Thinking of getting a tattoo? Tattoos are a beautiful vehicle for self-expression. You can commemorate an important event, relationship, or person in your life. You can also use it to express an important idea or attitude whether it be humorous, ironic, serious, or somewhere in between.
Their permanence makes it vital that you’re sure about your decision. Once you get one, there’s no going back.
If it’s your first time getting a tattoo and you’re on the fence about it, the best way to help you make up your mind is to know as much about the process as possible — what to expect, how to look for the right tattoo studio and artist, and how to care for it after. This is an important part of the decision-making process so once you step into a tattoo parlor, you’ll be more confident and resolute about your decision.
Let us guide you with this article that outlines relevant information about getting a tattoo.
Before you make your way inside a tattoo parlor, you need to know what design you’re going for and an artist who can do it for you. The former entails some introspection on your part.
If you aren’t sure about the design you want, you can visit websites about tattoos, or the Instagram pages of renowned tattoo artists in your area. You don’t want to find yourself seated on the chair with your tattoo artist next to you until you have at least some sort of idea about the tattoo you’re looking for.
Having a clear idea of the tattoo you want with perhaps some design inspirations with you will help make the experience go smoother and increase the likelihood that you’ll like the tattoo you end up with.
Once you have an idea of the design you want, book a consultation with your tattoo artist. Most tattoo parlors will either do it for free or charge a small fee for it. During your consultation, you should:
- Discuss the possibilities of the design you have in mind
- Be open to tweaking the design
- Figure out the best placement for the tattoo
- Discuss the colors and shading options that will result in the best version of your tattoo design when inked on your skin
Additionally, you should also consider these aspects when coming up with a design:
After finding a tattoo design, the next step is to decide how you want your tattoo to look. There are various styles to choose from that can level up your design. You can consult a tattoo professional to work this out or you can look at various styles, find one you like the best, and find a tattoo artist experienced in that specific style.
Some popular styles are:
- Minimalist: Want precise black lines, minimal elements, and spaced-out structure for your design? Minimalist designs are beautiful and pack a punch in their simplicity.
- Illustrative: Make your tattoo design pop with bright, vibrant colors. An illustrative design employs bold outlines to depict a variety of designs.
- Traditional Japanese: This style is usually used to bring animal imagery to life. It uses clean lines and minimal shading while taking inspiration from traditional Japanese artwork.
If you’re not familiar with many styles, don’t worry. We’ve all had to start somewhere. Know that you can put together different pegs of the design you want and show them to your tattoo artist so that they have an idea of what you’re looking for.
Are you looking to incorporate some text into your tattoo design? The clearer you are on the type of font you want, the easier designing it will be, and the greater the chance you’ll like the result.
Look on the internet for fonts you like. Some websites will even allow you to type in the tattoos you’re considering so you get an idea of what the tattoo will look like.
The best tattoo artists can pull off every font, however, it’s best not to assume that your tattoo artist will be well versed with it. If it’s not a common font, have samples of the font ready so your tattoo artist can use them as a reference.
Depending on the style you’ve chosen, you can work out the shades you want to incorporate in your tattoo design. You can experiment with vibrant hues, pastel shades, and white scales.
Coloring has its limitations though. For example, light skin tones will hold pastels better compared to dark skin tones. If you don’t want to restrict yourself to a certain color palette, that’s fine. You can use any color, but be prepared to deal with how they look on your skin once the artwork is completed.
The rate at which your tattoo fades is highly dependent on where you have it placed. If you want your tattoo to keep looking good for a long time, select its location strategically. Great placements where tattoos won’t fade quickly are areas where the skin doesn’t get stretched often and aren’t exposed to the sun. Some examples where your ink won’t fade easily are the neck, the center of your upper chest, fingers, forearms, calves, back, collarbone area, neck, feet, and ankles.
Remember that your decision on where to place it will also affect the size of your tattoo. If you’re looking to have huge artwork done, you may have to use your whole arm, your chest, or your back to bring it to life.
