“Does tattooing hurt?”

The short answer is “Yes.” The long answer is, “Not as much as you might think.” The fact is, every tattoo hurts differently- each person experiences their tattoos in a unique way, every time. Sometimes it’s incredibly intense, sometimes it’s very meditative and relaxing, and sometimes people fall asleep. There is no guarantee. Tattoo to tattoo, even the same person might find an incredible gulf of difference between sessions. With the right mental preparedness, and the correct atmosphere, anyone can earn their tattoos with no problem- what’s a little pain for a lifetimes’ gain?

“Is it safe?”

At PennyBlack, we can and do guarantee safety for the duration of the procedure. However, that assurance stops the moment the client leaves our controlled environment. There are risks and concerns each client needs to be aware of, such as potential for infection, potential damage to the art in high-risk situations, and the very-unlikely chance of blood-pathogen contamination. Complete education in each of these topics (and more) is part of our tattooing procedure. Not only will you get a fantastic work of art, but you’ll leave our studio armed with all the knowledge (and more) that you need to ensure your own safety, as well as that of your tattoo.

It’s a mark of pride for this studio that we not only meet (and far exceed) all Coastal Health Authority standards, we’ve done so to such an extent that our inspector requested permission to bring further inspectors-in-training by to observe our processes and see the correct procedure for cross-contamination prevention and blood-borne pathogen control. In short, we are –the- model for how Coastal Health expects a professional tattoo studio to be operated.

“Is it expensive?”

Yes, and no. Our rates here at PennyBlack are below the downtown average. We charge $160.00 per hour with a minimum charge of $90.00. In our opinion, very few studios can back up their prices with the quality demanded of such fees. We believe that places charge the rates they do simply because everyone else does as well, and it’s accepted by the public. This doesn’t seem right, or fair, to us. We fervently believe we have struck the right balance of quality versus affordability.

Even with that in mind, the price tag for tattoo work can seem pretty steep. It’s difficult to think in terms of cost over time. A well-done tattoo lasts the rest of your life, and brings you general positivity every day you have it. Over the course of years and years, the price suddenly doesn’t seem as high as it did on the day.

Another mistake people make lays in assuming that larger tattoo work has to be done all in one session and paid for in one lump sum. Tattoos can be done in installments, in fact for larger work that’s the preferred approach. The cost is suddenly much less terrifying when it’s broken down into smaller chunks.

“Will it make me cool/get me sex?”

Yes. Absolutely. Guaranteed.

“Will I regret it?”

In our experience, it is extremely rare for anyone to regret getting a tattoo. What is not as rare is that old conundrum of people regretting *what* they’ve gotten tattooed. Most common of all is people regretting where they got tattooed. So basically, you’ll only regret your tattoo if you don’t think about what you’re doing, and if you don’t do your homework. Research your designs, and research your artist- do that and you won’t regret a thing.

“What are the studio rules regarding tattoos?”

At PennyBlack, we have few rules regarding what we will and won’t tattoo. In our opinion, every experience has a certain validity, and that includes tattoos that have a high potential for “wish I hadn’t done that”. At the same time, that doesn’t mean we have no ethics or standards at all.

We will not tattoo any visible area on someone who isn’t already heavily tattooed. For some inexplicable reason, there is an ever-increasing number of people who have no tattoos coming in asking for massive pieces on their hands or neck. Our rule is this- prove you’ve already committed to a life as a tattoo enthusiast, THEN we’ll start on the areas that can’t be covered up. Until such a time- you have plenty of room on your arms, back, chest, legs, ribs, etc. and so on.

We only tattoo humans. Please don’t bring any livestock in for some “sick ink, bra”.

Additionally, at no point will we NOT lecture someone at great length if they want a tattoo we know they’ll eventually regret. You want your flavour-of-the-moment boyfriend or girlfriend’s name tattooed across your forehead? Well, so long as you’re already sleeved out, we’ll do that, sure… But you’re going to hear a half-an-hour-or-longer diatribe about how that’s a stupid plan. If you still want to do it after that, it’s your life, but no one can ever claim that they weren’t properly warned of all potential consequences when they came in to get something done at PennyBlack.

“What are the studio rules regarding age?”

There are no actual laws regarding age of consent for tattooing in Canada. Whenever people talk about such things, they’re parroting hearsay based on age of consent for sex, which is absolutely not applicable to this industry. Similarly, there are no legal definitions for what it is we do- we aren’t classified in any way. Some people will tell you a tattoo is assault, others will say it’s considered a surgical procedure, and some might even tell you it’s all just a big conspiracy, maaaan. They’re all wrong.

There are no laws, no true rules, so it falls on the shoulders of each studio to set their own rules according to their own sense of ethics.
At PennyBlack, the rule is this- 16 with parental consent, 18 without. For us, “Parental consent” doesn’t mean mom or dad comes in and signs a piece of paper. That isn’t good enough; the parents have to be part of the whole process. If that’s too much, then wait 2 years and get it on your own.

“Will it look terrible when I’m old?”

No. Anyone who says that has never actually seen an old person with heavy tattoo work done. We have, and take it from us- it looks fantastic. Sure, a good deal of the detail gets lost over time, but well-thought-out tattoo work will still maintain its basic design acumen. That shines through regardless of how old the tattoo, or the collector, is. It is our opinion that tattooing can largely bypass the aging process by providing the observer something to look at besides older skin and the ravages of time.

“Do you take walk-ins?”

Yes we do, and we sincerely hope that we never get to a point where we would no longer accept them. The excitement of new clients is infectious, and we want to preserve that.

Just don’t be too disappointed if you happen to pop in during a busy rush- we’ll get to you as soon as we possibly can, but sometimes there can be delays.

“Do I need a consult?”

It’s advisable. Even if you have pre-designed art and a good idea if which artist at PennyBlack will do the most justice to your concept, you still want to meet your artist and see if you connect on a personal level. We’ve made sure that our crew is made up of friendly and personable artists, but you still want to click just-so with the person who’s drawing on you forever.

“Do I need to put down a deposit?”

Yes. The amount varies by design, and the deposit does go towards the cost of the tattoo. The deposit is NOT refundable if an appointment is cancelled without at least 24 hours notice. The need for a cash deposit is also why we cannot book appointments over the phone.