So you’ve accumulated a collection of tattoo inspiration bookmarks on Instagram and decided you’re finally ready to get your first tattoo. Are you unsure what will happen next? We’ve got you covered.
We’ve put together a detailed guide on getting your first tattoo to help you get ready for the permanent addition of art to your flesh. Tattoo artists such as Brit Abad, aka @blaabad, and Doreen Garner, as @flesh and fluid, were asked by Allure to provide their perspectives on each step of the process. When scheduling and preparing for your session, arriving at the tattoo studio, and approving your design, you’ll know precisely what to anticipate. They’ll also go through what to do while you’re getting tattooed and after you’ve finished your first ink. We can’t promise that following these suggestions will make the tattoo process any less painful, but it will undoubtedly be less daunting and more memorable.
Selecting a Performer
If you haven’t yet chosen a tattoo artist to give you your first tattoo, Portland-based tattoo artist Brit Abad recommends choosing someone you trust and can envision yourself having fun with during the procedure. “Follow them on social media to get a sense of who they are as a person,” she advises. “Having a positive tattoo experience has a significant impact on how a person feels about the tattoo on their body. If you like your artist, you’ll like the art even more.”
Ariel Wei, a tattoo artist, located in New York City, recommends looking at images of healed work while completing your research. (Examples can be found in the highlights section of her Instagram.) “Fresh vs. healed tattoos are different,” she explains. Because colors fade and lines become less apparent as a tattoo heals, this type of research will help you fully comprehend how your chosen tattoo artist’s work ages over time.
Making a Consultation
The preferred method of arranging an appointment will vary depending on whatever tattoo artist you choose. Some provide links to an online form that you can fill out with the specific information they require for booking on their Instagram or website. Others might request that you send them an email. If that’s the case, you should include the following:
When You Get There
You’ll begin by cleaning your hands before filling out consent documents when you first arrive at the tattoo studio. Make sure to have your photo ID and arrive on time to “provide the artist time to prepare, clean up, and avoid overlap with other clients — especially to comply with COVID safety rules,” according to Kang.
Putting the finishing touches on your design and placement
Your tattoo artist will show you the design they sketched up for you after you’ve filled out your consent documents. All of the tattoo artists we spoke with agreed that you should not be hesitant to speak up if you wish to make any changes, as the art will be on your body for the rest of your life. Make sure, however, that your feedback is respectful. “Keep in mind that you contacted this artist because you believe in their idea,” adds Abad. “That said, it’s absolutely common and acceptable to want adjustments made to your design, but articulating this gently, without insulting or demonstrating mistrust, is critical.”
Also, keep in mind that not all tattoos may be made as small as you desire. Some lettering may need to be increased in order to be legible in the long run. “That’s perfectly fine, but the tattoo will not hurt any less,” Garner adds. If you want it to be on the smaller side because you believe it’ll be easier to start with, “that’s totally acceptable, but the tattoo will not hurt any less.” “The discomfort will not be alleviated by increasing the size of the tattoo. That is, in my opinion, a common beginner’s mistake.”
Every Self-Tanning Technique
Your preferred design is as follows: Make your request as clear as possible, including whether or not you want to color. Attaching reference images will also greatly aid your artist’s understanding of your concept. Just make sure you don’t anticipate your final design to appear exactly like someone else’s. “Unless it was commissioned and you have confirmation of permission to acquire the design as a tattoo,” Wei explains, “I do not imitate designs.”
We prefers that her clients specify the proportions in inches rather than specifying whether they want their tattoo to be tiny, medium, or large. But don’t worry about being precise. Both the size and the location can be estimated. “[Both] can be modified afterward,” says tattoo artist Hannah Kang of New York City. Read more