Getting a tattoo is an important decision. It involves more than just picking a cool picture from a wall, book, or website.
What you put on your body will be there for a LONG time: Your ENTIRE life.
So, it’s absolutely vital that you choose wisely and take into consideration every single aspect of the whole tattooing process including examining your motivation for getting a tattoo!
quote photo: So think before you get inked!
Picking a Tattoo Studio
Choosing the best tattoo studio, or parlor that fits yourspecific needs is a very important first step to getting the RIGHT TATTOO DONERIGHT. Your health and safety
MUST be the prime concern of any reputable shop.
And it should be to you also. With crippling diseases like HIV and Hepatitis, one can NEVER be too safe! You shouldn’t be willing togamble with your health. And neither should a responsible tattoo studio.
There are severalways to find just the right tattoo studio that fits the bill.
WORD OF MOUTH
Do you have any friends or relatives that have had a tat done that looks good? Ask them who and where they went to for their tattoo. Then investigate this place for yourself just to be 100% positive.
Keep in mind that you don’t always have to go with the first studio you visit! Look around. Be choosy. There’s plenty of time to get your first tattoo, so DON’T RUSH IT! Take your time and make the best choice based on your findings.
Tattoo Studio Checklist
Here’s a short checklist you can use to begin filtering out the good from the bad so that you can make the best decision you can:
- WHAT IS THE FIRST IMPRESSION YOU GET FROM THE STUDIO AND ITS EMPLOYEES?
- Is the studio in a clean and orderly manner?
- Are the employees and artists friendly or responsive toassisting you if they aren’t too busy?
- How busy is the studio?
- What are present customer’s reactions to the studio’sprocedures? Do they seem happy or satisfied?
- ARE THE STUDIO’S POLICIES, LICENSES, CERTIFICATES, AND OTHER IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION POSTED UP FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO VIEW?
- Can you take a look at the studio’s credibility to run their business? Have they received a ‘clean bill’ from the appropriate state health officials reinforcing that the studio operates and offers their services according to stringent practices put in place?
- Are they using all the required sterilization equipment necessary to make sure that each Customer’s health is protected as best they can?
- Do they have an age requirement and how do they ensure that this is not breached? What types of legal documentation or consent forms must each customer sign BEFORE a tattoo is given?
- ARE THE STUDIO’S ARTISTS’ WORK EXAMPLES AVAILABLE TO VIEW?
- Are there portfolio folders (usually photo books or 3 ring binders) that you can look through to view a particular artist’s work?
- Are there pictures posted about the studio of past customers’ tattoos? What do they look like? Do you see any of these past works that look similar to something you are interested in getting?
- Is there a pretty good range of tattoo sizes? Colors? Styles?
- While this isn’t the ‘end all, be all’ guide of things you should look for and consider when deciding on your tattoo studio of choice, it is certainly a good place to start!
Choosing the Artist
When you have finally decided to get a tattoo, it is time to find a credible tattoo artist. Choosing a one is like selecting a dentist. Each artist has its own unique style of inking and of course its own incredible array of artwork. Almost every experienced tattoo artist will be able to provide you with a ‘custom piece’ of artwork.
A ‘custom piece’ is a term that refers to an original tattoo creation that was designed specifically, and only for YOU.
And, you wouldn’t trust your neighbor to perform a root canal would you? Well, not unless your next-door neighbor just happened to be a dentist 🙂
Still, you wouldn’t want to get a ‘garage root canal’!! You’d want to go inside a clean, sterile environment with certified professionals with the right tools to perform the delicate work that needed to be done. In all seriousness, this is the only body you have. So you must care for it as such.
Take some time to look through the artist’s portfolio, which most pro artists have, and take a look at the work they have done. Ask them questions that are important to you, no matter how silly you might think they are.
Believe me; a professional tattoo artist will give you any answer you seek with regards to tattooing. If you are unsure of anything, ask! The tattoo artist you select should be receptive to your questions and be as helpful as possible.
