If you’re new to tattooing, there’s no shame in starting small. Give yourself a chance to learn the process, how your skin takes ink, and how your body heals.
Your pain tolerance
Respect your body’s limits. If you’re very sensitive, avoid choosing ribs, backs of knees, elbows for your first tattoo.
Sun exposure and water submersion can damage a new tattoo, so beach bums in particular will want to avoid getting a new tat in the summer. Spring and early autumn are the most practical.
Don´t go for cheap
Unless you have several trusted friends who can vouch for a suspiciously cheap tattoo parlour, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You’re altering your body for life.
Choose an artist at least a week in advance, and look over their portfolio before committing. Make sure you’re happy with their work and that their style fits yours.
Think and sleep on it
Give yourself some time to be sure you’re happy with your choices — design, placement, artist. Spontaneity is all well and good, but marking your body for life is a big decision.
Take a friend
If you’ve got any nerves, don’t go alone. If you can, bring a friend who’s been tattooed before (and had a good experience!). Having someone to talk to, and someone you trust to walk you through the process as it’s happening will work wonders.
Don’t be afraid to go back for a retouch
If a line isn’t clear enough, or a shadow not well filled in, go back and ask for it to be fixed! It’s better for small details to be done too lightly than botched the first time, and so this can happen due to an artist’s caution. If, within the first couple weeks of healing, you want something adjusted, get in touch with your artist and set up a touch-up.