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Considering a Tattoo

Sunday_AssassinSunday_Assassin Registered User regular
edited October 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
So I've been considering getting a tattoo for the past couple of months. Not decided on a design yet (thinking a star on my wrist/forearm... you know, one of those stars that looks like a cross... only a star. Dunno if it has a name or anything. Not important), but I'm pretty sure it's going to happen now. Was on the verge of getting something when I was in Vegas a few months ago... and when I was in San Fran... and one drunken night in Oaxaca (glad that didn't happen), until travelling buddies talked me out of it.

Anyway, I'm now pretty confident about permanantly scarring myself.

So there are a few tattoo places I know of near me. What I really need to know is what questions/research I should be doing before I take the plunge. Should I look for a box of rusty needles? How do I make sure the artist isn't drunk or rubbish at his job? How do I decide?

(I also could do with finding out if the design I'm considering has a name/connotations I'm not aware of. I'll post a few pics when I get around to googling random words... or I'll drawsomething. Bear with me on that.)

AwesomePaint Ahoy!
star.jpg

Sunday_Assassin on

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Well, you want a simple design, so...
    Colors?
    Detail?
    3d or 2d look?
    How big?
    Where?

    Look through the artists portfolio at the shop and talk to them about what you want and what you have no idea about. Talking to them does not bind you to get it done by them.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Well, you want a simple design, so...
    Colors?
    Detail?
    3d or 2d look?
    How big?
    Where?

    Look through the artists portfolio at the shop and talk to them about what you want and what you have no idea about. Talking to them does not bind you to get it done by them.


    Seconded.... Always talk to the shop before you get the ink. Make sure you approve of their staff and their methods. Looking through the books is a great way to go too. I was going to design my first tattoo, until I saw the stuff they had, and I liked that a lot more. Good luck, and welcome to the world of ink.

    Also, you might be really tempted to get another one right after you get your first.. Wait a little while :)

    Give the novelty some time to wear off before rushing into another one. By all means get another one if you want one, just space them out a little ...

    amateurhour on
    are YOU on the beer list?
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    MoopMoop Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    First off, go into the shop when there's a lot of people there- especially people with a lot of tattoos- ask them about their experience, if the shop is trustworthy, if the tattooists have any horrible diseases, etc.

    Make sure everything is sterile. You should be able to tell on your own. Ask to see their equipment, and their portfolio, to judge their work. Also ask to see their license- that's a must. Most tattoo shops have it mounted on a wall or something.

    Do some research online as well about proper tattooing and aftercare.

    Also, on a personal note, make sure what you get is something you really, really want. Just picture yourself with it at 50 or 60 with a bunch of grandkids running around. If you don't like how that sounds, don't get the tattoo, or get it in a place that's easily hidden. I don't know what kind of career plans you have, but nowadays employers are a lot more understanding when it comes to that sort of thing. However, you probably shouldn't get one in a place as visible as your forearm unless you won't be bothered by office attire policies.

    Good luck dude.

    Moop on
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    NrthstarNrthstar Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Talking to your artist first is extremely important. I've had several tattoos done so far by a few artists and honestly, my crappiest tattoo I had done was given to me by a guy who just didn't give a shit since he didn't like my concept. The guy has done amazing work, but HATED the idea of any christian based tattoos. He had no interest or care, so it came out looking decent, but nothing like his portfolio.

    When I met my current artist though (I'm pretty much having everything done by her) she loved my ideas and concept art, and every time has come back to me with a greatly enhanced version. Finding a talented artist that sees eye to eye with you is just as important to me as finding a clean place.

    Finding a place without rusty needles is a given. A solid indicator as to whether they really are clean and mentally fully functional as a staff is if they are state certified. I live in Virginia where you don't actually have to be state certified to tattoo. And very very few parlors are certified since to clear the process you have to be SPOTLESS. So if you can walk in the door and see their certificate, then you're in good hands. Don't necessarily rule out an artist if they aren't certified by the state (one of the best artists I've ever met who and lives in my town isn't, but that's because he moves from shop to shop. An individual isn't certified, just the shops).

    A couple of other things to keep in mind:

    Don't be drunk or even smell of alcohol when you walk in their. Nothing will piss a solid artist off more than if you come in drunk. They see plenty of that bull crap, and can lose their liscence if they give you a tattoo while intoxicated. They won't do it because 1. Drunk people will wake up the next day regretting the decision and 2. You'll bleed far more when you're intoxicated. The ink won't even take as well if you are *drunk*.

    Simple can be good. I mean look at the Nautical Star, it's freakin' every where, and it still looks good to me, but a suggestion I might make to you is adding a little bit to your cross/star. Maybe have a banner wrapping around it or at least some glow to it. Giving a Foreground/Background concept to your image gives a lot of depth and will help straight lines to become a bit more organic. The dick who did my crappiest tattoo flat out denied my friends idea since it was all straight lines. The anatomy of your underlying muscles and the movement of your skin over those muscles will never really give you a straight line. I can tell you from experience because of the cross that I have on my left wrist.


    Really long post, but I hope it was helpfull.

    EDITED* for language. Sorry, bit of a potty mouth.

    Nrthstar on
    "Shut up and Die"
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    NrthstarNrthstar Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Moop wrote: »
    Also, on a personal note, make sure what you get is something you really, really want. Just picture yourself with it at 50 or 60 with a bunch of grandkids running around. If you don't like how that sounds, don't get the tattoo, or get it in a place that's easily hidden. I don't know what kind of career plans you have, but nowadays employers are a lot more understanding when it comes to that sort of thing. However, you probably shouldn't get one in a place as visible as your forearm unless you won't be bothered by office attire policies.

