Take Your Time I know that getting a new tattoo is exciting, and when you finally decide this is what you want, it is hard to wait. But this is not something to be rushed into. If you really want a tattoo that you are going to be happy with, its going to take some time. So, relax, and don't be in a rush to get inked.
Visit Several Studios Shop around! I'm sure if you were about to make a major purchase, like a car, you wouldn't buy one from the first dealership you went to. Check out examples of the artists' work, ask around, and take the time to just stay for a while and watch if you can. Ask the artists questions, and see if they are friendly and willing to talk to you. If you wander around the shop for half an hour, and no one even asks if they can help you, they don't take much pride in their work.
Scrutinize The Work You don't have to be an artist to be able to tell quality artistry from a bad job. Whether you get a chance to view pictures in an artist's portfolio, or see a live example, really look closely at the work. It's easy to be swayed by pretty pictures. Don't get caught up in this trap! Look closely at the lines. They should be smooth, not jumpy or jagged or shaky. Colors should be bold and filled in completely with no blank areas. Circles should look like circles, not ovals. Be objective!
Listen To Your Friends Your friends can be a great resource to you. If they have had a good experience, they will probably recommend their artist. And if they've had a bad experience, I'm sure they'll warn you not to make the same mistake! Ask around. If you're outgoing, and you see someone walking down the street with a great tattoo, don't be afraid to ask them where they got it! Most of us love to talk about our tattoos.