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November 27, 2012
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Tattoo's: My Experience and Advice

:iconsoapeyy:
soapeyy Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012
So. This is totally my first post on the forum, so hello. ^_^

For a long, long time I was against tattoos. I would always say "they last forever, and if they are bad, you'll be really pissed." Stuff like that.

I decided to take the plunge and get a tattoo and I just wanted to post my thoughts, advice, and experience with getting a tattoo for those who may be interested. I encourage any input or questions from other members. :)

So, without further ado, let me begin.

WHY SHOULD YOU GET A TATTOO?/WHY DID I GET A TATTOO?

I have always loved art. Be it drawing, etc. And I have a lot of experiences and memories from when I lived overseas in Asia for over a year. I recently came back to the USA, and really wanted a good way to always remind myself of the experiences I had over there, because they truly were some of the best times of my life. After several weeks of thinking and drawing different potential tattoo designs, I decided on a koi fish with the countries I lived in and really enjoyed written around it in Kanji. I am decent at speaking Japanese, but writing was a whole different story. For that, I just asked one of my Japanese friends to help me out with the correct spelling. I got the tattoo, and I couldn't be happier. So, if you want to get a tattoo, I would say you should get it if the tattoo means something to you or is a reminder of good times. I got the koi and mine symbolizes to me that I have overcome many hardships in my short life (I am only 20, but have been through a lot and experienced a lot in my life. Not to say that I have had it hard, but it hasn't been as easy as others). To get a tattoo meant something to me, and knowing that this will most likely be on my body for the rest of my life really required me to put a lot of thought and effort into my design.

WHY SHOULDN'T YOU GET A TATTOO?

Well, it does stay on your body for the rest of your life. If you are going to get one, make sure you really think about it and are sure that you will be happy about it. You really shouldn't get a tattoo just to have one, or because you think they are cool and you want to fit it. You should get it because it is one of the most intimate forms of personal art you can get.

WHERE SHOULD YOU GET A TATTOO? (Placement, and artist)

I got my tattoo on my upper left arm. I chose that spot because it can easily be hidden with a t-shirt, plus I had to think about my job (hospital) and I didn't want it to be prominently displayed on my arm. My scrubs cover it perfectly, and the only time it can be seen if if I pull up the sleeves. Don't get me wrong, you can get a tattoo anywhere you want, but you really want to consider what people will see all the time. Only time mine really shows is when I hit up the beach, or wear shorter sleeves because I feel like having it seen. :) For future tattoos, I will probably get them where they can be easily covered up such as the other upper arm, etc. You can get your tattoo wherever you want, even your forhead, but remember that there is still a certain stigma about tattoos in the workplace, within families, etc. Your family might love your tattoo, but you girlfriends/boyfriends may not.

As for the artist, look around. I mean REALLY look around. Make sure you find a place that is clean, professional, with good reviews. I went to a place that my co-worker went to because I have seen her tattoo's and she suggested them. They did great work and I was really happy with it. Make sure you see that artists work before starting the tattoo so you know the quality of the artist.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? SHOULD I TIP?

Before worrying about the cost of a tattoo, remember that a cheap tattoo in never good, and good tattoos are never cheap. If you are worried about the cost, just let the tattoo artist know ahead of time, and they are probably more then likely to work with you. I went in and told the guy my max for the tattoo, and he quoted me a good price. He really helped me out with the price, and since the tattoo was fantastic, I gave a nice tip. My tattoo cost $100 (it's roughly 3x3 with full color and moderate detail, and I got a discount for being referred) and since he did a great job and it looks exactly how I wanted it to, I tipped him $45...) That's a 45% tip ;D I definitely feel that this rewards the artist for the work they put into it, and creates a relationship so in the future you may be able to get discounted tattoos. Of course, if I was to get a $1000 tattoo, I would not tip 45%. Tip them what you feel they deserve based on how much you can afford, and how much you like it.

DOES IT HURT?

Yes. It was not as bad as I thought though. Of course, the upper arm is a spot that is not supposed to hurt as much as others. I cannot really describe the feeling, but it reminded me of being scratched by a cat and imagine the claw going up and down really, really fast. To be honest, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The outline hurt more then the coloring did. I know that some of the most painful spots tend to be the ribs, or places really close to bone or nerves.

WHAT SHOULD I GET?

Get something that means something to you. In my opinion, if you are a good artist, draw your own design so that you are happy with it. Bring it to the artist, and ask them what they think of it. If you are a terrible artist, commission somebody to draw you a tattoo, or ask the artist to. As for the design, the possibilities are endless. You can get oriental, realistic, cartoon, and anything else that you want.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I GET THE TATTOO?

LEAVE IT ALONE. Only put moisturizer on it, and keep it clean. All shops will give you an aftercare guide. Mine really began to itch, but I left it alone. If you scratch it, you can mess up the coloring etc. I was lucky that mine didn't peel to much, and my skin really holds colors well. Mine was completely healed within 2 weeks.

ANYTHING ELSE?

When you get a tattoo, you join a whole new demographic of people. Those with tattoos, and those without. It's a nice feeling knowing that you have something unique on your body, and that it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Do not go into a shop to get a tattoo just for shiggles. Also, don't do it while you are drunk or high. Be in a sound state of mind, and make sure you are prepared.

Don't eat too much, and try to go to the bathroom before you begin the session.

Once you start, you are not stopping. Ink is pretty much permanent (there are removal methods, but they tend to be expensive) so even if the pain is a lot, try to make it through no matter what. You don't want have a dragon on your back.

Hopefully I helped answer some questions for people considering getting a tattoo. :)

For those of you who already have them, any other suggestions or advice?
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Devious Comments

:iconpink-anthony:
pink-anthony Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The only thing I'd add is make sure you really think about what you want before you get it, and talk to your artist to figure out the best way to place and design the tattoo. Don't just jump into it because you want a tattoo. I was planning my first since I was 15 and only got it when I was nearly 21.
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