11 Things You Should Know Before Getting Your First Tattoo
You have to be sure...
Don’t go with the latest trends
It’s easy to follow the crowd and opt for an on-trend inking, but make sure you really love it, and aren’t just in lust because it looked amazing on that girl’s Instagram page. You’re going to have to live with this design forever, and tatt trends come and go. In the same way that barbed wire designs now scream ‘90s’ and star outlines are very Noughties, current designs might look dated in a few years. Not that this matters, but it’s just something to bear in mind.
If this is your first tattoo, maybe don’t start with a massive back piece that’s going to take 3 sessions. We’re only saying this because we like you, and you might wanna find out how well you take the pain before committing to hours and hours of it.
Try your design out
This is crucial. You can’t possibly know how it’ll look without doing a trial run first. If it’s fairly simple/small just draw it onto your body with pen. If it’s a more complex design, sketch a rough outline to get an idea of shape and size.
Play with placement
You might think you want it on your wrist, only to discover your design actually looks a million times better on your shoulder blade, or ankle. Play round BEFORE it’s permanent – draw it all over yourself and find out where it looks best.
Research your tattoo artist
You are entrusting this person with your body, so make sure you check ‘em out beforehand. Most tattoo artists have instagram pages in this day and age, so have a look at their previous work and see if their style suits your design. Book an appointment in advance, too – you don’t want to turn up all excited and find out there’s a 2 week waiting list.
Bring pics with you
If you have a definitive idea of what you want in your head, bring sketches and/or visual aids that will help your tattoo artist bring that vision to life. It’s no good rocking up and telling him/her ‘so it’s going to be this swirly circle thing that represents my family and my future hopes and dreams’ – that could literally end up looking like anything.
Stick to your guns
Some tattoo artists might try and persuade you to go a little bigger, or add some colour, or change that part of the design a little bit. It’s natural for them to have some creative input, but if you’re not comfortable with what they are suggesting SAY SO. This inking is going to be on your body forever: do not feel pressured into opting for something you don’t really want, or like you just want to please by saying ‘yeah, sounds great!’.
Prepare for the shaving
Tattoos need to be inked onto clean-shaven skin, so depending on where you’re planning on getting yours, be aware that your tattoo artist might get the razor out. You won’t be able to shave the area again until your tatt is fully healed, either, which means a couple of weeks of unrestricted hair growth. Just so you’re aware.
You can’t submerge your tattoo in water for at least a week, and should avoid direct sunlight. For these reasons, it’s probs not the best idea to get one done a few days before you go on holiday. Not unless you feel like sitting in the shade glowering at everyone splashing about in the sea, that is.
Don’t be afraid to go back for a touch up
If your design features fine lines, these can fade as your tatt heals. Give your tattoo artist a call and arrange a quick touch up – most artists will do this for free.
Expect annoying people
It may be 2016, but we GUARANTEE you’ll get at least one: ‘What’s that going to look like when you’re 80?’ within the first week of debuting your new inking.
It’s going to look as badass as it does now, that’s what.
By Lizzie Cox.
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