Monday, 6 October 2008

On getting tattooed

Got some more ink at the weekend: An iron age chieftan’s head – based on something from Courtney Davis who adapts his designs from original sources. The tattoo was done by Gemma at Original Skin. Thanks to you both. As this is now my 10th tattoo I think I’m maybe now qualified to offer some advice on the subject . The following “dos and don’ts” are all based on stuff I’ve witnessed / experienced first hand.

1. Do pick a studio that has a good reputation and has all the necessary health & safety accreditation. That’s obvious isn’t it ? You wouldn’t just take your car into the first garage you happened to see.

2. Don’t go into a tattoo studio without a fucking clue what you want done and then browse randomly through the flash books wasting everyone’s time whilst you ask how much each one costs.

3. Do take time to do some research and come up with something that you really want. It doesn’t have to be unique and original but if you expect the tattooist to take some care over what they are doing then so should you.

4. Don’t haggle over the price you are given. Even worse don’t try to horse-trade over the design – ie ‘how much
less would it be if you didn’t do a tail on this dragon ?’

5. Do listen to the advice you are given at the tattoo shop. If you are told that the design won’t work at that size or is going to look distorted on that part of your body - pay attention these people do this for a living.

6. Do have something to eat and a sugary drink before the tattoo. Passing out and/or throwing up is uncool and unpleasant for everyone.

7. Don’t make a big deal about the pain. Of course it’s going to hurt a bit – you’re having needles in your skin for fuck sake. But it’s definitely no worse than going to the dentist and that doesn’t put you off having your teeth looked at. If you have chosen a placement that’s especially painful the tattooist will tell you and prepare you for it.

8. Do be nice to your tattooist. Take your lead from them – make conversation when they do – and alternatively shut up if they’re trying to concentrate on a tricky bit.

9. Don’t get pissed the night before – the alcohol will make you bleed more than usual. And definitely don’t turn up pissed expecting to get tattooed – that’s just rude.

10. Don’t fuck about with the tattoo once it’s done. Listen to the aftercare advice but just keep it clean and put a little bit of unscented lotion on it - otherwise leave it alone - it will heal itself in a couple of weeks.

… 11. Do go back for another one.

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