Time for a little exercise to get a better picture of what will be your first tattoo. If you haven't already, read the short write up Before You Ink to get the right mindset for this discussion.
You'll see several links at the bottom of that page, including the Health Risks of Tattoos page. Make sure you at least look that one over (and yes, you should check out the the other links too).
Then, follow these directions. TAKE YOUR TIME! The more thorough you are with this, the more material you'll have to work with.
Before we get started with questions, I highly recommend that you do this simple (but potentially VERY important) exercise.
Even if you have NO CLUE what you want or where to put it, this will get your creative juices flowing and will be instrumental in moving forward. (Click HERE)
Using your filled out questionnaire as a reference, ask yourself these FIVE SIMPLE QUESTIONS before you get stuck (pun intended) with that first tattoo:
It seems like a simple enough question, right? But perhaps it is the most important question of all!
Everyone has a reason, but not everyone admits to themselves and others what is really driving their decision.
Here is a look at my Top 10 Reasons to Tattoo. Any of that sound familiar?
Is getting this tattoo something you want to do FOR YOURSELF? Be honest, because if this is something that you find yourself doing against your better judgment AND/OR mainly for someone else, then you need to STOP AND THINK!
A tattoo is a life-long commitment to yourself and until you can look in the mirror and absolutely own it...don't go any further with these questions. You are not ready for your first tattoo!
Maybe someday you'll feel different...what's the rush?
If, on the other hand, you didn't even blink an eye just now, please proceed...
If your tattoo is intended to:
…STOP! There are much easier ways to let people (or groups of people) know how you feel without making a permanent change to the only body you've got. (Consider calling...or maybe sending an email or text to these folks to tell them how you feel instead.)
If, on the other hand, your tattoo design will effectively:
…MOVE ON to the next question.
Some tattoos are like fads (remember “Pet Rocks?”) – they become outdated fast. Before you brand yourself with a logo, character, or spiritual symbol, consider these points while answering this question:
So…IF your first tattoo design idea is not a candidate for any of these life phases and passes the “trendy test” to your satisfaction, MOVE ON to the next question.
No matter where you get your tat, your body is your billboard…and potentially your business card. Think "location, location, location!" (just like your house or place of business) when choosing ink placement...and think hard on these points:
Once you've considered this carefully and still feel confident in getting that first tattoo (not just the design or meaning, but also where you're putting it!), then MOVE ON to the next question.
To improve the life and vibrancy of your ink, it's important to remember:
The finer the lines and the lighter the colors in the work, the more easily that tattoo can be refreshed, altered or covered.
And, while fading colors and blurring detail work can be periodically refreshed by your tattoo artist, the skin will continue to thin and/or stretch in places – making your tattoo look saggy and distorted.
Not all body parts are created equally!
Some areas (such as the face, neck, and upper chest) are easy targets for wrinkles. Others (such as the breasts, belly and hips) are prone to stretch marks (pregnancy or weight changes).
Tattoos on taut areas of skin (e.g. forearms, ankles) are most likely to withstand the test of time, but FYI, some of those rank higher in the tattoo pain meter (e.g. the ankles). It's good to know before you go for that first tattoo...but if you want my two cents on that, I think it's worth the added temporary hurt to put it somewhere that will look good for a long time.
(Okay, so that's technically 6 questions...sorry!)
Well, there are always options for a tattoo that you hate – including a “Cover Tattoo” and even “Laser Removal”… but hopefully, with a little planning and foresight, you can avoid all that and just enjoy this tattoo (even if it is your FIRST) for the rest of your life!