9 Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo for the First Time

Your first tattoo; getting a tattoo is equal parts exciting and intimidating!

A good tattoo artist appreciates an educated first-timer (and people who don’t squirm). So don’t go in clueless to your first tattoo.

We’ve outlined some things to consider before getting you one that’ll make you look like a pro.

1. Let the Artist Be an Artist

One of the most fantastic things about getting a tattoo is that it is a piece of art on a walking canvas- your body!

If it is time for your first tattoo, you may be eager to pick an exact design and run into the closest tattoo shop to see if there are any openings that day.

Here is one of our first tattoo tips: don’t do that.

The tattoo artist is precisely that, an artist!

You should have a general design and idea of what you want, but leave the art to the professionals. The artists get excited and into pieces when they are original and feel like they get to make some art.

We should be clear here. You are still designing your tattoo. Come in with a few examples of what you want and see if anyone in your local shop does that work. If you don’t like it, don’t put it on your body.

2. Reputation Matters

The reputation of the tattoo shops matter. While most places should be up to code, you want to know what you’re walking into.

Specific hygiene standards that you’ll want to look for, but you’ll also want to get an idea of the level of quality and types of tattoos the tattoo parlor provides.

And it isn’t just the shop’s reputation that you should consider, but the artist that will be designing and tattooing you as well.

3. Style of the Tattoo

When considering the design of your tattoo and when choosing your artist, you’ll want to find shops that work in your style.

Several styles exist on the scene; traditional, realism, and watercolor, to name a few. You don’t necessarily want a traditional artist to do your watercolor tattoo.

Familiarize yourself with the types and specialties of the local shops. This is another thing to consider when getting your first one.

4. Getting a Tattoo is Costly

Before you get yours, you’ll want to consider the costs. Almost every shop has a minimum price; more colors, detail, and size usually mean a higher tattoo cost.

While your artist is sketching up a tattoo, they should be able to give you a cost estimate. Remember, don’t sign up for the one you can’t afford. It is appropriate and customary to tip 20%.

5. Placement and Size

Placement of it is super essential to presenting the aesthetic and design. For example, if your tattoo is going on your ankle vs. your arm, the artist will likely shape it differently.

Another critical aspect of placement is how quickly it will fade. A tattoo on your hands and feet will fade quicker than in other spots. It may get a bit dry too.

Ask your artist for their recommendations on maintaining your tattoo if you’re concerned about fading.

Here is something that you should 100% know going into your first one. Then, of course, you can ask the artist for as many changes as you want, and you can adjust the size of the tattoo as you wish. But, it is going onto your body, so it should be precisely what you ask for.

Even after the artist applies the stencil- if you don’t like what you see or want to tweak it even a little bit, speak now!

6. It is Quite a Commitment

Not only are they permanent (duh), but you must also tend to your tattoo. The artist may instruct specific care for the days and weeks following the appointment. Always follow your artist’s advice.

If you want to see if the commitment is manageable, call ahead to ask the artist about their recommended aftercare routine.

Another thing to consider is that you may have multiple tattoo sessions if you get an intricate piece. But, again, your artist will discuss this with you.

A note on permanence: tattoo laser removals may exist now but can be more expensive than the original art! Don’t depend on tattoo removal as a get-out-of-jail-free card; be sure about the one you choose.

7. There Will be Some Pain Involved

A needle goes in and out of your skin several times per second (50 to 3,000 times per minute), so yes, some pain will be involved.

How much pain depends on your pain tolerance, artist skill, and placement. Fatty areas like the arm or thigh are the least painful places to get tattoos. The foot and ribcage are some of the more painful places as they are boney.

Some people describe it as an intense tickle, while others say it feels like knives jutting their skin. The latter may be a bit dramatic, but you will experience some discomfort.

8. Timing is Important

The timing of your tattoo is a crucial thing to consider. You’ll be a bit sore and itchy post-tattoo, so you should consider the best time to get it.

Regarding the time of year, get it when it can be covered by clothing, like spring, fall, or winter.

You shouldn’t be in the sun or swimming after a tattoo. If you get one in the winter, it will be healed beautifully in time for you to show it off in summer.

Also, consider short-term timing reasons. For example, you might not want to get one at the weekend you’re at a wedding or before a big work event.

In addition, you’ll want to drink before or after the tattoo.

9. Go Big or Go Home

We didn’t mean it. You don’t have to go big. It should be something you consider, though!

While a cute and small one is great for a first-timer, it doesn’t have as much oomph and meaning as a big piece.

So, don’t be nervous if you want your first one to be big! Your artist will love to work with you to create a beautiful masterpiece.

And Don’t Forget to Tip

At GoodSitesLike.com, we love to appreciate the artists of the world! So don’t forget to tip the artist to show them your gratitude for their art after getting one.

Oscar Rojas
Oscar Rojas

I'm primarily a dad and a husband, then I live. I've been a freelance writer and editor since 2014, specializing in finance, casino, sports, and esports niches. I'm an expert in checking the small print on any T&C site. You can trust me as an expert, especially when it comes to financing and gambling products.