Skip to main content

Part 1 of Getting Your First Tattoo: 4 Things to Consider Before Going to a Shop

So you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, eh? This isn’t something you should just barge in to willy-nilly; there are a lot of things for you to consider before you go under the gun. Don’t worry, your friends at are here to help you through the process. The way we figure things there are four steps involved in getting your first tattoo:

1. Figure out a design and make sure you really want a tattoo.
2. Decide on a shop/artist.
3. Things to know for the day of tattooing.
4. How to take care of your new ink.

In this edition we will be dealing with that first crucial step that you take before stepping foot in a tattoo shop — deciding what you want for a tattoo.

We don’t want to sound like a nagging mother but it is very important to remember that this tattoo will be with you for the entirety of your life. Maybe those One Direction lyrics mean a lot to you right now but chances are that by the time you are 60, hell by next month, you could feel very differently. Due to the permanence of the tattoo we highly suggest that you think about the tattoo you have in mind for a while. Think about every aspect of it; the design you want, the size and placement of the tattoo, the pain involved and whether you are fully committed to the idea of being tattooed. You don’t have a deadline to meet in order to get your tattoo so feel free to ponder these things for as long as you need to, just make sure that you have considered them all.

The Design

As we mentioned above this is probably the most important thing you will need to handle before getting inked. What makes a perfect design is going to be different for everyone, that’s part of what makes getting a tattoo so cool, so we can’t tell you exactly what to get. One question to ask yourself is whether or not you can imagine being embarrassed by the tattoo in the future. If the answer isn’t a resounding “no” then it’s time to consider a new design.


There are two major things to consider when deciding on the placement of your new tattoo. First, how visible will the tattoo be? While today’s society is more accepting of tattoos than it ever has been having a visible tattoo may still close some doors for you, or at the very least make things more difficult. For example, if you decide to get a pot leaf tattooed on your hand chances are you’re going to have a tough time getting a professional job in the future. In addition some organizations including the military and some police departments have regulations about where tattoos can be placed so you should be cognizant of these regulations before getting inked. Second, will the tattoo work in the area chosen? One area of the body might be ideal for one tattoo but horrible for a different tattoo, it’s simple anatomy. Your tattoo artist will be able to explain this to you in more detail but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


There is no getting around this — if you are going to get a tattoo it’s going to hurt. Some areas are more painful than others and you may want to avoid getting your very first tattoo in a sensitive area. Check out this chart that will give you a basic idea of the level of pain you are signing up for.


We don’t mean to keep beating you over the head with this point but it is the most important thing to consider before getting tattooed — your tattoo is going to be with you forever. If you are having any doubts about whether or not you want to have that ink forever hold off on getting tattooed. Think about it some more and only get inked once you are ready.

Once you have thought long and hard about everything above you are ready for step two — choosing a tattoo shop and artist that is right for you. We’ll cover that in the second installment of Getting Your First Tattoo.