Now that you have a better idea of the tattoo design and details you want, it’s time to find a professional to bring it to life. Take recommendations from your family and friends who recently got a tattoo or browse social media to find a tattoo parlor/artist near you.
Additionally, make sure that the tattoo studio or artist has:
You don’t want to settle on a place that’s sketchy even if it’s highly recommended. If they aren’t licensed or don’t follow state rules and regulations, they aren’t the right fit.
Most tattoo parlors will offer a one-on-one consultation with the tattoo artist of your choice. Use the opportunity to discuss your tattoo. This will also give you insight on the professionalism and skill of your prospective tattoo artist and give you an idea of how flexible they are on making changes and answering your queries.
Getting a tattoo means that you’re trusting them with your skin which may take hours so don’t take this step lightly. If you aren’t confident and comfortable with the tattoo artist, go on and look for another one.
The best tattoo parlors will have a clean workplace and sterilized equipment. If you notice something to the contrary, you should move one. If you aren’t sure, you can ask the tattoo artist you’re consulting with.
Once you’ve selected a design and a tattoo artist, it’s time to move to the next step and get it done. Here are some tips that you can use before, during, and after to make the experience smoother and achieve the best results:
- Talk about the design. Are there any changes that should be made to make it better? What will you be charged for the tattoo? How much time will it take?
- Shave the area you want to have tattooed. Most artists do it themselves so make sure to ask about it during the consultation.
- Steer clear of taking painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen a day before your tattoo appointment.
- Limit your coffee and alcohol intake.
- Make sure your tattoo artist uses disposable needles and ink cups and wears a fresh set of clean gloves.
- Wear clothing that doesn’t cover the area you want to get tattooed.
- Your tattoo artist will use a stencil to make a rough draft. Make sure your attention is focused on observing the placement and design so there’s no room for error.
- Ask your tattoo artist for specific advice on how to take care of your tattoo after getting freshly inked.
- Don’t forget to bring money to tip your tattoo artist.
This is the big question on everybody’s mind. Most people are curious about the pain, but the truth is the tattoo experience is unique for every individual. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the placement of your tattoo, its size, and your pain tolerance.
So if you’re wondering whether it will hurt, the answer is yes. How much will it hurt? That depends on your pain tolerance and the other factors we mentioned.
If you’re getting a tattoo in an area that is fleshier and has more cushioning, it’ll hurt a lot less compared to tattoos near a bone.
You’ve come from the tattoo studio and now you’re proud of your new tattoo. The journey isn’t over yet. You also have to be mindful of how to take care of your tattoo, particularly in the first few weeks.
Here’s some aftercare advice for your new tattoo:
- Leave the dressing on for a few hours. Before you remove it, wash your hands thoroughly with liquid soap.
- Wash your tattoo after removing the dressing. Your tattoo artist should have some recommendations on how to wash it.
- After washing, use a paper towel to lightly pat it dry. Make sure not to rub the area as you can potentially pull the skin and cause the tattoo to fade.
- Avoid using products with artificial fragrances or alcohol.
When your tattoo starts to flake, the healing process has begun. Avoid pulling the flakes off because doing so can ruin your and your tattoo artist’s efforts.
Once the tattoo starts to heal, it should take a couple of weeks to heal completely. Trust the process. Remember, a tattoo is a wound and has the potential to get infected so be extra cautious about your hygiene.
Keep the tattoo area clean and fresh, use lotions and cleansers approved by your tattoo artist to get the best results. Additionally, make sure you apply sunscreen to the tattooed area as direct sunlight can cause the colors to fade.
Getting a tattoo is exciting and scary at the same time. Before you get caught up in your emotions, don’t forget to practice some due diligence. This article and others like it will help you prepare for your tattoo, walk out with a design you’re pleased with, and teach you how to take care of it after. Here’s to a great tattoo experience.