Getting a tattoo for the first time is a very exciting and personal adventure to take. It is a wonderful form of self expression that is fun, playful, and healing in many ways. It is also a significant decision that requires careful consideration and preparation. Here are steps a person should take when thinking about getting their first tattoo.
Self-Reflection & Idea Generation
Take some time to reflect on the type of tattoo you want and why you want it. Consider the meaning behind the design, its significance to you, and whether it’s something you’ll still value in the future. Not all tattoos need to have a meaning to be enjoyed, but it will be a permanent part of you so it’s good to have a clear vision in mind. If you need help with design inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to start. Please note that stealing other’s artwork is looked down upon, but if inspiration is taken from previous work to create a new design it can help curate the perfect tattoo for you.
Research Reputable Tattoo Artists & Studios
To start, please look for experienced and professional tattoo artists with a strong portfolio. The best place to do this is to look on Instagram, as most tattoo artists showcase their work there. It is a good sign if an artist has pictures of both recently done AND healed work. This will give you a good representation of how the piece will look after a few years, and shows honesty on the artist’s side as well. Due to movement, sun exposure, and just going through the motions of life, a tattoo will fade a bit over time. So seeing that transparency from a tattoo artist is a good sign.
You can also check Google for artists and nearby shops online, where you will see reviews from previous customers. If you’re still unsure after looking online, you can visit different studios to get a sense of their cleanliness, professionalism, and overall atmosphere.
Schedule a Consultation
Schedule a consultation with the artist you’re interested in. Discuss your ideas, preferences, and any concerns you may have. A good tattoo artist will provide valuable feedback and suggestions to ensure your design is both aesthetically pleasing and feasible as a tattoo. Having a detailed conversation with the artist is the best way to make sure the tattoo design will be what you want, and also give you a chance to meet the tattoo artist beforehand so you can be more comfortable on the day of getting the tattoo. Usually, a consultation between the client and a tattoo artist is of no extra charge during the process, so it is recommended, and often times required, to do so. Most tattoo artists will list on their Instagram or website how they would like to be contacted, which is usually through email, website application, or DM’s.
Setup an Appointment
Once you’ve made your decision and finalized the details, book an appointment with your chosen tattoo artist. Be prepared for the possibility of a waiting list, especially if you’re choosing a highly sought-after artist.
Take Care of your Health
Before getting a tattoo, make sure you’re in good health. Avoid alcohol or drugs that could thin your blood, as this can affect the tattooing process. Ensure you’ve had a good night’s sleep, and eat a balanced meal before your appointment. You can also take any snacks and drinks with you to your appointment to keep you feeling energized and healthy during the session.
Comfort is Key
While getting tattooed, the customer’s comfort is the top priority. It is okay to ask for breaks during the session if you need to do so, especially if the tattoo is going to take several hours to complete. If you have any special requests, such as a non-speaking appointment, please let the artist know and they should be able to accommodate you. Although you are receiving a piece of art, getting tattooed is an invasive experience, so the more comfortable you are the easier of a time it will be.
The most important step to remember is to have fun! While it’s key to plan out the experience, it’s an exciting and entertaining event. For some, getting a tattoo can be a form of conquering a fear or stepping out of their comfort zone, and can be a way to mark a significant milestone or achievement in life. The process can seem scary and intimidating at first, but once you have your artwork it will all be worth it!