Emails.... Where to begin.... this will be a long post, but please read it...
I guess I can start by saying, for the last few years, emails have by far been the best way for me to receive submissions from clients who are interested in new work/projects. It gives me a chance to see who's serious and who's taken the time to read the rules that are clearly stated on my website and respond with appropriate answers.
It also gives me a chance to read the clients request and take a minute, or day, or week... to think about the project and be sure that I feel that I'm best suited for the project, and that I can complete the request in a timely manner. That's really important to me.
Emails also give me the chance to lay out the ground rules and make sure everything that is expected from both myself, as well as the client is clearly stated in those first few messages. After over a decade of tattooing, I've learned that if I do not spell things out for clients explicitly in writing, it gives them a chance to come back one day and say "well... you never SAID...." So this gives me a chance to lay it all out so that we start on the same page before even booking a consultation.
The last month, my wife Teagan has been helping me a ton by answering emails. It's been a complete success as far as I'm concerned, and has given me one less thing to do each day so I can focus more of my time on drawing, tattooing, painting, and relaxing when I am lucky enough to get down time. I really appreciate her helping me out. She's far more organized than I am when it comes to these types of things, and having her help me out makes my job and life much easier.
Which brings me to my point for this post... well... a few points I guess.
I'll start by stating that Teagan probably knows more about tattooing and the "tattoo industry" than half the tattooists in this or any town. She herself is becoming heavily tattooed, so she understands the process, what makes a good tattoo, what will last over time, what will not work, ect. She follows tattooist blogs and websites, and keeps up to date on who's doing what for solid, clean tattooing these days because it is something she is interested in. Basically, she knows what's up, end of story.
At this point, the process is as follows; She reads the emails sent to my inbox, and passes on new project for me to read and review. I read them, and tell her which I'm interested in working on, and she responds with the appropriate information needed to book a consultation.
If you did not include in your initial email what you would like to have tattooed, how big, where on the body, ect., she will email you back and tell you to read this page, and respond with the appropriate information to pass along to me.
So it's really pointless to respond "Well...I just want to book a consultation and talk to Shawn face to face about my ideas" and not include and information or subject for what you would like to have tattooed in your second response. She's giving you exactly the same response I've been giving for years when I receive and email with no information pertaining to what you are looking to have tattooed.
We need to know what you are looking to have tattooed as far as subject matter for your tattoo. The only way we will be able to book you a consultation is if you submit your ideas via email. If you do not have said information included in your email, we can not help you until you do. If you do not have any ideas for what your are looking to have tattooed, we can not help you until you do.
It is my job to take your ideas, and use my experience over the last decade of tattooing to compose a layout that will be clean, solid, and will last for years to come. In plain English- I take your ideas and try to draw a unique tattoo that we will both be happy with.
I'm sorry, but this is not LA Ink, there are no cameras rolling, and it is not my job to interpret your dreams, feelings, hopes and aspirations. It is up to you to interpret your dreams and feelings and describe to me what image you would like to use for your tattoo. I do not know how to tattoo the feeling "happy" or how to come up with an image based on a song you like. Different things have different meanings to different people. You need to tell me you want a rose with a tall ship, and I'll draw you a cool rose with a tall ship. Unfortunately if you do not know what you want and/or can not put it into words, then I do not know what I have to draw for you.
If you are interested in getting tattooed, I am extremely grateful that you have chosen me to work on your project. Please take the time to read this page and email me your request whenever you are ready to be tattooed.