Thursday, 26 April 2012

Getting Your First Tattoo

Your First Tattoo:

So you've decided to get inked for the first time or at least, you've decided to give it some thought and do some research. Congrats either way! Welcome to the ancient world of tattooing and welcome to the family.

photo courtesy of Jerry from Flyback Tattoo.

For the uninitiated, here's a simple guide to the steps that you can take to ensure that your tattoo will be something you wear proudly and happily.

Step 1: Find a Tattoo Design you like

Chances are, if you want to get inked, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want done and which part of your body you want decorated. Although, it never hurts to do some research. There are many different style of tattooing and the possibilities are endless.There are tonnes of books, magazines and pictures on the subject, so take your time.

Step 2: Choose your Artist/ Shop. 

Here in Singapore, there are many wonderful tattoo shops and artists to choose from. Body art, like all art is subjective so it's important that you find what you like! You can refer to "Lion City Tattoo's Shop/Artist Directory" here to help you with your research.  We might have some of the artist's portfolio here as well.

Make sure you are ABOVE 18 because any respected shop or artist WILL NOT tattoo you if you're not. If you've found someone willing to tattoo an underaged person, they're not good. They're probably just trying to turn a quick buck. A tattoo lasts forever and it's well worth the wait, just do your research in the meantime and put the money into a tattoo piggy bank. When you turn 18. you can get a kick ass one.

Step 3:  Make contact

After going through their portfolio and pictures, you would probably have selected a couple of shops and artists that you like- make contact. Drop them an email, give them a call and ask them about a consultation session. Most artists would be more than happy to meet up with their clients to discuss the tattoo. It is your responsibility to find out if you are medically fit for a tattoo. Go for an allergy check or consult a doctor if you want to be sure.

Step 4: Go for the consultation

This is the session where you would meet up with the artist to discuss and plan your tattoo design. This is where you can feel free to be open about the price (and your budget) and ask all the questions that you would like to know. Artists meet clients everyday, so they are in the best position to advise you about what's possible for your budget. They would also be able to give you advice about prepping the skin or shaving before getting tattooed. You can also check out the environment and make your own call as to whether the place is clean and sterile. If you wanna admire the artist's portfolio, you only need to ask.

A nice, clean sterile work station is a must.

If you've planned a consultation, it's only right you show up, if you can't make it... do give the artist a courtesy call to reschedule or cancel. If all goes well during your consultation, you might be able to get your tattoo right away. For custom designs and more complicated work, the artist will need time to prepare the work and might collect a non refundable deposit from you for him to start working on the piece. The deposit is a very common practice because the artist would have wasted a lot of time and effort preparing you design and not having you show up means no income for the work done.

A custom compass design sketched up. Photo courtesy of Jerry from Flyback Tattoo.

Planning a Custom Tattoo is a lot of work. photo courtesy:Elvin from Elvin Tattoo

Step 5: The Appointment.

Once again, if you've made your appointment do show up on time and do call in advance if you can't make it. Your deposit will most probably not be refunded if you decide that you don't want to get tattooed but reschedules are normally easily arranged. Do not drink alcohol before or during your Tattoo session. It makes you bleed more and your artist won't be able to see clearly while working.

Enjoy your session. Getting a tattoo is an experience like no other. Some bigger pieces like a full sleeve, a full back, a leg wrap or a body suit would take quite a few sessions before so you would need to return for another session(s).

A Tattoo Gun at work. Photo: Lion City Tattoo

Step 6: After Care

After getting your ink. Be sure to keep your tattoo clean and keep it away from sun, sand and sea. Again, get advice from your artist. Personally, I like to keep my fresh ink moisturized with nappy rash creams such as Bepanthen or any other brands. They're all pretty much the same and you can buy them from any pharmacy.

Moisturise to make sure your ink heals up good.

I hope you've all found this guide useful and keep the ink coming!
"The difference between a tattooed person and a non tattooed person is that a tattooed person doesn't care if you're inked or not."

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