How do you decide on your first tattoo? So many choices, so many questions, so here’s some advice for you to help make that all important decision, after all this is going to be with you for the rest of your life and believe me, laser hurts!

Design

winnerThe design of your tattoo is everything; once you’ve decided what you want, chat through ideas with an artist and come up with something together. You need to be confident and happy with the end result as it’s you that is going to be living with it. A good artist will know what they are talking about and should guide you as to what would look good. Be flexible in your approach and listen to what your artist thinks will work best especially when it comes to size and placement. Use your head and take as much reference material as possible in the best possible quality; in other words, don’t just take a small pixelated picture on your phone. Don’t be a lazy arse when you want a tattoo!

Placement

Placement can make or break a tattoo. T-shirt sleeves often cut off crucial parts of tattoos and moving muscles can make a poorly placed tattoo look misshapen. a good tattooist will know where to place and use your body to its full effect.

One of the most important things to consider is how the tattoo may have an effect on your everyday life. Much as you love tattoos and people shouldn’t be judged because of how they like to decorate their bodies, the basic facts are, you will be. Consider how it may affect your employment prospects. Despite tattooing coming on leaps and bounds over the last few years, it can still have negative connotations in the eyes of some people and companies. As much as you may dearly love a tattoo on your hand or neck, it might not be the greatest idea. Unless you have a considerable amount of your body already tattooed, a reputable studio would be reluctant to tattoo visible areas such as hands, necks and faces.

Think It Over

A tattoo will be on your body until you either get it lasered off (which is a long process and painful) or have come to the end of your mortal coil! Don’t follow fashions, as fashions will go OUT of fashion. Getting a partners name is something to really think about; despite no doubt loving them to pieces, this might change once the honeymoon period is over, so may be consider another way of displaying your love for each other!

Whether you’re after a small piece or you want an entire bodysuit, have a plan in place from the start. Choosing the right artist is so important. The bloke who lives locally, who you met in the pub who can fit you in today and is pretty cheap….don’t do it. Get your ass to a proper studio!

Choosing Your Tattooist and Booking

Start researching tattoo artists who excel in the style you’re interested in, or if you don’t necessarily have a preferred style, look at a number of artists work. Some artists work across a number of styles, but will generally have a style they specialise in. Most quality artists will have a waiting list, so you should expect to wait and get saving as you are paying for awesome art work. If you’re lucky enough, you might get a space sooner than expected if they have had a cancellation; these can be like rocking horse shit, so grab it when you can!

In this age of technology, you should be able to look online at an artists portfolio and look at reviews from customers to help you make that all important decision.

So, you know what you want and you’ve found the right artist, time to book that appointment. When you speak to the studio, you’ll get the chance to ask any questions, which can help put your mind at rest. Don;t be disappointed if you can’t get an appointment straight away, there’s a reason for this, their tattoos are in demand Some studios like us have a walk-in artist for small tattoos, in which case it’s a simple design you’re after, you might be able to have it done sooner. You will be required to put a deposit down for your booking and don’t expect it back if you cancel last minute. Remember, you have taken a space someone else might have wanted and after all it is a business, not a charity!

Tattoo Conventions

A good place to watch artists at work and get a feel for the studio they work in. Apart from being a great day out, it will help you make your decision and gather ideas. Most artists will be very busy at a convention, so don’t expect them to sit down with you for a lengthy chat! Some booths will do ‘walk-in’ tattoos on the day and display flash, all priced up for your convenience. This can be very handy and especially true of old and new school artists.

Price

The cost of a tattoo is determined by so many factors, such as the size and style, amount of detail, whether you have colour or black and grey; even the location of the studio, but as a general rule of thumb, you will pay more for a quality artist, producing quality work. A reputable studio won’t be interested in a bidding war, their price is their price. You are paying for an artist’s experience and skill; their eye for detail and design and their ability to produce the perfect tattoo for you that is going to last a lifetime looking good. If you were told you had to wear just one outfit for the rest of your life, would you get a one from a cheap high street clothes store, or would you spend that bit extra on something that is going to last and fit well? The same way of thinking should apply when you’re getting a tattoo.

How Long Will It Take?

Again, it depends on what you’re having. If it is a particularly large or intricate design, don’t be surprised if you have multiple sessions spread out across a number of months. A good sleeve won’t be done in one sitting, this can take many all day sessions, costing a lot of money, so be patient and it will be worth it. it always is.