Getting The Right Tattoo For You

The thought of getting your first tattoo can be very exciting. They can be awesome pieces of body art. They can tell the tale of your life's history and outlook. They can be an expansion of your character and values and everything you keep special. Plus, they are just awesome. But, unfortunately, they can just as easily signify a very bad choice made on a whim.

A tattoo is not something you hurry into getting. It's going to be a lasting reminder of who you are, so it's essential to know what you are getting before you the tattoo artist you select makes his first mark.
Do You Really Want That Tattoo?

There are several questions you really need to ask yourself before you set foot near a needle.

What is your inspiration for getting a body art in the first place? If you cannot provide a cogent response beyond "it's cool" or "because I want one", it's probably is a wise decision to stop right there for awhile. Sit down and think about why you are really seeking to do this, then do nothing for several weeks. Sleep on it. If you still feel strongly about it many weeks later, go forward and get the body art. But if you are still incapable of coming up with anything beyond a basic unfleshed reply, maybe a tattoo just isn't for you.

Ask yourself if you are ready to deal with any backlash from getting a tattoo done. Do you know for certain how your household would respond to it? Do you know for certain how your job would respond to you getting a body art, or if such a body art would adversely impact your career? While you might see a tattoo as a personal icon, there are still plenty of people in the world who will make a snap judgment, especially in corporate environments. You might be required to put on a high-collared or long-sleeved shirt to cover up. If that is the situation, is it still worth it to get a piece that only a few people ever see?
Ask yourself where you see yourself in 20 or 50 years. While body art might be a great things for you now, what happens later on when you try to move up the corporate ladder or you have children and grandchildren? Will a quote you like now still have the same meaning then? Will pop-culture references still be recognizable and be appropriate in the future? What about saggy skin or weight gain resulting in your tattoo becoming deformed? Will you need to explain why grandpa has a tattoo of a naked lady on his forearm or why grandma has something that somewhat resembles Tinkerbell on her back?

A poll conducted by Harris Interactive in January 2012 reported that of the tens of millions of Americans who have a tattoo, more than 1 in 8 (14%) regret ever having work done. The most common reasons, among those with regret, were that they were too young or they just no longer like the tattoo. And while you may love the idea of getting a tattoo, there are still many people who don't have a favorable opinion. Nearly half of respondents, 45%, say people with tattoos are less attractive than those without, 27% believe those with tattoos are less intelligent, and 25% think that tattoos make a person less healthy and less spiritual.
Choosing the Right Artist

You took the needed time and energy to make a decision and are definitely wanting to move forward and go get that tattoo. Excellent. You aren't done yet. The next phase is to contain your excitement for just a little bit longer until you look for the right tattooist. With something as essential and long-lasting as ink, you do not want to rush out to the first parlor you come across. There are a few methods to assess an artists skill and appropriateness.

First and foremost, the most obvious way to gauge an artist's competency is too look at their previous work. While glancing flashes on a wall and some sketches is a nice start, you won't really know how excellent a particular tattoo artist is until you see some of their prior work. They might have a ton of skill with a pad and paper, but a needle on skin is a completely different skillset.

If you have a hazy concept in mind for the particular artwork you want done, let the artist contribute some ideas to make sure you are both on the same page. If you discover an excellent style on the internet, print it out and take it to them and observe as they recreate it themselves on paper before ever considering them to create it to your body.

Don't be reluctant to ask for references. Previous customers are fantastic sources and can tell you factors that only they know - like the artist's conduct during the procedure, how difficult or soothing they were, how many sessions were required and how long of a time things took from start to finish.

And lastly, shop around on cost, but don't go necessarily to the place offering the lower price. A low cost might indicate lower quality or less experienced artists. Likewise, the most expensive place may not be the most skilled. Cost evaluations should provide you with an ballpark of how much your tattoo will cost you, but you should go with whoever makes you most confident in their abilities.
Go Get Inked!

So now that you've made sure you are ready to get a tattoo, know where you want it to be placed, know what style of design you want it to have, talked to several tattoo artists, and have made a final decision... go get inked, and welcome to the club!

Liam Swafford is a self-described "badass boy who loves badass tats." He is a regular contributor to, a gallery and information site for tattoo designs for men and women.

Cool Tattoo Designs

Tattoo designs are only limited by an individual's imagination. One reason tattoos are so popular in recent years is that they allow a person to express something unique about them. While a huge variety of tattoo designs are found throughout history in many different cultures, the internet provides a new generation of tattoo enthusiasts a way to explore a huge variety of designs from multiple resources. It's like having the world's largest tattoo parlor at your fingertips! Here are some things to remember when searching for some cool designs:

Even if you have something specific in mind, take a look at a large variety of options and different images. Remember that this is going to be a permanent part of you, so take your time and look around.

The internet is a great resource for finding tattoo art. There are many sites dedicated to various forms, but it's best to find those sites that have a large variety of tat designs in one place from a variety of artists. If the image inventory is large enough it can be a sort of "one stop shop". The key is to have a good variety from different styles.
The method used to create your tattoo hasn't changed too much over time, even if the equipment has. Remember that tattoos can be painful when the work is being done, but they generally heal quickly. Before deciding where to get your cool tattoo, consider the more sensitive areas - the sternum, ribs, hands and feet. Of course everyone has different levels of tolerance so don't automatically assume it's going to be very painful.
Once you find some cool tat designs, make sure you can explain the one(s) you want clearly to the tattoo artist doing the work. One great thing about looking online is there are many sites today that allow you to simply print the design so you can take it with you.

You can always use what you see online for ideas to create your own design. Some sites will even allow you to design the tattoo yourself. However, if you have an idea what you want, most tattoo artists will be able to work with you to get the end result you want. That's a big part of their job.
Consider the different varieties or styles of tattoos - tribal, artistic, languages such as Chinese characters, stars, images of animals, and the list goes on. While the ones listed here are some of the more popular today, the great thing about looking at an online resource is the sheer variety of tat designs that can be viewed from a very diverse group of artists from all over the world.
Finally, consider your skin tone and your build when looking at all your options. Certain colors may look better on some people that on others. The tattoo artist you choose should be able to help you with this.

Tattoos have existed for thousands of years, and due to their popularity in recent years, we are only seeing this art form expand. Do remember before getting any tattoo to do a little investigation on the shop and make sure you see some of their other work. Then show them your tat designs and don't look back!