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Preparing for a Tattoo

It’s been months since you decided to get a tattoo, you’ve got boards filled with tattoo ideas on Pinterest, but now it’s time to take the next step. You want to be as prepared as possible so you avoid side effects, but nobody teaches you this in school! Don’t panic! In this blog we will discuss how to pick an artist, making an appointment, choosing the size, placement and colour of your tattoo. In addition to this, we will also talk about before, during and after your appointment. Now let’s make this tattoo appointment more memorable, less stressful, and even less painful! 


Finding the right artist 

No matter what, please don’t go out on a whim, choose a design out of a book and get tattooed there and then. One reason I say this is because if you have an experience with an unfriendly tattoo artist, you could start to associate your tattoo with an unpleasant experience. A second reason is that you don’t know what style that tattoo artist is most confident with, they might put their own touch on it when that isn’t what you had in mind. Lastly, you might not know how their tattoo’s look when healed as they can fade over time.


The recommended idea is to look through their social media pages and get a grasp on their style, what colours they use and how experienced they are. Now you can save photographs on Instagram, it makes it much easier to follow a range of different tattoo artists in your area and save the designs you like. After a month of following different tattoo artists and getting to know them, you should have a better understanding of exactly who you’re after.


Making an appointment

If your desired tattoo artist is on social media, they will usually have a link to a booking system. If they don’t have this, you can always email them, or directly message them if you have any questions prior to the appointment. Always give your tattoo artists details about how you want your tattoo to look, and give photographs as a reference. This will give your tattoo artist a better understanding of who you are and what sort of ‘look’ your after. If you’re wanting colour, send photographs of what colours you’re after so the tattooist can properly prepare. Only give tattoo’s done by other artists as inspiration, not to copy. Most tattoo artists won’t copy another artists design out of etiquette, which is why choosing a style is key.


Preparing for my appointment 

The more prepared you are, the better! As Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail”. Not only does this help the tattoo artist, but it also benefits you as knowing what to expect will make you less anxious about the situation. 


Some tattoo artists will try and book you in for a consultation to get a better understanding of your vision. At this consultation, you will have a quick discussion about all the different designs you have in mind, if there is anything symbolic or sentimental you wanted to be portrayed and what colours you want. The consultation is a great opportunity to ask any questions you have too!


Even though you think it might calm the nerves, alcohol is not the solution! Alcohol thins the blood meaning that the process could be a lot more bloody than it needs to be. Always eat at least an hour before the appointment, especially for the faint-hearted! Stay hydrated, but don’t drink too much caffeine, this could give you the jitters which you don’t want for such an intricate piece of art! 


When you arrive 

Make sure you arrive on time and follow covid guidelines wearing a facemask. Don’t forget to bring your ID! The artist will ask you to fill out a form and wash your hands before the appointment. You may have to wait for 5-10 minutes while they prepare the area so it is cleaned properly and everything is ready to go!


If you are anxious about the pain that the tattoo might cause, it is advised that you put on tattoo numbing cream about 90 minutes before the session. This can be especially helpful if you are getting a tattoo close to the bone or where the skin is thin, such as the head or ribs.


When you’ve washed your hands and filled out the form, your tattoo artist will show you what they’re design is (they won’t show it before the appointment to ensure you don’t use their design and go to a cheaper artist). If you want to make any tweaks to the design, that is okay, as long as you ask for them respectfully and don’t use any offensive language. 


During the tattoo process 

The tattoo artist will clean and shave the area you want the tattoo to be. They will then convert the design into a stencil in a place you want the tattoo to be. Now ready for the moment you’ve been waiting for! If you have placed tattoo numbing cream where your tattoo is, you wont feel a thing! If you havent, be prepared for a vibrating, sharp scratch.


Tattoo aftercare 

Once your tattoo is complete, your artist will clean the tattoo and wrap cling film around it. You will be given advice on how to best look after your tattoo either by email or an informational sheet. Your artist will give you information on what works best for them and their clients and give you personalised advice for your particular tattoo. As a rule of thumb, leave the clingfilm on for about 4 hours and when you go to the shower, dont use soap! The chemicals in soap can damage your tattoo. You can buy soaps and salves specifically for tattoo’s which can help the healing process. As tempting as it may seem, do not scratch or pick at your tattoo as it can alter the look of the tattoo and prolong the healing process. 


Overall, getting a tattoo is an experienced loved by many, dont worry about it! If anything goes wrong you can always get in touch with your tattoo artist and ask for their advice. Your tattoo will look great! If you’re interested in buying products to help with the tattoo surgery and aftercare, take a look at our website!