Trust your artist- This one seems pretty self explanatory but if you feel unsure abut your artists ability to deliver what you want consider talking it through with them a little more. If they mess up there is no fixing that… yikes.
Talk about what you want- Make sure your artist understands exactly what you want and the style you want it in. Don’t be afraid to correct them and don’t feel like you’re asking too much. This is you art on your body forever and you need to like it.. well I mean honestly you need to love it.
Take a friend- Having someone with you is super important. I have had a different person with all 5 of my tattoos, but I’ve always had someone to hold my hand/distract me. It’s so helpful, especially if you don’t know your tattoo artist that well!
Think about it- always put so much thought into whatever you decide to get. All but one of my tattoos I had thought about for over a year. If you’re even a little unsure you should not go forward with it. Maybe even talk to a couple friends and get second opinions if you feel like that would help. A friend doesn’t let a friend get an embarrassing tattoo.
Plan your time afterwards- You should make sure that you don’t have anything crazy planned for the next few days and no beach trips/camping for at least two weeks. Just be mindful of the activities you partake in after getting your tattoo
Have what you need beforehand- Depending on the size of your piece aftercare can be quite the task so you probably want be sure to have everything you need before you get your piece. I’ll go over this more in detail in the aftercare section.
Eat & Drink- This is too important! I made the mistake of being tired, hungry, and dehydrated for my firs tattoo and i almost passed out, no bueno. So make sure to sleep eat and drink beforehand especially if you are not a huge needle fan!
Relax- Take a deep breath and just relax. If you aren’t big on needles/pain this is a very important tip! If you are tense and stressed out there is the possibility that it could hurt more and you’ll make it harder on your artist if you don’t chill out.
Consider your pain tolerance- If you really really want a tattoo but you don’t handle pain well you should consider starting small. A full back piece should not be your first piece. I am not a fan of needles or pain and have the urge to vomit when i get shots, but I handle tattoos pretty well. I did start with a small piece on my wrist and just recently worked up to a pretty detailed eye on my forearm.
Think about what you wear- Wear something that allows easy access to the area and isn’t too tight on that part of your body.
Drink alcohol- Drinking thins out your blood and will make you bleed more during the tattooing, also most people don’t make the best decisions when under the influence.
Get something you don’t understand- I have something in a language that is not my first (or really any language I speak) and I checked and quadruple checked and confirmed that it meant what I believed it to mean. Make sure that you do the same and understand exactly what you are getting tattooed on your body. It would suck/be embarrassing in general if you got something stupid tattooed on you forever.
Forget to research- both your tattoo and your artist. If you can talk to people that have worked with the specific artist then do! It’s always good to be more aware of who you’re working with.
Take painkillers- Painkillers beforehand may seem like a good idea but they thin your blood and make you bleed more during the process
Bring huge groups of friends- Doing this can stress you or your artist out. Especially if you aren’t very close with everyone you’re with. I made that mistake during my first tattoo and it caused a lot of undue stress.
Ignore your artist- This is crazy rude! They are doing something majorly cool for you and ignoring them is not okay, talk to them!
Aftercare (I do this twice a day):
Wash- Gently wash with cool water and unscented antibacterial soap or castille soap
Dry- Pat dry with a soft towel, do NOT rub or irritate your tattoo
Treat- After you let it dry for 15-20 minutes put a very light coat of A & D, aquaphor, or bacitracin on top of it. You can ask your artist about their personal preference on this step. I have found that keeping it a little moisturized until its healed is what works best for me. I don’t drown it in product but I do make sure to reapply if it feels tight or painful.
Do not- Swim, take a bath, let the tattoo soak, put it in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, or wear tight/irritating clothing. Don’t use vaseline on it either, vaseline does not let the air in and can cause an infection.