From Photography to a Tattoo

By Mitch Rice

Getting the first tattoo is an exciting, unique experience. It should be as beautiful as you have envisioned, just like the tattoo you’ve chosen should be as special as you imagine it to be.

However, there are a few things you should be aware of so as to avoid rookie mistakes that could potentially ruin the experience. Today we’ll talk about 5 steps on Getting Inked, so without any further ado, let’s start from the top:

1. Find the right ink master and saloon

All tattoo saloons are riddled with dozens of tattoo pictures that essentially comprise the portfolio of the in-house artists. By examining these photos, you will eventually start to notice certain patterns – the style of each tattoo artist is different, and most ink masters are prone to adding subtle elements, their ‘trademarks’, to their art.

Although this can be a huge benefit for people who haven’t exactly crystalised the idea of their first tattoos, it may be a drawback for those who have a clear vision of it. Tattoo artists who are prone to making tattoos in a certain style may not be ideal choices for all tattoo designs.

For instance, tattoo artists specializing in tribal tattoos are usually great at painting geometrical shapes and figures, but they may not be perfect for realism tattoos. Ink masters who specialize in portraits are usually well-rounded and can tackle almost every tattoo concept, although they tend to charge more.

Most people typically go to artists that have previously done tattoos for their friends or acquaintances. It’s important to be mindful of the fact that each individual is different; the style and needs of your friends may be drastically different than yours, and the gorgeous small tattoo your sister may have is not necessarily proof that the same artist can do the same for you.

2. Work on your health and nutrition

Before getting inked, it’s important for your skin to be healthy. There are two crucial reasons why skin health can actually determine the outcome of your first tattoo. First and foremost, healthy skin will ‘receive’ the tattoo well; tattoo artists will be able to properly execute every little detail, as opposed to doing their best in finding ways to ‘stitch’ wrinkles and gaps.

Secondly, healthy skin heals substantially faster. The inking process inevitably creates wounds, regardless of how shallow they may be, and you don’t need the pain to remind you of the wonderful experience you’ve just lived through.

Some of the most prominent recommendations by reputable tattoo masters regarding this topic revolve around regulating your sleep schedule, drinking quality coffee in moderation, sunbathing with quality sunscreen, regular exercise, and using vitamin supplement products.

3. Avoid alcohol several days before entering the studio

It’s crucial to avoid alcohol before starting the tattooing process; the same goes for blood-thinning drugs, as you will bleed more intensely, to the point where the session needs to stop.

Many professionals make this a requirement for their ‘canvases’; aside from wasting time for both parties (and losing other prospective appointments to the studio), excessive bleeding is a major health risk on its own.

Additionally, thin blood can negatively affect the intensity of the color of tattoos (even black & white ones). In this case, smaller areas will heal too fast, and re-inking will need to take place. Many tattoo artists will charge re-inking and touch-ups extra.

Overall, alcohol and blood-thinning drugs, if they don’t halt the process, will certainly prolong it. Again, you will either be charged extra during the session, or you will need to pay an extra day or two to finalize the tattoo.

4. Prepare Kava pills, water, and energy snacks

On the day that the tattooing session is scheduled, you’ll want to come as prepared as possible. The experience is different for everyone, although excitement and stress are by far the most common emotions for most people.

With the exception of tiny tattoos, most sessions last multiple hours. Obviously, the length of time required to wrap up the session depends on several factors, including the skill of the artist, the intricacy of the tattoo, and its size.

In any case, the stress caused by pain, which is inevitable for the vast majority of people, can cause a drop in blood sugar levels, which can make you feel dizzy or nauseous. A good way to counteract this is to have a few energy snacks handy and ask for a brief pause.

Painkillers are not generally recommended, but Kava pills are. These pills are generally used to treat anxiety, stress, and similar conditions, all of which are fairly common during the tattooing process.

Although all reputable tattooing saloons are equipped with facilities where you could get drinking water, having a water bottle handy will allow the artist to continue working.

Headphones are also recommended, as listening to music will enable you to endure the pain and remain calm for extended periods of time. On the other hand, you may want to skip this and try to converse with the tattoo artist to keep the mood light for both sides.

It’s best to talk to the artist you’ve chosen and ask about what things he or she recommends you bring for the session.

5. Adhere to instructions provided by your artist

The final step is listening to the advice that your tattoo artist will give you as you are getting tattooed. If you’ve primed your skin and avoided alcohol, you’ll simply have to do your best to entertain yourself and remain as calm as possible to make the job easier for the artist.

As you’re being tattooed, you will receive instructions on how to muscle through the pain, and when to prepare yourself for slightly more intense episodes of pain, especially in areas around the throat, ribs, spine, and shins.

All tattoo artists will remind you of the advice regarding the post-tattooing process, but you may also inquire about this during the tattooing process. If needed, bring a pen and a piece of paper to write these down.

We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on how to get inked in 2021. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!

Data and information are provided for informational purposes only, and are not intended for investment or other purposes.