A well-done tattoo is a beautiful thing. A cheap impulse tattoo? these are the top 10 things you should know before getting your first tattoo. Whether it’s choosing the right shop and artist,or picking the right design, you’ll know just what to do, and what to expect for your first tattoo experience.
1. Do Your Research
Alright, so you want a tattoo. Quite honestly, you’ve always wanted a tattoo. So what do you do? Do you run out to the closest shop and get inked up? No, you do your research. First things first, you need to find the right shop and the right artist. When it comes to choosing the right shop, you have to make sure it’s clean. You wouldn’t want to get surgery in a scummy basement whose worst enemy is a black light, so why get a tattoo there?
The cleaner the shop, the less risk you run of getting a skin infection — or worse. Next up is your artist. Look at their portfolios, and find a style that you like, and that fits your idea. Don’t settle on the first one you see; do your research and check out different shops until you find the artist who’s right for you.
2. Educate Yourself
You want a sweet infinity symbol on your arm, and Google Images found the one you want… and the one millions of people have already looked at and probably got tattooed already. Dig a little deeper when trying to find the right design. Books are a great source, and tattoo magazines are even better.
Only the most skilled artists get published in these mags, so you’ll be seeing some of the most creative work out there. If you want something original, you need to work a little harder to find your design, but in the long run, that extra effort will result in a killer piece of ink that nobody else has.
3. Going Too Small
Go big or go home. OK, not always the best advice, but when it comes to tattoos, it’s not a bad idea. The bigger the tattoo, the more details can clearly be inked in. When you get a small tattoo and try to cram in as much detail as possible, it just looks bad. Fear-based decisions are never sound, and you’ll be much happier with an intricate and original piece.
Plus, small tattoos don’t age well. In time, the lines blend together, colors run together, and the quality just straight-up diminishes. The bigger the tattoo, the better the details will look over time.
4. Fit And Flow
It’s all about matching the curves of the body. The fit and flow of a tattoo is almost as important as the design itself. When the lines of the tattoo match the curve of the muscle, the design looks smooth and doesn’t fit awkwardly on the skin.
A great design can be ruined by poor placement on the body. Make sure you look carefully at the placement; if it seems off, tell your artist. It’s on you for the rest of your life, so make sure it’s in the right place.
5. Go Timeless
If you ask your 13-year-old self what tattoo he wanted, chances are it’s something that you would never permanently ink into your skin today. So regardless of age, think long and hard about your design. Is this something you’ll be happy to wear in five years? How about in 25?
A timeless design will stand the test of time much better than a simple “Skate or Die.” Having to cover up your tattoo because you’re embarrassed by it isn’t a good look — and it’s expensive. Choose something that will always be relevant to you, and that you’ll always cherish. Because, you know, it’s there forever.
6. The Job-Stoppers
You have two equally qualified potential employees. One of them is wearing a suit and tie, the other is wearing a suit and tie, complemented by a Venus flytrap neck tattoo. You have to hire one; who do you choose?
Neck and hand tattoos are best reserved for rockstars and tattoo artists. These tattoos are known as job-stoppers for a good reason. Before you get “Live Life” inked on your knuckles, think long and hard about your potential future jobs. The last thing you want is to be turned down in the future because of a momentary lapse in judgment in the present.
7. Keep An Open Mind
Your tattoo artist knows more about tattoos than you do. Their job is to design works of art, and apply them to human skin. This is their job, their craft, their field of expertise. If they suggest something that could potentially enhance your work, it’s in your best interest to listen to what they has to say.
If you don’t like the advice, don’t take it — but know that their priority is to give you an awesome tattoo, not a bad one. If you come to an impasse, you can always find another artist, but it’s never a bad idea to consider what the pro has to say.
8. Price Shopping
Good work isn’t cheap, and cheap work isn’t good. Plain and simple. If your artist is giving out nice tattoos, but charges much lower prices than everyone else, chances are they’re cutting corners where you can’t see it.
Proper cleaning equipment is expensive. Proper equipment is expensive. You’re not buying a TV or a microwave or even a car; this is one of the few things you’ll buy that will be there for the rest of your life. If you want a tattoo, get it done right.
9. Take Your Time
Getting things on an impulse is almost never a good idea. The difference between an impulse tattoo and everything else, though, is that this is a permanent reminder of that time you didn’t think things through. What’s a six-month wait time when you consider this tattoo will be on you for the next 75 years, give or take?
Think about what you want, find the right shop and artist, and when that’s done, stop and think. Is this something you really want? Take the next few months and look at the design you want. Do you like it less than you did yesterday? If so, maybe you should choose something else — or maybe even hold off on the ink completely.
10. Be Prepared
Tattooing is a painful process, so make sure you’re ready for it when you go to get one. Depending on the size of your piece, you might be sitting in that chair for many hours, and the last thing you want is to not have your mind right. Get yourself psychologically ready for it, and you’ll come out on top.
Also, make sure you’re healthy. Being drunk or hungover or sunburnt is never a good idea when getting inked. You want your skin to be in tip-top shape before you start. Being hungover will just add to the pain, and make the whole process that much more unpleasant. Make sure you’re healthy, and it’ll be a much better experience.