What to Know Before Getting Tattooed at a Tattoo Convention

Updated on March 12, 2020
Heather Ingram profile image

Heather is a 20-something cat-lady with a love of knitting, opera, and body modification. She's slowly working on traveling the world.

A striking black tattoo.
A striking black tattoo.

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got My Tattoo at a Convention

If you're planning on attending a tattoo convention, chances are you're hoping to pick up some new ink as a souvenir. Here are 7 things I wish I knew before getting tattooed at a convention.

  1. It's Loud!
  2. Bring Cash
  3. Wear Comfortable Clothing
  4. The Adrenaline Wears Off!
  5. Everyone Will Want to Talk to You
  6. Bring Snacks
  7. Book Ahead

1. It's Loud!

I knew that with so many people and so many tattoo machines it wasn't exactly going to be quiet, but I had underestimated just how loud it was going to be. You can't get up to find a quiet corner, and after 3 or 4 hours the noise gets overwhelming. Bring headphones or earplugs so you can get some respite.

2. Bring Cash

Yes, there will be ATMs there. The catch is that these ATMs are privately owned and have exorbitant fees, a small transaction limit, and huge queues. You're also likely to be the unlucky person who has the ATM run out of cash right when you're next in line. Set yourself a budget for the day and get your cash out in advance.

A tattoo artist creating a tattoo.
A tattoo artist creating a tattoo.

3. Wear Comfortable Clothing

Probably a bit of a no-brainer, but consider where you want to get tattooed and choose your clothing appropriately. You're going to have no privacy at a tattoo convention, so if you're being tattooed somewhere that requires you to remove clothing, make sure you're not going to be accidentally flashing the world! Keep in mind that most tattoo conventions are child-friendly spaces.

4. The Adrenaline Wears Off!

You might feel really great while getting your tattoo done and excited to see the rest of the convention afterward. If you're anything like me, though, about half an hour after your tattoo is done, the pain and tiredness are going to hit, and all you'll want is a nap. Luckily, most conventions run over several days, so plan to see everything else on a day you're not getting inked.

5. Everyone Will Want to Talk to You

When getting inked at a convention, you're basically a public display of art. Strangers are going to want to talk to you. Be prepared for lots of comments on how the tattoo is coming along, but also lots of other conversation. I had at least 4 strangers comment on how I seemed to be the smiliest person getting a tattoo there! Having never been tattooed in public before, I didn't realise that I don't have a typical "tattoo face." If you're self-conscious, you may not enjoy all the extra attention.

A tattoo artist at work.
A tattoo artist at work.

6. Bring Snacks

Yes, the convention might have a ton of really great food trucks, but the lines are going to be huge. Make sure you've eaten before you start on your tattoo and have an emergency snack for during or after. Being hungry is no fun in general, but it's less fun when you're being tattooed. If you know you tend to get a little light-headed when getting tattooed, make sure you have something sweet you can eat after—chocolate to the rescue.

7. Book Ahead

If you have an artist you particularly want to be tattooed by, see if you're able to book ahead or get to the convention early. I can't tell you how many people my artist had to turn down because he didn't have time to fit them in. The artist lineup for most conventions is announced a few weeks in advance, and artists will usually reserve you a time if you pay a deposit.

If you're unable to secure a time, get there early and ask. Cancellations happen, so you might just get lucky. Artists usually have a few things drawn up that they're dying to tattoo, so they might also be willing to make time for you if you're willing to give them some artistic freedom.

Would You Get Tattooed at a Tattoo Convention?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Heather


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image


        16 months ago

        It probably depends on the specific convention, but the one in Baltimore is very hot. The two times I got tattooed there that's all I could concentrate on.

      • profile image

        Swerve Phillips 

        19 months ago

        Tattoo conventions totally rock. When walking through a tattoo parlour, I actually listen to see if it reminds me of a tattoo convention. I love the sound of art in action. Yes, get to the convention early. You might be able to get an impulse tattoo free-handed by a master. Laid out on the table, I wasn't sure if I was passing out from the pain or if I was falling asleep. It didn't matter. I was making memories. Permanent memories. Also, think about your impulse tattoo design very carefully, very carefully, then go for it!

      • profile image

        John Goner 

        2 years ago

        Thanks! I'm about to get my first. Have design and just found out about convention as I'm starting vacation. Thought it'd be a good place to find an artist i like. Seemed like fate. But i would not want to be public display and noise does get to me. Guess I'll keep looking.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, tatring.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)