Tattoos last longer than most marriages and stick around in your skin months after you will. They can be incredibly meaningful, empowering, and beautiful, but not when they’re on a whim and chosen from some ready-made shop design.
In the world of tattoos, knowing what you want is the most important thing. A close second (maybe even a tie) is doing extensive research so that you can choose the right artist. If you know exactly what you want your tattoo to look like, you’ll be able to find an artist whose style is tailored to your piece. You may have to travel, but it’s oh so worth it.
Personally, I believe you can never do too much research. I used to think that it didn’t matter what tattoo shop you walked into. That you could just pick one, and whoever worked there could give you whatever design you wanted. It’s a lot more complex than that.
Tattooing is a legitimate art form that makes new advances all the time. The depths of the three-deminsionality you can attain now can be scary life-like. Styles include Old School/Traditional, New School, Color, Black and Grey, Lettering and more.
Going into your appointment, you should be prepared. Bring in pictures, and possibly even draw up designs. If you’re getting lettering, please make sure that it’s spelled correctly. Know exactly where you want it placed, but have a backup plan in the rare case that your placement is impossible (sometimes the tattoo artist knows best). I can not emphasize this point enough, do not be afraid to speak up if the stencil is not exactly what you want. This is where the “speak now or forever hold your ink” aspect comes in. That placement that feels just slightly off, or that small curve that’s just a bit too much that you convince yourself is “good enough” will taunt and torment you for the rest of your life. A professional artist will understand. Just don’t be a jerk about it, there’s no need.
I got my first tattoo just over two months ago. It’s a quote from Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It says “we accept the love we think we deserve.” (Pictured.) It’s on my left forearm, just below the crook of my elbow, and is in my handwriting. I knew I wanted it eight years before I got it. I tried taking the plunge nine months earlier when Garrett sat for a six hour session for a tattoo that he’d dreamed of for years (shown in the featured image on this post.) The problem was, no one I talked to could do it the way I wanted. So I had to walk away and come back to it at a later date. It happens! Now I have a beautiful tattoo with clean line work, and I could not be happier.
Just be smart with your ink, or you could end up with something that resembles a kindergartener’s crayon drawing of your uncle’s aunt’s second cousin once removed. Thank God for good coverups!