However, don’t expect to act like an ass and then have the artist kissing yours! Be respectful AND tactful.
Picking out the Right Image for You!
Selecting just the right tattoo really depends on YOU. Choosing one is a very personal decision. What you like, what you don’t like. If a specific image has meaning for you, it doesn’t matter what others think about your selection. People you trust can provide useful advice, but put your own opinions first when making the final decision.
Getting a tattoo is an outward form of self-expressionism. A word of caution though. Don’t choose a tattoo that might purposely offend another person. Even though your tattoo will still draw attention to you, it might not be the kind of attention you will want for the rest of your life!
There are many places to look at pictures of tattoos freely. Looking does NOT mean copying! Remember that there is such a thing as intellectual property laws. However, there is nothing wrong with finding an image you like, printing it out, taking it in to your tattoo artist and asking them to create an original variation from the design you provided them.
And with that in mind, I’ve compiled several pages worth of online resources to aid you in finding that perfect tattoo!
Common Types of Tattoos People Get
Tribal, Celtic, Barbwire
Cartoon & Movie Characters
(Dragonball Z and Star Wars characters)
Skulls, Skeletons, Grim Reaper, Monsters, etc.
(IE Flags and Bald American Eagles)
(fairies, dragons, wizards, etc.)
(of a loved one or idol)
Hearts, Lovers Names & Love-related Tattoos
Dolphins, frogs and water-based creatures
Sexy, Sassy & Scantily-clad (or even nude) Women
(Created by The Person Getting The Tattoo)
Alas, Where To Put It …
Okay, you have the perfect image all picked out. Now your only problem is where to put it!
So where should your tattoo be located? Should it be a place that will be visible, no matter what type of clothing you are wearing, or a place that is often concealed? Should it be a private or a public thing?
Well, the answer to that is a bit more difficult than just choosing an image. You may have an employer that frowns upon this type of artistic expressionism on their dime. If that is the case, you may want to place your tattoo somewhere it can be concealed while at work under your clothing.
Also think about how your tattoo location may stretch with time. For women who have yet to become pregnant, or people who’s body weight changes with age, this is an important consideration.
If that’s not an issue for you, then virtually anywhere you have skin can be a good place for a tattoo! But understand that some areas of the body will hurt more when tattooed than others.
For instance, getting a tattoo on your upper back shoulder will hurt much less than getting one on the back of your neck! In my experience, it seems that wherever you have more ‘padding’, or fat cells, it hurts much less than where there are places that consist mainly of skin and bone, such as a wrist or foot.
However, this is not always the case. Mostly, pain is dependent on how much it bothers you. If you’re still unsure, ask your tattoo artist! He or she will undoubtedly have some suggestions for you 🙂
Is It Going To Cost Me An Arm and A Leg?
This is also dependent on a combination of factors. Such as, the studio’s pricing scale for artwork done, if it is an original custom design, the size of the tattoo, and how many colors are used. All these things, among a few others will determine how much you will pay.
When selecting a tattoo artist, don’t forget the old idiom “You get what you pay for”. Don’t fall for a Tattoo Studio just because it’s cheap. When choosing an artist, don’t be pressured into accepting a deal or a design right there on the spot.
One thing, tattoos that are done professionally are NOT CHEAP. They will cost you. But consider the cost an investment since it will be something that will be with you throughout your lifetime.
Realistically, you have to plan on spending anywhere from $65 to $500+ for your new tattoo. Speak with your selected tattoo studio about this and what options they have available for payment, i.e. – do they accept major credit cards, debit cards, cash, etc.
That Looks Like It Hurts!
Lots of people who have never experienced receiving a tattoooften ask, “Does It Hurt?” Well, unless you enjoy getting poked witha needle, then YES!
