After many years, many designs and many attempted tattoo parlour trips I finally made it in and out with some ink.
One thing I did find however was there wasn’t a huge amount of useful preparation tips for tattoo first timers so I am hoping, for those of you who are thinking of or know you want one, this blog will be of some use.
Making the decision.
- I think the decision of whether or not you really want one is probably the hardest part of the process. I had wanted a tattoo for 3 years prior to getting one but could never quite figure out the perfect design and, thankfully, that held me back.
- It sounds a little cheesy but once I knew, I knew. I have maybe drawn out around 50 various designs and when I finally got the one I wanted it was like a little light went on in my head so make sure you are absolutely in love with your design and it fits who you are.
- That being said there is a certain stigma about tattoos having to have a specific ‘meaning’. Personally mine had a very significant meaning behind it but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Tattoos can represent a person, a place or even just signify the time at which you got them but my advice would be that they do reference something. As pretty as fashionable tattoos are, if that is purely their purpose, you might go off them in a few years.
On the day
- I’ve heard various stories of how to prepare on the actual day but this is drawn from my personal tattoo virgin experience…
- First of all it’s important not to drink alcohol for 24 hours before having it done. Alcohol thins your blood and takes forever to get out of your system so a night out prior to getting it done could result in the tattoo artist refusing to do the job.
- Secondly, on the day, make sure you eat and try keeping a sports drink with you when you have it done. My tattoo artist won’t tattoo anyone who hasn’t eaten within the 4 hours prior to getting it and, considering how light headed I was afterwards and I had made sure to have a big lunch, it is actually pretty vital.
- Thirdly don’t think about it. My appointment was 4pm so I tried to make sure I was busy all day up till then instead of sat around thinking I wanted to cancel.
- Finally speak to your artist. I told the woman when I went in that I was scared I would jump when the needle touched me and she reassured me that, not only does that happen from time to time, but if I did she would be able to move quick enough so there was no damage and I immediately felt at ease. Yes these people have done a lot of tattooing and have had a lot of tattoos so you might feel silly with it being your first time but they were in your position once and their job is to make you feel better!
Does it hurt?
- The amount of times I googled how badly this would hurt me probably exceeds the hundreds and most of the responses are ‘each to their own’ which, in a sense is absolutely true but my experience is that yes it does hurt, but not enough to make me regret doing it
- I found the pain created a heat, almost like a burning, on my skin and some parts hurt a lot more than others
- I had mine on my ribs and the bonier parts did hurt a lot more than the fleshy parts but, again, it really wasn’t unbearable at all. I didn’t cry or scream or pass out, it was more uncomfortable than anything
My tattoo, shown below, took around 20 minutes to finish. The pain after was quite bad and it still hurts now but in all honesty, I love it so much, I really couldn’t care less about the bad parts!