You’re thinking about getting a tattoo? Great! There are some tips before getting a tattoo that we think you’ll want to know. Research is an essential part of a successful tattoo, and the first steps before you get a tattoo can take months. That may sound like a long time, but these first two steps are so important to your experience that we recommend you do not rush them. These first tips are:
1. Figure out your tattoo designYou may know what design you want years before you actually get a tattoo, or you may know you want a tattoo and then spend time browsing hundreds of pictures for inspiration. Whatever path you take, it’s important to be able to give a significant amount of detail to your tattoo artist. They’ll want to know:
- Placement on your body: this is a complex question because different parts of your body move in different ways. You’ll want to think through how your skin stretches as you move and what potential sagging you can expect as you age. For example, you can expect more stretching or sagging in the stomach and upper arm, and less sagging on the leg, collarbone, or lower arm. Sun exposure can also affect the look of a tattoo in the long term, so if the integrity of the colors is a particular focus, consider a location without as much time in the sun.
- Dimensions: you do not need to be able to give the exact dimensions, but try to be more specific than saying a “small” or “medium” tattoo. You can lightly draw on your skin to get an idea of what size you like.
- Color or no color? This will affect the time the tattoo takes, the cost, and how it ages. If the color is important to you, that may also help you choose a tattoo artist.
- Design ideas: of course your artist will want as much detail as possible about the design you want. Remember you are dealing with a human and not a photocopy machine. You’re also getting a design that you’re picturing on a flat surface, tattooed onto a 3-dimensional surface. This will inevitably cause variations in the design. Good tattoo artists will work with your design and help you understand the implications of placement on your body, and what they recommend for adjusting your design.