So, you’ve arrived at a point in your life where you’re considering getting a tattoo. With so many styles and choices out there, most beginners will find themselves confused as to how to make the best choice. After all, if selected correctly, a tattoo is a permanent piece of art that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. Therefore, how to make the right decision? Here are some things you need to keep in mind:
Do as much research as you can
If you’re here, congrats. You’ve taken the first steps into making an educated decision. What should you be looking out for? Essentially, you need to be aware of the risks associated with this millenary practice.
Some possible side effects can be allergic skin reactions due to the components in tattoo dyes, or the formation of what is known as granulomas, small inflammations around the tattooed area. However, proper hygiene and working with a professional will exempt you from these risks in most cases.
Oftentimes, beginners may find themselves at a bit squeamish at the thought of a needle tracing their skin and the subsequent pain it creates. This is why you need to be aware that the level of pain you’ll experience will vary, depending on the placement of your tattoo.
So, if you’re someone with a low pain tolerance, you should consider getting a tattoo in areas with thicker skin and more fat such as your shoulders, back, outer biceps, thighs, calves, and forearms. Conversely, some of the most painful spots to get a tattoo are the neck, face, ears, ribs, lips, feet, and hands, etc.
Furthermore, if you’re someone who travels often, you may also want to take into consideration how tattoos are perceived in different cultures. In countries such as Japan and El Salvador, tattoos have long been associated with gangs and criminal activity. Although times are changing, it’s always good to keep your safety in mind when getting tattooed on a visible area.
Find a tattoo artist whose work you admire
In this era of online information, there’s no shortage of digital platforms where you can find the work of celebrated tattoo artists. Whether it be on Instagram or Facebook, the top tattoo artists always take to the web to display their portfolio. While some might specialize in a traditional style, with its bold lines and bright colors; others might be renowned for their realistic designs or the trendy watercolor technique.
However, be aware that depending on the style you choose, your tattooing session might take longer. Also, keep in mind that a high demand for experienced artists also translates into higher prices. Which brings me to my next point:
Don’t be a cheapskate
As stated before, since tattoos are pieces permanently etched to your skin, you shouldn’t skimp on expenses. Tattooing is a trade that takes several years to master, and as such, the work of the artist should be treated with the respect it deserves.
After all, you wouldn’t go around asking a surgeon or an architect for a discount, would you? So, as simple as the design you have in mind might seem, don’t go around asking for discounts; it could turn into an embarrassing situation for all involved.
Have an idea in mind
Now that you’ve done your research and found the artist that better suits your needs, it’s time for a consultation. What is it? You may ask. In simple terms, a consultation is a meeting between the tattoo artist and the client to establish certain parameters such as the design, placement, style, and size of the tattoo.
Since most artists dislike the idea of copying other people’s work, you should be open to modifications in your design, as well as provide photographic reference that will be useful for them to bring your idea to fruition. This is also the ideal time to disclose any medical conditions that may affect the process such as allergies or any prescribed medication you might be on.
Don’t rush it
What if you’re still unsure after your consultation? There’s no shame in taking your time when making such an important decision. Sometimes, getting a small design is the best way to get a taste of the experience and test your pain tolerance. However, be aware that smaller designs will need more touch-ups as the years go by.
It doesn’t have to be so meaningful
Part of the reason why settling on a design can be so difficult for beginners is their search for a personally meaningful concept. Nevertheless, in the long run, constantly explaining the meaning of your tattoo (especially if you choose a placement on a visible area) can become annoying.
Just as time progresses, people’s interests and perspectives are constantly changing. That which holds a profound meaning to you today might not in the long run. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a timeless design for purely esthetic motives.
Bring sugary drinks or snacks to your appointment
Ever heard of people fainting whilst getting tattooed? This is due to the effects that pain can trigger in the body. One of the most common causes of fainting is known as vasovagal syncope. When stimulated, the vagus nerve (which runs from the brain to the abdomen) releases excess acetylcholine, decreasing the heart rate. This makes it difficult for the brain to be supplied with its needed blood flow, causing fainting. Since a drop in blood sugar can also cause this phenomenon it’s recommended that you bring a source of sugar with you to avoid feeling lightheaded. You ought to also keep hydrated.
Aftercare is a must
This is absolutely important to ensure that the tattoo heals properly, so listen to your artist’s instructions. Some of the usual aftercare entails not touching the recently tattooed area, to avoid exposing it to the sun directly, not scratching it, sleeping on it or covering the tattooed skin until it’s fully healed. You should also be aware that most shops offer free of charge touch-ups after your tattoo has healed. This will ensure the design looks just perfect.
All in all, while the process of getting it is quite literally a pain, satisfactory results will make the process of tattooing more than worthwhile. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a walking piece of art? Remember, whether you choose a design for its sentimental reasons or purely for its esthetic value, the choice is ultimately yours.