FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: I want to get tattooed at Bella Rose. How do I proceed, and how long will I have to wait?
A: We will always gladly accept new clients; our books will never close.
Please use the contact form to let us know what you're interested in having done.
You will receive a response with specific questions to sort out the details of what you would like. You will then be able to send any reference material. If you are sending images, please use the JPEG or PDF formats only.
Dawn tattoos by appointment only, Sunday through Wednesday, from 1pm-6pm. She is generally booked a few weeks in advance for weekday appointments, and Sundays can be 4 weeks (or more). Appointment slots are 1 hour minimum, 3 hours maximum. We understand that folks would like to get tattooed for 5+ hours in a sitting, but we’ve learned over the years that most clients start feeling "over it" at 3-ish hours.
Brennan is in Wednesday through Sundays from 1pm-8pm. He takes walk-ins and appointments.
Emails are always answered in the order in which they are received. There can be a few day delay in response due to the amount of email we receive and bookings that are in progress of being scheduled. Please keep all correspondence in one email chain so that we can easily find details about your tattoo.
Q: Why is Dawn booked so far in advance? Do you have a cancellation list?
A: Dawn’s a popular artist for folks who appreciate her anal retentiveness and attention to detail. We do our best her best to get her folks in as soon as possible, and we do have a cancellation list.
Dawn travels occasionally to do guest spots at friends' shops (and sometimes tattoo conventions). Her travel schedule is in the "on the road" section.
Some years she travels more often, some years, not so much. She loves the northwest coast and tries to get out there to work every few years. She does her best to make it to Atlanta annually to work at Timeless Tattoo.
Conventions and guest spot appointments fill up almost as soon as they are announced, so be sure to contact us ASAP if you want to get tattooed, where ever you are. Make sure to tell us what city/region/country you're in, as we keep every email and label them geographically in order to let folks know if/when she will be heading your way.
Brennan’s schedule is always available for walk-ins or appointments, whichever is most convenient for you!
Q: How long have you've been tattooing? How did you learn? What are your qualifications?
A: Dawn has been tattooing professionally since 1996, after serving a traditional 2-year apprenticeship with Cap Szumski at Timeless Tattoo in Atlanta, GA.
She has over 20 years experience as a full-time professional tattooer.
Dawn has won several awards including being voted Chicago's Best Tattoo Artist by The Chicago Reader. AOL's Digital City named her one of the top ten tattoo artists in the USA. Her work has been in numerous national and international magazines, both in direct reference to my work, and with clients being used in advertising. Her clients have proudly sported my work on such shows as Top Chef, The Voice, & Sex with Sunny Megatron among others.
Brennan served a traditional two-year apprenticeship with Dawn, and has been tattooing professionally ever since early 2018.
We will never stop learning, and further our knowledge and skills whenever/where ever possible by working with other artists, attending conventions and workshops, and studying new techniques and methods.
We are members of the National Tattoo Association, which is dedicated to promoting tattooing in a positive way as a valid contemporary art form, while sharing the colorful history of our predecessors and staying on top of current news and health issues.
Each year, we renew our certifications for Prevention of Blood-Bourne Pathogens, First Aid, CPR, and AED.
BBP is the only required course, but by taking all of the other courses, we feel better equipped to handle any emergencies that may arise inside the studio, as well as outside.
We are professionally trained and maintained, and proud of it!
Q: What are your rates?
A: Dawn’s rate is $200, with a minimum of $100, no matter how tiny the tattoo.
Her pricing is always kept in the same range as other professional tattoo artists who share her level of experience and expertise.
Brennan’s hourly rate is $100, with a $50 minimum.
Please do not ask us to barter, hook you up, or give you a sweet deal. Remember, you get what you pay for: "cheap tattoos ain't good, and good tattoos ain't cheap."
Dawn requires a $100 non-refundable deposit to secure your tattoo appointment. The deposit goes towards the cost of the tattoo.
If you choose to not show up to your appointment, you lose your deposit. If you need to reschedule your appointment, we need at least 24 hours notice. We will then set another date and you will not have to pay another deposit. In the case of pregnancies and other major life events (family deaths, car accidents, moving etc), we of course will hold your deposit until life is back on track.
Once we have a better idea of what we’re doing, how big it’ll be, how much detail is involved, etc., we can usually come up with a price range/time estimate. Most folks can only get tattooed comfortably for 3 hours max, and we split up sessions on bigger or heavily detailed work. It's easier on your body AND wallet.
Dawn offers 3D realistic nipple/areola tattooing for breast cancer survivors and repairing/restoring after breast lift surgery.
