I recently got my fourth tattoo, so though I’m no expert I’ve learnt a thing or two about getting a tattoo and I thought I’d share them! Of course everyones tattoo experience will be somewhat different, but heres a few things to be aware of and to keep in mind as you go into getting your first tattoo!
It might sound obvious, but be 100% sure that you want what you will be getting. Will you be nervous to show it off because it may be controversial? Are you going into it keeping in mind that you can always get it removed? Are you already thinking about how you might cover it in future? If you’re thinking any of these things, wait. When you find something you 100% know you want now and will always want, go.
Unless you’re getting flash or are going in with the exact art work you want, you will likely be working with a tattoo artist to create your art. If thats the case, great! That’s how I ended up with three of my tattoos and its a really fun process, but remember that at the end of it, its going to be on your body for (hopefully) the rest of your life. If theres a bit of it you don’t like or would prefer done a different way, tell them! Communicate with the artist until its perfectly what you’re looking for. If the artist gets annoyed having to work with you, find a different artist.
Everyone I’ve gotten a tattoo from has been amazing through the whole thing and really worked hard to design what I was looking for, but if they weren’t I would thank them but cancel the appointment and go somewhere else. I’d much rather lose a deposit than have a tattoo that isn’t what I wanted.
Sometimes, what you want in a tattoo just isn’t possible, and if the artist says that you need to listen to them and work with them to find a different way you do it. I know it can be annoying to be told the font or size you want won’t look good, but they know what they’re doing and I’d much rather work with them to find something else that would work to end up with an awesome tattoo than make them do what I wanted and end up with something subpar or just downright terrible.
Find the Right Place!
This one is important. The first two tattoos I got, I didn’t get at the best place. It was hygienic and everything it need to be, but it didn’t have a great atmosphere and I felt like the artist didn’t fully pay attention to what I wanted. The last two though I got with Bad to the Bone in Liverpool and I can’t give them enough praise. They’re so friendly and welcoming and I feel so comfortable in there. I really wish I had taken some more time with my first tattoo to find somewhere that I left with a smile on my face, and if I could go back and start again I would have spent more time looking around and speaking to artists to find somewhere I felt more comfortable. It’s uncomfortable enough getting a tattoo, its even worse in an environment you don’t love.
You’ll get a quote for your tattoo from the start, but that can change. You might end up resizing, adding or removing an element of the tattoo or it might just take more or less time than expected and all of these affect how much you will end up paying. I always make sure I have at least £40 more than the quote just to make sure I can definitely pay for the work. My tattoos with Bad to the Bone have so far all come to less than the quote, which is always a surprise, but I feel less anxious knowing I can definitely pay.
Also bear in mind what goes into a tattoo. My mum is always shocked that I spend £100+ on a tattoo, but thats for 2-3 hours of someone hunched over me with a vibrating needle in their hand to give me a piece of permanent art with new, clean needles, gloves etc. so when you think about that, it doesn’t seem all that expensive does it?
I know when you go to a tattoo you don’t really think about the healing process, but I would recommend it. Look into it a bit to see if theres a method you like most, but also listen to what your artist recommends. For my first two I just washed with water and applied unscented moisturiser, for my third I washed with water and applied nappy rash cream and for my most recent one the artist gave me some ‘Dermalize’, which is a clear, sticky plastic cover for my tattoo. Its kind of like clingfilm, but not, but it means its protected and heals better and without so much scabbing. If I had taken time from the start to look into it all, I would have been using this from the start.
Theres a lot more that I wish I could list, but I don’t want this to get too long and I think I’ve managed to focus on the most important bits!