Getting Your First Tattoo

Updated on June 16, 2011
Deciding on the size and placement of your tattoo ahead of time makes the process easier
Deciding on the size and placement of your tattoo ahead of time makes the process easier

This past weekend I had the honor of taking my best friend to get her first tattoo. I planned on taking her and her girlfriend (who was going to be getting her second tat) to my favorite parlor, "Il Bacio" in Trenton, NJ. I'm not sure if most unadorned people realize it, but there is a specific process to getting tattooed that goes beyond just choosing what to get.

STEP ONE Decide on a tattoo design. Websites like bmezine and chopper-tattoo offer free, comprehensive galleries featuring thousands of photos of real tattoos. Does that mean that you should replicate someone else's image exactly as shown? No, not necessarily, but the photo galleries are great inspiration for figuring out new ideas. On bmezine, for example, the images are broken down into several dozen categories such as Sci-Fi, Lettering, Angels & Fairies, Dragons, Geek, Portraits, Stars, Music, Tribal, Religious Symbols (click the links to see my photo hubs of the different genres) to help you easily navigate through the themes you are most interested in.

STEP TWO Decide on the placement. Where on your body would you like this tattoo to go? Do you have any special requirements or restrictions? Figure out what your criteria are, if any. I once worked with a guy, an upscale salesman in a corporate office who had to wear a three-piece suit every day of his life. You wouldn't have known it, but beneath his bourgeoisie threads he was inked from front to back, neck to foot. His job prevented him from having any visible tattoos on his neck, face or hands, so he tattooed the rest of his body instead. When going to the tattoo parlor for a new addition, he was always sure to bring a button-down dress shirt with him. He would put it on to show the tattoo artist what the space limitations were (nothing above the collar or below the cuffs.) So think about this beforehand. Do you want a tattoo that can be easily hidden if necessary? Easily hidden most of the time? Or does it not matter either way? There's no way to explain the specific pain of a tattoo gun needle penetrating your skin at about a billion jolts per second, but if the idea of pain really freaks you out, you may want to consider placing your tat on a fleshier part of the body, like your upper arms or the back of your shoulder rather than your lower back, which is tender in the middle near the spine, or your wrists or ankles, which do not have the added protection of a lot of skin and muscle.

The biology behind tattooed skin
The biology behind tattooed skin

STEP THREE Select a tattoo parlor. Word of mouth is the best way to go. If your friends or acquaintences have tattoos that you admire, ask them where they got their work done and if they remember the name of their particular artist. You may also look online for suggestions, at sites like AAAtattoodirectory for a list of all businesses in your area. If all else fails, you can just default by going to the shop closest to your home and praying for the best.

STEP FOUR Call the tattoo parlor and ask if they have time to do two small tattoos/one mid-size tattoo/the first session of a huge, ongoing backpiece. This is not usually necessary, as most tattoo shops gladly take walk-ins, but it's courteous and it can't hurt to inquire. Plus, if the shop happens to be overrun at the moment by a group of twenty teenagers from the cheerleading squad all there to get matching pom-pom tattoos, you'll know to wait a few hours before going in. It helps to eat a decent size meal beforehand, as some people have weak stomachs when it comes to tattooing and tend to feel nauseous either during the procedure or just after.

A stencil is applied to the skin to show the artist where to tattoo
A stencil is applied to the skin to show the artist where to tattoo

STEP FIVE Approach the counter and explain that you're looking to get three words above a picture of a heart tattooed on your upper arm. You don't need to go into detail with this person, because most likely he or she is there to take calls and introduce customers to their artists, which is what will happen next. Whichever worker's turn it is will come up to you and you will discuss what you want with him. If you've brought in a picture, hand it over. If you're unsure what type of lettering to get, ask to see a book of fonts (almost all stores have them.) Once you've selected, give the artist a few minutes to draw it up onto a transfer sheet which will later be applied to your skin.

STEP SIX Don't be afraid to be assertive. Tattoo artists aren't mind readers. They create the design based on the image in your head, so you have to give them a good idea of what you're looking for. After he draws up the first draft, he'll show it to you for your approval. It is okay to say no. Don't be afraid to say, "That looks great, but can we maybe make it a little bit smaller?" It is no trouble at all for him to use the copy machine to shrink it down to size. Remember, you are a paying customer, and the artists are there to ensure you have a great experience. The same thing goes for when the stencil is placed on your skin. He will apply the stencil and then ask you to look at it. If it's crooked or off-center or anything else, speak up. He will be happy to smear the stencil off your skin and reapply it. Always trust your instincts. If the artist gives you a hard time for wanting to be specific, you may want to consider finding a new shop. This is going to be on your body for the rest of your life, and you have every right to want it done perfectly.

