The world is changing very rapidly and technology is on the run. Every time you turn around, a new gadget hits the shelf. People are spending hundreds and thousands of dollars to get the next best thing. I’ll ask friends who have spent some serious money on a phone, “Does it make coffee?”
There are products coming out that do more and more things so that we don’t have to anymore. Today you go into some McDonalds and they have walk-up menus. You can pick your order, pay there, and the food is brought to your table.
Today’s world brings about feelings of needing the next best thing or wanting to be a part of what everyone else has or is doing. You might be asking yourself what this have to do with tattoos. Bear with me, I’m just about to get to that.
Today’s society has become a world of instant gratification and fads. As the tattoo world keeps growing, it is 100% not to be taken as instant gratification or a fad.
Getting your first tattoo can be an amazing experience, or it could be a regret you might have to live with. So let’s sit down to a cup of coffee, or beverage of your choice, and talk about getting your first tattoo.
So You Want to Get Your First Tattoo?
The day I got my first inking done will be forever remembered. It was the summer of 1989 (yes I’m dating myself). The day was beautiful and I was filled with so much excitement. The day just couldn’t go by fast enough. As I’ve shared in previous posts, tattoos hadn’t begun booming as they have today, and the shop that was in my area didn’t open until 6pm.
When my friend and I had finally arrived there, I walked into a whole new world. I felt like I had arrived into the amazing world of ink! Buzzing could be heard from the machines, and there were two big, biker-looking men inking a couple clients.
I was looking at all the tattoo pictures on the walls in frames wondering what I would I get. Then boom, there it was! I had found what I wanted: the Tasmanian devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoon. As it was getting closer to my turn, all of a sudden, my nerves started to rock. “Will I be able to do this? Will it hurt?”
I saw one of the clients walk out after having his work finished, then the next thing I heard was the big biker looking man say to me: “You’re up.” He asked what I wanted and where did I want it. I showed him the picture and told him left upper arm.
For some reason, when I showed him the one I wanted he kind of chuckled. To this day I still don’t know why. I sat in the chair watching as he copied the picture to a stencil, and then as he got his machine and inks set up. He placed the stencil on my arm and removed the paper. There was the blue inked picture and he asks: “This is what you want and where you want it?” I felt like there was no backing out from there and I said “yes”.
He had handed me a lollipop and said to suck on it. Yes, you heard right, he handed me a lollipop and said it was to keep my sugar level up. To this day, I swear it was like, “here little boy, have a lollipop while I do your cute Tasmanian devil.”
He fired up his machine and then the needle was headed into my arm. As the first strike happened, I felt the needle piercing my skin. It was a certain type of pain, but at the same time an incredible rush came over me. “Wow, this is awesome!” I thought. He didn’t say a word through the whole session and just worked away.
It took him roughly an hour to complete my first artwork. I stood there in awe, staring at it while thinking, “Wow! My first Inking.” I paid the man and I could swear he paddled me on my rear end and said, “Now run along little fella, and enjoy your new Ink.”
I shared my first tattoo experience to get to some points and suggestions that I will make in this post about getting inked for the first time.
Think Before You Ink
When thinking about getting your first tattoo, it should be a decision that you have really thought through. As I shared earlier, you should never get a tattoo simply because lots of people today have them or because you think it’s the next best thing. If you have decided that it’s right for you, then it’s time to do your homework.
At this point you should be thinking about what you want to get. Today we have all kinds of resources to search for a tattoo that’s right for you. Make sure it’s what you want. Out of all my artwork, I still look at that Tasmanian devil on my arm and remember how it is the dumbest tattoo I have ever gotten.
I have been asked why I haven’t had it covered. Maybe I keep it to always remind myself to think before getting my next one. Another decision to make is where you are going to have it put on your body.
Keep in mind, if your career or other aspects in your life shun upon them, then you might want to consider a place that’s easy to cover with regular attire.
Awesome! Now you are ready to move to the next step of your homework.
Now is the time to think about where on your body do you want your ink done. You may not know your pain threshold, so remember that the bony parts of your body, such as ribs, ankles, knees, and similar places can be painful. I recommend those places not be your first choice.
While choosing, you might want to start small. Don’t plan on your first piece being a full arm sleeve or back piece, or even long wording. I say this about wording because it has to be done in one session, or it will not flow together and won’t look right at all. OK, let’s move on to the next step.
Picking the Shop and the Artist
With shops opening up all over the place, you have a wide range to pick from. Start searching online for shops in you area and read their comments and reviews. When you have made your decision, it’s now time to visit the shop and talk with the artist.
When speaking with him/her, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re getting a particular type of artwork done, say a portrait, you’ll want to make sure they specialize in that area. Believe me when I say I have seen some bad work done. I have a friend who wanted a lizard done with a 3D affect.
Well, sad to say, my friend didn’t do his homework and the artist did not specialize in 3D. When he showed it to me, I thought it looked like lizard roadkill.
All artists should have a photo album of their work, so make sure you ask to look at it. They’ll be more than happy to show it to you. It’s always a good idea to have a picture with you of what you want done, so that you can go over it with the artist. That way they can give you the green light, or talk to you about any concerns.
Tattoos to can be expensive. Make sure when you price it, you know what the final cost will be so there are no surprises. Once you’re comfortable with the shop and the artist that you have picked, it’s time to set up an appointment. Don’t be shocked if he or she has a waiting list. That is actually a good sign, because a good artist is worth the wait.
The Day Has Arrived
The artist will let you know roughly how long it will take, so make sure you plan your day around it. If you have children, leave them at home with a babysitter. You can bring a friend for support or to keep you company. Most shops won’t let them in the room, but will sometimes let them stand at the entrance to watch and talk with you.
Don’t be surprised if the artist doesn’t talk or only engages in small talk. They like to concentrate on their work as they get into their zone. Once your artwork is complete, your artist will go over the after care and healing process with you. Make sure you listen and follow their instructions, as I have seen many ruined due to poor after care. Also make sure you tip them.
Enjoy the Experience
Enjoy the Journey of getting your first tattoo from start to finish. Remember, this is a piece of art that you will carry to your grave.
Yes, today tattoos can be removed, but you will have to pay for that too. Most tattoos are picked for a reason and it now becomes your story, so wear it with pride!
Best Wishes Always, David