Happy Tuesday, everyone!
As a person with many tattoos, about 15 and counting… I get asked a lot about getting art work done. Friends and family want to know where to go, how to find a good artist and what to expect. Over the years I’ve had a lot of experiences getting art work done and when I first began I made a lot of mistakes in choosing how I went about it. I just wanted to share my thoughts and ideas about the process and give a few tips to those who are looking into getting tattooed, or are just starting out.
Before you get tattooed do a lot of research!
My first tattoo happened when I was 17 and I had no parental consent so I made a horrible decision and went to get my work done from someone in their apartment. Thinking back now, I don’t even remember who introduced me to this guy and now after having great professional work done I see how completely stupid I was for letting this guy work on me. However, don’t get me wrong, I do see an artist now who previously owned his own shop but now works from home and does AMAZING work but 90% of the time, it is a very bad idea to go this route. When looking for a reputable artist, be sure to look into some information about him or her and don’t be afraid to ask them any questions you may have if you meet them before hand. The apartment guy who did my first tattoos completely scarred me and I had to end up getting them covered as a result.
Here is a list of questions you may want to ask your possible new artist:
1. How long have you been doing this? How did you start?
2. Tell me about your cleaning procedures and your equipment? Do you use new needles every time? Do you use an autoclave for other parts of your equipment? (an autoclave is a cleaning machine that uses very high temps to kill germs)
3. Do you have a portfolio I can take a look at?
When I had first visited a shop I felt almost stupid for asking these types of questions, but remember that it is YOUR body that they are doing permanent work on. If they are rude about it, then they don’t deserve your money anyway. Also, when looking at their portfolio make sure you like the type of style they have, most artists can switch it up from realistic to traditional but not all of them. Look at the quality of the line work and how even the colors are. These are all things that make a great artist.
Right before getting tattooed, make sure you have something in your stomach and bring water. Once I was getting my back tattoo finished and hadn’t had any food for the day yet.Although the pain wasn’t horrible I ended up crying and shaking due to low blood sugar and I had to stop. Also do not take any drugs, legal or not, before getting worked on. It can only cause problems while you are there like causing you to bleed more that usual. Also, if you want someone to come and support you only bring one close friend. You don’t need a posse in there crowding the artist and trust me, they won’t appreciate it. When trying on the stencils, be sure you love every little part on it. If you don’t, don’t feel bad asking them to change it. They are used to it and can do it pretty quickly. Also, bring some headphones to listen to music and zone out if you will be sitting for a long session.
When you are finished, listen to the care instructions he or she gives you. Write them down if you need to. The after care is very important because it affects how well the color will hold and if done right you will heal faster. Some tips about healing:
1. Thank your artist, and be sure to tip on top of it. They have to pay their shop fees just for sitting in their area on top of the costs of supplies. Tattoos can be expensive, and in the world of body art, it is worth it. Cheap prices equal cheap work that you are stuck with for the rest of your life.
2.Keep your tattoo covered for a few extra hours after it is finished. Then wash it with antibacterial scentless soap. Get the blood off of it and cover it with the given or advised cream. I really like using aquaphor but after a few days it did give me a rash so I switched to A&D.
3. Do not EVER pick your tattoo or touch or let anyone else tough it unless you are cleaning it. I know they get terribly itchy, but doing so can scar the area and pull the ink out. You can also cause an infection from hand and nail germs and this will lengthen your tattoo’s quality and its healing time.
These is just a quick run down of advice I give to those who ask for it. Getting tattooed is a fun and thrilling experience!
I often get stopped by strangers so they can get a closer work at my art and I am cool with it because the work is good and I am very proud of it. All in all, do your research and reap the benefits of some really great art. Share your horror stories or great experiences with me below!
If you have any other questions or something to add that I did not share, feel free to comment! Thank you and happy tattooing!