The fee $350 for one, $600 for both. If you would rather get a beautiful piece of art instead of nipples, there is not extra charge, that falls under her regular hourly rates. She is well-trained and totally comfortable and proficient in the realities of tattooing over/near scars. A return visit is almost always necessary so that she can touch up any pigment loss.
Dawn also works with post surgical issues stemming from breast lifts/reductions, tummy tucks, and other medical or self-harm scars. This is very specialized tattooing, so make sure you only get this type of work done by someone very experienced and well trained in it.
Q: I want to bring people/kids with me for my tattoo.
You must be 18 or older to be in our studio.
You may bring one person to come with you, but limit it to your best friend, spouse, or close relative.
This means children are not allowed in the studio, as adorable as they are.
Most people think it'll be great fun to watch their loved one get tattooed, but after 15 minutes they are incredibly bored. Make sure they bring a book or are ready for a nap. Children and animals (other than service animals) are NOT allowed in the shop. Space is limited, and children/animals running around pose serious liability and safety issues.
Dawn has been knocked into by an excited/bored child while tattooing, and that put an end to a kid-friendly shop instantly. If you have an appointment and your child-care doesn't work out for some reason, PLEASE do not assume that it's ok to bring kids in. Please reschedule as soon as you know there's an issue. We will get you back on the books quickly, without losing your deposit. Families come first, and we understand that sh*t happens.
Service animals are 100% welcome at all times.
Q: What types of payment do you accept?
A: Cash is always king, but all major credit cards are accepted.
Checks are not accepted, except for deposits, when Paypal, Venmo, or Chase Direct-pay is not an option for you.
As for tips, they are never expected, but always appreciated for a job well done.
We do not barter, trade, hook up, accept coupons, or anything of that sort, so please don't ask.
Tattooing is our profession, not a hobby.
Do not EVER get tattooed by anyone who is not a professional and is working out of their house or at a party.
If they can't be bothered to work in a legitimate licensed & insured shop, you can be assured they’re not concerned with your health and safety precautions.
We do a lot of repairs and coverups on tattoos that were done by someone's friend, or at ill-advised "tattoo parties". People who tattoo out of their house or at parties are NOT licensed by the city, which means NO regulation by the Department of Public Health or any liability insurance. You are worth more than a potential staph infection (or worse!).
Support professional tattooing. The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.
Q. Are tattoos safe? What safety precautions do you employ?
A: Everything we use is single use, sterilized, and disposed of promptly and correctly after use.
Yearly classes in the Prevention of Blood-Bourne pathogens/cross contamination, First Aid, AED, and CPR keep us up to date with the most current safety procedures.
We are professionally trained and maintained.
Q: How do I take care of my new tattoo?
A: We give aftercare suggestions verbally, on paper, and here on the website. You should follow our suggestions and take care of your tattoo the way we suggest.
Follow the "k.i.s.s." method: Keep it Simple Sweetheart!
Do not listen to well-meaning friends/family, or random Internet "experts". PLEASE!!
If you have been tattooed a bunch already and have your healing system down pat, please do what works best for you.
We offer a few different ways to heal your new tattoo, and will discuss the options with you prior, during, and after your tattoo.
We’ve become big fans of Tegaderm (fancy clear waterproof bandage), which you leave on for 3-4 days. As awesome as it is, folks with super sensitive skin or allergies will likely need to use the more old school method to heal.
Do not hesitate to contact us at any point during the healing process, seriously.
There are no dumb questions! Ask away, and we will always get back to you quickly.
Q: How does the process work, and when can I expect to see my design in advance?
A: We enjoy doing all styles of tattooing and do our best to find a way to make whatever you'd like work!
We are brutally honest. If we think what you want would be done better by someone more skilled in that style, we will say so and give you their contact info. Please don't take that as being blown off; we want you to have a great tattoo, even if we don't get to do it!
We believe people already have a pretty clear idea of what they'd like to have tattooed, but sometimes have a hard time explaining it. This is the main reason Dawn does most consultations via email. She needs to have everything you've said, along with any reference material you've provided, so she can use that info while working on your drawing.
Unfortunately, we don't have mind-reading abilities (yet!), so we need your guidance with visual cues. Links to tattoos we’ve have done that are similar in look or feel to what you want, or photographs, statues, textiles, etc. All are extremely helpful. Don’t overload your brain with too much reference material. Trust your gut to be able to articulate what you’d like.
