So you’ve decided to get your first tattoo. Congratulations! I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories of people’s first tattoo experiences, or seen regrettable tattoo decisions walking up and down the beach, so you want to learn from everyone else’s mistakes. You want to have a piece of art that’s all you and that will stand the test of time. Here are some things to consider when you’re getting that first tattoo.

  • Do your research. First, you want to know what tattoo you want (or at least a general direction). We have a book of tattoos that don’t grace anyone’s body in our shop if you need inspiration or you can check out our portfolio online. Decide if you prefer the look of color or black and grey. Think about where you want your tattoo to be placed on your body. Think about the size of your tattoo. If you’re nervous, you might want to start small and tackle a larger piece later on. If you’re pumped for your ink and have a great idea for a large piece, go for broke and get it started now. For bigger projects, consider spreading them out over multiple appointments and stages of completion, which will help manage your pain and your budget.
  • Think about different styles of tattoos. Tattoos are a combination of thick lines, thin lines, negative space (your skin) and shading. Think about the type of application that appeals to you. More thick lines could possibly be a traditional style tattoo. More shaded or faded pieces could be watercolor or realistic black and grey pieces.
  • Remember tattoos are forever. If you’re really into the movie Frozen today, you could be over your Elsa obsession in a decade or two. Think about the subject matter of your tattoo and whether you think it’s something you’ll continue to love in a year, five years, twenty years. A little extra consideration today can save you from a cover up or laser removal down the road.
  • Be prepared the day of your appointment. Get a good night’s rest the night before. Eat a healthy meal so that you don’t swoon on the table. Drink plenty of water so that you’re properly hydrated.
  • Take care of your tattoo once you get home. Clean your tattoo gently with mild, antibacterial soap 2 times a day (or more if the tattoo gets sweaty or contaminated) and apply an ointment like Aquaphor for 1 week before switching to an unscented lotion. Keep an eye on your tattoo for any signs of infection, including redness, swelling, being hot to the touch. If you suspect an infection, seek medical attention. If you take good care of your tattoo, you will likely not have to worry about infection. Itching and peeling are normal. Don’t scratch your tattoo when it itches, instead try lightly patting it.

If you’ve read these tips and still not sure where to start, we can help. Tricia has years of experience helping guide people through their tattoo design process. Email her at figure8ink@gmail.com or call for a consultation. We can help transfer your vision into a permanent piece of wearable art.