My first tattoo was along process. Getting it was the easiest part one I finally turned 18. The hard part was thinking about what I wanted. For years I looked at tattoo designs and tried to think what I wanted it to be.I think a person should put a lot of thought into a tattoo and where it goes on their body. It isn’t like seeing a movie and picking the most convenient theater and time. Picking the artist who does should also have some though put into it. The artist closest to your house may not always be the best artist. Also, just because they are great at portraits doesn’t mean they are great at all tattoos. Most artists have something they are really good at and can still do good tattoos of other kinds. picking the shop and artist, can be difficult. Most shops will not charge a design fee if they draw you a tattoo instead of doing a flash design. Flash designs are predrawn tattoos that can be gotten almost anywhere except strictly custom shops. Pricing varies per shop. many charge per hour, with the clock starting once you get in the chair and they start the tattoo.
The first tattoo is the one where you feel the most pain. When they first touch the tattoo gun to you it will hurt. Do not feel bad about it hurting either. When they outline the tattoo is painful in the first tattoo. When they do the shading It will be a bit better. They do stop every so often to wipe away blood and other stuff with a cool liquid, this does feel good for some people. If you get a second tattoo you will notice the pain is not as pain. I believe it is the hype. The first time you do things it’s always a little scary even if you don’t think you are scared.
Aftercare is important for any tattoo of course, some shops will even do free touch ups knowing that all tattoos fades ver time and some colors do not take as well to all skin tones. Red is one I have seen not always come out as great as people would have wished. Just make sure to follow the aftercare instructions given to you by the artist. Tattoo aftercare is not very hard, Just rub the ointment from the shop, or A&D on every few hours and wash with soap each day until flaking is done . then switch to a extra healing lotion for a month or so then whenever it feels dry. And use a good sunscreen when out in the sun to keep it looking good over time.
I knew I wanted it to be something for my dad who passed away. But I did not want the traditional memorial tattoo. You know, the cross rip, and the dates. I didn’t want a portrait that would look the worst when it faded as I age. I wanted something special, that i could just look at and know it was for my dad, It wasn’t for everyone else to know. I didn’t have them normal parent child relationship with my dad. So I knew a tattoo for him would have to be different. I eventually chose a Red Chinese type Dog with flames coming off of it. He was the Chinese year of the dog. While we are not Chinese we did go out for Chinese a lot. The picture I found off the internet was basically a red lab dog with flames smiling. My tattoo artist redrew and made it look less happy but not depressing. I do not have any regrets about that tattoo over a year later and I know I never will.
I know this process seems long but really, It is very rewarding if you put thought into your tattoo, you will always be able to look at it and be glad you did. Just remember if you want to change the design do not be afraid to tell the artist, it is there job to give you the tattoo you want. For more help on decisions with your first tattoo, “Examining Pop Culture: Body Piercing and Tattoo’s” which is edited by J.D. Lloyd.
artist - Jesse Rix owner/artist secret lake tattoo shop