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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t ask for too many people’s advice on your design
At 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.
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.
People 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- You will be questioned
People 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.