Body art or tattooing is one of the oldest forms of self-expression known to man. Our ancestors used crude and somewhat barbaric methods to decorate their bodies. Today we use modern, sanitary techniques that by comparison make getting a tattoo a walk in the park.
A common question asked by our ancestors as well as most everyone considering a new tattoo is – “Should I get a Tattoo?”
The answer – Perhaps, or Sure, or No.
Ok you’re probably looking for a deeper and more meaningful answer. Actually the decision to get a tattoo can be quite difficult for some people. For others it was never a question, rather they’re more concerned with how many and how soon.
Getting Your First Tattoo in 7 Steps
Before you attempt to get a tattoo, you should know that you have to be at least EIGHTEEN years of age. If there is any question about your age the tattoo artist will ask you show a picture ID and sign a legal waiver. Being eighteen is not only a legal age requirement but it is also the age by which most people have achieved maximum growth. If your arms and legs are still extending outward a tattoo will stretch and distort with the growth.
Deciding to get a tattoo is an important decision that will stay with you for the rest of your life. If you’ve carefully thought it over and are ready to make the commitment then here are the 6 basic steps for getting a tattoo.
1. Make the Decision
Whether you get a tattoo or not the decision should be made by you and you alone. There are many people that will tell you its ok and urge you to just do it. On the other hand there are many people that will tell you not to get tattooed based on their emotional judgment. The truth is there is no right or wrong answer.
There is virtually no consequence for not getting a tattoo (unless you can’t handle peer pressure). While on the other hand the consequences of getting a tattoo can be expensive financially and emotionally. You can essentially eliminate most of the negative consequences by doing your homework before getting a tat and by selecting a professional, experienced tattoo artist that has the right artistic skill set for your chosen body art.
2. Do Your Homework and Don’t Rush into Anything
Tattooing homework is taking the time to think long and hard about the inking you want on your body. Talk to friends about their tats. Do they have any misgivings or bad experiences? A tattoo is permanent, you’ll want something that will always be meaningful to you.
Don’t get the tattoo your friends, lover, or family members want you to get. Don’t get a lover or spouse’s name tattoo on your body. If you have a concept of what you want research all tattoo design possibilities, how you want it to look, how big or small it should be, and placement location on your body. If you have yet to discover the perfect tat here’s a good place to get tattooing ideas.
3. Find a Tattoo Artist
At the top of the important list of things to do is to find a tattoo artist that is competent and one you’re comfortable with. Not all tattoo artists have equal abilities and certainly their quality of artistry is not the same. More times than not tattoo artists are recommended by friends, relatives or acquaintances.
Before you decide on an inker, take time to visit the artist for a discussion about your tattoo and their ideas of making it better. Listen carefully to their ideas; are they on the same page as you? Take a look at some of their recent work, does it meet your standards? Ask if you can contact one of their recent clients. Do you feel comfortable with this person?
4. Set an Appointment Time
Once you’ve decided on the tattooist set a morning appointment. Pain tolerance is highest in the morning due to higher levels of adrenalin.
Be sure that you and the tattooist have agreed upon the cost for the tattoo. The cost of each tattoo is unique to the piece. Do not haggle over the price, this is disrespectful to an artist. If you can’t afford to get what you want, wait until you can – it’ll be worth the wait.
5. Prepare for the Appointment
On the day of your tattoo appointment there are a things you can do to make the tattooing experience a pleasent one.
If you are under the influence of illegal drugs, medications, alcohol, or are feeling ill or stressed out it would benefit you and the tattooist that you call and cancel the appointment. Simply reschedule for a later date when you might be in a healthy state of body and mind.
Eat a small meal and drink several glasses of water prior to the tattooing appointment.
If you have a low tolerance for pain, a non-aspirin over the counter pain reliever is the easiest solution. Take them 20 minutes prior to the appointment.
Wear loose fitting clothing at and around the tattoo area.
6. Get Tatted
The number one thing you can do is stay relaxed during the tattooing session. Coming to a tattooing session in a state of fear or under any other stressful condition will add to the displeasure of the tattooing experience. During the tatting session, conversation with the tattooist or perhaps a friend will help you defocus the tattooing pain and make the experience more enjoyable.
7. Follow the advice of your tattooist for aftercare
Taking proper care of your new tattoo is critical. The process of taking care of a new tattoo is mostly common health care and hygiene practice. Basically the same care you need to take for any wound or burn injury. However there are a few elements of the care that your tattooist will discuss with you. For best results follow all health care instructions. Improper care can result in diminished tattoo quality or even an infection that may require the services of a doctor.