    Another good point. I made my peace with wearing long sleeve shirts a looong time ago. My boss has seen my tattoos since, but has never mentioned it (although my coworkers have). It's a strange thing when you start getting highly visible tattoos. Some people just won't understand.

    Nrthstar on
    "Shut up and Die"
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    tectonictectonic Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I like the design you chose - a small tasteful accent is an awesome function of the tattoo. Some people like turning their skin into artwork, and that's cool. If you work in or plan to work in the professional world - that's not so great because unfortunately people are presumptuous. Having an accenting tattoo on your wrist, ankle, lower back, or forearm is fine, especially if it's a design of some kind like your star.

    Unless you get an infection of some kind, which is preventable with caution and research just like with sex, or unless you suddenly start hating stars or christians I can't see you terribly regretting this decision down the line. So if it doesnt cost too much and it'll make you happy then do it.

    PERSONALLY my favorite tattoo is some kinda Celtic-like circlet that goes around the circumference of your upper arm. The Ron Paul Girl has one, and it looks hot on her. On a guy, it looks badass, so anyone can get one. Easy to hide, too, if you stop enjoying it.

    tectonic on
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    JeffHJeffH Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    So, to hijack the thread a little, I've always wanted a tattoo, and finally came to the decision that for my first, I'd get a red sox tattoo. If they lost the playoffs this year, I'd wait until Feb-March when I forgot about the disappointment of a playoff loss and was excited about the season. Since they are in the WS now, it might come a little sooner than expected. ;)

    I have the general idea, I want the red sox "B" with something like a shamrock behind it. It's definitely partly because of my lifelong love of the Red Sox, but it also represents to me my community and my roots, friends and family.

    Now, the B is obvious but I'm not totally sure about how the shamrock should be. How does that work? Is it like Miami Ink where you give them the idea and they'll draw something to show you? This is my first, so I'm clueless. I'm assuming everyone from the area is familirar with the Sox logo, but should I bring in references to it anyway?

    JeffH on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited October 2007
    JeffH wrote: »
    So, to hijack the thread a little, I've always wanted a tattoo, and finally came to the decision that for my first, I'd get a red sox tattoo. If they lost the playoffs this year, I'd wait until Feb-March when I forgot about the disappointment of a playoff loss and was excited about the season. Since they are in the WS now, it might come a little sooner than expected. ;)

    I have the general idea, I want the red sox "B" with something like a shamrock behind it. It's definitely partly because of my lifelong love of the Red Sox, but it also represents to me my community and my roots, friends and family.

    Now, the B is obvious but I'm not totally sure about how the shamrock should be. How does that work? Is it like Miami Ink where you give them the idea and they'll draw something to show you? This is my first, so I'm clueless. I'm assuming everyone from the area is familirar with the Sox logo, but should I bring in references to it anyway?

    They use a transparency paper, like a temporary tattoo, and stick it on you and use that as an outline. Not a whole lot of shops like to do freehand if they can avoid it. They're good at it, and some shops love to do it, but it's a lot easier to just take the image, copy it, print it out on the special paper, and then they can experiment on where to put it on you. When I got my ink on my back, I had him place the temp image in three or four different places to see where I would like it, and line it up right. You can make your own image, or find one, and print it out on a good color printer, or save it as a file, and they can do the rest.

    Also, I'm not knocking freehand tattoo artists. They're amazing...It's just hard to find a good one with modern technology.

    amateurhour on
    are YOU on the beer list?
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    NrthstarNrthstar Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    yeah, just bring in the ideas, they'll draw it up. If you have a specefic shamrock in mind, bring a pic of that with you. If you want to see what they create from scratch, you will probably be pleasently surprised by the originality most artists will display.

    Nrthstar on
    "Shut up and Die"
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    TashTash Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Talk to the artist and go see their work. Go to MULTIPLE shops. I can't stress that enough. I got my first tattoo at a place that was good and I heard amazing things about. Didn't turn out as good as it could have.

    I also have a tattoo on my wrist. The most important thing is to make sure you can cover it up if you want to and don't make it too horribly large. Remember, it's going to be with you forever and although it may seem super cool now, 20 years from now, it might not be so much.

    Tash on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Talk to some people you see in the area with work that you like. Most people, as long as you kinda open with "I really like your tattoos, did you get any of them locally?" are fairly helpful.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    Sunday_AssassinSunday_Assassin Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Cheers for all the advice. It's going to help a lot. And Nrthstar, you're probably right. It probably could do with a little more going on, and I did think that straight lines might be tricky... Well, it's just a start point. When I get around to visiting the shops I know I can jazz it up a little based on what I see.

    Here's a picture showing kinda where I want it done... Maybe a bit further down the forearm. I'm not too bothered about any work problems it might cause, because there shouldn't be any. I'm not an office kinda guy, and it'll be tasteful whatever I get (and probably just one colour), so it shouldn't be a problem. And I have loads of long sleeved shirts.

    harry-kewell-tattoo.jpg

    Sunday_Assassin on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I would just be seriously careful about anything that comes close to being on the hand. How people should react is not a gauge of how they will react. But then again, you honestly might not care, you might be in a line of work where it won't make a bit of a difference.
    Just make sure that you're sure.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    NrthstarNrthstar Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Definately pop some picks up when it's done. After my next session I might throw up a tattoo pic thread. I need to add color to my left shoulder piece. Oh and Vitamin A&D ointment (they might even sell some at the shop you go to) is great stuff for healing. Just don't put on too much at a time, the first tat I got I put too much on constantly and ended up with zits all over my wrist.

    Nrthstar on
    "Shut up and Die"
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