Girl getting her first tattoo

STEP SEVEN I'll get into tattoo parlor etiquette in another hub, but suffice it to say that even if you're getting work done by a 300-lb. man named Snake, standard rules of courtesy still apply. DO NOT try to bargain with the price quote, DO NOT brag or make offhand remarks like "My friend so-and-so said his tattoo only cost $75, and it's even smaller than mine is going to be!" Be polite--tattoo prices are not up for discussion. It's okay to be nervous, but try to keep your emotions in check. I'll never forget the embarassment I felt years ago while taking an acquaintence to get her first ink. She screamed out a horrid rendition of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to help her deal with the pain, then fell off the chair and crawled her way into the restroom when she thought she was going to vomit. If you get hit with a sudden wave of nausea and feel as though you might be sick, don't just jump out of the chair and sprint for the nearest bathroom as this can destroy the precise handiwork of your tattoo. Simply announce to the artist that you feel sick, he'll stop and you can head for the toilet. Finally, DO NOT enter the parlor drunk or under the influence of mind-altering substances. First of all, the artist has the right to refuse to work on you if he sees you are under the influence and secondly, you'll make a fool out of yourself. Stay as still as possible and try to relax. Focusing on something other than the pain helps (look at the artwork on the walls or a magazine in your hands.) Take deep breaths in and out and eventually your endorphins should kick in and the pain will be tolerable. At the end, thank him for his time and hand over his tip. Yes, tattoo artists get tips. Ten to twenty percent is usually a good amount. For example, I typically leave a maximum of $20 on a $100 tattoo.

STEP EIGHT It is common procedure for the artist to explain to you how to care for your new body modification, and most places will supply you with a print-out detailing proper aftercare techniques. If they do not do so, ask for a quick primer in what to do once you get home. When all is said and done, your new ink will be bandaged up with saran wrap and possibly a little bloody, but when you remove the treatment later that evening to wash it and apply the A&D cream, you'll be happy to find a crisp, fresh and hopefully beautifully completed work of art.

Photo Gallery of first tattoos

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Questions & Answers


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        Kat 4 years ago

        I am getting a full back piece done I managed 3 hours and the outline is done, a lot of pain but no sickness or fainting I was sitting upright leaning against the back of the chair. I went back a week later to get some more work done I ate a decent meal but when I sat down I started to feel like a fire was burning inside me and got light headed what can I do this tattoo is extremely important to me I really want to be able to get it finished.

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        Shinda 4 years ago

        I'm turning 18 in two weeks, and I've decided that I want to get my first tattoo on my birthday. Even as a kid, I never thought I'd live to see 18, so I believe that it's fitting to get an anti-suicide tattoo on my wrist on that day. It's going to be a semicolon about an inch and a half big on my right wrist. I'm scared as all hell. I'm just hoping I don't start screaming in the seat. xDD

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        aanarosey 5 years ago

        I guess it's a huge moment for you with full of excitement (a little pain, too!) and cheer of placing a wonderful tattoo upon the stuff! Though I didn't do it yet but I have an interest in it. Thanks for sharing your earliest experience.

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        Kelly 6 years ago

        I'm 30 and have 6... About to get 2 more.. Most are hidden but I'll have 2 on my wrist. My first was when I was 23, the middle of my back between the shoulders, I was expecting extreme pain, it wasn't too bad until he started getting to the top of the tat. I have 3 on the back of my neck, it actually tickelled more than hurt, one on my hip, no pain just a scratching feeling and on the wrist only hurt in one tiny spot. Girls tolerate pain more than men, and I heard that if you're expecting your period, it hurts less. If you're freaking out, try taking a Xanax to calm you down. Good luck all!

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        Tori 6 years ago

        Well i'll be 17 in September and I'm wanting my great grandpas name on the inside of my left arm and i'll admit i'ma weak kid but I seriously need to grow some balls and grow up. It will be my first and i'm planning on sometime in the next week or two after I get back from Florida.

