I recently got a new tattoo (well, I finally got a piece finished) and it got me thinking about all the stuff I wish I had known when I first started getting tattoos back when I was 18, So I thought I’d put together a post for those of you who are thinking about getting a tattoo. Now, I’m not heavily tattooed or anything (I have 10/8 depending on how you count them), but my family and people I surround myself with most of the time, are all a bit tattoo mad- so I’ve got good amount of know-how about them!
So here’s my top 7 things I wish I had known/thought about/someone had told me before getting my first tattoo
• Think about it. Take your time to think about it. You shouldn’t rush a decision about something that is going to be present for the rest of your life. You don’t need to rush and get one just because you turned 18. I personally decided what I wanted when I was 16, and then thought about it all the way up until I was 18- and have thought about all of my tattoos for a minimum of 6 months before getting them. Although people are a lot more open minded about tattoos, there are still some people that do not like them, meaning there are some jobs that just won’t be available to you if you have constantly visible tattoos- you need to make sure that these kinds of jobs are 100% not in your future before you have yourself permanently tattooed. You also need to think about your family and friends- while it would be lovely if everyone was able to do as they pleased image wise and their friends and family would love them despite their own personal views on it- there are some families where this is just not the case. If your religious background says you cannot have tattoos you really need to think about what you are giving up.
• Research your tattoo artist/parlour. Take some time to look through different artists. This is a lot easier if you live in/can travel to a city/more populated area as there will be more artists to research. Look at their style, their past work, weather you get a long with them- not at their price. As I said before, tattoos are permanent, would you rather save a few buck and have a mediocre tattoo, or spend a bit more and have a beautiful piece of art for life. I learnt this one the hard way- me and my fiancé Liam went to a tattoo place in Aberdeen (which I won’t name) because they were the only ones who had space for us and from what I can understand, he went too deep on me and now I have some smudgy-as-hell lyrics on my arm. I love the tattoo because of the meaning behind it but it’d be nice if it didn’t look rubbish. On another note, if your artist suggests your design would look better if “x” or in another location, please take note of this, they are trained in this area so know what works best. You don’t have to completely change your design for them or anything, but do consider what they are telling you and maybe make a realistic compromise.
• Research your design. Make sure you know who said that quote you’re getting, what the image you want symbolises. I have an acquaintance who had a ‘quote’ tattooed on her before she even googled it and it turns out it was lyrics from a band she quite dislikes- she now has to either live with this or pay even more to cover it up. Google is such a useful tool, please use it. Also, don’t steal designs. It’s fine to take inspiration from others- but just lifting their work is what would be classes as plagiarism in any other media. If you find an drawing/painting/etc you like and want to ask the artists permission to get it tattooed on you, you can use the google image search tool here to find the original source.
• Eat before getting your tattoo. I learnt this one the hard way. Before going to get my smallest tattoo I had only had half a can of monster (also, yuck) and ended up fainting during the tattoo. This was very embarrassing, especially since I had much larger pieces which I had sat through fine. Thankfully my artist was very understanding and let me know just how important eating before getting a tattoo is. I’m not 100% sure on the reason why, but Im assuming it’s to do with your blood sugar levels, and adrenaline. Just remember to eat.
• Look after your tattoos, especially while it’s healing. To your skin, tattoos are abrasions, and your skin wants to heal them. Be sure to help your skin along by washing your tattoos (I tend to use baby unscented soap for this, or just warm water) to help keep out infection. Some form of cream is always nice too, especially when it starts to itch- go with whatever your artist recommends but I’ve always used Bapanthem. Don’t drown your tattoo in cream, it will stop the scabs drying up and falling off- but also don’t pick your scabs, you will end up having to have your tattoo touched up!
• Be prepared to become ‘addicted’. As cliche as it is, they are addictive. I find that after you’re done- you’re up for another one. The pain of getting the tattoo has subsided and you’re left with art forever imprinted upon you and its lovely. As soon as I had one, I wanted to be covered- I wanted my blank-canvass skin to be beautiful. I’m sure there are people out there with one, but I don’t know a single one of them.
• Meaning shmeaning. I used to think all tattoos had to have this great meaning behind them, and that if they didn’t they’re worthless. Let me tell you, that’s a load of crap. Tattooing is an art form, and like many arts, its visual. If these aesthetics have a meaning- great! If you just like them ’cause you think they look good- great! Do what you want, meaning or no meaning, and don’t let anyone, like my silly 18 year old self, tell you it’s stupid.