Tattoos getting your first one.

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.girl- mcdonalds

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.

The Placement

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

34 Replies to “Tattoos getting your first one.”

  1. Hello Karin Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. Yes It can be a tough hurdle to get over with the fear of needles but it is a little bit different than the standard needle in the arm at your Dr. I do hope you will one day be able to get one Little tip is to distract yourself while having it done. Again thank you so much for visiting my website.
    Best wishes.

  2. I enjoyed your post so much, you had me going through my own first ink experience while I was reading yours and you even made me laugh with your lollipop episode that was funny as lol but I enjoyed how you take us through each stage and your advice is great. I love looking at people’s tattoo’s and haven’t been to a convention, so will take you up on that suggestion sounds great, the wealth of information you share is massive. Thank you so much for this post, enjoyed it immensely.

    1. Hello Michelle. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I still today laugh when I think about my first tattoo experience. Yes you should go to a convention if you get a chance they are a lot of fun. Again thank you for taking the time to read my post.
      Best Wishes.

  3. Got my first tattoo last summer. Went totally different than I thought it’ll be. Almost no pain at all on. The tattooist kind of freestyled a bit. Just wanted to get a small one as my first, but ended up with an ink covering the whole upper arm. Although it’s still not completed I like it, but took me some time to really get used to it.

    1. Hello Felix Thank you so much for Taking the time to read my post. Yes sometimes artists really get in a very creative state and go freestyle. when I present my Idea to my artist I let him freestyle from there and always comes out better than I Imagined. Again thank you for visiting my website.
      Best Wishes.

  4. I remember my first tattoo, it was march of 1996. I was living in Nashville TN at the time. It was not a bad as i thought it would be. This site would have been great to read back then. There is a lot of useful information on things to know before getting that first tattoo. thank you for the great article.

    1. Hello Tim thank you for taking the time to visit my website and happy you found my Information useful. I to wish I had more Information back when I got my first one would have helped a lot. Thank you again.
      Best Wishes.

  5. Hello Melinda Thank for reading my post. Unfortunately there are spots getting tattoos that are more painful than others and the eyebrows are a bit more painful due to it’s a bony area. Suggestion would be to find something you could do to distract yourself as they”re doing it. I hope this helped.
    Best wishes.

  6. Enjoy the experience? Oh my! My first and last tattoo was some permanent makeup on my face when I lost my eyebrows to alopecia universalis. I had some tattooed in. It was so painful. I was going to have eyeliner done as well, but I just couldn’t take the pain! Do you have recommendations for dealing with the pain?

  7. Hello Justin. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. I have a tattoo on both inner fore arms and they are both portraits so my pain thresh hold was really tested when he was towards they end and shading the hair that was about when I was clinching teeth. again thank you so much for reading and visiting my website.
    Best wishes.

  8. I wish this post was around when I got my first tattoo. the experience wasn’t that good, I also have a fear of needles which didn’t help either. the tattoo isn’t bad and I don’t regret it but the placement is close to my wrist and hurt like hell. so not sure how the pain feels elsewhere. but I stuck it out, I mean I wasn’t going to leave with a piece of art and then it look stupid.

    also at the time, I didn’t think about a job’s preference on tattoos, so now if I’m dealing with customers I have to wear long sleeve shirts, or choose a job that I’m not dealing with customers. so again if this post was around then I probably would have picked a different tattoo for a different location. thanks for this information, I will keep all of this in mind if/when i go to get my second tat.

  9. Hello Lee Ann Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. With your tattoos look into it some artists are pretty reasonable on prices for clean ups. Thank you again.
    Best wishes.

  10. I definitely wish I had waited to get my first ink. I wanted a rose on my back with the names of my 3 little ones in the petals.
    I wanted it on my shoulder It hurt like heck but hey, I had 3 kids so I knew what pain was. That was the least of my worries. Back in “MY DAY” (yeah, I am not giving my age) tattooing was no where near as popular or advanced. I now have 5 tattoos and 4 of them need some serious help, but now I am to old to even be able to afford it.
    I wish I had all your do’s and don’ts back then,
    To all of you wanting that first, second, third tattoo, listen to his advice. Remember they are permanent and do not wash off.
    Thank you for your awesome advice. I am sure this will save others from a lifetime of regret.

  11. Hi, David! Great post! I was thinking to get one twenty years ago but that thought is long gone. Now, my daughter wants to do it. She is 15 and I tell her that she can do it when she turns 18. What scares me the most is a possibility of getting HIV and hepatitis.
    Wish you all the best!

    1. Hello Barbara. Thank you so much for visiting my website. Yes that is a great Idea with your daughter pretty much all tattoo shops will not ink a minor till sixteen with a written consent from a parent. Shops today take a lot of steps to prevent HIV and the spread of infections. And you never know you may get the thought once again your never to old I’ve had people in their mid sixties I’ve met that have gotten their first tattoo.
      Best wishes.

  12. Great post, I have a few tattoos of my own but my girlfriend has been thinking of getting her first one. Thanks for the great advice, I will definitely forward this over to her! I personally can’t wait to get more, they’re addicting.

    1. Hello Will. Thank you for visiting my website. I’m happy you found my post informative. Yes tattoos can be very addicting, sometimes my wife has to put the breaks on me when I get that look in my eye of I want another one. again thank you so much.
      Best wishes

  13. Hello Danny. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. It”s funny how a lot of use look at our first tattoo and either laugh or shake our heads. I want tell you thank you for your service.
    Best wishes

  14. Hehehe …Takes me back to when i had my first piece of ink done back in ’91 an eagle eagle and dagger with a scroll that said “too tough to die”
    just over a year later i was sent over seas to to Bosnia during the war.
    long story short i saw my tattooist and told him to black out the writing ….which he did lmao …man haven’t though about that one in many years ….great post

  15. Thanks for sharing your first tattoo experience. This is something I have been toying with for a number of years now. Nowadays tattoos don’t have the stigma they used to have with the help of programs like Maimi Ink etc. My problem would be finding the right artist and trusting them, especially as I would be looking at a portrait. An artist who is capable of doing portraits just amazes me.

    1. Hello Mick thank you so much for visiting my website. Yes getting a portrait done should be done by an artist who specializes in them, I have seen some amazing ones done and some really bad ones. Again thank you so much for visiting my website.
      Best wishes

  16. Aww, your article is definitely helpful!

    I haven’t got the courage to get my first ink because I think it needs to carry some sort of story in my life! I wouldn’t simply pick an image or picture and leave it on my body forever. Think before you ink is definitely a MUST. Thanks for reminding this to people!

    1. Hello Crystal thank you for taking the time to read my post. Yes I agree your tattoos reflect who you are and thought really play a big role when getting one. Thank you again for visiting my website.
      Best wishes

  17. Well written and very personable, thanks for sharing! There’s quite a bit of stuff one should consider before getting their very first tattoo and you outline it perfectly. I have yet to get mine, but I’ll keep your guide in mind for sure!

  18. Great info. And so, so true. It’s especially important to look at the artists portfolio and talk to them about the work you’d like done. I was hoping to get a white ink tat and the guy seemed so annoyed with my questions. He was also not experienced doing that type of ink and just told me to basically not do it. lol. I haven’t walked back in a parlor since. What’s funny is he had a white ink bulls-eye in the middle of his forehead. Maybe I should’ve hit the door once I saw that?

    1. Hello Jennifer Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. I’m so sorry about your experience. I do hope you find an artist who specializes in white ink and your able to get it done.
      Best wishes.

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