Getting your first tattoo?
7 Dos and Don'ts of getting your first tattoo.
Tattoos are a wonderful, artistic and permanent way to express ourselves. In our modern society, having tattoos are much more acceptable and getting one is easier than ever. Getting a tattoo is a big deal. It is something that you should not do without some careful consideration or preparation but if done correctly can be extremely worthwhile. Before embarking on your journey to receiving your first ink, here are a few things every tattoo virgin should know.
Do: know what you want before you go.
This one sounds like common sense, right? However, there is a surprising amount of first-timers that decide they want a tattoo one morning and then show up at a tattoo parlor later that night having little to no idea what they actually want. In case you need to be reminded, a tattoo is a permanent investment. You don't need a tattoo that has a lot of meaning, but there is a better chance that you will like your tattoo forever if it has some importance of significant meaning to you. Spend time determining what you want and looking at pictures of tattoos on the internet can be a huge help.
People will often consider getting a tattoo for months of even years before finally getting one. Going drinking with your friends and then deciding it would be a good idea to get a tattoo that night will almost always end badly. I waited well over a year before I got my first tattoo after deciding what I wanted and I was glad that I did. If you have made up your mind on what you want and see no reason in waiting, that is fine too. Everyone is different and there is much freedom in getting a tattoo but like any big and lasting decision, you do not want to rush it.
Do: think about placement and shape.
One of the most important things you can consider before getting a tattoo is where you want to put it and how big you want. Most commonly, I have heard that when people get their first tattoos and they get something really cool, they wish they had gotten it bigger later on. You also don't want to get a tattoo that is too big and you end up hating it. Unfortunately, tattoos are not as well received in all careers and by all people. The career you want, expect, or currently have may determine where you put your tattoo. Some jobs are far more accepting of tattoos than others. You do want to express yourself but you don't want to limit your employment options. It is usually a safe bet to put tattoos under the areas where you wear clothes and those who are new to tattoos should avoid getting tattooed on your face, neck and hands. It is also worth mentioning that tattoos just look better in some places than others. When in doubt, ask and listen to your tattoo artist about placement and shape.
Don't: start off with a huge tattoo
Most tattoo artists will warn against getting a massive piece for your first tattoo. This is for a few reasons such and all are valid. Do you know your pain tolerance? Of course a tattoo is going to be painful, but I didn't understand just how painful until I got my foot tattoo. If you have a low pain tolerance, you may not want to sit for hours getting your dream tattoo. This could lead to you leaving early with an unfinished piece because the process was just too painful. Also, there is a small chance that you could be allergic to the tattoo ink or something in the ink. Trust me, it is better to learn that you will have an allergic reaction to a small tattoo to a huge one. There is also the small fact that it can be hard to fully understand what to expect with a tattoo before you get one. In this case, it is usually better to start small.
Do: your research
In addition to researching what tattoo you want, there are a few other things you should research before getting inked. Do you know what style of tattoo you want? There are many styles of tattoos such as traditional, blackwork, realism, watercolor and many more. When you decide what style you want, then you need to be an artist. Don't go to your uncle's friend's tattoo artist just because he said it was "amazing" and "cheap". It's okay to get recommendations from friends and family, but do research any recommendations for yourself. What was a good artist for someone else may not be a good artist for you. One of the best ways you can do this is by finding local shops and artists on social media.
Don't: be cheap
Do you know that old saying, "You get what you pay for"? This definitely applies to tattoos. A good tattoo is not cheap, but for something that will be on your body for the rest of your life you should not expect it to be. Don't go to your buddy who offers to give you a "great" tattoo for free. Good work takes time and money, and this is not something you want to cheap-out on. Most artists will charge an hourly rate starting from about $60-120 or a shop minimum (which will vary from shop to shop). If you want shading and color, that may also cost you extra. The larger the piece and the more well known the artist is, the more expensive it will be. At first, getting a tattoo seems incredibly expensive but trust me, good and lasting work almost always comes at a hefty price.
Do: make sure you take care of yourself before going
This is one of the simplest but most overlooked steps when it comes to getting your first tattoo. When you get a tattoo, the artist is creating an open wound in your skin. You are going to want to make sure that you body is well prepared to handle the small amount of trauma it is about to receive. Make sure that you eat at least 4 hours before getting a tattoo and don't forget to drink plenty of water. Tattoo shops will have you sign paperwork before getting inked and they will usually ask to make sure you have recently ate and rank water. Also, make sure that you are not drunk, have not taken any blood thinners, and make sure you have gotten plenty of sleep the night before.
Remember, getting a tattoo can be a fun, exciting and even spiritual process. Getting your first tattoo is a big decision and how your first tattoo experience goes is largely up to you. Don't cut corners, do take all the time that you need, and don't forget to celebrate your first tattoo.