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20 things to know before getting your first tattoo

Tattoos are forever! To get your first tattoo, you’ll need to choose the right design, work with a professional tattoo artist, and take measures to prevent undue irritation and infection. With proper planning and care, getting your first tattoo can be a great experience.

  1. Research your artist – You need to be able to trust your artist, thus He/She needs to be just – awesome! Choose an artist at least a week in advance, and look over their portfolio before committing. Make sure their style of work is what you want. Body shots of their work should be available in the studio and online, and reading their reviews on Facebook, website, etc will help you determine if you are comfortable.

  2. Definitely helps if your tattoo artist is also a Doctor! – Make sure the tattoo studio is clean and safe, and that all equipment used is disposable (in the case of needles, gloves, masks, etc.) and sterilized (everything else). It is very easy to be swayed by financial constraints and go to a cheaper tattoo artist just because you can’t afford a proper one. DON’T! They may be reusing needles and inks to cut costs. Nothing is worth your life and safety!

3. Don’t go for Cheap – You’re altering your body for life. If that’s not worth a decent investment, I don’t know what is. I’m sure your phone costs a lot and it stays with you for not more than 2 years. Think.

4. Short first session if you’re a tattoo virgin – Let us not go overboard with your very first tattoo session. If you wanted a big design to cover a bigger area of skin, that’s great! Choose a design which can be absorbed into a bigger design. Just get a short first session. Give yourself a chance to learn the process, how your skin takes ink, and how your body heals. Definitely inform your artist for any skin/blood conditions.

5. Make your own decisions at 18 – You are an adult when you get a tattoo. Make up your mind and think of what YOU want to get because it is YOUR skin and YOUR tattoo. Don’t get along your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, best friend, parents, etc to decide what YOU want to get inked on yourself.

6. Think before you ink – Unless you cut it off, the tattoo is there to stay permanently on your body. It is the tattoo artists job to do the design for you, however it helps if you have a faint idea or concept of what you want to get inked.

7. Avoid names – Your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s name, their face, infinity symbols, butterflies, stars, penis, poop, your own name (a tattoo is not your id!), stupid words, ‘life is money’, ‘pagli’, ‘daddy’s lil girl’ (especially if you are daddy’s boy).

8. Listen to your tattoo artists – We are Indians and genetically brown unless you are too fair by god’s grace. Accept and be proud of the golden sun friendly skin tone. However if I tell you, that getting a color tattoo for you is not a good idea, take my advice. Colors unfortunately don’t stand out on brown skin.

I don’t want you to get a tattoo which doesn’t look like a million dollars on you.

9. Please pay for your Art – Once you discuss the tattoo, your artist will sit to design it exclusively for you. I don’t repeat the same designs on anyone. I will ask you to leave a deposit for the same and make an appointment. The deposit is a part payment and goes towards the total price of your tattoo, so don’t worry. 10. Relax – Prior to the day of your tattoo appointment, get a good night’s rest. Don’t party hard the night before. Eat a good breakfast and show up energized. Do whatever it takes to get you to a Zen-like state. 11. Don’t Stress – A tattoo is less painful than a hard pinch. For girls it is fairly painless considering the fact that we get waxed and threaded on a regular basis. If that didn’t kill you, tattooing definitely won’t! 12. Don’t start screaming before I even touch the needle on to your skin. 13. Bring a diversion – We usually play our music at the studio to have fun while we work. If there is a certain kind of music you like, bring your earphones and listen to it while getting tattooed. Or read a book. Or bring the girl of your dreams along with (Since you won’t cringe with pain in front of her). Whatever helps!

14. I have this tattoo ‘coz I wanted it. End of Story – Nosy Indian aunties and uncles will make it their business to express their unsolicited opinion about your tattoo. That’s why it is very important to get your tattoo for yourself and not others. 15. Wear a pleasant deodorant/perfume – You don’t want your artist rushing your tattoo because they can’t stand your smell. 16. Pack Snacks, a non-alcoholic drink, your phone charger and cash. 17. Dress comfortably and in dark clothes to avoid ink stains

18. Stretch – or do some light exercises beforehand. You will be in the same position for quite a while.

19. Don’t rush your tattoo – Set aside more time than you think you will need. 20. PLEASE follow your care instructions most carefullyWhen we say ‘air dry’ your tattoo, we do not mean use a hair dryer to hasten the drying.

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