It's a big NO-NO to copy other people's custom tattoo work. We can do a similar design, but please don't ask us steal anyone else's tattoo whether we did it or not. We won't do it, no matter how many different ways you ask. Any tattooer who copies other artists' custom work is a scammer and thief, and needs to go find another line of work.
The designs adorning the walls of most tattoo shops is called "flash", and was drawn specifically for tattooers, by tattooers, and is meant to be used as drawn, for as many times as people want to have it done. There is NOTHING WRONG with getting a tattoo that is from flash.
We always hear "I would NEVER pick a design off the wall!" , which does a huge disservice to the world of tattooing; flash is and has been a very important component of our craft for many decades, and there is so much important history behind it, which we are always happy to share! We love tattooing, and all of the history that comes with it!
Tattooers who serve traditional apprenticeships generally draw sheet after sheet of flash, based on the current desires of the public and/or their own personal taste and humor. Long-time tattooers can name the era a particular set of designs came from just by looking at it!
We can usually draw anything you'd like, you just have to do your best to be as specific as possible. If you are having a hard time visualizing what you'd like but are open-minded about the design and our skills, that works too!
As for Dawn’s signature mehndi-style designs, she usually draws them directly on the skin so as to flow properly with the body's natural contours.
We do our best to have a basic layout sketch ready the day of your appointment. Sometimes we work with a combination of stencils and drawing on the skin. Occasionally we can't work on a design until we are in the studio together. Yes, we do realize that's annoying, but we are only human.
Q: Does it hurt?
A: Tattoos do hurt a little bit. It won’t kill you, but it's not like being kissed by a butterfly.
Every person has a totally different pain threshold, and even that is apt to change.
Some parts of the body are more painful to get tattooed, some are no big deal at all.
The trick is to BREATHE and relax.
Holding your breath, tensing up, and freaking out are only going to make us both miserable, so do your best to focus on being as relaxed as possible and BREEEATHE.
The better you sit, the quicker it will go. The more you whine and wiggle, the longer it'll take, and the more it will cost. Mind over matter!
Please remember that it only hurts while you are actually getting tattooed. Afterwards, it'll feel like a sunburn and/or a bruise. You may be a little swollen and tender; ibuprofen and ice packs can help alleviate any discomfort. Dawn stays pink and swollen for longer than is normal after getting tattooed due to her super sensitive vampire skin. Brennan heals super fast. Everyone is different!
DO NOT hesitate to contact us during healing if you have questions or concerns at all!
Q: How old do you have to be to get tattooed?
A: It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18 in the state of Illinois.
We will not, under ANY circumstances, break the law for anyone.
When we work in a different states for guest spots or conventions, we follow their laws to a "T"; proper paperwork and legal requirements are always in effect.
There is no parental consent clause, and no one can sign for you.
Government issued identification is required to be photocopied onto your paperwork before the tattoo is started. This is not up for debate! No ID, no tattoo!
Even if you've been tattooed by me 350 times, I STILL have to copy your ID onto your paperwork, and yes, you have to fill out at every appointment.
Q: Can I drink/do drugs before I get tattooed?
A: It is illegal to tattoo anyone who is under the influence of any mind/body altering substances.
Contrary to popular belief, being high will not make your experience any better; It actually makes the process more difficult for you (and us!) and raises the risk of complications. Just say no. You can go whoop it up as hard as you want when we are done.
Drinking alcohol before our session is an absolutely terrible idea. We can ALWAYS tell, and you will not be getting tattooed!
Drinking a bunch the night before is also a bad idea. Alcohol thins the blood, makes you smelly and wiggly, and makes our job harder.
Do not take any blood thinners the night before or day of getting tattooed. This includes caffeine, aspirin, advil, tylenol, etc.
One normal cup of coffee in the morning is fine. Get a good night's sleep, and eat a huge meal before you come in.
Carbs, protein, and sugar are your friends before getting tattooed.
Q: Can I get tattooed while pregnant or breast-feeding?
A: The jury is still out on this one, but we are not comfortable with doing either. Your body is going through tremendous changes and is under stress while pregnant and after giving birth. Getting tattooed while pregnant or breast-feeding MIGHT negatively impact both your health and that of your feeding baby by raising your blood pressure, and we do not want anything to do with that.
If you have an appointment and need to reschedule, you will not lose your deposit. Have a terrific pregnancy, delivery, and post birthing bonding time with baby.
We will be here when baby is weaned and your body is yours again. We fully expect to see photos and hear all about your kids!
