Things To Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

Tattoos are a big commitment, and unless you decide to go down the painful route of laser removal they’re permanently a part of your body and will remain there for the rest of your life. I’ve known that I wanted tattoos since I was about 15, and had my first one planned almost two years in advance before I actually got it done. I think planning and consideration are extremely important when you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, so here are a couple of thinks you should do before getting inked. 191

  1. Make sure you don’t get sick of the design

When you decide on a design, my advice would be to wait at least six months before you get it tattooed. During this time, I’d suggest putting the design as your wallpaper on your phone – that way you’ll see it every day, as you would if it was on your body, and hopefully you won’t get sick of it. If after the six months, you’re still as madly in love with the design as you were at the start, move onto step two. 190

  1. Find an artist that specialises in the type of tattoo you want

You could go to one of the most amazing tattoo artists in the world, but if you want a watercolour tattoo and they specialise in dot work, you’re going to be disappointed with the outcome. Use Instagram and Facebook to research different artists and look through pictures of their recent work. When I was getting my first tattoo I had my heart set on getting it done by Paul O’Rourke, but I was still a little unsure. Once I saw Steve Savage’s portfolio and his talent for script tattoos, I knew straight away that I wanted it done by him. It might take months of searching, but it’ll be worth it once you have a tattoo that you’re 100% happy with.

  1. Don’t ask for too many people’s advice on your design

204At the end of the day it’s your body and your tattoo, and getting too many varying opinions from your friends and family could leave you feeling a little unsure about something you once had your heart set on. Even when it comes to friends who also have tattoos, everyone’s taste is different and at the end of the day you’re getting a tattoo for yourself and not for anyone else. With my tattoo’s I only showed a handful of people before getting them done, because I didn’t want to be swayed by the opinion of other’s for something that I did for myself. 117

  1. Price

Cheap tattoos aren’t good, and good tattoos aren’t cheap. When you tell people how much your tattoo cost, you’ll be sure to hear at least once, “My cousin is a tattoo artist, but he does them at home and only charges like €50 for a sleeve.” Yes, it can be off-putting when the tattoo that you want costs more than a month’s rent, but remember that you’re paying for somebody to permanently alter your body. If you want it to look good, you’re going to have to pay good money. I was lucky in that both my tattoos were done by artists that were within my price range, but unfortunately this doesn’t always happen.

  1. Placement

118People bang on and on about job opportunities when you have tattoos, but realistically if it’s in a spot that you can hide you’re pretty much covered when it comes to work (pun intended). My tattoos are on my thigh and calf, something that can easily be covered with trousers or tights for work purposes. There is a certain amount of judgement associated with tattoos, so if you’re conscious of other people’s opinions (which I’m not), don’t get them on places that are impossible to cover like your neck or hands. If you want to cover it badly enough you’ll find a way to, so don’t let that sway your placement decision too much. Your artist can also help you when it comes to deciding on this.

  1. Listen to your artists advice

During your consultation, your artist will talk you through how they’ll make your design look the best it can, and I’d advise listening to them. They’re the professionals at the end of the day, and they know what they’re talking about. Usually, they’ll change up your design a little bit and more often than not it’s for a good reason. For example, with my first tattoo I had intended for there to be six flowers but we decided on three instead so as not to distract from the quote, which was the most important element of the tattoo. With my second tattoo, there’s a lot of line work. I was advised to get it done in grey as opposed to black because over time when it blurs a little bit, it will just look like shading as opposed to an aged tattoo. Remember, they want your tattoo to look as good as possible for their portfolio too. 120

  1. Timing

This is something that I didn’t consider when I got my first tattoo, and let me tell you that getting a thigh tattoo in winter is not fun. It’s a pain in the ass putting cream on your tattoo three times a day and then having to rush out to lectures with your trousers stuck to your leg, it feels rotten. If you’re going to get a tattoo that requires wearing summer clothing, get it in the summer time.

  1. SPELLCHECK

If you’re getting words tattooed on your body, check 20 times that it’s spelled correctly on the stencil before the tattoo starts. My artist made me spell out “What will be, will be” about five times before he started the tattooing process, something that I’d encourage you all to do. The last thing that you want is to be left with a “no ragrets” type tattoo.

  1. You will be questioned

119People are always intrigued by tattoos, they’re exotic and wonderful and very cool. Expect to get a lot of “what does that mean?” and “no but what does it REALLY mean?” Eventually you’ll learn the right way to answer these questions. If you plan on showcasing your tattoos on social media sites, prepare for a little weirdness. I went out about a week ago and a guy came up to me and shouted, “I saw your tattoo on Instagram!” and proceeded to pull up my skirt to reveal my thigh tattoo. Weird as hell.

