So it's the day of your tattooing procedure...time for your tattoo prep plan to kick in!
You've worked out all of your tattoo design ideas with the artist and came up with a final design, its size and positioning on your body, and you have been quoted a price or given an estimate (if they are charging by the hour).
YOU are finally getting your tattoo!! NICE!
HOPEFULLY, you got a good night’s sleep, are feeling reasonably good and didn't get into a drinking contest before going in for your work – in fact it's best if you didn't drink at all at least 12 hours before the procedure.
"Why is this so important for Tattoo Prep" you may ask?
I know, I know...it's tempting. BUT, there are several reasons to not indulge during this 12-hour window...and to not get ripped during the 12 hours before that (some sources put it at 48 hours, but let's keep it real).
Alcohol may be good for dulling pain, and may be great for a little “liquid courage,” but there are some big downsides to tipping a row of shots and/or knocking back a sixer before getting that ink.
Alcohol is a natural blood-thinner. This will make the working surface of your tattoo much bloodier than it needs to be – making it necessary for the tattoo artist to wipe the blood more often, slowing down the process significantly.
The extra blood can also force some of the ink out, which could actually affect the crispness and ink-density of your tattoo…and you will be back for a touch up much sooner than you would have if you'd gone in without the booze-up.
It's also true that the shop or artist can (and should) turn you away if you reek of alcohol. They could even face legal consequences if they do the work while you are under the influence...and who needs all that?
If you REALLY feel the need to kill some of the pain, of your tattoo procedure, acetaminophen (commonly known as "Tylenol") is an option to consider, as it dulls pain and does not thin the blood like aspirin and others (for more on pain relief "dos and don'ts" see Tattoo Pain Relief).
So, your call...I hope you make a good one!
Depending on the size and detail of your ink, its placement, the speed of your tattoo artist and the aforementioned blood-thinning (hopefully not a factor!) – you could be sitting, leaning or laying in the same position for a VERY long time.
Time to tattoo prep those muscles and joints!
It couldn't hurt to do some stretching exercises before you go. Nothing like getting a cramp or having your knees lock up while your artist is in the middle of a very delicate outline or is on a roll doing fill color.
This is definitely one of those times when you do NOT have to (in fact shouldn't) wear your finest duds! Comfort is king, as they say, and given that you will likely be in an un-comfortable position for a long while, you may as well wear something loose and/or stretchy.
Add to that, there is always the potential of getting a little ink and/or blood on your clothes. The ointment that is applied over your completed tattoo can be rather messy too.
Lastly, keep in mind the placement you've chosen for your ink (your tattoo artist will need easy access to that area).
You might want to break into your stash of old jogging suits, well-worn t-shirts and flip-flops for this appointment.
Make sure that you are properly fed and well hydrated (water!). True, you and your tattoo artist can (and should) take occasional bathroom breaks and sip on some water (or other non-alcoholic beverages) during your appointment. Best to be prepared, though...tattoo prep'd!
You'll need to be clean and have no skin issues (to include sunburn) in the area that will be getting the ink. Don't lube up your skin with any creams or oils, either. Clean, dry and healthy skin make for the best and most enduring living canvas.
All this sounds obvious, but you'd be amazed how often people find themselves miserable from one or more of these oversights!
Now, when you get with your tattoo artist, here is your last tattoo prep item – make sure you check the design very thoroughly one final time. Remember, this is something you very well may be wearing on your body for the rest of your life…it’s perfectly okay to be real picky right now!
If it meets your approval, the artist will apply the design (or an outline) with a wet stencil. Again, make sure that it gets positioned exactly where you want it to be before the tattooing procedure begins. It is not unusual at all to have the stencil cleaned off and reapplied multiple times!
Then, a final bathroom break and another quick stretch, and you are READY!