Getting a tattoo is one of the most exciting things you can do. They are no longer just for sailors and criminals but a form of self expression and art. Although people still think they are awful, tattoos are generally accepted in society, even celebrated, and getting a tattoo can be a wonderful experience.
I remember my first time like it was yesterday and the nervous anticipation is something I will never forget. Despite my love of tattoos I wish I had known some key questions and things to be aware of prior to getting one.
Firstly, you must decide on what you want to get done. I have heard of various methods of settling on a design. Some say you should look at a picture of what you want everyday for 6 months before you do it but although this may work for some people it doesn't work for me. I find looking at picture of a design is very different to having it on your skin. You have no attachment to the piece of paper but when it is etched onto your body, it becomes a part of you. I would feel naked without any of my tattoos now because each one has become a part of my body just like my arms and legs. The important thing is to get something that captures you. It doesn't have to have a profound meaning but it should be something you will love having on your body even when you're 80.
After you know what you want to have tattooed and where the next most important thing is to find the right tattoo artist. This can be a hefty task as there are many out there and they drastically vary in price and quality. Each artist has different strengths so it's good to check out their previous work to see if they would be able to execute your design well. I have been to a few different places but now I have found my dream artist and I won't go anywhere else.
Age Grech from GFMS Dermagraphic Artistry has been tattooing since 1996 and he is an artist in every sense of the word. A lot of tattoo places thrive on flash (designs you pick off a wall or out of a book) but I find this unappealing and generic which is not what you want your tattoo to be. There is no flash at GFMS which means each tattoo is designed for the client. Just like the other artists at GFMS, Age prides himself in his work and it truly shows. I constantly get compliments on his work which is nicely placed on my forearm. A lot of tattoo artists can be intimidating and this scares a lot of clients off, Age and his crew are friendly, supportive and they make the experience all the more exciting.
Here are some handy questions to ask the tattoo artist:
1. How long have you been tattooing and are you qualified? This is important so you know how experienced they are.
2. Do you use single use materials (needles and tube set)? Each needle should be individually sealed and packaged.
3. Do you sterilize all equipment and work areas?
4. Do you wear gloves when tattooing?
5. How much will it cost? Do you have a drawing fee? Cost is important as it can vary quite a lot from artist to artist. It's important to find an artist at the quality you want and within your price range. If they charge a drawing fee, ask if the amount comes out of the price of the tattoo or is on top. If they charge you a drawing fee on top of the tattoo price then they may be trying to rip you off.
6. Do you guarantee your work? Are touch-ups included in your charge? Sometimes when getting a tattoo, the ink doesn't hold in certain areas and they need to be touched up. Most tattoo artists will touch up work for free provided you looked after the tattoo properly.
7. How do I care for my tattoo? How long will it take to heal? It's good to ask the artist, that way you can rest assured you have followed their instructions in case you need any touch ups.
Finally, enjoy the experience. It may hurt a little but the end result is worth it!