- Find a great artist.
- Tattoos are expensive. Tattoos from great artists can be more so. My current artist's quoted rate is $150 an hour. The thing is, you are going to have this forever. Unless you go through the expensive and painful laser removal process. Finding the right artist is absolutely the most important thing you can do to get a tattoo you will truly love. Before you commit, go to every shop in your area and check out their work. When I go into shops I also look around for trophies or awards from tattoo conventions. Ask every person you see with a tattoo who did it, and if they are happy with it. Ask enough people and you will see a trend. You may be lucky enough to have a few great artists in your area, if so go talk to them and tell them what you are thinking about getting. See which one you connect better with. Also some artists specialize in certain styles, such as portraits, oriental, color, black and grey, etc.
- Don't get your first tattoo somewhere where you can see it with a short sleeve shirt on.
- It is a lot better today than it was in the past, but most people WILL look at you differently with ink. I currently have a tattoo on both of my lower arms. They are well done ink, they aren't trashy or in bad taste. I noticed when I got the first lower arm tattoo that some people at work instantly started treating me just a little different as soon as I had it done. Mostly people assume I am either dumb or will be a bad worker or other things. I don't really care, I didn't get them for other people. This could bother some people. Just something to be aware of if you are a sensitive type. Some places won't hire you if you have ink showing. Also, if you end up not liking your ink you don't have to look at it constantly if it's under your shirt or on your leg or something.
- Don't get "flash"
- "Flash" is the name for the pre-drawn designs hanging all over the walls of the shop. It's ok to get ideas from flash but you don't want to actually get one of those for a few different reasons. One is that you are getting a tattoo that several other people have. Not a similar one, pretty much the exact same thing. The second reason, and this is a big one, is the tattoo artists don't want to do that. Every tattoo artist I have talked to is actually an artist. They enjoy drawing, painting, and otherwise creating art besides just doing tattoos. If you tell them you want to get the super awesome dragon off the picture on the wall they are not going to enjoy it. They are going to be thinking the whole time, "great, this one again." It's like giving Michelangelo a color by numbers to do. Sure, they will do it, and it probably will turn out good. But if you go talk to the artist and just tell him what you are wanting and get something custom made up, they are going to enjoy it and they are going to put more effort into it, and it will turn out better. Some of the really good artists won't do flash at all. If you come to them wanting something off the wall they will make you an appointment with one of the lesser, usually apprentice artists in the shop.
- Get a decent size
- A lot of people, especially ladies, want to go in and get a tiny tattoo. That's fine if that's what you want, but you need to understand a few things. The smaller the tattoo, the less detail you are going to be able to get. Tiny tattoos don't age as well as larger ones. If you get a heart the size of a pencil eraser it might just be a pink blob in 10 years. This is especially true if you try to get something small with a lot of detail in it. I'm not saying you have to get a full back piece for it to look good later, just that you should talk with your artist about it if you want something small.
- For guys, if you go and get a tiny tattoo on your upper arm it is just going to look dumb, even if the piece itself is good. It needs to fit.
- If you think you may want sleeves or something big, get it designed that way from the start.
- A sleeve needs to be designed as a sleeve. Getting a bunch of smaller tattoos and tying them together later is doable but won't look as good as a tattoo designed as a sleeve from the beginning. You can still have it done in sections and it look good as a stand alone tattoo if you do decide not to go that route later.
- Think of what you want, then wait a month, 6 months, or a year before you get it.
- Especially for your first tattoo, you should wait a while and make sure you still want the same thing later. If you just go to the shop and get the first thing you see that you think looks cool, you will probably regret it later.
- Tattoos are addicting!
- Once you get one, you will probably want to get more. This is especially true if you follow all of my advice and get a quality piece of ink done to begin with. I actually enjoy getting a tattoo as much as having it. I love watching it go from blank skin to a piece of art. You may even get disappointed during the tattoo, thinking it's going to look bad and then the shading and color starts being done and all of a sudden it looks so much better.
- Tip your artist!
- After you spend all that time trying to find a great artist, making an appointment, and getting your first great piece of artwork, be sure to tip your artist. This shows your appreciation for the art you now have, and gets you on good terms with the artist.
And to end off with, I will leave you with the dumbest reason to not get a tattoo I have ever heard, "When you are 70, it's going to look like crap!" Yeah it probably will. Most 70 year old people look like crap. When I am 70 I am not going to care what I look like, I am going to be wearing cut off sweat pants with a ball hanging out and an old shirt because it's comfortable.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps you get a quality tattoo that you love. Check me out on facebook at www.facebook.com/TattooedGunner