FOR YOUR FIRST TATTOO...
I've got plenty of experience with this particular subject. Hope this is illuminating!
- •Take your time deciding!Seriously, a few months isn't too long when stacked up against the rest of your life.
- •Think small.That enormous back piece you want? Once you start, there's no going back. Maybe think of something small; something you can build upon (i.e. A few blossoms that can later be part of a tree or something). This way, you get an idea of the pain involved before committing to hours of it. That, and there can be a bit of a mental aftershock once you see it fully inked in for the first time. When I got my enormous leg piece done, I thought I was gonna have an anxiety attack. But now I love it!!
- •Location is everythingProbably best to start with something somewhat out of sight, not too obvious. That way, you aren't immediately "a person with tattoos," and you can figure out how you feel about that.
- •Location really is everything.Certain places hurt A LOT MORE than others. Again, if it's something really small, you'll be ok. But starting off with a big (even med-sized) tat on your rib-cage? Rough. Inside of arms, backs of thighs, right on the bone, chest... I'd advise against starting off there.
- •If you're on the fence about the pain, start with an outline.You can always shade, add color, and/or fill in after the fact. Maybe even in the same session if you're feeling good!
- •It does hurt.There are people out there who like it, or who can just fall asleep and shrug like, "whatever, dude." You might be one of those crazy motherfuckers. I am not. Tattoos fucking hurt. I sat for 8 hours on my leg, and it sucked. I sweat through my clothes, I stank, I was shaky, and I felt kinda sick. My chest/stomach/hip tattoo was a shocking amount of pain. But... If you want it, it's worth it. Find a friend, get distracted, hold some hands.
- •Drinking is ok.That, and aspirin or ibuprofen (or something else mild). But don't overdo it. And don't do it if you know you happen to bleed a lot.
- •It's really ok to not want one.The #1 reason I get for why someone doesn't want a tattoo is "I just don't know if there's something I want on my body for the rest of my life." Be sure.
- •Pick an artist.Do your research, and set an appointment. Spend enough time talking about what you want with them, and DO NOT BE AFRAID to be honest about what you think of their mock-ups. Don't buckle because you're afraid to be rude or waste their time. You could even drop off a concept or have a consultation beforehand, so they have time to present you with options.
- •Don't be afraid to nix said artist.If they make you feel uncomfortable, or you don't 100% love what they have to offer, then just tell them you're not on board, and find someone else. This is your tattoo, after all.
- •Were you talking about my first tattoo?Or soliciting advice?