected with fresh plastic wrapping and medical disinfectant after every client.

Infections are most commonly picked up after you unwrap your tattoo, in your own environments at home. Bacteria is commonly present on bathroom towels, clothing, skin, furniture and in pet hair, dander and saliva among other places. So we can do our bit to ensure you leave us with a perfectly clean and sterile tattoo, and the rest is up to you!

The point of making you aware of this risk is not to scare you, but to help encourage best practise when taking care of your new tattoo. It is extremely rare for tattoos to become infected, but arming every client with the knowledge and tools to prevent it is the best way to ensure that it happens as rarely as possible!!

This is why we are overly cautious, and why we are constantly cleaning your tattoo during the process with medical grade soaps and disinfectants, and why we continue to clean it obsessively before we actually wrap you up! We aren’t just wiping it more at the end to cause more pain, we are trying to give you the best possible chance of a good healing environment!


Animal hair, dander or saliva. Unclean hands used for cleaning or creaming the tattoo, Fibres and bacteria from bed linen, furniture, bath towels and flannels etc. Bath tubs, swimming pools, saunas and the sea. You may also pick up infections from bacteria living on your own clothing, especially tight fitting clothes over open tattoos. Tattoos can become infected if the wrong aftercare balm or soap is used and aggravates it, or from picking or itching healing tattoos.

Bacteria grows everywhere, and it only takes a very small amount to get into your open tattoo (and not be cleaned away properly) to multiply and develop into an infection.

We have information on the signs and symptoms to look out for in our 14 day aftercare guide.

Remember that bacterial infections are VERY rare, especially if you take good care of your tattoo so don’t panic about every little thing, some things are part of the normal healing process. That is why we have the 14 day aftercare guide to check what is normal and what isn’t! 🙂


We now offer a first day cleaning care pack at Black Moon, which we highly recommend you purchase. It’s £5 for the basic cleaning pack and £10 with aftercare balm included.

Purchase of these packs is not compulsory, but if you choose not to we do ask that you sign a consent form saying that you opted out of this offer.

We also always provide a 14 day aftercare guide, PLEASE read it carefully it is very important. Yes there is a lot of information in there, but it has the basic steps for cleaning and healing your tattoo as well as plenty of in depth information on what to look out for and how to care for your tattoo long term too!


You might also be surprised to know that if you are unwell or have recently been unwell or run down your tattoo could take a lot longer to heal due to a drop in your immune system response. Being unwell could also lead to an infected tattoo, so please be honest with us about your recent health and we will advise you on how best to treat your new tattoo.


You can use supplements such as vitamins C & A to help your skin heal quickly, and garlic and echinaecea which are powerful antioxidants and excellent immune system support.

Eating lots of protein and drinking plenty of water leading up to and after your tattoo session is also really helpful for effective healing.

In short, please do ever not think that the tattoo process is complete when you leave the studio with your new tattoo clean and wrapped, it is really just beginning! The moment you unwrap it that evening you allow foreign contaminants to enter the tattoo site. Be as careful as we are. The healing process is JUST as important if not MORE important than the tattooing process.