18 Things All Tattoo Virgins Need To Know

Xavier in Guides

Here are some of the things you need to know if your skin have never had a taste of ink.

Tattoo by Philip Yarnell
Tattoo by Philip Yarnell

1. You don't necessarily have to start small. Not everybody has the same pain tolerance. People, especially those who have never even had a tattoo, will tell you to start small. By small, they mean little symbols that are barely an inch big. We're not advising you to go ahead and get a massive chest tattoo in one sitting—not that it's possible. But if you're planning to get your first tattoo on fleshy areas (i.e. thigh, arm, stomach), you can at least go big as long as it's a design that can be possible in 4 hours, more or less.

VK be aware that you can't be exposed to sun so don't go on holidays
VK be aware that you can't be exposed to sun so don't go on holidays

2. Timing is important. Don't conveniently book a tattoo appointment when you know you'll be going on a trip to a tropical place soon after. It's not worth showing off your new tattoos fresh off the shop because it will most likely be all scabby and itchy, keeping you from enjoying the trip. Besides, you have to spend the whole stay in the hotel because you can't expose your skin to harsh sunlight, salt water, let alone put on sunblock.

Courtesy of Brooklyn Ink
Courtesy of Brooklyn Ink

3. No such thing as bargain in tattoos. Good tattoos won't come cheap. Cheap tattoos won't look good. You don't ask for 20% off in the grocery for being on time, do you? That's how degrading it is to ask your tattoo artist for a discount, especially when you've never even met before. I don't even have it in me to ask a tattoo artist friend for a discount unless they offer.

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Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.

4. Getting a tattoo of your pet is at least 3x better than getting a tattoo of your lover. Take it from us, there may be nothing like the woman you love sleeping on the other side of the bed but there's also nothing like the unspoken love your dog gives you when you need it the most—nor the feeling of holding a kitten the size of your palm. At least you won't feel so bad once these little guys start screwing the bitches next door.

tattoodo
tattoodo

5. Get your own design, for crying out loud. Any self-respecting tattoo artist won't just copy somebody else's design. “I think anybody who intentionally got somebody else's tattoo on them deserve to be the original tattoo owner's slave in the afterlife,” comments one tattoo enthusiast. “Getting somebody else's tattoo is a sacrilege, so to speak because the person and the artist spent time making that tattoo as personal to both of them as possible and somebody just barges in and decides that you want the same tattoo on you. That's just wrong.”

Here at Tattoodo, we offer custom design services—with over thousands of artists signed in and hundreds active, ready to take on your tattoo challenge. 6. Sleep on it. For at least a year. You're most likely to keep an idea you've held on for a year your whole life. Since some tattoo appointments can go on for over six months, spend at least six months before booking with him or her consulting others and experts regarding tattoo placement, styles, and the design in general.

7. The more freedom you give your artist, the better your tattoo will likely turn out. With tattoo artists like Jay Freestyle and Chaim Machlev, people go to them solely for their style. You don't give them a print out and say, “I want something exactly like that.” If it were us, we'd politely ask you to get lost. And even when you want a specific design, a good tattoo artist will be able to come up with a tattoo you want without losing his art style in it. You can't ask a tattoo artist to replicate a certain tattoo artist's style because that's not entirely possible. You may get something that looks good enough, but it will always be a tattoo counterfeit.

Besides, many tattoo artist share that the projects in which their clients give them the most freedom were not only the ones they enjoyed the most but also the ones in which their clients felt the most satisfied with their tattoos. 8. Book at least six months in advance. This is something you must keep in mind, especially when you're going for a sought-after tattoo artist to devirginise your skin. Some of the best tattoo artists you can get these days have a standard booking time of  3-6 months. So if you plan on giving yourself a tattoo for a Christmas present, make sure you're all set halfway into the end of the year.

9. Pain is temporary, placement is permanent. This is something most people neglect. They skip spots like the ribs, collar bones, and such, limiting their tattoos because they're afraid of the pain. We see that, but if you're settling for second best places on what could have been better tattoos, you seriously have to re-think it over and re-consider.

scabbing happens
scabbing happens

10. There will be minor scabbing. Don't panic once you see some scabs over your tattoo. It's perfectly normal. Be nervous once it begins showing signs of discharge. See a doctor when this happens. And with scabs, there will be itching. Like any wound, try not to pick on the scabs and press a cool, clean, damp cloth over the itching and keep it as clean as possible throughout the healing period.

be in a healthy condition
be in a healthy condition

11. Eat a full meal before getting under the machine. In addition to sleeping at least a 7-hour sleep the night before, make sure you eat a full meal and are well-hydrated before you get tattooed, especially when you know you're going to be stuck in an odd position for at least a couple hours. This will prevent you from feeling lightheaded and faint.

let the artist be aware of the tickle spots
let the artist be aware of the tickle spots

12. Let the artist know beforehand where your tickle spots are. Getting tattooed is an intimate experience. Might as well make the most of it by letting your artist know which spots give you the twitch and giggles.

there shouldn't be a rain of blood
there shouldn't be a rain of blood

13. Blood shouldn't necessarily be spurting. It's a tattoo, not a damn surgery.

each tattoo varies
each tattoo varies

14. The best you can hope for is to get all your outlines done in a session. Once you decide on getting a large piece for your first tattoo, also keep in mind that large is a relative word. You can't just ask for a full back piece even in a six-hour session.

15. Spellcheck. This is elementary but many keep making the same mistakes of not spending a mere five minutes googling whatever phrase they want on their body. What's a few minutes compared to the lifetime you'll spend with a bad tattoo? Nobody wants to end up in the “failed tattoos” section.

be sure of what is written on your skin
be sure of what is written on your skin

16. If you must get a tattoo in another language, make sure it means what you think it means. Unless you'd rather end up shopping at Target and having an Asian guy come up to you, asking why you got noodle ingredients tattooed on the back of your leg. You can't just say you simply love ramen.

17. Don't put any ointment near your skin that your tattoo artist did not recommend. Keep your allergies in check before purchasing any over-the-counter ointment or cream your tattoo artist did not recommend. Make sure you also consult a dermatologist once you see any signs of allergy or irritation.

the tattoo artist knows better than you
the tattoo artist knows better than you

18. Watching Ink Masters or NY Ink doesn't automatically make you a tattoo expert. Enough said.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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