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        LynnisaMystery 6 years ago

        I've wanted a small tattoo for awhile now ('bout a year) and I'm waiting still another year to be sure I still want it considering I'm only 17. Though I will be 18 in October. I'm looking at maybe a 2-3inch Rebel Alliance symbol somewhere out of the way and not overtly obvious. I'm okay with it hurting, but I'd like to avoid bone if possible, or at least the majority of the tat on the bone. Any sugestions as to location? I want it easily hidden for work, if possible, but something I could show off fairly easy.

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        Stephy 6 years ago

        I just got my first tattoo yesterday on my inner calf. It's about 8inchs by 11inchs fairly detailed and brightly colored. It didn't hurt that much, felt like I was getting my legs waxed. Until the coloring in started. That hurt like a mofu but I think it was because he was going over the same section 3 or 4 times.

        It took 3 1/2 hours non stop.

        But today it hurts to walk not all the time but if I've been sitting for a while or standing still.

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        Heather 6 years ago

        I am 23 years old, had gotten pregnant with my first child, and had a natural labor and delivery without any pain medicines. That doesn't mean I'll be able to handle the pain of a tattoo, I have 2 piercings (tongue, and lip) both piercings, I passed out (afterwards) My tongue i was done, had rinsed and was getting my jacket back on and just fell, my lip, I was walking out to my car and fell out in the parking lot, so there are a lot of factors, just because I can go through natural child birth, doesn't mean I can handle other pain types.

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        mia 6 years ago

        i want a tatoo and am only 14. would it hurt

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        Jay 6 years ago

        I got my tatto at the age of 13

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        Puppy:) 6 years ago

        I just got my first tattoo yesterday! I read this before I got it and it helped a lot! I am 16 and I love what I got, my dad passed away and it's his name in script. It doesn't hurt!!!! I was so shocked! The most pain is like a paper cut! And if you tell them it's your first tattoo they have this machine that controls how hard the needle moves and they can turn it down! It was great and I'm getting another one in two weeks!:)

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        Castiel 6 years ago

        I want to get a tattoo that is like a wolf coming out of my back and i want the the color and eyes of the wolf to be the same as my color of hair and eyes but i only have one idea for the first part of the wolf its a eye and i drew it it looks like my skin has fallen apart and the wolf is looking through or coming out but i don't no where to put it on the back of my well back because there is going to be more parts of the wolf coming in so i need room, the wolf simbolizes my freedom and well the wolf inside but im not sure where to put it any sajestions and other ideas for the wolf

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        Coreal 6 years ago

        Hi im 13 years old and im thinking about getting my first tattoo and im not scared of needles but this my first time im scared should i be scared the only thing i was getting was a bloody hart with the word loyalty under it do a tatto heart wat should ido

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        cant give it away sozza 6 years ago

        im only just 13 id like a tattoo im going to wait till im like 15or16 but my mum dosnt want me to get one and i realy want one but i don't know what to get ive searched around a bit on the internet and ive seen realy good work but evrything ive seen isn't quite what i want id like to get like a feather with something written round it but i don't want to get something i like now but i wont like later i mean what shold i do also can you get a tattoo in colour and how long would it take

        p.s. does it hurt more on the lower bit of your arm or the higher bit and i know this sounds kinda chicken but im realy worried about getting skin cancer or ink poisening!!! thanx xxx

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        Vienna 6 years ago

        To the people here who are concerned about pain, trust me it's not too bad. I am a huge wimp who won't even get a blood test or dental work done. It does hurt but if you keep thinking it can stop at anytime it helps a lot. After the first 10 minutes if just become an annoyance. I have 2 so far, going back for more on my birthday.

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        Toni-Ericka'xx 6 years ago

        I'm 18, I want a tattoo, i want something in memory of my grandad, he was my hero, but i don't know what to get, i was thinking of getting a little heart with his initials under it, but i don't quite know where it would look decent? any sugestions, i am worried about the pain and needles but i know i just need to man up and deal with it, since it will be in rememberance of my grandad it will be well worth it, but id prefer it to be one of the less painful areas, i was thinking of getting it between my collar bone and my breast on the spongy bit of skin but i heard its one of the worst places, is this true? if so, where would be a good place for a first time tat? And also any ideas for a dirrerent design? thanks x

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        LarissaMarie 6 years ago

        Hi , I'm Larissa .

        And Actualy , I'm Getting My First Tattoo Tomorrow .

        I'm 13 , I'm Getting An Anchor With Some Shaded Star's On The Back Of My Neckk .

        I'm Getting Because The Meaning Is - I Stand My Ground .

