Most people with tattoos know that getting a tattoo isn't a simple process – it requires a lot of care, thought and consideration. Those who don't go through this process correctly may end up with tattoo regret, and will seek to have their tattoo removed down the road. However, if you go through the motions carefully, you may end up with a tattoo you'll love for life. Consider these tips on what to expect when you're getting a tattoo.
"If you come in with another tattoo artist's design, don't ask for that exact tattoo."
Do your research
This is potentially the most important step in the whole process. Where should you get your tattoo? What should it be? Who should design it? All of these questions need to be answered before you step into a tattoo shop. If they aren't, you might end up with something you didn't expect or simply don't like. There are two critical steps you need to complete in your research, including:
- Researching the shop: Believe it or not, different shops may design tattoos differently. Look into various tattoo shops in your area and read the reviews. Find out who's a stand-out artist at that location and why he or she so great. Looking into these parlors can also give you an idea of their clientele and the kind of work they've done. Of course, if you have a certain design in mind, you don't want to go to the wrong type of shop that isn't familiar with it. It might also be wise to look into their health standards, as no one wants to be pricked with a dirty pen.
- Researching your design: Figuring out exactly what you want for a tattoo design is also a critical part of the tattooing process. If you have a general idea, it may be hard for an artist to completely recreate your vision. Even if you're not a good artist, try to find something similar to what you want online. However, if you come in with another tattoo artist's design, don't ask for that exact tattoo. It might actually offend the artist, as he or she doesn't want to completely recreate or copy someone else's work. Instead, most artists will use the example as a base and work off of it. If he is a really good artist, he or she may even have some objections, according to tattoo artist Keith McCurdy of Bang Bang, a tattoo shop in New York.
"When you find the right person to do the job, you should let them do it, and trust that they want what's best for you," he told The Huffington Post. "That means that sometimes you'll get a little pushback on your idea. If I think a tattoo is going to look crappy, I'm going to try to steer you toward either a different design or maybe a different location on your body. A good tattooist won't do a job he knows he's not going to be happy showing off. Expect your tattoo to be better than you imagine."
Go in with an open mind
Many people will enter a tattoo parlor tense, nervous and worried, especially if it's their first tattoo. However, that should be far from the reaction that people experience. If you've found a trusted parlor and artist, you need to put your trust in his or her hands. Realize that these artists have tattooed hundreds, even thousands of people. They may specialize in certain types of tattoos or inking specific parts of the body. Regardless, if you've found reliable people to give you a tattoo, you need to go in with an open mind. Take their advice if they suggest that you make your design a little bit larger, or place it to the left. In the end, they likely have more experience and knowledge of tattoos than you do. Their suggestions and advice might pay off in a good way.
You should also keep an open mind when it comes to enjoying the experience. Don't take shots beforehand or skip a meal because you're nervous. Entering a tattoo shop inebriated or on an empty stomach may not be the best idea.
It can be tough to tell how much your tattoo is going to cost you. Yet that doesn't mean you can't be prepared for the eventual price. A good artist may be able to give you a baseline price off the bat. However, this is one area where quality is more important than price. If this parlor has outstanding reviews, good health standards and great designs, it may be wiser to deal with a higher price than going to a cheaper spot, which could cost you in the long run. Yet once you hear that price, don't haggle with the tattoo artist and try to get the cost down. If the artist offers a discount, great! If he or she doesn't, don't ask for one. It could upset him or her and hurt your relationship if you decide to get another tattoo down the road.