People with multiple works of body art are experienced in how to plan a tattoo, where to go, what to expect. But if you are new to the realm of body ink, yet ready to get that first tattoo, you may not be acquainted with the finer points, and the sensible points, of what is involved. Being as prepared as possible and not taking the plunge on impulse can save you a lot of regret and disappointment later on.
A tattoo is virtually permanent (yes, they can be removed but at great pain and expense) so careful and wise choices at the beginning will result in body art you will wear proudly for many years. Number one, and it cannot be said too often, is do not rush into it. Find a reputable studio, a capable artist and choose your tattoo wisely. Don’t go too big your first time out. Many tattoo wearers find that after their first one, they go back for another, so there is always room to expand. Do not, however, go too small either. A tiny bit of ink now might clutter up a patch of skin perfect for a larger image down the road. Sometimes a smaller piece can be integrated into the later, larger one, but don’t rely on it. Your coiling Chinese dragon doesn’t need last year’s ladybug stuck on his neck. A common mistake is putting a tiny tattoo in the middle of the arm, which is prime property for larger work. Also, when it comes to the size and location of your tattoo, think about how it fits into your lifestyle and work environment. If a visible tattoo is not acceptable at your workplace, or might interfere with future career plans, make sure it is easily covered up by your clothes. Will that screaming skull on your shoulder conflict with your elegant strapless wedding gown and put a dark mark on your big day? Will the script on the back of your neck show and generate frowns in the boardroom no matter how tightly you tie your necktie?
Always be original. What that means is avoid the overdone, the generic and the fads. These things usually say you are not truly serious about your body art, just getting some ink because you want to appear rebellious, or you are trying too hard to be cool. By all means base your tattoo on something you like, but have your artist customize it in some way. Have it reflect your style, make it unique. Artists worth their salt prefer to do original art over cookie cutter designs any day. Think ahead when you choose your tattoo. Ask yourself if, in 10 years, you will still be proud to show it off. Avoid names of current crushes and favorite musicians. Most of these tattoos, besides running the risk of becoming passing fancies, come across as somewhat juvenile. And by all means, research the meaning of what you are having permanently applied to your skin. Chinese symbols, for example, look very edgy and mysterious and cool, until you have someone fluent in Chinese ask you why the ink on your arm says “mighty underarm odor.”
Take your time and check over all the possibilities when you are preparing for your first tattoo. You’ll want the ink to be admirable and meaningful for a long time and the stories surrounding it to be pleasant ones.