Before You Get Your First Tattoo

So, you’ve finally decided to jump off into the tattooed community and get some ink done. A new tattoo is fun and exciting, but it’s a massive commitment. You need to do some serious soul searching and educate yourself. Getting a tattoo is a experience, and obviously one that’s going to follow you everywhere you go for the rest of your life. Make sure you know everything you need to know to make it something you are proud of and not something you regret. Here’s a partial check
list of things for you to think about in no particular order, because they’re all important.

1. The Design – This is a huge deal. You don’t want to pick something you’re going to fell stupid about later. Think along the lines of something class, something that will always be cool to you. For example, if you run out and get a cartoon character tattooed on your ankle the first possible second you’re legally old enough, are you still going to love Tweety Bird as much when your 48 as you need when you were 18? The same goes for the name of a significant other and anything else you might grow out of. Sometimes you can get a temporary tattoo of the design you are considering so you can wear it around a while before you commit. Consider every possible circumstance in which you may be embarrassed about that design and make sure you’re ok with it.

2. The Placement – There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an obvious tattoo if that’s the way you want it, but you have to be aware that there is still a significant amount of stigma associated with them and there will probably be consequences at some point down the road. Depending on your line of work, your employer may require you to cover up your tattoo while you are on the clock. If that’s the case or could ever be a possibility, you should think about putting it someplace that you can easily cover if you need to but could still show off when you want to, like the chest, stomach or back. If your tattoo contains nudity or some other social taboo, be prepared to be asked to leave some public places. When you get mad about it, remember you knew what you were getting into.

3. The Price – Be prepared to shell out some cash. The cost of a tattoo can vary quite a lot, depending on the size, how many sessions it takes, if you choose some flash straight off the wall, or decided to go custom. It’s a good idea to pick out your design when you don’t have the money, that way you have time to think about it while you save up. Don’t settle for something cheap just because you don’t have the money. You will always wish you would have just waited.

4. The Artist – Perhaps the best way to pick an artist is by spotting some work you like and finding out who did it. It’s almost always ok to ask someone about their tattoo. If they didn’t want you to notice it, they wouldn’t be showing it off. Once you know, visit their shop. Don’t make a nuisance of yourself, but it wouldn’t hurt to drop in a few times. Observe how the tattooists interact with their clients, and make sure to watch for telltale signs of sterilization. Is everybody wearing gloves? Do you see the autoclave? If not, then ask about it. If they’re hesitant to answer any of your questions, walk out and keep looking.

This is not even close to all the things to consider before getting inked, but they are a few of the biggest ones. Remember, the tattoo is the end result, but you’ll bear the experience forever too, and much of the outcome depends on you. Do what you can to make it a happy memory.

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