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The Beginner's Guide to Getting Your First Tattoo

Welcome to the world of tattoos! If this is your first venture into the world of ink, don't worry—it's natural to have questions, feel a bit overwhelmed, or even think you know more than you do. The team at Logan Square Tattoo is here to guide you through the process and ensure you have the best first experience possible. So, pay attention, because class is in session!

How to Approach a Tattoo Artist/Studio:

Let's start with the basics: Before selecting an artist or studio, conduct some research. If you're uncertain about which artist to choose, reputable studios, like ours, often match you with the most suitable artist for your specific project. Keep in mind, the more specific your design /style ideas are, the more specific the artist selection will need to be. Once you have found an artist or studio you wish to work with, READ their website. Make sure to thoroughly go through the booking policy on your artist's website. Repeat the process to ensure you've absorbed all the necessary information regarding money, design requirements, and any other essential details.

Most artists/studios provide a booking form. If you find it a bit tedious to fill out, consider this: if you can't complete one form, why would an artist want to work with you? Our advice? Fill out the form for a smoother interaction with your chosen artist or studio.

  • A side note- maybe you’re more interested in getting work from a particular artist, and less concerned with a specific design idea.  Often artists will post available original designs on their website and social media pages where you can pick something that stands out to you.  It is also ok to tell an artist you are interested in their work, but not sure what you want to get.  A good artist will be happy to have a consultation with you to work out a project you are both excited about. In these cases it is helpful if you have given some thought to some of the items in the next section.

Guidelines on articulating your design concepts to your tattoo artist:

If you already have a specific design in mind, send a description of your ideas, along with any photos, the approximate size of the tattoo in inches, and indicate where on your body you'd like it placed. If you're torn between two locations, share all of the bodily locations you are considering and communicate your concerns openly. 

Providing inspiration photos to your artist is beneficial if you have a particular tattoo style in mind. This helps them gain a clear understanding of the specific aesthetic you're seeking.  If you are interested in the specific artist's past work you are talking to, bring some examples of pieces you like and what you like about them, as well as pieces you maybe aren't so fond of, so they know what to avoid in your design.

If you're unsure about the design, schedule a consultation. Bring any ideas or photos for inspiration, and let your artist know your preferences. Don't be disheartened if an artist suggests another colleague who might be a better fit for your project—many artists specialize in specific styles, and honesty is for your benefit. 

Common Considerations for Tattoo Artists:

  • Choosing Colors: Ensuring the best representation of the client's desired image.

  • Viewing Angles: Assessing how the tattoo looks from different perspectives.

  • Aging: Predicting how the tattoo will age over time.

  • Movement: Considering how the tattoo interacts with bodily placement.

  • Time and Sessions: Estimating the time or sessions required for completion.

  • Originality: Most artists prefer to tattoo original designs and avoid copying others' work.

  • Artistic Freedom: Discussing the extent to which the artist can exercise creative freedom.

  • Time for Artwork: Confirming if the artist has sufficient time to draw before your appointment.

It’s important to be aware of pain. Be honest about your comfort level. Communicate any discomfort or need for a break.

Preparation for Appointment and Dealing with Pain:

  • Understand your skin layers and the tattoo process.

  • Your skin comprises multiple layers—the outermost being the epidermis and the second, the dermis. During the tattooing process, one or more needles repeatedly inject ink into the dermal layer. This repetitive action can induce sensations like stinging, scratching, burning, vibrations, and even dullness. Pain tolerance varies from person to person, and the chosen tattoo placement can influence whether the pain is heightened or reduced.

  • Show up on time, do not show up excessively early.

  • Avoid attending appointments if you're unwell. Illness heightens your body’s sensitivity to pain.

  • Practice good hygiene.

  • Avoid Alcohol the day of, and the night before. Alcohol stresses the body out, especially by causing dehydration. 

  • Get enough sleep before and after your appointment. A well rested body has a higher pain threshold.

  • Stay hydrated and eat a meal to manage pain sensitivity.

  • Distract yourself during the session.

  • Practice breathing exercises. Inhale, two, three, four…exhale, two, three, four…

  • If considering any topical numbing agents, consult with your artist before using! Often there can be adverse side effects to the healing of the tattoo not disclosed on the label.

What NOT to Do:

  • During the Appointment:

  • Minimize body movement to avoid unnecessary pain.

  • Avoid screaming or causing stress to yourself and others.

  • Keep the experience personal; don't bring an entourage.

  • Respect the artist's pricing; haggling may not be appreciated.

  • Ensure financial readiness for the chosen tattoo project.

  • Use headphones instead of putting your phone on speaker.

  • Follow instructions from the artist or studio staff.

  • Do not show up for your appointment under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Remember, the temporary pain is a small price to pay for the lasting beauty of your new piece of artwork. And don't forget to check out our aftercare blog post for more information on keeping your tattoo in pristine condition!

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