        Just Think About It And What An Anchor Does ! , It Hold's It's Ship And Place .

        What Do You Think ? (:

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        TheSnoringPiglet 6 years ago

        I have 3 tattoos "even though i consider it one" and from what i have seen most people truly over think themselves, and work them selves up. To anyone who is getting or thinking about a first time tattoo RELAX. Have fun with it, and above all else please make your tattoo original. meaning take time to plan it out and make it yours yours yours. Always be positive and upbeat when you go to get your work. if you are relaxed and having a good time then the artist will be the same way :D. To those of you worried about pain...hmm it felt like a fast buzzing on my skin, and then a sharp ache after i had been in the chair awhile, but it was worth it. Just keep breathing, and stay loose. Your body will adapt to the sensation and dull it. Have fun with the whole process and it will be a memorable moment. Go getem.

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        Turd sniffer 6 years ago

        Take you time

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        emolicous 6 years ago

        i'm barley 14 and i'm gonna geta tattoo i need ideas i was leaning toward a dragon or some awsome butterflies i'm a girl and if you have any ideas please hellp!!!

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        rotacker simmons 6 years ago

        i got four tattoos

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        katii 6 years ago

        i will like to have a tattoo for my 16 bday

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        lady 3 6 years ago

        thankyou, this was very helpful, im now ready to have a tattoo done!

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        Ann 6 years ago

        I was wondering if anyone could tell me or give me tips about foot tattoos in means of infection and how to take care of it like should i wear socks and shoes or sandels days after while its healing. any help is appreciated thanks!

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        SemperFi1812 6 years ago

        I'm a future Marine Tanker, and I am wanting to get a Tatt of the Eagle,Globe,and Anchor on my lower back with '1812' underneath it and a Tank above the EGA. I am currently getting Kanji down my rib cage for my first tattoo it will say "Bones" in Kanji, as Im very skinny. lol in Highschool i was nicknamed "Skeleton" or "Bones" so thats the meaning behind that Kanji lol.

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        Marine Vet 6 years ago

        Good to mert you 1988

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        tatatatatat. 6 years ago

        i got my first tat today i actually designed it 4years before i had it so yes i was sure. it was my first tat and i got it on my foot. so you can get your first tat on your foot and make it through but don't expect it not to hurt. because it does. if you want it that bad you will take the pain.

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        kline 6 years ago

        Thank you

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        1988 6 years ago

        you ppl are boring even you sniper, i give tats and you want em then have em and sniper, i was a sniper so don't disrespect the job

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        Sniper 7 years ago

        I have more tattoos than all of u.,,full sleeves, neck, chest, legs,and knuckles.

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        kysmommy 7 years ago

        I got my first tattoo 1 week ago, and tis is great advice, but it would be awesome if somewhere there was a site that let you know what was in the tattoo gun.

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        LaceyRAWR 7 years ago

        this information was ok but i think you missed a vital part like what there ink consists of and the brand of the material so you can look it up and see what is put in to all the equipment

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        Alina 7 years ago

        Hey, its great advice, thanks! I've been wanting to get a tattoo for a while now but im having trouble figuring out where i want it, i have no problem enduring a little pain and i don't want it anywhere easily visible. I want the quote "lust to love" so if you can help me narrow down my list it would be a great help!! Thanks!!

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        Pepper 7 years ago

        I'm afraid of needles, and I got my first tattoo less than a week ago and I was fine with it. Right now it's super itchy! Take someone with you so you can make funny faces at them and such, and just make sure to keep breathing and eat before and after. The pain is going to happen, no way around it. Just go with it, and it will all be over soon. If it gets too much, just ask the artist to stop for a second so you can get your breath back. Don't worry, everything will be fine...that's why we're paying them...for safety and awesomness and knowledge

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        Amanda 7 years ago

        i am going to get my first tatoo in about an hour and this really helpe me a lot im not as nervous anymore thanx....

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        lil mama 8 years ago

        inorder to get a tatooo what can u do to reduce the pain????? becuz i heard that it hurt like a bixtch so i'm really scared of the pain can somepne help???

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        Katie 8 years ago

        Most of this is great, but I have on qualm with something you said...if all else fails, go to the nearest local shop and hope for the best. NEVER, EVER do this. I know so many people who have done this and you couldn't do something worse. Yes, there's always a chance that it might go well, but it also might not and that piece of crap work will be stuck on you forever. Scope out every option. If you have to travel a little way, then do it. Don't ever go for second best because they have cheap prices and a mostly clean shop. You always have other options than going to a cheap place if you want a great tattoo. Always remember that you get what you pay for. If it's extremely cheap, then chances are you're getting crappy work.

