My Tattoo Experiences (and MISTAKES!)

For anon! And anyone else who is a tattoo virgin! 

Tattoo #1

Alright. Tattoo number one is the KA symbol from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. My experience getting this tattoo could have been way better and I will be outlining my mistakes as I was a tattoo virgin: 

Mistake #1: I didn’t research tattoo parlors

I mean, many people find their tattoo parlors because friends or family members recommend them, and that’s how I found mine. Instead of taking the time to look around for one, I picked mine based on a recommendation from a family member. I figured if she thought it was reputable, then it had to be. Not that it wasn’t reputable; it actually does have a lot of great tattoo artists, but I do not recommend picking your parlor on a whim. 

Mistake #2: I didn’t research tattoo artists

I was a walk-in and was assigned to whichever artist was available at the time (RED FLAG NUMBER 1). I got a guy named Greg, and because it was a small tattoo, he agreed to do it even though he was pressed for time (RED FLAG NUMBER 2). Greg was great. He was personable. He made conversation. He made me feel relaxed. He talked to me about Stephen King. Knowing I was a tattoo virgin, he drew a line into my skin without ink so I could see how it felt before he went in to do the real deal. But Greg also compromised my tattoo experience by convincing me to do something I wasn’t totally comfortable with, which was the size of my tattoo (RED FLAG NUMBER 3). Seeing the design on paper and seeing it on my skin was scary for me, and I asked him if he could draw it smaller. I felt bad knowing he was pressed for time and “starving” (his words), so when he made excuses as to why he couldn’t resize it (RED FLAG NUMBER 4), I caved in and let him do his thing. 

Red Flag #1: Research ALL artists at your chosen parlor before going in. If you like someone’s work, request them. If they can’t do a walk-in, make an appointment. If you see someone’s work you absolutely hate, don’t settle for them if they are the only ones available to do your tattoo. It’s not worth it!
Red Flag #2: If your tattoo artist is pressed for time, they will rush your tattoo. A good artist will be honest and let you know they just can’t fit you into their schedule. 
Red Flag #3: Don’t do something you aren’t comfortable with. This is YOUR tattoo and it’s going to be on YOUR body for the rest of your life. You are paying an artist to perform a service. There comes a point where you do have to trust their artistic ability and suggestions, but there also has to be compromise and you should feel 100% confident in your decision. Try not to let your anxiety get the best of you – if your tattoo artist is a dick about it, they aren’t the tattoo artist for you!
Red Flag #4: Research your options. Try to go in with some knowledge of what is reasonable and what isn’t. My tattoo artist could have made my tattoo smaller – he just didn’t want to because he had already drawn the stencil and put it on my back. 

In the end, I did like the finished outcome despite the size thing. I actually love the size it is now even though when I first got it, I was so worried it looked too big. Greg was a nice enough guy and put my fears to rest before the experience (minus the whole size thing), which most tattoo artists will do. 

How it felt: It felt like when you scratch a sunburn. 
Pain scale 1-5: I would say it was about a 2.5. It was more uncomfortable than anything. 

Tattoo #2

Tattoo #2 is a character on the cover of Stephen King’s The Stand. 

My experience with this tattoo pretty much mirrored my first experience. I know, I know, I should have taken my own advice! But in my defense, I did extensive research this time on parlors, and absolutely LOVED every tattoo artists’ work on the parlor’s website. EXCEPT ONE GUY. When the day came to get my tattoo, even as a walk-in, I said, “What are the odds I am going to get matched with the ONE guy whose artwork I don’t like?” I felt confident I wouldn’t get him and went. 

Well, the only fucking guy available at the time was THE ONE WHOSE ARTWORK WASN’T THAT GREAT! What did I do? I convinced myself it would be fine and assumed my tattoo would look fine. “Maybe his artwork just looks bad in photos.” Hahahahahha. No. 

Mistake #3: Never assume just because a tattoo artist has a job that their tattoos won’t fucking suck!

The guy was awesome. He was nice. He was funny. He was even cute. And I even loved the tattoo when he was done. But once the tattoo healed, even for someone who didn’t have a ton of tattoos, I could tell mistakes were made. The linework was shaky and uneven. The shading was muddy. The tattoo lost some of the color within a few weeks. It looked okay, but not spectacular. So yeah, lesson learned. 

How it felt: Like someone dragged a cigarette across my foot. 
Pain scale 1-5: 4.

Tattoo #3

Sorry for the crap picture but it’s zoomed in. This is the other character from the cover of Stephen King’s The Stand. 

My experience with this tattoo was hands-down the BEST experience. I have no regrets about this one. This time, I researched artists in a difference area and found a small parlor who was owned by a married couple. They were the only ones who worked there, so obviously going in I knew I would either get him or her, and they were BOTH so, so talented. I called the place and got an answering machine but did not leave a message. Within the hour, the husband texted me to see what he could do for me, and right then and there he agreed to do my tattoo that night. I asked him if he could take a look at my other tattoo to see if he could salvage it, but he declined because he said he didn’t want his work on top of someone else’s, which I totally understood. 

The experience here was comfortable. There were no other artists there, no other people. No tattoo machines buzzing in the background. Nobody watching you get your tattoo done. It was a very small place and very intimate, and the guy was amazing. Just me, him, and my husband! 

The price was a hundred dollars more than my other foot tattoo, but obviously, you get what you pay for. Even before my tattoo healed, I could tell his work was infinitely better than my other tattoo. AND!!!! When he looked at my other tattoo, despite what he had said earlier, he said he would redo my other tattoo to clean it up a bit (I have yet to do this; I found out I was pregnant a week after and was unable to go back). 

How it felt: Same as other foot tattoo. 
Pain scale 1-5: Same as other foot tattoo. 

So that’s it! 

TIPS

1.) Research, research, research.
2.) I know this should be a “no brainer,” but make sure the design you want is something you’ll be okay with for life. What you like now may not be important to you later – I’m really fucking glad I didn’t get that LOST tattoo when I was obsessed with the show! hahaha
3.) Don’t be afraid to call or walk-in and ask questions. Tattoo artists are also there to help you before you get tattooed. They are knowledgeable about placement, body anatomy, what will look good, what will look bad, what is reasonable, etc. Trust me, they prefer someone asking questions rather than trusting them blindly. They DO NOT MIND if you seem ignorant to the process! 
4.) Trust your gut. Don’t like something? Voice your thoughts. Do not keep it in because you are afraid to offend the tattoo artist. Again, they are providing you a service that you are paying for, not to mention a service that will end in you having a mark on your body for life. You are entitled to say something if you don’t feel right about it. 
5.) Tip the tattoo artist. Yes, your tattoo will be expensive, but tips are a must!
6.) Like your artist’s work? Recommend them to others! Tag the in your stuff!
7.) Don’t be scared of the staff! Think you’ll look or sound stupid? Don’t worry, you won’t. And even if you do, tattoo artists know how to handle it and make you feel comfortable and calm. 
8.) Feel sick during the tattoo because of the pain? SAY SOMETHING. Every person reacts differently to the pain, so if you feel like something is not right (like you are going to pass out or throw up), don’t be afraid to speak up. Tattoo artists provide water or juice and also allow you to take breaks if needed. 
9.) Go with a buddy. You don’t have to, but if you are super anxious or worried you will look dumb, take someone with you! It helps the social awkardness. 

I think I covered anything, but if anyone has any questions, message me or reply!!!!!!!