Back in the day, it seemed like the only individuals that were getting a tattoo were those who were serving in the military. And don't get me wrong, they got some really cool work done. My father had an American Eagle done on his forearm. It was just the one color but the work was impeccable. I think he told me that is cost him $7 somewhere. That is not so today. They have gone up in price just a tad.
To get a Cartman from South Park done on your upper arm, roughly the size of a folding cell phone will run you $75 - $125. It all depends on the artist, how much ink is used, overhead cost on the tattoo outline and just people looking to make a buck. There are some that I have seen cost in the thousands. These are some pretty extensive tattoos. They require a lot of ink, patience, and multiple visits to the tattoo shop.
The majority of places you go will not do a big tattoo in one sitting. The reason is you bleeding too much and the artist hand getting tired. Trust me, if they want to take a break, let them. If their hand gets tired they are more prone to slip and your Tweety Bird on your back is now peeing. It is best to sit and talk to the artist prior to making the final decision. Discuss the procedures so you will know what to expect. You gain their trust this way and they can then make you happy because they know you know what you want.