Tattoo Tips - 7 Crucial Steps to Consider First

So you decided you want to get a tattoo, now you're just itching to run to your local tattoo shop and imprint that design in to your skin. There are many important things you need to consider before taking that final step onto the tattoo chair.

If you are like most people, once you have decided upon the fact that you are going to get "inked" you want to get it done immediately to see the results. It is important to remember that acting quickly can lead to undesired results. As I'm sure you have already heard countless times, a tattoo will likely be with you for life. The design will be a constant reminder of your diligence in thinking your idea through thoroughly - or an unfortunate reminder of the spontaneous mistake you made.

So, what types of things must you consider and think through thoroughly before taking that final step?

1. Be SURE of your design:
I highly suggest getting a design that is meaningful to you and not just a popular fad of the times. Fads fade and your tattoo will remain. Many people regret getting tattoos of band names, friend's names or names of a person they are dating. No matter how much we think our opinion is solid, as time goes on, our view changes.

How do you get a design you want that is meaningful to you?

One way, is to find one. There are many sites all over the internet hosting artwork from tattoo and other artists. Chances are likely you will find a design you like, though it may take some time and patience to find it. Also, while there are some decent free sites hosting tattoo designs, many sites require you to subscribe or pay a small fee to access their services. If finding the perfect tattoo is important to you, then it may be worth the money to pay for the design itself.

Another way is to look through the designs at tattoo parlors. Most, if not all tattoo parlors will have many books full of tattoo designs that might interest you. If you go this route, be sure not to get one right then and there. Take some time to think about it, considering the rest of the steps in this article.

A third way is to draw the design, or have a friend draw the design for you. Many tattoo artists will work with you to edit a drawing you have done to make it more appealing to you, so in most cases even a rough sketch will work fine.

2. Know exactly where you want to get your tattoo.
Keep in mind that some areas of the body will hurt more during the tattoo process than others. If you are sensitive, or if this is your first tattoo and you are scared of the pain, get a tattoo in an area you will be happy with, that will hurt less.

Tattoo's over bony areas of your body hurt more than tattoos over fleshy areas. So, tattoos on your ankle, spine, hands, neck, and shoulders can hurt more. Tattoos in areas such as your upper arm, your stomach, thighs and buttocks will hurt less as the needle will not be directly above bone.

3. Take your tattoo for a test drive.
Before committing to the permanence of a tattoo, get a henna design of your future tattoo in the area you would like. This will allow you to wear the design as if it were a tattoo for 1-2 weeks and see what it looks like on your body. Getting the Henna design will also prepare you for sitting still during the tattoo process.

4. Get other peoples opinions.
Getting the opinion of your friends and family can be important in the decision process. However, it is important to remember that this design will end up on your body so the final decision should be up to you and you alone.

5. Know what to expect when getting your tattoo
Many people say tattoos are uncomfortable but not very painful. Know what level and type of pain you should expect from the tattoo and what steps you can take to minimize that pain. For instance, many people think that getting drunk and/or drinking alcohol prior to getting their tat would numb the pain. This is a bad idea and can result in the tattoo artist refusing to work on you. Alcohol thins your blood, which will make you bleed more, making the tattoo process harder for the artist and worse for you. Motrin or other over the counter pain relievers may help slightly and are generally allowed. If you are considering this step, speak with your tattoo artist before taking any medications.

6. Tattoo Etiquette:
In addition to knowing how much and what kind of pain to expect, it is also important to be up to date on your tattoo etiquette. Yes, there is such a thing and in order to make your tattoo experience the best one for both you and the artist you should brush up on these tattoo etiquette tips.

Are you a tenderfoot? Knowing tattoo slang isn't exactly a must before getting your tattoo, but it may help you be less confused when listening to the talk around the shop during the process.

7. Know your after-care procedures.
After your tattoo has been finished, the tattoo artist should give you some instructions on taking care of your tattoo. These instructions are important to follow to make sure your tattoo doesn't scar or wear off in parts.

Long term after care is important as well as this will keep your tattoo from fading too much over time and looking less than appealing. If it does end up fading over the next few years, you can always get a touch up. But why waste the money, pain and time on a tattoo you already have instead of avoiding it all together?

With these simple steps, you will be more satisfied with your tattoo and more comfortable with the overall tattoo process. Spending a little time thinking over your decision will save you time, pain and possible embarrassment later.