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“I’m scared to get my tongue pierced” – Tongue Piercing FAQ

My tongue is probably the piercing that I get questioned the most about, because it’s so popular amongst teenagers, as well as the fact that it’s so visible on my face. So I decided to compile a list of the FAQ’s for those of you who are also considering getting it done:tongue piercing

  1. How much did it hurt?

Contrary to belief, not a lot. I’ve had 11 piercings and this was definitely the one that I was most apprehensive about getting done, I put it off for a few months before I finally gathered up the courage to do it. What scared me the most was my friend, who has a three-year-old son, telling me “I’d rather relive childbirth than go through the pain of getting my tongue pierced again.” But for me it was a weird experience, I could feel the needle going through my tongue but it wasn’t painful. I’d probably give it a 2/5.

  1. Was it expensive?

Mine cost either €40 or €50 and I got it done in Living Art Tattoo and Piercing Studio, Limerick. It’s a fairly standard price for a tongue piercing, you can get it done for cheaper but I’m glad I went with the higher price because I had no problems with healing.

  1. Could you eat afterwards?

tongue piercing 2I was eating chips an hour after I got my tongue pierced so yes, I could eat afterwards. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be able to so that I might lose a few pounds but no, eating wasn’t a problem for me.

  1. Did it swell up?

A small bit, but as I said, not enough to stop me eating. It did swell up after I decided to drink alcohol two days afterwards though, which was a very bad decision and my tongue was in pain from there on out.

  1. What helps with the pain?

Sucking on ice cubes numbs your tongue a little bit, and anti-inflammatory tablets are a must.

  1. Did you talk funny?

I couldn’t talk at all for the first few hours, I sounded like such an idiot. I had a lisp but it went after like a day when I got used to the bar being in my mouth.

  1. How long does it take to heal?

After three weeks, I went back to my piercer and had the bar changed to a shorter one. By then, it was almost fully healed and the swelling had mostly gone down.tongue piercing 3

  1. Is it weird to eat/kiss?

It was hard to get used to eating with it, but it’s fine now. Kissing however, is something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to with this bar wedged in my tongue. It’s just… weird.

  1. Does it damage your teeth?

As long as you don’t play with it, your teeth will be fine. Actually, I always play with mine and haven’t done any damage yet touch wood. If you’re very worried about damaging your teeth you can use a plastic ball instead of the metal ones, that way if you bite down on it you’ll break the ball instead of your teeth.

  1. Is it easy to hide?

No, my Mum noticed it the day I got home from college. But I have a clear bar that I bought for job interviews and work if necessary, and when I wear it you can’t tell that I have it pierced at all. If you’re looking to get a piercing that you can hide from your parents, I wouldn’t recommend your tongue.

If you’re thinking about getting your tongue pierced but like me, are too chicken to do it and keep putting it off, my advice is to just go for it. It’s worth the pain because it looks so cute afterwards, just try not to be one of those people that sticks out their tongue in every single picture. So not cool.

If you have any more questions, feel free to drop me a message on Facebook, and here are the links to my other piercing FAQ posts:

https://liesandbowties.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/septum-piercing-faq/

https://liesandbowties.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/piercing-faq-nose/

What Not To Say To a Tattooed Person

I understand that to some degree, people are curious about tattoos. They’re pretty cool, and some people see them as an exotic thing and are completely enthralled by them. I don’t mind people asking questions about my tattoos, for example: Did it hurt? Do you want any more? How did you decide on what to get? Or just asking for my advice on tattoos they have planned for the future. I love discussing tattoos, and I’m extremely proud of mine. But one thing I cannot stand is people who are downright rude and ignorant towards my body and choices. I got a lot of this just from having facial piercings, but since I started with my tattoos, the insults have gone on to a whole new level. So I’m here to warn and advise, of what not to say to a tattooed person.tattoo 6

  1. What does it mean?

This is a question that you have to be prepared to answer when you have tattoos, and I’m totally okay with that because both of my tattoos have an underlying meaning. But when people continue to quiz me with “yeah, but what does that mean?” after I’ve given a brief description that makes it obvious that I don’t want to be any more descriptive, it can get a little annoying. If I wanted you to know the full story behind the meaning, you’d know it.

  1. You looked prettier without that

Did I? Cool. I think that I look better with it, and it makes me feel better about my physical appearance and therefore it improves my confidence and my overall wellbeing. So do I care about your opinion? Nope.

  1. How will you get a job?

This is the question that baffles me the most, because my tattoos are on my legs. How will I get a job? Oh God, I don’t know… Maybe by going for an interview, possibly wearing a pair of trousers? I’m pretty sure that as a Journalist I won’t be applying for any jobs that require me to wear hotpants, and even if I did, there are these things out there called black tights.tattoo 3

  1. How will you look on your wedding day?

Like any other bride, in a long white dress and maybe wearing a veil. Unless I’m in the hotpants that I’ll be wearing for work of course. I’m going to look as beautiful as any other bride would be, and anyone who bases my beauty on the ink on my won’t be invited to my wedding anyways. Simple as that.