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        kitti 8 years ago

        I need to wait until im old enogh to get a tattoo. I was thinking about getting an eye of horus on my right inner wrist (like the one Adam Lambert has) because i think it's the coolest thing ever. Im kinda glad i have to wait because it gives me time to think about if i REALLY want it.

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        mandy 8 years ago

        so im 15 i rally want a tattoo but not just any...both my bradnpa and grandma have a swollow (each has a different one so they want me to get my own individual one as long as its a swollow) on their inner arm so my mom and i want to go get our swollows..i thought about it for a while and im thinking about getting johnny depps swollow with the water and sun (im also a really big johnny fan) but its my first and im terrified. i plan on getting two others but they're really colored and big so that prolly wont be a good first one.

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        muddles4 8 years ago

        im 19 at the moment and decided about two years ago that i wanted a tattoo that represented my late granddad. i decided on the design for it but i don't want it as my first tattoo. i want a more simple one that represents my family as they mean everything to me but im unsure of what to have. i thought about a simple image of an angel with the word family underneath it but decided against it. my mom has agreed to pay for it as a present for my 20th birthday in july but i need a few more ideas. any help anyone??

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        Rawrs 8 years ago

        Thank you very much (:

        This helped a lot! Im okay with pain (i hope) and this really encouraged me and sorted my nerves out :)

        Wish me luck! ^_^ x

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        JOHNLEE 8 years ago

        im 17 and i have 3 tattoos and going for number 4 ths weekend they hurt at first but you get used to it

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        lilly 8 years ago

        hey im 14 sometimes i don't thinx im am but i b 15 in 2 months

        this was some good advice im know that im still young my

        and i know i have to think about this a lil longer but my uncle pass away last year and i want to get something that

        descibe him i was thinking about a lilttle small angel

        that says sweetheart he called me that be4 hr died

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        chelsea  8 years ago

        my tattoo hurt and it took 1 hour to do a medium sized heart with wings on my hip . i don't regret it its lush ! go girls ! it stung when i put my jeans over the top of it lol x

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        Mae 8 years ago

        My oppinion on tattoos is when you know what you want, wait 6 months to get it so your sure that u will stil want it. Also, i believe that tattoos should tell a story of your life or experiences, so get something meaningful. I have 4 and people are always asking about the meaning and its kind of nice telling people the stories behind them and it also give you a chance to reminice.

        When your first getting your tattoo there is a lot of nerves, i was freaking out before my first one. But the truth is that i thought it would hurt more than it actually did, and i just psyced myself out. Once your done you will love it and want to get more:)

        GOOD LUCK!

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        jenna 8 years ago

        i'm hoping to get my first tatoo as a spade design on my foot, but i hear that its a really bad place for your first tatoo. and im no masokist(or something like that) acctually im kinda scared of it, like a lot. my really big concern is weather or not i should get it on my foot or on my lower back witch one would hurt less and how to brace myself alittle more. help please and thank you

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        Tracylynn 9 years ago

        I got my first tattoo last year. It is my daughter's name (Adriana) on my left hip (I plan on adding on to it). I got my second tattoo 4 months ago. I got a tribal heart on my lower back. Let me tell you, it hurt like hell! The lower back is a very sensitive part of your body to get tattoo'd. Especially if you are boney. lol. I hadn't eaten much that day, so about halfway through the outline I started sweating really bad and feeling like I was going to faint. I let the tattoo artist know, so she took a break, turned the fan on in front of me and gave me a Capri Sun to drink (to get my blood sugar back up). I asked if I could lay down and apparently I passed out for a few seconds. It was so embarrassing! lol. When I felt ready, she finished the outline and I decided to have it filled in another time. Before I went in to have it filled I ate something and didn't pass out. : ) The moral of the story is that it is important to eat something substantial before you get a tattoo. You shouldn't eat too big of a meal though. You just have to get a feel for how you handle the pain. Some people throw up.....That is why when I got my first tattoo I got something small so that I could get a feel for it.

