Avoid a horror tattoo:
Tips for your first inking
Once upon a time, getting a tattoo might have meant having to loiter in dark harbour dives. Nowadays, you have the choice of the best artists in the world. Take these tips from the professionals to make sure nothing goes wrong, and you’ll have a piece of art to savour.
Choose your artist
Gone are the days of visiting rows of tattoo studios and crawling through portfolio folders - a view on the home page or the Instagram account is usually enough to get a first impression of the tattooist’s work. And this should be one of your first steps to finding the right artist.
Important: Who you choose should definitely be an expert in your desired style. There’s no point visiting someone who specialises in photorealistic Viking motifs if you envision a colourful comic book skull.
The next step is personal advice. And for this, you should make an appointment as a tattooist’s schedule can usually be pretty full.
Important: Just because you’ve met with someone doesn’t mean you need to use that service. You don’t have to buy a shirt just because you’ve tried it on. Let yourself be advised as often as possible until you are absolutely convinced by an artist.
Think thoroughly about what you want
Preparation is key. The more specifically you can describe your dream image, the shorter the route to getting that perfect tattoo. Bring pictures, drawings or photographs of similar tattoos; just about anything that can help the artist to get an idea of what you desire. Be open to suggestions because it might also be the case that the tattooist advises you against it when the subject is questionable or simply not feasible.
You and your entourage
Before the big day arrives, make sure you’ve clarified if you can bring anyone along. A little support is helpful especially if it is the first tattoo, but the best mate, big brother and the girlfriend all in a tight space can also backfire.
Don’t be afraid
Fear of pain during the first tattoo is completely normal because if you’ve never gone through it, the intensity is difficult to estimate. It always helps to remember that the pain is only temporary but the joy of artwork lasts forever. As soon as the needle pauses, the pain ceases, and your tattoo artist will allow you enough breaks to rest.
A session in a pub with pals the night before the appointment is not a good idea. Getting a tattoo during a hangover can sometimes make the pain worse and increase the bleeding. Likewise, you should stay away from blood-thinning agents such as aspirin.
Care for your tattoo and stay in touch
Take the care instructions for your new tattoo seriously because poor maintenance can ruin a great tat. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch with your studio and ask for a contact if there are any problems. Normally, an inspection appointment should come after a few weeks to assess the healing and possibly touch up some areas which have lost colour.