Also, nursing babes are always welcome in the shop to come say hi and breastfeed, as long as whoever is taking care of them understands they cannot stay while we are working. We need mom to focus on what we are doing, and she 100% would appreciate a little break from mom duties.
Q: Should I eat before I get tattooed? What should I do to prepare for being tattooed?
A: It is ideal to eat within four hours of being tattooed. Having food in your body helps deal with the rush of adrenaline and endorphins that naturally occur when getting tattooed. Feel free to carbo-load! For sure get some sugar in you, whether it's through real food or junk. Sugar, carbs, protein are all very helpful! I understand lots of folks have health mandated dietary restrictions, so don't eat sugar if you're diabetic, obviously.
The night before, don't drink a bunch of alcohol (one or two cocktails is fine), have a good dinner, and get a good night's sleep.
The day of, please bathe/shower, and if the area to be tattooed is super hairy, do us a favor and shave it as best you can.
Eat a big, hearty breakfast/lunch, don't drink a bunch of caffeine, and try to be relaxed. Getting tattooed is exciting, but don't freak yourself out.
Happy, healthy people heal better. Getting tattooed when you are sick, post surgical, or stressed out is not ideal, and the likelihood of having problems during healing is higher.
If you are sick with something contagious (the flu, a nasty cold, bronchitis, strep, etc.) PLEASE reschedule.
You will not lose your deposit, and we will do our best to get you back in quickly after you are better.
We cannot afford to be sick! Same goes for me; if *I* am contagious, I will be rescheduling you.
Folks with compromised immune systems (e.g. diabetes, Hepatitis, HIV, lupus, fibromyalgia, etc) can take longer to heal.
If you have any health conditions which may impair healing or cause any problems while getting tattooed, please check with your doctor first. Assure your doctor that everything we use is sterilized and single-use, and direct them to our page if need be. We’re happy to answer any questions they may have for us.
Q: Can you fix/cover-up a bad tattoo I have?
A: We really enjoy fixing/repairing and doing cover-ups! A lot of tattooers do not enjoy doing coverups, as evidenced by clients who come to us to fix a tattoo that has been badly covered once or twice already.
Dawn LOVES doing coverups and repairing tattoos. It's rare that she can't figure out something to fix a piece; on certain occasions she might suggest one or two laser removal sessions to lighten the existing piece in order for us to have more options, but that's not the default solution. She really enjoys a challenge, and loves making people happy by turning something they hate into something they love!
There's nothing worse than a tattoo that screams "cover up!!!" with a big black blob, and we refuse to do that to our clients.
We want you to be super happy with your tattoo, and will do our best to make sure that happens.
Q: Can you tattoo over a scar?
A: It depends on the severity and maturity of the scar. In general, a scar NEEDS to be at least one year old, and not pink or still healing. There is no guarantee that the ink will stay in scar tissue. Dawn has advanced training in tattooing scars, and if you get tattooed by someone else, PLEASE make sure they are very experienced in working with scar tissue.
Dawn works with breast cancer survivors to create either works of art to cover mastectomy scars, or 3D realistic nipples to replace the ones lost to surgery, or a combo of both!
She also works with scars from plastic (and non-plastic surgery), the most common being from breast lifts and tummy tucks.
Scars from former self-harm (or accidents) are also able to be tattooed, but they need to be fully healed. We are honored to help with your healing process, whatever the situation may be.
Stretch marks are considered scars, and they are tricky in that they can be raised or indented, usually both!
Nothing we can do will get rid of the scars, but we can use expert tattooing to draw the eye away from them and onto a beautiful piece of art (or convincing nipples/areolas).
Scars that have been tattooed over WILL be puffy for a bit while the skin heals and calms down.
Scars caused by inexperienced tattooers can potentially stay raised forever, which is a bummer. Sometimes tattooing over those scars will break down the scar tissue, but that’s not guaranteed.
Q: What tattoos won't you do?
A: We will not do ANY work that is sexist, racist, or gang related.
We do not do "white tattoos" or color only (no outline, watercolor) tattoos.
White is used for highlighting only, as in the whites of the eyes, or to add a little extra dimension here and there. White ink tattoos, when healed, look like awful scars. Just because we won't do them doesn't mean someone else won't. Bear in mind that anyone who would do them without warning you that it WILL look like an ugly scar just wants your money and doesn't care about you or your tattoo.
Tattoos NEED to be outlined in black, and have shading in order to give it dimension. The "watercolor" trend will end when folks realize that their tattoo that looked great for a few months now looks like a washed out mess or a bruise. Black is the most stable of pigments and it is the best for holding a tattoo together.