        Also, as I'm sure everyone has heard....tattoos are ADDICTING! Before my first one was finished I was already planning on what my second one was going to be. haha. Now I am thinking about what my 3rd one should be. Good luck to everyone and Happy Tattooing : )

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        maggy 9 years ago

        first off a i think that if you are going to get a tattoo u have to be sure of what u want ,make sure you are absolutely sure of what u want .This is something that u carry for the rest of your life .Except of course if your planning to spend money on laser removal later on. It is painful like having a cut on your skin like the constant scratching of a bunch of needles on your skin. lots of people react different to pain just because it didn't bother ur friend it does not mean it will be the same for u , just think about it, decide carefully and good luck to those who are thinking about having their first tattoo done .

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        Jasmin 9 years ago

        I want my first tatoo to be the left Eye of Horus in the middle of my lower back , but i'm scared it will be too painful to bear. How should I brace myself?

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        Kitten 9 years ago

        Okay I am needle phobic. To like an extreme. They walk in the room with a needle and Im flush and nausiated. Well I got one tat. Its on my ankle. I designed it myself. It is something that I had wanted for a long long time. So I got it. I was prepared for the worst. Thinking its gonna hurt like hell. Well I was so worried about the pain it was over before I knew it and it felt like I had road rash on my leg. So it wasn't so bad. I am currently thinking about a second one but we will see. I would suggest getting something that is meaningful to you. Not anyone else. Its your body not theirs. I am glad I finaly got the nerves to do mine. And to beat all heck. My mother paid for mine. It was my 19th birthday present from her. My dad on the other hand was pissed but he saw what it was and left it. I mean its like an inch tall. So size matters too. Lol. Think about it. Don't just jump in there and get what everyone else is getting.



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        Unsure Girl 9 years ago

        i want to go in and get my first tattoo but i'm scared about what people will think of me, i've been bought up in a household that thinks tattoos are tacky and low class, i know that my mum in particular will have a few things to say about me getting one, i'm 21 but her opinon means a lot to me, problem is that because i grew up in that environment it's making it hard for me to settle myself into the attitude that it's not as tacky or low class as it was made out but means something different for everyone, and consequently it's making it hard for me to pick a design because it's something that i want to look at and think omg this is brill!

        what are all your thoughts??


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        Ritchlover 9 years ago

        i cant even remember my first and i have 7 and counting. im also a tattoo artist and some of the crap ya hear from a friend of a friend is BULL!!!! as far as pain everyone tolerates pain differently. just cause it hurt like hell for one person doesn't mean it'll feel the same for u. also don't just get a tat cause its ur first and u just want one THINK,THINK,THINK its permanent. all my tats mean something to me from life experience cause what u think is cool now might not be in a year. but mine will always mean something and u'll never regret getting something(example) like a family member who pasted away. well these r just my thoughts on it. (FYI) ive been doing tats for 11 years now.

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        tattoogirlinhartville 9 years ago

        The comment about choosing an older tattoist is obsurd. THe younger artist are bringing beautiful and alternative ideas to the business. I've seen amazing things from young and older tatooist. However,there wouldn't be the groung breaking effects and techniques happening if the younger generations hadn't been pushing that envelope. Instead of looking at age, look at talent. Scope protfolios, but don't pigeon hole younger artists. Not everyone wants a blacklined fill in piece of work.My mentor was not shy in telling me that if I wanted to learn the new ways, new techniques that he wasn't the one to show me. HE learned old school and so did I, but am putting a younger spin on things. Thanks. tattoogirl

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        Emma 9 years ago

        This was one of the first results that came up on Google for me, and I've got to say it really calmed me down. I'm leaving in a few minutes to go get my first tattoo, and my nerves are through the roof. After reading this, I think I'm gonna stop to get some food first. I've got a weak stomach (I threw up after I got my ears pierced), but this is something I really want to do. Thanks for the advice on this page!

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        GinasTattoo 9 years ago from California, US

        I remember first time I got a tat - 7 years ago. Today I have 12 :)

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        martin 9 years ago

        Hey guys just a quick word on preparing for a tattoo, i own a shop in scotland and tell every customer to have good amount of food and plenty fluids before getting a tattoo done. Also breathing in a curcular pattern is a good plan as this helps the body get endorphins into the system and will dull down the pain. For areas of extreme discomfort its handy to know that the artist will work in a similar way to a sniper taking a shot, they will hold their breath to steady their hands and stop at the end of each breath (you can feel this is about to happen when they put a stretch on your skin) if you exhale slowly and steadily as they work you will greatly reduce the amount of pain you feel. Hope this helps and good luck guys!!!

