A start to finish tattoo guide for beginners
Starting the tattoo process is both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when you go in blindly and without doing the appropriate research. This can result in a bad first experience due to not choosing the right studio, hastily deciding on artwork you gave little to no thought about or choosing the right placement on your body. It is crucially important to ask yourself the right questions, do a little research and really know what you want before even stepping into a shop, but a thoughtful artist can help you with that as well. Besides that, knowing how to act properly and professionally while getting tattooed is helpful to your overall experience. If you have a lot of questions with very few answers, you’ve come to the right place! Below are some basic concepts to consider when starting the ride and deciding to get your first tattoo.
The first step in the tattoo process is choosing a design you love. It could have personal meaning to you, something that you can wear as a reminder for the rest of your life. Many get tattooed merely because they like the imagery, design, colors or subject matter. Contrary to popular belief, tattoos don’t have to have meaning in order to get them portrayed on your body forever. Simply liking the beauty of someting is a valid enough reason. Regardless of your reasoning, you should have a general idea of what you want the finished product to look like. It would benefit both you and your artist if you had an idea that can be worked with and artfully rendered by a professional.
The next step is selecting an artist that you feel can best portray your idea onto skin. With social media and the internet, finding an artist’s online portfolio is easier than ever. There are many artists that enjoy tattooing and offer a variety of styles. Others, however, like to stick to a certain tattoo style, so make sure you take a close look at their portfolio and talk to the artist, to get an idea, what they can do for you.
A consultation is an appointment you make with the artist of your choice. This is the time to sit with them to discuss your ideas and your expectations. Most of the time, calling the shop is the easiest way for setting up an appointment. This is arguably one of the most important steps in the tattoo process, as this is when the artist will begin thinking up a design and work with your ideas. If you do not have a concrete idea or you leave out crucial information, the end result may not be what you were hoping for, so it might be helpful to do your research beforehand, but most artist have a lot of visual aids for you, to help you find what you might not even thought about before. Be open to changes and recommendations from your artist, as they often know best how to make a simple idea into an aesthetic reality, and they know best, what works with their abilities.
Once the details have been discussed in full with your tattoo artist, the appointment can officially be booked! Discuss which dates and times your artist has available and settle for a date that you are both comfortable with. Most tattoo studios require you to put a non-refundable down payment that will be offset with the total cost. This is to show that you are serious about going through with the process and ensures your artist will be accurately compensated for the time and effort that went into the preperation. If you are unable to make the appointment for whatever reason, make sure to call ahead of time and warn the studio you will not be arriving that day. You may reschedule but some studios have deadlines to do so. Your artist will tell you all you need to know in detail.
Make sure to arrive to your appointment well fed. This will ensure that your blood pressure and sugar levels stay regulated and you do not pass out from hunger or dehydration. Eating will also calm nerves and anxiety, so be prepared and arrive to your appointment with snacks and sugary drinks, especially if you are sitting for a long session. DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL as most respectable artists will refuse to tattoo you. Be respectable and arrive to your appointment with a clear, sober mind.
Lack of sleep can result in irritable nerves and can make you feel incredibly anxious. It is important to arrive well rested and calm, as this will benefit your overall experience and will make the artist feel more at ease. A good night’s sleep will make you generally more energetic, positive and happy, ensuring a positive experience.
Come to your appointment well prepared and dressed appropriately. Wear comfortable clothing, even if it isn’t the most flattering and dress in a way that is easily accessible to your artist. If you are getting a thigh tattoo, wear shorts. If you are getting a forearm tattoo, wear short sleeves. Make sure the clothing is breathable and baggy, as feeling constricted or overheated makes for an unpleasant experience.
Most shops are more than happy to accommodate you and a friend. However, make sure to bring just one supporter, as a whole posse is unacceptable. Leave your children with a babysitter, as tattoo shops are no place for a child. There are often adult themes and loud, inappropriate music within the shop environment. No crybabies, and no crying babies.
In a nutshell
Getting tattooed can seem overwhelming your first time around but once you understand a couple of things, it really is a simple, straight-forward process. Just have a good idea, speak to a professional and arrive with a clear head and a good attitude. The artist will do the rest! Until next time