Hey y’all! I’ve been slacking on my blogger game in 2019 but January was crazy. It was filled with all types of changes; good and bad. Today, I thought I’d share some of the good with you all! I went in for my third tattoo on the 25th and sense I’ve gone “under the needle” a few times now, here’s a few basic tips from me. I’m not an expert by any means but if you’re thinking about getting tattooed or just plain curious, here’s my basic advice.
Know what you want: It’s forever
The plus side of living in our digital world is that inspiration is literally at your finger tips. You may have an organic idea of the subject or image you want tattooed, but there are so many styles of tattooing and each artist is different. This might seem basic, but I find most of my inspiration from Pinterest. Keyword here is “inspiration.” You may find a tattoo you love on the internet but basic tattoo etiquette is to never copy someone else’s piece. A good artist will take elements from an image or another tattoo and create something unique. Basically, it’s just not cool to copy another artists’ work or another persons’ tattoo. For me, all my tattoos have a very personal and specific meaning to them but that doesn’t always have to be the case. If you like it – go for it! However, I’ll be a little preachy for just a minute and remind you that what you get tattooed on your body will be there forever. It’s permanent. Yes, you can get tattoos removed via laser treatments but those are both painful and often more costly than the original tattoo itself. So, know what you want and be confident that you can carry it with you for life.
Find an Artist
Once you’ve got a basic idea of you concept and style, your next step is to find an artist. I’d highly suggest choosing an artist that’s local to your area for your first tattoo. An easy google search will pull up tattoo shops close to you. Also, artists advertise their work on social media, most popularly Instagram. Doing research on both the artist and the shop is important. Finding the artist’s social media pages is a great way to decide if their work is right for you.
Most artists will have an email address specifically for inquiries and their shop hours. However, I’ve always been directed by each artist to walk in and book my tattoo in person. Your artist will talk concept with you, give you pricing, and schedule your appointment. They’ll also mostly likely require a deposit that will secure your appointment and go toward the final cost of your tattoo. This insures that if for some reason you cancel, the artist isn’t completely out for the time they took to work on your design and the empty spot you left in their schedule. Life happens, so if you need to reschedule, give your artist at least 48 hours notice. They’ll appreciate the heads up and most likely reschedule with no issues.
Expect to invest
I heard a phrase once “a cheap tattoo is a bad tattoo” and I couldn’t agree more. Tattooing is an art as much as it is a business. Tattoo costs vary but expect to invest. This is something you will carry around with you for life, don’t cheap out. I promise in 10 years when you have a beautiful, high quality piece that has stood the test of time, you won’t regret the money spent.
For reference, my artist required an $80 deposit. Because this was a larger tattoo, she worked hourly at $180. I sat for 2.5 hours, so my final cost was $450 – excluding tip. That may seem like a hefty fee, but I will carry this tattoo with me for the rest of my life. I paid for quality and safety. I went to a clean, reputable shop and chose an experienced artist. All these factors are reflected in the tattoo, if I do say so myself.
Prep is Critical
I cannot stress this enough (and your artist will to) that prepping for a tattoo is so important. When you make your appointment, your artist will go over these steps with you and probably hand you some type of list to take home with you. Making sure you eat, drink plenty of water, and abstaining from drinking alcohol prior to your appointment is critical. These steps you take before your tattoo will make your whole experience easier and less stressful on your body. I’d equate getting tattooed to running a marathon. You wouldn’t want to run a 5k hung over on an empty stomach – you don’t want to get tattooed in that condition either.
Don’t stress about the pain
This is easier said than done – but try not to work yourself up about the pain. Yes, your tattoo will hurt. It’s uncomfortable but most certainly not unbearable. My biggest fear – as I think it is for most – was that I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain. I was pleasantly surprised as my artist started the process. I had been so nervous that I actually laughed after she began. Yes, it’s uncomfortable but you can do it! It’s a few hours of discomfort for this awesome piece of art you’ll have forever. It’s totally worth it, promise!
TIP YOUR ARTIST
Tip your artist. It’s that simple. While you’ve been sitting there getting tattooed, they’ve been laboring hard to give you their best work. I tip 20% – just like I do at a nail salon or restaurant. Tip whatever you feel is appropriate – but TIP.
Don’t mess around with aftercare
Your artist has done their work to provide you with a quality piece, it’s now your turn to take care of your tattoo. Your artist will give you aftercare instructions – follow them! The healing process is so important in making sure the end result is a beautiful tattoo. Typically, your tattoo will take around 2 weeks to fully heal but this is all subjective to the individual. If you feel like your tattoo isn’t healing properly, contact your artist. They’ll advise you on what to do. I like using Cetaphil products to take care of my new tattoos. I was recommended these products from my artists and I find they work for me. However, I suggest using the specific products your particular artist recommends to you for aftercare – they’re the experts.
I hope this post has been helpful for you or at least an interesting read. Again, I’m not an expert but these are a few basic things I wish were laid out for me before I got my first tattoo. If you’re prepping for your first one, good luck! One last word of advice, relax and enjoy the experience. It’s an awesome one.
Shout out to my awesome photographer, future sister-in-law, and friend Cara for sitting the 2.5 hours with me to document the experience! You’re the best.