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        Colette 9 years ago

        You are placing needles into your skin, discomfort is to be expected. Numbing creams etc swell the tissue and can distort the image while the artist is trying to tattoo it. Part of getting a tattoo is the pain. If it hurt THAT bad so many people wouldn't be running around with them right? Give yourself time to get use to the feeling. Its annoying more than painful. Like a catch scratch, sunburn, or bee sting. if you cant handle pain, don't do it. You'll just be making it that much more difficult for the artist who is trying to do their job.

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        Myla 9 years ago


        I'v been thinking about getting a tattoo for the past few months, baby steps though-won't do anything till im completely sure.

        Im considering maybe having a (coloured) side-body piece, peacock-feather/treeish thing/flowerss/lettering, don't know. But my question is, how will the changing of the body affect a tattoo? F.ex. im 23 now and slim, but what could happen when in the future i should get pregnant and the body streches and gets bigger (and afterwards slims again)?

        How does aging in general affect a tattoo? (aging of the skin, aging of the, maybe coloured, ink)

        And also, has anyone maybe heard of a very good Dutch tattoo artist? Bescause im from Holland. The only one that is known for his good work (in my world that is) is Henk Shifmacher, but there should be more..

        Thank you so much for helping!!

      • profile image

        Myla 9 years ago


      • profile image

        randomer 9 years ago

        just a little advice..

        i wouldn't recommend going to a young tattoo artist as they are not experianced as the older ones. and eat something sugary before you go in.and its always good to be listening to an ipod or something when your having a tattoo done as it takes your mind of it. as some people say oh they really hurt and stuff everyone has there one differet pain barriers so some it will hurt some it wont, and if they really hurt that bad do you think they would be doing it to people? i don't think so :) im 17 years old and have four tattoos and a complete wimp when it comes to tattoos but i enjoy the adrenaline rush the most.. :D good luck :D xox

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        Cindy 9 years ago

        very great advice for first-time tattoo-ees :) i will be in that situation someday. i currently don't have any tats but i really want something relating to music. i thought about getting a couple music notes behing my right ear... but i heard it might be too painful for a first tattoo... haha. but still the advice ehre is great. thanks!

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        jovifreak 9 years ago

        shotta gyal, i think you should think about this for a little longer, your 15, when your 25 you wont want a tat of a flower with your mum's name in it !!!

        Its the kind of tattoo kids get with mums name so that mum wont go totally mad at them.

        be a little more original and remember, it hurts, and they don't rub off.

        Im not slaggin you off, I have 4 tats of my own, I just think you should think about it a little more.

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        shotta_gyal 9 years ago

        hey,can sumone help me on advice of getting a tattoo?? well,i'm 15 and me an dmy mother sat dwn an talked about me gettin a its settled. i can get one..what i really want my tattoo 2 look like is an image of a flower or something with my mother's name but i just dnt no what image 2 use! and i've got 1 month 2 figure out this! help plzzzz!! P.S.PLEASE AND THANK U!!

      • profile image

        Adam 10 years ago

        Great advice, it helped me a lot for my first tattoo.

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        kit 10 years ago

        I was getting my first tattoo today I got very faint and nausious, what can I do to prevent that when i go to finish it? PS I didn't eat before I went.

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        breezy 10 years ago

        im so scared to get this tattoo tht ive wanted for a long time and im scared its going to hurt really bad for me. is there ANY way for it not to be painful?

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        scottiesd 10 years ago

        I would

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        Rabbit 10 years ago

        Regarding tipping, it's not always necessary to leave a large monetary tip. If you can, it's nice, but tattoo artists generally earn decent money, and many probably remember the days when they had to save up for their first tats. Most tattoo artists I've talked to are just as happy to get a plate of cookies and a sincere "thank you" as they are to get a $20.

      • livelonger profile image

        Jason Menayan 10 years ago from San Francisco

        This is really, really great advice, becauseilive!

      • Veronica profile image

        Veronica 10 years ago from NY

        Excellent advice and info!

        When I was getting my most recent graywash Ghost Writer tattoo (ghost in a library) I had looked at many artist portfolios before deciding on who I wanted. I reserved a large place on my body, and I had a couple of photos of ideas, but wanted to create something totally unique. The artist came up with an initial concept. Like you said, he's not a mind reader, I had to speak up and tel him what I loved and what I didn't. Before long we had the exact piece I wanted, and 4 sittings later it was completed.


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