But, if you are a bit needle shy, then you may want to askthe artist the best way to deal with the pain. But don’t get antsy. It’s not sobad. If it were, do you really believe so many people would be flocking to thenearest ‘inkery’ to get their next tattoo after their first?
Honestly, your body has built in mechanisms to combat pain.In one word: Endorphins. YAY! These little guys kick in and will lessen thefeelings of pain for you. Of course, it won’t take away ALL the pain; it willjust get you used to it.
And every person in the world has her or his own level ofpain tolerance. With that in mind, everyone’s tattoo experience will bedifferent. It may not hurt you as much as it would hurt your Aunt Sally.
But then again, Aunt Sally may have had a pretty tough lifeand built up a better natural resistance to pain than you. It all depends onthe person.
A good saying to remember when getting a tattoo is: GRITYOUR TEETH AND BEAR IT.
You are allowing someone to poke you with a needleunderneath your skin over hundreds of times in a row. Of course it hurts! So ifyou are a total wimp, stick with something small and in a place that won’t beas painful.
Some people say that a little alcohol will soothe the pain.Well, perhaps it will, but alcohol also thins your blood and therefore willmake you bleed more than normal. So think again!
What EXACTLY does it feel like? I can tell you onlyfrom my own experience that it feels like being poked with a needle a bunch oftimes over and over again! I don’t generally like pain, but I LOVE my tattoosand plan on adding more to it.
So, even if you are the worst crybabyin the world, you can still get a tattoo if you really want it.
The Tattoo Process in a Nutshell
1) First, you’ll complete paperwork, age verification and payment.
2) You’ll be directed to a bench, a regular chair or a chair just like the oneyou’d sit in at the dentist’s.
3) The site of your tattoo will be cleaned and shaved.
4) A stencil of your tattoo will be made and applied to your skin.
5) The line work of the tattoo will be done, followed by the coloring and shading.
6) Your tat will be bandaged and your tattoo artist will bring you up to speed onhow to take care of the tattoo (commonly referred to as ‘after care’).
Once the tattoo is done, the artist will tell you how totake care of it. Some will give you a printed sheet with all the informationyou need. In any case, you may be wondering what you should do.
Don’t worry; taking care of your tattoo isn’t complicated.Here are just a few pointers for you.
It’s normal for your tattoo to be red for the first few daysand scab over! Once all the tears are over (^_^) and your new tattoo is a partof you, it’s time to find out what’s involved in taking good care of it.
You need to give your tattoo time to breathe. This willallow your body to naturally heal the freshly tattooed skin. So, try not tocover it up too much in the first few days if it isn’t necessary for you to doso.
Whenever you can, uncover it and let the air get to it.
If you must cover it up, be sure to use clean, sterile gauzedressings that can be secured with some type of medical tape to hold it inplace around the edges of the gauze.
You’ll maybe want to visit your local drugstore and get atube of Bepanthen or a similar skin ointment. It will keep your tattoo and skinclean and shiny and should be used only for the first few days.
Once the ointment starts to dry on the tattoo, wipe the oldapplication off and apply some more. Don’t rub it too hard, or you could damagethe healing process. For the first few days, you should avoid using soap on it.
Try not to use things like liquid bandages or things thatwill be extra sticky or hard to remove. Your tattoo will need to scab over sothat it heals properly.
AND DON’T PICK AT IT!! It could possibly create scars onyour new tattoo. And you don’t want that. Let the natural healing process runits course on it’s own without any outside help.
Also, you should avoid the sun and swimming as much aspossible during this healing time as it could firstly fade your tattoo, orworse, cause a painful infection depending on where you plan to swim.
One Last Piece of Advice and Some Closing Thoughts…
The best time to get your tattoo would be in the colder months of the year. This way, there’s no temptation to do certain summer activities that might be harmful to your health and your tattoo.
Getting your first tattoo will definitely be an unforgettable experience! And provided that you get it done right the first time, it may even become an experience that you decide to repeat!