The odds of stepping out on a given day and seeing a shocking tattoo are nigh-on 100% these days.
You see, what were once intricate black-and-white pieces have over the years spread into tribal mush on some gym bro’s arm, terrible sports club logos on lads and cursive monstrosities of nationalism plastered across all-too-willing ribcages and triceps.
Often the question creeps into your head as to whether the tragic bastard brandishing their inky nightmare regrets their decision. You’ll never know, but we can make sure that should you ever decide to get some ink for yourself, you absolutely won’t.
As Clichéd as it is, we’ll eco the sentiment here: ‘Try and take inspiration from the things you’re passionate about’.
In tattooing, far too much emphasis is placed on the word, ‘meaning’. If you’ve ever watched Miami Ink, it was drilled into you constantly that every tattoo had to have a meaning. Similarly, whenever you get a tattoo, some smarmy prick will always pipe up with, ‘but what does it mean?’
The fact of the matter is, meaning isn’t always a pre-requisite, but it sure helps.
Maybe you have walked into a shop and picked something you liked on the wall, and that’s cool. In fact, many places do a bunch of business specifically on walk-ins and fixed rate flash days. If that’s your thing, go for it, but don’t be the person who spent 5 hours and 2 days getting a giant tiger across their thigh for absolutely no reason.
You’ll always feel better when you get something you really love thinking and talking about, even if it is a portrait of your ex’s cat.
Wait, Wait & Wait A Little More
You’ve thought of an idea. Good for you! It could be unique, it could be a modern twist on something else, or something that’s been done to death. Everyone thinks it’s amazing and totally you.
For the love of God though, think about it. Think about it long and hard, in bed at night and when you’re at work during the day. Let time pass, and if at the end of a few weeks (or better yet, a few months) you still have your heart set on it, then book.
There’s literally nothing bad that could come out of it and often something new will pop into your head that either adds to your idea, or trumps it altogether. Patience is a virtue when it comes to permanent ink.
Pick A Style & Stick With It
The problem you see with a good deal of horrendous tattoos may not be the individual tattoo itself. Often, they’re part of horrible mish-mashes of different styles, shapes and themes all thrown together to create a giant clusterf*ck on some poor willing soul’s skin.
Think of your body like the canvas that it is in the context of an art gallery. No one would put a Monet next to a Picasso, next to a David Hockney. If you like flash tattoos, stick to that. If you like black and white, same deal.
There’s Always A Better Artist Out There
Let’s say your friend tags you in a picture of a tattoo that he/she thinks will fit your desired style. You scroll through their feed, gradually falling in love with everything they do, and decide to entrust your skin to them.
This may well be justified, but often, you might just find out about someone else who does their colours a little brighter, their shading a little neater, and their detail a little more detailed.
Always explore every option in the area around you. You can never spend too much time researching, because at the end of the day you’re trusting them with A LOT. Instagram’s recommended followers feature is great for this.
Use Your Consultation Well
First of all, consultations cost nothing, and if you are charged for a consultation, you’re going to the wrong type of artist. If you agree to go ahead, have a deposit ready, but only after you’ve asked every question you can possibly think of.
The artist always knows best, so take their recommendations on what they think in terms of placement, size, colour, and everything else. You don’t want to be one of those people who thought they knew better. It will show in the finished piece.
And if all that fails, at least you’ll know that robots will one day get the job done better than humans.