Help! I don't like the design my artist made for my appointment!

Worried about what to say when you don't like the design the artist created for you? Keep reading to find the best ways to politely let your artist know and how to avoid this in the future.

Brooke Hulstedt

8/10/20232 min read

woman in white hat with pink lipstick
woman in white hat with pink lipstick

It's every client and tattoo artist's worst nightmare- you show up to the tattoo appointment you've been so excited for, only to realize you don't love the design your artist made for you.


Here are your next steps for resolving this issue and walking out the door with some fresh ink you love.

First things first: communicate with your tattoo artist right away that you'd like changes to the design. If you don't immediately know what you want changed, feel free to ask the artist if you can look at the design for a few minutes and decide. Be polite when asking for time and letting the artist know you want changes. Even if you don't love the design, your artist still put a lot of time and thought into making something unique for you.

Usually this is the only step needed to create a resolution. You'll let the artist know what changes you'd like and they'll spend a few minutes making those changes for you, easy-peasy.


What if you still don't like the design? Don't feel pressured to continue on with the tattoo anyways- communicate with your artist! Try to be as specific as possible with the changes you'd like. You may even want to pull up some reference photos on your phone to give your artist a better example of what you are looking for.

Communication is the number one factor for success at the tattoo studio. As a tattoo artist, the more my clients communicate with me the better I can do my job.

If you and your artist can't come to a resolution and you still aren't in love with the design, here are a few options for what to do next:

Forfeit your deposit and reschedule for another day.

This could be for the same tattoo idea if your artist understands what you want and just needs more time to make changes. This is more common with sleeves and back pieces, where the amount of detail makes it much more time consuming to make changes. OR you could reschedule for a different tattoo idea that you and your artist feel better about then your current idea.

Pick a pre-drawn or flash tattoo design.

Still determined to get tattooed that same day? Ask your artist if they have any pre-drawn or flash designs available for you to look at that you could get tattooed instead. Since the design is already drawn, your artist won't need much time to switch gears and prep the new design for you. Many artists also like this option since they still get to tattoo and won't lose money.

Never be afraid to lose your deposit and never be afraid to leave your appointment without a tattoo.

Moving forward with a tattoo design you don't like is more expensive then forfeiting a deposit. Getting laser tattoo removal or a cover-up is likely to be way more expensive then forfeiting a deposit. Don't let the deposit stand in the way of communicating with your artist and letting them know you don't want the design tattooed. As long as you are polite and have open communication with your artist, your artist will still welcome you back to the tattoo studio for future tattoos. There's no shame in leaving the tattoo appointment without a tattoo.

And remember, your tattoo artist is on your side! They want you to have the best experience possible and for you to leave with a tattoo you love!

Have questions about this blog? Feel free to DM me over on Instagram @Painted_Vulture_Tattoo