When you have decided you are ready for your first tattoo, it would be in your best interest to not rush into the nearest tattoo parlor and get something spontaneously. When people make this rash move, they often have regrets down the road. The regrets may involve the choice of the design or the quality of the tattoo artwork. You should do some prep work and give yourself some time before making a dash to the nearest tattoo artist. You do not want to be searching for tattoo removal options in a few years.
Picking the Tattoo Shop and the Artist
An easy step and one you have probably been doing naturally, is to ask your friends and acquaintances for recommendations. Notice people’s tattoos and if you see tattoo work that you admire or like the style of the artist, ask the wearer for the name of the artist and where they work. Although some scratchers do nice artwork, I recommend you stay away from unlicensed shops and artists that are giving tattoos in their “spare bedroom”. The health standards available in a professional licensed shop surpass a scratcher’s (an unlicensed artist) home any day.
Once you’ve chosen a tattoo parlor, stop into the shop and flip through the artist’s books. Most shops have portfolios of the artists that work there. Hang around for awhile and just observe how the shop is run. See if it’s run like a professionally business. See how customers are treated.
Make sure that the shop is licensed and legitimate. Your health and your life may depend on it. Observe the shop before you make an appointment – you can tell if they are clean and practicing sterilization procedures. The needles should be wrapped and packaged. If they are licensed with the health department, that means their sterilization methods are up to code and their equipment meets state requirements. Also use your own judgment as far as the hygienic practices of the shop.
You should keep your search to your local area. The reason for choosing a tattoo artist in your area is in case you require multiple sessions or need a touch up. If you plan on getting a larger piece, which isn’t recommended for your first tattoo piece, you will likely need a few visits to complete it.
Once you have found a tattoo shop, your next step is to choose the design and decide on the area of your body you want to place it. These two choices are blended into one. The design should be a good fit to the general shape of the body part you choose. You can talk to the artist if you are not sure if you’ve made a good match for these two. Your graphic choice can come from any source available. Books, magazines, and the internet are valuable resources as well as the option of going to the shop and checking out the tattoo flash you often find on shop walls and books.I also can recommend using Google images searches. Keep your eyes and mind open to random graphics you run across in your daily routine. You never know where your next design idea will come from.
Coming up with the topic of your tattoo design is an individual choice. Think about what you are passionate about. Your choice can be related to – a sport, a hobby, abstract designs, and beliefs. Avoid trendy, temporary passions – a band who’s music you like right now, a lover’ name. Your tastes, your style will change over time. Keep that in mind when making the big decision.
Once you think you’ve found the perfect design, keep it around for a few weeks. Tape it to the mirror in your bathroom. Look at it daily. If you still “love” the design after a month or so, you may have found the perfect choice for your first tattoo!
Getting your first tattoo is very exciting time. Once you’ve made your appointment with the tattoo artist, your anticipation is both exhilarating and scary as you know there will be pain involved. Preparing yourself mentally before hand, can make the experience much more pleasant and satisfying. The tattoo you end up with should be chosen with an attitude that it is permanent and you won’t be removing the tattoo in a few years.
I recommend choosing a less painful area of the body for your first tattoo. The back, shoulder, arms, and the back of the neck are good choices. The top of the foot, the calf, and rib cage are more sensitive and harder to sit through. You can graduate to these areas after you have experienced your first tattoo.
I highly suggest choosing a location that allows you to conceal the tattoo if you choose. This is highly recommended if you are young and may possibly find visible tattoos are damaging to your career. It’s very likely that you will change careers at some point and find that the tattoos are a problem. Consider the future when making your choice.
Now you have your shop, artist, and graphic work narrowed down. Make your appointment and prepare for the big day. Get a good night’s sleep and don’t drink alcohol a couple days before or this will cause your blood to thin and you will bleed excessively. This makes it harder for the artist although it doesn’t mean the discomfort is any worse.
A tattoo is uncomfortable and at times can be painful. Some people have a lower tolerance for pain than others but being anxious and nervous may accentuate the pain. Thinking positive and doing little things such as deep breathing and forcing yourself to relax as much as possible can make the experience much more enjoyable.