Let’s not beat around the bush.
I got a tattoo a couple of weeks ago (!!!!!!).
I LOVE it, and find myself gazing at it, learning every millimetre of it, marvelling at it, and stroking it, at regular intervals during the day.
And yes, it hurt. Yes, it still hurts sometimes now too, but it’s nearly healed. Yes, I know I’ll have it forever. I got it because I think it’s beautiful and no, it doesn’t have any deep, hidden meaning (unlike aubergines, J!!). And yes, if my boys want to get tattoos when they are older, so long as they have thought about it, saved the money for it themselves, go somewhere decent, and are legally allowed (ie, old enough!), then yes I will be ok with that.
I wanted to share my experience with you, as I know getting a tattoo is a big decision, and there are some really important things to take into consideration. Here’s my top 5.
- Be absolutely sure. I know this sounds obvious, but think about it. How many clothes that were once your favourites have you taken to the charity shop because you didn’t like them any more? Have you ever looked back at photos of yourself years later and cringed at your hairstyle, clothes, shoes, make-up, your whole self?? And I bet you thought you were so cool back then. Sigh. Anyway. One way to be sure about a design is to print it out and take it with you. Literally put it in your wallet and take it with you. For years. I know that’s a long time to wait, but I also bet you have one outfit still in your wardrobe that has served you well over the years, that you dread having to throw away when it finally falls to pieces? Well, that’s what you’re aiming for. Something that you love now, and still love in 3 years time. I have a huge Pinterest board of tattoo ideas, and looking back over it now makes me squirm. But there is one image that has been on that board for years and years that I have always loved. So that became the basis of my design.
- Go somewhere reputable. Don’t just choose somewhere at random. Ask around for recommendations, especially if you know someone who is a tattoo artist, or who has a lot of tattoos. They will know a good place to go. And don’t be put off by the price if things seem expensive. See next point.
- Don’t go for the cheapest option. Expect a good tattoo to cost money. They take time, and you want someone to take that time over it rather than rush it so they can get the next person in. For a mid-sized tattoo, expect it to cost anywhere between £100 and £400, depending on how intricate it is.
- Get tattoo artist recommendations if possible. I was fortunate enough to have been recommended not just a tattoo shop, but a tattoo artist as well. It gave me peace of mind knowing that not only had he been recommended, but that he is friends with a friend’s brother, so if it all went wrong and I wasn’t happy, he wouldn’t be able to just disappear – there was accountability and a reputation to uphold.
- Look after it afterwards. If you go to a good place, they’ll give you all the information you need about after-care. Read it, follow the advice. Don’t mess up an expensive, permanent and visible addition to your body after you’ve gone to the trouble, and pain, of getting it done.
I had such a good experience with mine, I can’t wait until I’ve saved up enough to have another one, and I’ll definitely be going back to the same guy. I love his style, and he listened to everything I said, what I wanted, and actually did it, rather than just saying ‘ye ye’ and then doing what he wanted (like when you go for a haircut, ask for just a trim, and they take 5inches off!).
Not to brag, but I’ve never seen a tattoo like mine in real life, and I’ve not seen many designs like it either. There are no bold outlines, in fact, no outlines at all, and it was all done with an incredibly thin needle, meaning that it could be intricate and very detailed. It looks like a painting, which is the main reason I love it. My tattooist, J, also designed it for me, so I know that no one else in the world will have the same as me. It has all my favourite flowers and plants in it, and he listened to my ideas about size, position, shape etc.
It’s also a pretty good environment for banter too, so long as you break the ice to start with and join in. I’m always a little intimidated by heavily-tattooed, multiply-pierced guys and girls, especially when they are in business mode and are looking a bit sullen and serious. So, having been sent away for 15 minutes while J worked on my stencil, I decided to lighten the mood with something everyone loves. Sugar. That’s right. I bought a packet of chocolate hobnobs and gave them to the girl on the desk. Immediately her face broke out into a HUGE smile and we were chatting away like old friends. In fact, everyone in the waiting room joined in too and it was a much friendlier place to be. I also took a packet downstairs for J and the other tattoo guys, but ended up eating them all myself just to keep my blood sugar level up during the 5 hours it took!
Here are a few links you might be interested in;
- My Pinterest board Tattoo Ideas
- Extreme Needle – the place I got mine
- My tattoo artist’s Instagram feed