Getting a tattoo can be a very tough and difficult decision! There are so many places you can go, many different tattoo artists to choose from, and millions of designs to decide upon. What you put on your body will stay there permanently!
Here are some quick tips to help you decide if a tattoo is really for you.
1. Give yourself a year.
This is an important tip I have from personal experience. Due to being underage when I wanted to get my tattoo, I had to wait out another year before getting it. During that year, I looked back at my original design plenty of times and eventually realized maybe it wasn't the one. I communicated with my artist and he created two new designs based on what I wanted and his knowledge of aesthetics. It is important to think about your design and consider if you would like the same style in a year. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if I got my original design, but I made a far better choice waiting the year and changing the design.
2. Trust your artist.
It goes without saying that if you are getting a tattoo you should most DEFINITELY research your artist. Do not choose someone on impulse, and do not choose the lowest-cost option. Tattoos are the perfect example of getting exactly what you pay for. If you do not take care when selecting an artist, you not only run the risk of a bad tattoo but also a serious health crisis if they are not hygienic concerning their needles and equipment. Once you've done your research and seen your chosen artist's work, you need to establish trust with them. They are about to stick a needle with permanent ink in you after all! While an artist won't dictate your design, they could have some helpful tips on where the design would realistically look best. You want the tattoo to fit the selected area of your body, so listen if they have suggestions on sizing or shape- you won't regret it.
3. Manage your pain expectations.
Tattoos can hurt very little or quite a lot. Most of this depends on where on your body you get your tattoo, and how much ink is used. I've heard from a friend that occasionally shading can hurt a bit more than outlining, but that is also preferential. Areas of the body closer to more nerve endings or closer to bone will most definitely hurt more than areas with more fat or muscle. The pain itself is likened to a cat scratching you, or more literally a small prick repeatedly. I personally fell asleep while getting my tattoo done, so it really just depends on what kind of pain bothers you the most.
4. Be prepared on the day of and afterwards.
On the day of, make sure to eat a full meal beforehand and drink lots of water. The pain doesn't necessarily cause fainting, but if your appointment is hours long you need to make sure to eat enough to make it through those hours. Therefore, eat beforehand and be mentally ready for the appointment. Although many people do this, NEVER show up to a tattoo appointment drunk or otherwise intoxicated. It is not only extremely rude to your artist, but it is a serious health risk as well. Alcohol and many medications are blood thinners, which could cause you to bleed profusely during your appointment. Some blood is normal, as you are being stuck with a small needle, but the blood should stop as quickly as it started. All that being said, be of sound body and mind and you should be fine. In another case of being a good customer, make sure you discuss pricing beforehand with your artist. Like any business, you should be prepared to pay for the hours of work and include a tip.
The aftercare is very important as well for your tattoo. After your artist is finished, they will most likely put a clear cling-wrap over your tattoo to protect it. Do NOT remove the cling-wrap until your artist tells you to do so; the cling-wrap is used to prevent infection and smearing of the ink. After you can safely remove the cling-wrap, use the recommended ointment (can usually be bought there or at a drug store) as often as instructed. I personally had very smooth sailing with my tattoo and aftercare experience, but if infection or discomfort occurs go back to your artist. If the problem is not solved after going to back to your artist, then seek medical attention.
5. Keep professionalism in mind.
I love tattoos, but I also love being employable. Most workplaces have become laxer with tattoos and piercings, but it is also important to know where they draw the line. I've seen nurses in hospitals hiding full arms of tattoos under provided sleeves, but I've also seen strict business dress codes which include no visible tattoos. Tattoos are obviously permanent, therefore it is important to consider how a very visible tattoo could impact your career. Some workplaces have absolutely no problems with tattoos or piercings, but some are trying to keep a particular image and that must be respected as an employee.