Path to Permanence is a series where we go over the birds and the bees for getting your first tattoo. Part 1 covers what to do pre-appointment, Part 2 gives you a run down of the day-of, and Part 3 chats about caring for your new ink.
So, you want to get a tattoo.
Whether you've tested out your own creation on our custom platform, or just fell in love with one of our pre-made designs, maybe you’re ready to get the real deal now. So how do you go about getting started? Considering that you’re putting something on your body for the rest of your life, you want to go about this process thoughtfully. We’ve put together some guidelines so you walk away from your first tattoo experience with NO RAGRETS.
1) Find your artist
Whether it consists of some Googling, or scrolling through Instagram for tattoo artists near you, the internet and social media is a good place to turn to when looking for someone to tatt you up. Find someone who suits what you’re looking for, whether it’s minimalism, fine lines, or super realistic imagery. It’s common practice nowadays for artists to link to their booking and announce their availability on Instagram too. Or go the old fashioned route and ask a friend! Direct recommendations from a pal can help you get an idea of their experience with an artist.
2) Slide into their inbox
Nowadays, email is often the first line of contact, so make sure you’re as detailed as you can be with regards to what you have in mind. Attach any pictures, inspiration, placement ideas, etc. all in one email. Having your ideas in one place makes it much easier for the artist to refer back to. Try to give your tattooist a little creative freedom when they’re designing the tattoo. After all, this is their profession, and they might create something even better than what you had pictured. Even though you might be reaching out to an artist because you’ve seen their work while scrolling through Instagram, be aware that a lot of artists won’t give the same tattoo twice. If you want an exact duplicate of something they’ve already given someone else, don’t get your hopes too high and stay open-minded.
If you didn’t communicate over email prior to the consultation, bring all of your reference materials with you to the consultation. Literally anything at all that you want to show, to help the artist have as clear of an understanding as possible about your vision. During the consultation, remember to be open about the placement. Your tattoo artist will know best about whether some tattoos work or don’t work in certain spots. They’re the pros - listen to them and heed their advice. It’s also common that artists ask for a deposit, after all, they are booking aside time just for you, and a deposit helps ensure you don’t bail. Don’t worry though, the cost of the deposit comes off the total at the end of the appointment.
4) Ask questions
One last thing before your appointment, ASK QUESTIONS. There is no such thing as a stupid question. If you know absolutely everything that you want to before you get inked, you’ll feel that much more relaxed and pumped for the real thing. However, with regards to pain level it’s difficult to answer these questions. For your first tattoo, you have nothing to compare the pain/feeling against. Also, everyone has different thresholds for pain and how they react to it. Nonetheless, you can assume it doesn’t hurt THAT bad because there’s so many people that do it. After all, there’s 21,000 tattoo parlours in the US alone, that’s 7,000 more locations than McDonalds. Even if it hurts in the moment, people seem to love tattoos.
Stay tuned for Part 2 on the Path to Permanence for what to do on the day of your ink appointment.
- Deborah Oomen