Friday, February 26, 2010

13 Tips When Getting a Tattoo

So, my adventures in tattooing continued last night when I had this turned into this:

(Ignore the red marks, that is the remnants of Sharpie used in the sketching process.)

As I have spent a lot of time consumed with this artwork the past few weeks, I though I might impart some sage advice on you all. Here are my top tips to consider before you go under the needle:

1. It hurts. A lot. Anyone who says otherwise is a big, fat liar. Your skin is being punctured thousands of times per minute with needles. See that red: That is blood. You are purposely causing injury to yourself. Keep that in mind

2. Eat. Going to get a tattoo on an empty stomach is not a good idea. You might get faint, and that will only be exacerbated by having an empty stomach. Also, bring a small snack and a bottle of water with you. You may need a break to get your blood flowing again.

3. Don't get any major tattoo work until at least the age of 25. Ask anyone you know how they feel about the tattoo they got at age 18- and 9 out of 10 are less than enthused. We are not the same people at age 30 that we were at 18 (thank God) Take it from someone who knows (remember the belly tattoo I got that was so cute on my 17 year old washboard abs... not so much after 3 pregnancies... just saying.)

4. Names are almost never appropriate. Unless it's a mother or a child's name, for all that is holy, Don't Do It! We all want to live in Never never land where we find our soul mate at age 20... but you'll be kissing a lot of frogs.

5. A short list of unacceptable tattoos... any Disney character, any depiction of or reference to drugs or alcohol, unicorns, roses or hearts with daggers.

6. Imagine your mom with the tattoo you want. If you recoil in horror- think how your children (or future children) will feel.

7. Try to avoid red, especially if you are sensitive. It might have nickel in it, which will cause a reaction in most people.

8. Do not go to a tattoo artist with an exact piece of art that you want a duplicate of. They are called artists for a reason and you need to let them do their magic. Give them an idea of what you want and let them create your own personal art piece. If you want them to recreate something exactly as you have it in your mind, you will never be satisfied. (The exception to this is a portrait tattoo, which takes a phenomenal tattoo artist to complete.)

9. The biggest reason you need to choose a tattoo artist is references (which also includes seeing their artwork in person.) You should never EVER stop into a tattoo shop off the street and get a tattoo from someone who's work you have never seen. Even photos they have on hand are not proof that they will create the art you want to carry around for the next 50 years.

10. In getting references and checking their work, make sure that you are looking at a piece with the same feel as what you are going for. They might be adept at skulls and wizards, but not at all comfortable with butterflies and feminine swirls. When a wonderful friend of mine got this tattoo
I asked her immediately who the artist was because I knew he had the feminine touch I was looking for.

11. Unless you are in a gang, Old English is rarely the font you want on your tattoo.

12. No face tattoos. Period.

13. Avoid tattooing any place on your body that might get fat/develop cellulite/ grow muffintops... yes, I know this severely limits the available places we can place artwork but if you have ever seen a droopy boob/cottage cheese thigh/post-baby belly tattoo- then you know exactly what I am talking about (see where the wrist tattoo works well?)

That's is my quick list. DO you have any others that I may add?

(Thank you for my birthday tattoo, Momma!)


  1. That is some sage advice! I got my tattoo too young and am now contemplating how I can make it into something I love. I will not do it again until i know for sure! People should stay away from yellow too. It doens't look so hot on the skin after a while!

  2. Last comment was me. Ugh, i hate when I do that!

  3. I agree that it hurts like crazy, but know people I trust who swear it was just an "annoying" sensation. Glad you pointed out the importance of choosing a stretch-free zone. Knock the tramp stamp all you want, but I swear it's the only part of me that did not contort beyond recognition during pregnancy. And contrary to what my mom tried to scare me with, I was able to get an epidural right through it twice (without messing up the design, though I wouldn't have cared at that point in time).

  4. Ooooh, such good advice (And I love the update to your tat!) I have 3 tattoos. All on my feet. I'm a corporate type and hiding them is fun for me. That said - every one of them was a "walk in" type of place. In the end, I'm happy. If I were to become an addict (I can *so* see that) I'm quite sure I'd have A Tat Artist, just like A Hair Stylist!

  5. Come on now, I have a disney characture. I think it needs to be redone because I got when I was 18.

  6. HEY!! That's my arm on your blog! I sent this to my friend, Rachel, who just got her first tattoo at 34 and is still in a little shock about it all.

  7. Your tattoo is stunning- very few can get away with words that look cool and are placed right and the butterflies just amp it up!

    I have 2 tattoos and adore them, but funny, they didn't go on as easily as the stick on types!

  8. Hey, daggers with roses and/or hearts can be cool, they might be cheesy to some but definitely better than barb-wires!

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