Walking into a tattoo shop in Victoria, TX and listening to the conversations going on around you can sometimes seem like you’ve walked into another country. Sure, you understand the words being said, but what context are they in and what’s the real meaning behind them? Certain words and phrases might just sound like shop jargon, but knowing what’s being communicated with these special terms means knowing how to tell an artist what you want out of your experience.
Take a look at some of the more common tattoo terminology you might hear at a tattoo shop in Victoria, TX and quick references as to what’s being discussed:
- Flash work: This is basically a tattoo template or an existing example that an artist can build a unique tattoo from. If you see something you like on the wall and want to customize it to your own design, you’d be picking a piece of flash.
- Sleeve: A tattoo that goes from shoulder to wrist is considered a sleeve, with half-sleeve (shoulder to elbow) and quarter-sleeve (shoulder to bicep) variations also recognized. Legs can also be “sleeved” and reverse-sleeves (tattoos that start at the wrist) are also recognized.
- Linework: Linework is generally considered to be the black or colored outline of a tattoo. Many types of tattoos have defined shapes and linework is used as a starting point for working on the piece as a whole. Generally, linework is done first and is a more concentrated aspect of getting a tattoo.
- Coil and rotary: Coil and rotary are terms used to describe the style of tattoo gun used in the process of inking. Coil guns use an electromagnetic coil to tattoo, while rotary guns use regulated electric motors to power the needle. Today, coil guns are more commonly used, however some traditionalists prefer rotary guns.
- Scratcher: If you ever hear a tattoo artist referred to as a “scratcher” it’s best to turn tail and leave—do not let them tattoo you! Scratcher is a derogatory term for tattoo artists that are unlicensed or who tattoo without proper sanitary practices in place. Instead, visit an incorporated shop where artists have their licenses and clear safety procedures in place.
- Aftercare: This is the process of taking care of a tattoo post-inking. It involves washing, drying, bandaging and lots of lotion until the tattoo is fully healed.
- Dealers: People who like to haggle about the price of a tattoo are often called “dealers.” Remember, a tattoo shop is a business, not an auction—you don’t want to be branded as a dealer!
- Devotion piece: If you want your tattoo to symbolize someone or something special to you, you’re looking to get a devotion piece.
Every tattoo shop in Victoria, TX is going to have their own lingo to go along with the industry terminology and thankfully, most of the time it’s easy to follow along with what someone might be talking about. Use the terms above as a good jumping off point in understanding some of the more commonly used language in a tattoo shop and you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to communicate with someone about your potential work of art!