We do not tattoo hands, fingers, sides/front of the neck, arches/outside of the feet, heels, or faces.
Q: What if my tattoo is infected?
A: More often than not, what you perceive as an infection is actually an allergic reaction to products being put on it, dirty sheets/clothes, and/or animal hair/dander .
Allergic reactions to ink or infections are rare, but do happen. If you are having an issue, please contact us immediately! Do NOT assume a wait and see stance. There are no dumb questions!
Signs of infection include, but are not limited to: red streaks around the area, green or yellow pus/discharge, extreme pain, fever, and extreme swelling.
Normally healing tattoos will usually be tender to the touch, swollen and/or bruised. Leaking of lymph fluid (which can have a bit of blood in it) is normal, as is peeling and very occasionally, scabbing. if you know your body likes to retain water, do it a solid and stay away from salt/sodium, drink extra glasses of water, and when all else fails, a diuretic can be used.
Allergic reactions are typically due to incorrect or over usage of aftercare products, and can seemingly come out of nowhere. Little white bumps/hives/extreme itchiness are more than likely an allergic reaction to whatever soap or lotion/ointment is being used. Too much of anything is a BAD thing. If you like, you may take some benadryl before bed, and use benadryl cream (NOT ointment) to help with the bumps.
When ol’ super sensitive-skinned Dawn gets tattooed, she stays pink and swollen for a week or more! Brennan typically heals like a normal person.
Some areas of the body can have a bit of a trickier time healing; ribs and feet will likely be really sore for a few days and feel bruised.
For women, anything in the bra-zone needs more TLC in the form of 100% cotton camisole (instead of a bra, if possible); the back shoulders will heal much better if a Y-strap or sports bra is worn during healing.
Lower legs and ankles can tend to swell a bit, which can be disconcerting! Hello cankles! Elevate that ankle and watch tv.
If you are extremely uncomfortable, use the "RICE" method: rest, ice, chocolate, elevation. Yes, i added the chocolate part.
Overuse of products and/or incorrect aftercare are usually the main culprits when a tattoo is having a hard time healing.
Please follow your aftercare suggestions we’ve given you. Don’t listen to your friends or the internet wizards.
Keep it simple: fragrance free soap + fragrance free lotion + no picking/scratching/soaking/sun = happy tattoo.
Q: I live far away, and can't travel to see you. Will Dawn draw something for someone near me to tattoo?
A: I do commissioned drawings, which range from $150-350 (or more, if it's really big), with re-draws ranging from $50 and up (again, depending on how much work I have to do), which is payable *in advance* via paypal. The price depends on what I will be drawing.
She generally has a 2 week or less turnaround time for commissioned drawings.
Please get in touch with me with your request via the contact form in either case.
Q: Do you know anyone good in my city/state/country?
A: In any given mid-large city, there are very skilled, professional artists.
Do your homework and look through portfolios in person. Do not trust "craigslist" tattoo ads, "my friend just got a kit" leads, or stick n’ poke hacks.
Make sure you are treated well, the shop is spotless, and their physical portfolios show a good range of styles.
The best tattooers can do whatever you'd like, and aren't only into doing "their style". If what you want is not something they are able to do well, they should absolutely refer you to someone they know who will take good care of you.
Q: Do you take apprentices? How do I learn?
A: Having an apprentice is a life-long relationship. Should you come to realize that the only thing in the world that matters to you is tattooing, you will find the right person to teach you. We are not offering apprenticeships at this time.
Tattooing is not a hobby, and apprenticeships should not be a part time gig while you work at your "real job." Only a full-time traditional apprenticeship with a professional who has been in the business for a long time (15 years or more) will get you started on the right path. Do not be sucked into "tattoo schools". No legitimate shop will ever hire ANYONE who attended "tattoo school". There are no quick and easy ways to become a professionally trained tattoo artist.
Do NOT decide one day, “hey i can draw, i’m going to tattoo my friends in my kitchen!”
Just because tattoo supplies are now easily available and cheap does not mean you should take it upon yourself to tattoo your friends and unsuspecting clients.
MRSA and hepatitis are no joke, and are only a few of the problems that can and will happen with those who are not properly trained. You wouldn't get dental work from someone who isn't a professional, in their garage or at a party, right? RIGHT?
At least half of the work we now do consists of fixing or covering up terrible tattoos done in someone's kitchen or at a party.
DO NOT GET TATTOOED AT SOMEONE'S HOUSE OR AT A PARTY.
There are NO stupid questions, please do not hesitate to contact me ASAP with any concerns.