You’ve wanted a tattoo forever and you’re finally ready to make the jump to get one. But you don’t know how to go about it. Well, we got you.
It can be tough to settle into some ink. So settle into this guide for the tattoo virgin.
Like any big commitment, you should do your research. And guess what, just by reading through this you already are.
Consider everything we discuss here, and add in some other self-insights. Do you have a low pain tolerance? Are you getting it as a response to a large life event? Do you have enough saved up for a professionally done tattoo?
Choose your design
Contrary to popular belief, not every tattoo needs to mean something. If you do have a meaningful design in mind go for it. But what is universal is that certain designs just last longer.
If you’re paying for something permanent you want it to look good, not just today but 10 years from now. So the main recommendation is that the simpler the better and the larger the better.
The main rule of thumb is that you want your tattoo design to be easily understood and recognizable. Most people don’t like it when others have to squint and guess what the tattoo is.
You’ve probably seen those stereotypical tattoos, they’re usually called “traditional tattoos.” Traditional tattoos make for good long-lasting designs. They’re bold, they’re large and they’re less likely to shrink into obscurity over time.
While there are more styles to choose from, of course, make sure to do your homework. Smaller or daintier designs are all the rage and may seem like an easier commitment. However, because they’re small they might blur more easily if they’re not done by an expert.
A thin tattoo can also get blurred easily based on your placement, which we’ll get to next.
Choose your placement
When it comes to where you get your tattoo on your body it usually boils down to two things: pain and longevity. Let’s consider the latter first.
If you’re paying hundreds of dollars for a tattoo you want it to last for a long time. So, the best places to get a tattoo are spots on your body that will see less sun and less overall friction. This means those cute little hand tattoos are far more likely to blur into something unrecognizable.
Hands also pose a second issue: pain. Along with being more visible to sunlight and (hopefully) being washed very often, hands are also one of the more sensitive parts of your body.
Other sensitive areas include the inner sides of your elbows, your face, around and on the nipple area, your sternum, genitals, and feet.
The general idea is that the less fat in the area the more painful a tattoo is. This can also explain why women are more likely to handle tattoo pain than men.
Overall though your individual pain threshold can only be measured by you. So you might find the pain more bearable than you thought. I sure did.
Something else you might want to consider with placement is whether you envision yourself getting more tattoos. If you do you might want to save larger areas like your back for larger pieces in the future.
And of course, depending on the style you choose you might not want to disrupt the chance at a lovely vined roses sleeve with a cartoon character on your arm.
Or maybe you do, I don’t know your life.
Consult with an artist
All of this said, always consult an artist. It’s important to choose your artist carefully. You want to make sure that not only they can do the style of tattoo that you’re asking for but also that you vibe with them well.
You don’t want to feel shy about asking them important things like changing the size of the tattoo or editing the shape. You want to feel comfortable enough to trust them by placing art on your body.
Most artists are skilled in creating that atmosphere of trust but also tattoo artists aren’t mind-readers. So, discuss your desires clearly with them, they just want to help you fulfill your vision.
Book your Appointment
So you know what you want and you wanna get it done. If you’ve chosen your artist well then your next step is to schedule an appointment.
This is also the time to discuss compensation. Make sure you can afford the art. And don’t scoff at the artists’ prices. There’s a reason they’re high or low. You should always take quality over price any day.
Many artists are open to booking through DM on IG, but many are not. So if they explicitly ask that you don’t DM them for appointments, DON’T DO IT. Email and other contact info will be provided for you to make your appointment.
You could also get a tattoo during a flash sale from an artist you like if you really want something done by them. The only thing to remember with this is that flash sales are for a limited time and they’re also limited to the designs the artist has already created.
So make sure you pick the one you want before anyone else or have a backup design on the sheet you also like just in case.
Whatever you end up doing, just remember, only you decide what goes on your body. Tattoo artists know that and will do their best to help you with your tattoo journey.