How to properly prepare for a tattoo day. Before and during.
As we all know, tattoos have become relatively commonplace in this day and age. Whether it be a small heart in a nonobvious place, or a larger face tattoo, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have or want a tattoo. Not wanting a tattoo could be for any number of reasons. You could be scared that it will hurt, that it will come out bad (or totally different than what you wanted) or WORSE, infected, or scarred! Eek! However, don’t make up your mind just yet! There are several things you can do before getting a tattoo and during to prepare and to prevent any tattoo nightmares you may have from becoming a very, very sucky reality.
So, you decide you want to get a tattoo. Great! The first step is to get a VERY good idea of what you want to see on your body for the rest of your life. You definitely don’t what to get something you will either regret later, or decide you don’t like over time, so you will want to really think on it! Original tattoo ideas have always been a sort of aesthetic of mine. I just think it’s so much more beautiful to have something YOU thought up, maybe with a backstory or just simply something you like, tattooed on you. Personally, it would bother me a bit if I found out that someone had the same exact tattoo that I did, unless of course it was on purpose. With original tattoo ideas comes one warning, though: don’t get a name tattooed on you other than a relative’s. It may sound like a promising idea at the time, but I strongly recommend, at the most, a symbol to represent the loved one, or maybe even a matching tattoo with that person. I’ve had someone very close to me tell me how absolutely ridiculous they felt after getting their significant others name tattooed on them as a spontaneous ‘gesture of love’, and they broke up shortly after. Talk about regret!
You’ll also want to carefully consider the placement of your tattoo. If you’re not good with pain, you’ll want to avoid boney areas for sure. If you just must have a tattoo in a place where the needles would hit bone, brace yourself! I hear it’s not such a cakewalk…
Once you have a good idea of what you want your tattoo to look like, start looking for tattoo parlors with high ratings and reviews. You don’t want to go to a tattoo shop that has had a number of unsatisfied customers, a tendency to have complaints of infected tattoos, or an unsanitary environment. Going to the shop’s website should tell you all you need to know, IF they have a website. If not, asking around until you find someone who has been there or someone who knows someone who has been there is a good idea. Even social media can be a HUGE help when looking for shops!
In many cases, you can choose the artist you want to do your tattoo and if you choose to do so, finding a tattoo artist that has a style you like is important. Most tattoo shops have reference books to view the artist’s former work. Some artist’s styles will be more cartoonish, while others may predominately realistic. Look through the previous art and make decisions based on that, but remember: the artist can and will, if need be, refuse to help you.
Don’t forget to ask about heavy handedness! You don’t want to get stuck with an artist who is heavy handed not only because the tattoo will hurt more than what a normal tattoo would, (and if it’s your first tattoo it may deter you from wanting another just because you had a crappy first time) but also because heavy handedness, in some cases, could lead to blowout. Blowout is when the ink in a tattoo spreads and begins to appear blurry. However, don’t blame the artist just yet! Stretching, pulling, and moving the skin too much during healing can cause the ink to move under the skin, too, especially if the skin is already thin in that area. You can expect blowout in places like the wrists, hands, fingers, and the back of the knees due to movement.
If you’re ever presented with the idea to receive a tattoo from a friend or even a friend of a friend my advice to you would be to refuse STRONGLY, yet politely! You may trust the person on the other side of the tattoo gun, but mistakes can happen, unfortunately. Dirty needles, hands, or contaminated ink could put you at risk for infection, especially if you don’t keep the area cleaned after. Also, you never know if they’re any good! Not to offend, but I wouldn’t want to get stuck with a sucky tattoo just because I didn’t want to hurt my friends’ feelings.
When you go in to have a tattoo done, pay attention to the things the artist does. Now, you don’t want to go to the extent of making him or her uncomfortable, but paying attention never hurts. If the artist engages in conversation with you, it’s most likely to get your mind off what they’re doing and to hopefully make you feel a tad more relaxed, or it could be because it helps them get into a more comfortable state of mind. If the artist does not engage in conversation though, he or she may need silence in order to concentrate. Having a friend go with you to get your tattoo could help, too, that way you have someone you’re comfortable with to talk with or at least know is there for moral support, especially if you’re nervous.
So, take a deep breath and go for it! Soon you’ll have a rocking new art exhibit on your very own body to show off! Good luck to all of you!