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As much as the narrative of the drunken nighttime tattoo excursion has some appeal, the truth is that tattoos are important decisions.


They are permanent, they're often visible and elicit questions from the people you interact with, and whether or not the finish product looks good is dependent on a slew of factors.

So anyone seriously interested in getting one--especially if they never have before--would benefit from some guidance.

Redditor Syrewolf asked:

"What advice do you have for someone looking to get their first tattoo?"

Many people emphasized the permanence of a tattoo. They described ways to help people be sure they're absolutely certain about their choice.

Everywhere You Look

"I had my first tattoo set as a background, screensaver and picture next to my bed for a full year before getting it done. figured if I could look at it everyday for a year and still want it, it was a good idea."

-- Noxish

Daily Check In

"Put a picture of the tattoo you want next to something you look at often (bathroom mirror for example) and just leave it there for a few months to make sure that design doesn't get old to you."

-- GoHomePig

Simulate the Future

"If you're feeling unsure, try using photoshop or similar to edit the desired tattoo onto your body to see if you like it—it's not a perfect solution but it can help you have a better idea of what you're getting."

"I would also recommend letting yourself marinate on one design for 6-12 months to make sure it's what you want."

-- doomrabbits

Other people explained the importance of going through all the right motions to make the thing a legitimate, nice looking piece of body art.

Not All Artists Are Equal

"Get a good artist."

"Make sure you have seen examples of their work, ON PEOPLE. A art portfolio is nice and all, but the difference between working with paper and working with flesh is gigantic."

"I knew a dude who did tattoos for years. Dude still can't write or spell correctly and the art is badly mediocre, at best."

"Make sure you've seen what they have done on actual people."

"Good artists get pricey. But you're gonna live with this forever and it will be what others see. Make sure it's something worth looking at."

-- AlgaeWafers

Get the Good Stuff

"GET IT DONE PROFESSIONALLY."

"I got my first tattoo only about a month ago, and it's on the right side of my right calf. it didn't hurt too bad, I got it from a family friend that does tattoos-"

"I hate it so much. it's awfully done, the lines aren't even, and it got infected because he didn't use a clean needle."

"Also, I know this sounds like common sense, but make sure ur artist is giving you what you want!! I wanted a moon and stars but he ended up doing musical symbols??? another reason I hate it lol."

-- foxy1ooboo

Know Their Strengths

"Research the artists in your area. So many people walk into shops wanting, let's say, a portrait done by someone who doesn't do portraits. And then moaning when it's not quite right. Tattoo artists are very versatile but they're human and they have a comfort zone. A style they prefer."

"For example, in my area there is are a few portrait guys, a guy who specialises in traditional old school tattoos and a few who can only do flash."

"And like everyone else has said, don't go cheap and please don't go for a kitchen job. That is someone who comes to your house and does it. Most of these guys you'll never hear from again."

-- arcadesteveuk

Patience

"If you find yourself questioning if you can afford it or not, don't do it yet. Save up more. Tattoos are one of the things you should NEVER compromise on. Find an artist you like (they'll be $150/hr or more) and use that one. Don't skimp and head to the shi**y strip mall joint with no reputation. Spend the money, because its there for life."

"Tattoos and land - those are the only two things you're pretty much gonna keep for life."

-- NormalAdultMale

Finally, some people spoke to those people that want a tattoo but were struggling to take the leap.

Keep It Casual

"Get whatever you want, if you think it's cool get it. I personally just enjoy getting tattoos. It doesn't have to be meaningful, if you like it you like it. My half sleeve was completely designed by my artist. Just him ideas of what I thought."

-- Mean-Detective2272

Listen To Your Gut

"Get it where you want to get it. You might worry about a certain area being more painful to get tattooed than another, but if you want it in the more painful area, get it there. The pain only lasts a few hours, but the tattoo is permanent."

-- xandrenia

Be Intentional, But Go For It

"Don't stress so much about it. Get something small and simple that you like from an artist whose work you think is good. Follow them on Instagram for a couple months before choosing them."

"There's no need for it to be a complicated image you spend years thinking about and designing perfectly, you can do that later when you have more experience."

"Also, follow aftercare instructions perfectly!"

-- pieandtacos

So go out there and get inked, people!

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