Okay – so all of your friends are sporting ink these days – you’ve admired some of their creative designs and beautiful colors on their arms, legs, hands, ankles, feet, sleeves, shoulders, backs, and some even have tattoos on their necks, faces and eyes that look quite nice – and you might be thinking about getting a tattoo yourself. As a person with more than one ink spot on their body, let me recommend a few considerations that you need to make – before you decide to get inked yourself.
But first, a word of caution: Even though tats are more commonplace than ever these days, they are more prevalent in creative fields. More conservative workplaces may take a negative view, so consider how body art will affect your career. And never go under the needle when you’re under the influence. The hangover will go away, the eagle on your neck is another story.
Get a Recommendation
Odds are if you are just getting your first tattoo, you by now have some friends or family members whose tattoos you like. Well, if they’re happy with their artist they can not only make the introduction and show you which artists they prefer, but more importantly you can see how the tattoo work looks months or years later. This is particularly important because the pictures you see in a tattoo shop may have been taken either immediately or very shortly after a tattoo was completed. The mark of a great tattoo artist is how well the work looks and holds up months and years after. So if your friend is happy with their tattoo artist and it looks fresh even years later – that’s probably a good tattoo artist for you to consider.
Visit and Ask
Start your search for your tattoo artist by finding local tattoo studios and artists. Go in and visit each shop or studio, and see how the experience is. Is their shop clean? Do they have the relevant health certifications and licensing that’s relevant for your area or city? Was the shop staff friendly and genuinely interested in helping you? These are all very important questions to find out.
Tattooing involves piercing your skin with a needle full of ink, and if you choose an artist that cuts corners for the sake of offering cheaper prices, you are taking a risk with your health. Quality tattoo artists and tattoo shops will make a very serious effort at maintaining a clean and safe environment for all their customers and clients. A clean studio with up-to-date health certifications is a must for someone looking to have a good tattoo experience. Not only does going to a safe clean tattoo shop make the experience better, tattoos done in a healthy and sterile setting will heal faster, look better, and last much longer than others.
Review the Artist’s Portfolio
Each shop and artist will usually have a portfolio with pictures of some of the tattoos that they have done recently, as well as a design book to help you decide on the design and style that’s right for you. You can look through these and see if a certain artist’s style of tattooing matches your vision for your tattoo design. Getting a tattoo is not like buying a new pair of pants or t-shirt. You can buy a t-shirt from someone you don’t like. Getting a tattoo is a very different experience than buying a new jacket or TV.
This is body art that is permanent and is going to remain on your body for a fairly long time. You want to make sure that your artist’s vision is in harmony with yours, and that you trust and feel comfortable with the tattoo artist. Nowadays, most tattoo artists will have many great photos and pictures of their tattoos online, on different social media sites and websites. Do the photos that are posted look like something you would want tattooed on you?
Check Online Reviews
Look around online and see what customers are saying about the tattoo experience at that particular tattoo shop. With the amount of business reviews and comments around the Internet, you should be able to figure out rather quickly if a tattoo artist is good for you or not. Are their customers happy with the work done? Are most of their customers repeat customers, coming back for years and multiple tattoos? Or are their customers only there for one or two tattoos and then do not come back? That would be a bad sign, as most people find a tattoo artist they like and hang on to them for dear life. Do they have a specialty or particular type of tattoo art that the shop specializes in? Not every tattoo shop will do every single type of tattoo art.
For example there are some tattoo artists that are fantastic at 3D tattoos, while others make portrait tattoos that appear life like. This doesn’t make one tattoo artist better than the other. It just means that for a portrait of your favorite actor you’d want to go to the second tattoo artist. If you were getting a 3D puzzle piece on your arm however, you’d want to go see the first artist.
So plan ahead for your permanent inking – your choice should be made with as much care as you would take in selecting a doctor for surgery. This decision-making process is extremely important, because you will be living with the outcome of the design and possibly the effects of the process for many years to come.
Be sure you want a permanent tattoo. And if for some reason, you are unhappy with it – check out the procedures for tattoo removal too. Like most things, fixing a mistake is always more expensive than making the mistake in the first place.
All books are available at amazon.com. Click on title to learn more.
Tattoo Johnny: 3,000 Tattoo Designs
by Tattoo Johnny and David Bolt
Tattoo’s FAQ: The Story Behind the Ink
by Holly Day
The Art of Tattoo
by Lola Mars
Laser Tattoo Removal Guide: The Perfect Guide and What You Must Know About Removing Your Tattoo for Life
by Damian Belak
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