  1. What will other people think?

This is the question that annoys me the most. I do not base how I look on the opinions of others, I dress the way I want to and pierce what I want to and tattoo what I want to because it makes me happy with myself, and that’s all I care about. If somebody looks at me and says “I don’t like her because she has a tattoo” does it make a difference to my life? No, it doesn’t. All I’d base on an opinion like that is the fact that I don’t want to associate with this narrow-minded person, ever.

  1. Why would you ruin your body like that?

Lets just take a minute to break down how offensive this question is. Imagine if a friend of mine changed their hair colour or lost some weight, and I said to them “Why would you ruin your body like that?” Not acceptable, right? So why is it acceptable to say that to a tattooed person? It’s rude and it’s hurtful, especially when you don’t know what somebodies tattoos could mean to them. To accuse me of “ruining” my body is essentially telling me that I look awful, which in my eyes is just unacceptable.

  1. What will you look like when you get old?

Like an old person. Wrinkly, with grey hair. I’ll look old. But I’ll just have a little bit of colour on my legs (which I plan on still showing off in my hotpants for work, by the way).tattoo 5

Out of all of the “that’s disgusting” remarks and rude questions that I’ve been asked, I’m happy to say that I’m still very much in love with my tattoos. They’re a part of my body that I’m delighted with and I’m proud of, and if you don’t like them then… I guess you should just be glad you don’t have any, right?

My First Tattoo Experience

From the outside looking in, I’m well aware that I don’t exactly look like a girl who’d be a fan of body modification. I’m just your average girl, small and blonde and relatively plain. But one thing that sets me apart from others, something that makes me feel like me, is my wide array of piercings. Over my life I’ve had 12 different piercings, some of which I’ve taken out, but they never fail to make me feel a little better about myself. Associated with piercings are tattoos, and it was only a matter of time before I went from one addiction to the next.

I’ve known that I wanted a tattoo since I was 16, and have had the same design in mind since then. I knew I wanted to incorporate a specific type of flower with a quote, and had been searching the internet for ideas for a couple of months. Eventually I found what I was looking for, but I was only 17 at the time and I wanted to make sure that I was 100% certain I wanted the tattoo before permanently placing it on my skin.

Once I had enough money saved up, I began researching different tattoo artists. I checked out around 10 different artists in tattoo studios in Dublin, Limerick and Galway, looking for somebody whose floral designs that I liked, as well as being pretty good at shading. The last artist I looked at was Steve Savage from Hard Knox tattoo studio here in Limerick City, and when I saw his portfolio I knew instantly that I wanted to be tattooed by him.

190After a friend of mine was tattooed by him, I finally bit the bullet and booked a date for a tattoo of my own on the 4th of February 2015. It was the night before and I was extremely nervous, I was told it would take approximately an hour and this seemed like a long time for my first tattoo. However I was reassured by users on Instagram that a thigh tattoo really wasn’t that bad, and seeing that I don’t exactly have the boniest of legs I wasn’t so worried.

The day had finally arrived and I stocked up on sugary drinks and chocolate to keep me going, afraid that I might faint in the middle of it. When I got to the studio I had so much nervous energy I was practically bouncing off the walls, but took a few breaths and calmed down before he got started. The buzzing of the machine started and I froze, suddenly fearful for my poor thigh. But the tattooing process started and I was in complete shock, it didn’t hurt at all! It felt like a scratch or a pinch dragging along my leg, and I was amazed at the lack of pain I was in.191

Because my tattoo has script, colour and shading, different needles were used. A lot of people say that the shading is the worst part, but I didn’t really find it bad at all. In total it took an hour and 45 minutes, and only started to hurt in the last five minutes when he was finishing up the colour. One of the best decisions I made was to bring a friend with me, Holly wasn’t afraid of needles so she helped to keep me calm while informing me of how much was left to go. I didn’t want to look in case I freaked out!

When it was finally finished I jumped up and looked in the mirror, instantly falling in love with my tattoo. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined, and the minimal amount of pain that I experienced was so worth it. I was given aftercare instructions and Steve covered the tattoo, then it was off to reward myself with some McDonalds.

I was pleasantly surprised with my first tattoo experience, and will definitely be getting more in the future. Body modification makes me feel more confident about myself, and although piercings and tattoos are an expensive addiction it’s better than being addicted to something illegal I guess. I’m already thinking of my future tattoos, and would love to have work done by Paul O’Rourke (AllStar Ink, Limerick) and Isnard Barbosa (Dublin Ink) someday.

Tattoos and piercings might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re what make me different, what make me feel like myself, and I’m more than happy with that.

See links below for the Facebook pages of the tattoo studio’s mention:

Hard Knox: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hard-Knox-Tattoo/101660519872970

AllStar Ink: https://www.facebook.com/allstarinktattoos

Dublin Ink: https://www.facebook.com/dublininktattoo

Here’s the finished product!

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