Tattoos last forever, or at least as long as your body lasts, which is pretty much forever in human terms.So before you head down to the nearest tattoo shop and roll up your sleeve, here's how to know what to expect.
1. Research! This is THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL THE STEPS.
Getting a good tattoo requires some actual preparation. Tattooing has become such a popularized trend... more people are tattooing now, more than ever, but just because someone gets the idea in their head that they want to be a tattooer doesn't mean that they have the proper training or the proper techniques. It's just like anything else: if you have the money, you can open up a shop, but that doesn't mean you know what you're doing."
2. Don't price shop.
If some guy says he'll give you a tattoo for 40 bucks, walk away. Instead, be ready to pay as much as it takes to get high quality work. Pick cheaper shoes or buy your rice in bulk if you want to save money, but when it comes to art that will be on your body until you die, don't expect to pay less than $100 before tip, and a lot more if you are getting something large or adding color.
3. Check out the shop in person.
When you find someone you think you like, go into the shop and meet the artist in real life before you actually get anything done. First, the shop should be clean. Check for work on display and see how you feel about the aesthetic in person. Then, go with your gut. Generally, if people are going to take the time to answer your questions and not be a dick, they have confidence in their work... you should never really feel pressured to get tattooed right then and there.
If you do your research and find a really great tattooer, you are 90 percent of the way to getting an awesome tattoo. The rest of these things will become a lot easier, because a good, professional tattooer will be looking out for you -- they want your tattoo to look awesome since it represents them. Remember though, this is your body and ultimately you make the decisions. So for better or worse, the end result is your responsibility.
4. Spend some time thinking about the design.
Obviously, this goes without saying but I am going to say it anyway: don't get something you really will regret. Pick something with personal meaning or something you think is beautiful. Go in ahead of time to talk to your tattoo artist about the design.
5. Don't be drunk.
You know better. Also, a good tattoo artist will not tattoo you if you are drunk.
6. Eat something before you go.
No one wants you to pass out. Eat dinner! Bring along some candy to chew on if you are getting something big done.
7. Don't come in with a posse.
Bring a friend if you are nervous or if you just want the company. But don't bring a pack. You did your research, remember? This is between you and the person putting it on your body. It doesn't really matter that your friend with no tattoos thinks it would look better in orange on your left kneecap.
8. Make sure it is really what you want.
The tattoo artist will put a transfer of the tattoo on your body in the place you want it before he actually starts in with the needle and ink (in this case Derick actually drew on me, but usually it starts with a transfer). Make sure you like the size and the placement. This is not the time to be passive. Listen to the tattooer (not your friends) but remember: your body, your choice.