Tips For Your First Tattoo
At Stick Tattoo, we wanted to provide some advice and tips for your first tattoo. We get asked a number of questions from our customers – from design, to the process and after-care.
Here are a few tips to help make your first-time tattoo a great experience – for you… and the tattoo shop. 🙂
1. Research the shop and the artist.
Like any important decision, we encourage you to research and find the right shop for you. Be sure to check out the artists’ work and style, research reviews and visit the shop to see its cleanliness and attention to health standards. Most shops take a lot of pride in their location, so be sure to find a shop that reflects the quality of work and atmosphere you’re seeking.
2. Ask Questions.
When getting your first tattoo, we want you to be excited and confident about your tattoo and the placement, so do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you need. We understand and recognize that there is some anxiety and nerves that come along with your first tattoo, but our team is on hand to answer any questions you may have – including placement options, “will it hurt?”(yes, it will), how long it will take, etc.!
To help with these questions, we at Stick Tattoo have a team of Shop Coordinators that are available to help answer many of your questions. They can also schedule you with a pre-tattoo consultation with an artist to talk through the process and overall capabilities. You will want to ensure you are on the same page as your artist beforehand to ensure a smooth experience from start to finish. Note that while there is no cost for this consultation, our artists will not draw, or design, a tattoo without you scheduling an actual tattoo appointment. This just protects their time and creativity.
3. Research your design and ideas.
We love what we do, and will absolutely help you with your design to ensure you are getting a quality tattoo, but be sure to do some research ahead of time and have some ideas and references for what you are looking to do. We suggest this for a number of reasons:
First, it helps you feel more confident and comfortable with what you are going to get. Remember, we strongly encourage you not to rush just into any design.
Next, it really helps our artists to be able to customize and create the exact design you want. While the artists are extremely talented, they are not mind-readers, so having some reference pictures will help give them an idea of the design and concept you’re envisioning.
At Stick Tattoo, we have a number of available computer stations that you can utilize at no cost to assist you in your research. Once you find some ideas, we encourage you to share these references with your artist. If you are looking to dive right into a larger piece such as a sleeve, or a complex piece such as a portrait, we recommend contacting the shop to schedule a consultation to ensure you and your artist are on the same page.
Please keep in mind that there is a direct correlation as to the size and complexity of your tattoo. The smaller the size, the more challenged you will be with detail.
Also, while we appreciate – and encourage – you to be happy with the design and concept of your tattoo, please be courteous to your artist and let them know ahead of your appointment if you are changing design aspects or placement locations. While it may not be a major change or revision, it will help ensure your artist does not spend time preparing for a tattoo or location unnecessarily. Simply call, text or email the shop and let us know any changes before 48 hours of your appointment. Should your changes be larger, or more detailed, and not communicated before 48 hours of your appointment, we may not be able to keep your appointment, nor refund your deposit.
4. Understand Your Tattoo Placement.
While many people handle or describe the feeling of getting tattooed differently, we can tell you that some places are easier and less painful than others. You may want to keep this in mind for your first appointment to ensure you are prepared.
Also with placement, you will want to think through your desired location in regards to visibility and your work/school/family environment. While we clearly support visible tattoos in the workplace, not all employers do. So your tattoo location could become a factor. We often do not recommend such visible spots as your face, neck and hands for your first tattoo.
5. Understand the Cost.
While specific costs may vary between shops, understand that there are often similar cost approaches for your tattoo. At Stick Tattoo, we have a shop minimum for any tattoo. This cost includes the overhead and supplies that go into every tattoo, regardless of how small it may be.
For larger pieces, we can price your tattoo by the hour, or by the piece. In most situations, your cost will be determined by how long it will take the artist, with their hourly rate. Please understand that the time it takes to tattoo your design is based on the overall size and detail that goes into the piece.
Many shops will also charge you a deposit for your initial appointment. At Stick Tattoo, this cost is then applied to the overall cost of your tattoo. We provide a 48-hour window for you to cancel your appointment and still keep your deposit. Any cancellations after this 48-hour window, or no-shows, will result in us keeping your deposit.
6. Day of Preparation.
Final preparations for your first tattoo are very important, not only for the tattoo and quality, but also for your overall experience. We can tell you up front – it might hurt a little and it might bleed a little, but this is all a normal part of the process. Understanding these potentials will help you mentally prepare. (And don’t worry – it doesn’t hurt that bad. We promise.)
We strongly encourage you to eat prior to your appointment. During the tattoo process, your body starts to treat and react to the process, and eating beforehand will help you from start to finish.
Do not drink alcohol, or try and show up intoxicated for your appointment. Not only will it complicate the process and thin your blood, but it will also make you more fidgety and increase the likelihood of not thinking your design completely through. At Stick Tattoo, we will not tattoo you if we feel you are under the influence. Not only is this our own shop rule, it is a requirement of the West Virginia State Health Code.
Be sure to wear comfortable and appropriate clothes based on the location placement of your tattoo. You want to dress to be comfortable, but also will want to ensure the artist can easily access the preferred tattoo location. At Stick Tattoo, our artists each have private rooms should your location require a more private environment.
We also strongly encourage you to shower and clean the location of the tattoo. Not only will that benefit you and your tattoo, consider it as a general courtesy for the artist. Our artist will also do a thorough cleaning of the specific tattoo location upon arrival.
7. Relax, Enjoy and Have Fun.
Tattoos are a work of art, that all have special and unique meaning to each person. To ensure you have the best experience possible, you will want to make sure you are 100% happy with the design, location, artist and shop. Following the above tips will help make your first tattoo a great experience.
And as the saying goes… once you get one, you will want more. (And we support this, too!)