Advice for Getting Your First Tattoo for Beginners

If you’re getting your first tattoo, I’m sharing my best tips for getting your first tattoo as a beginner.

People get tattoos for various reasons. Some people have a story or a reason behind a tattoo they are getting, while others get tattoos because they love having art on their bodies.

If you are planning to get your first tattoo, you don’t have to overthink it. No rule says you must have an underlying meaning for your tattoo. Whatever your reason for getting a tattoo, just make sure you’re working with an experienced professional, especially if it’s your first tattoo.

There are many reasons why you should only work with a professional tattoo artist who has experience. You can be sure that you will walk away from the tattoo parlor a happy and satisfied customer, considering that tattoo will be permanently etched on your skin.

When you work with someone who lacks experience, you are likely to walk away feeling underwhelmed and with something that is not close to what you asked for.

Discussed below is a list of things you can do to ensure that your first tattoo experience is pleasant.

Choosing Your Artist

You may already know the kind of tattoo you want to get, but if you don’t, the artist you choose can help you come up with a design.

As mentioned earlier, it’s highly recommended that you work with an experienced professional. If you have any friends with tattoos, you can always ask them for recommendations. However, if none of your friends have tattoos, you can look up tattoo artists in your area on Google or social media platforms. For instance, there are many tattoo artists on Instagram, so you can be sure to find one that fits your budget, and does great work.

The best part about looking up tattoo artists is that you can see their work, and there are client reviews that you can also go through to verify that they indeed do a good job.

Find at least three tattoo artists whose work you like, and then you will narrow it down to the one you want to work with. It is worth noting that when you are picking a tattoo artist, you should never pick one based on cheap pricing.

At least do not let that be the determining factor. This does not mean that you have to pay an exorbitant price for a tattoo. However, in most cases, tattoo artists who are experienced and do an amazing job may charge slightly higher.

Listed below are some of the qualities you should consider when choosing a tattoo artist.

Find Out if they Offer a Consultation

You can either call the tattoo artist or do a walk-in and ask if they offer consultations. Note how they respond, their personality, and their professionalism. If you are going to let someone draw something permanent on your skin, work with someone who puts you at ease.

During the consultation, you can gauge and see the kind of person they are. They should at least share a bit of excitement with you. If there is no chemistry between you, you may want to find a different tattoo artist.

You should also note that an artist is not compelled to work with you simply because you like their work. If the vibes aren’t good, thank them for their time and find someone else.


It is essential to take note of the hygiene and the overall health habits of the tattoo parlor. A reputable parlor should have clean floors and workstations. If the smell of the parlor is unpleasant, find another location.

All of the tools and materials that your artist uses should be new, and they should dispose of them once they are done. This prevents cross-contamination.


It would also be best to confirm that both the shop and the artist have the proper licensing. Different states have different rules, so it would help to do a Google search to find out the guidelines for your state. If they have a website, their license should be there, and it should also be displayed on the wall in their parlor.

Making an Appointment

Once you are satisfied and are decided on the tattoo artist you will be working with, make an appointment. You can either go to their shop or call them to set up your appointment.

If you are still unsure about the design, you can ask them to schedule a consultation to discuss the design, but if you already have the design in mind, you can discuss the rates and pick a date when you want to get the tattoo done.

Listed below are a few things you will need to go over before settling on a date.

Discussing Design

There are different types of tattoos, so you need to know the design you would like. For instance, you can choose to have words, a floral design, or an abstract design. You can even a portrait tattooed on you.

At least have a general idea of what you would like, the tattoo artist will help you flesh it out then you will discuss the pricing based on the size, complexity, and how long it will take to draw your design.

There are a lot of factors to consider when discussing the design. However, if you would like words, you will only have to discuss the font.


Once you have locked in the design, you need to discuss the placement of the tattoo. You may also want to factor in what size you would like and how visible you would like your tattoo.

The location may also determine the size of your tattoo. Your tattoo artist can help you decide where the tattoo should be, and they will also explain how you will feel getting tattooed on different spots.

Skin Tone

Your skin tone can influence the color that your tattoo artist will use and also the placement. If you would like to get a colored tattoo, it is worth noting that all tattoo colors fade gradually.

If your skin is darker, a richer color will hold more than a pastel color will, and if your skin is fairer, then lighter colors will look brighter on your skin. For instance, the best colors for people with a darker skin tone are royal blue, crimson red, and black.

You could also choose to have the artist use black ink only. Several color guides online can show you what your tattoo color would look like after a few years. Check out this article that shows how people’s tattoos have aged over time.


Once everything is settled, you can select a date based on your availability and that of your artist.

Preparing for Appointment

Once you have agreed on the final design, agreed on the price, and settled on a date, there are a few things you need to have in mind.

This will help you prepare for your tattoo appointment. Listed below are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for your appointment.

  • Avoid taking any ibuprofen and aspirin 24 hours before your tattoo appointment. This is because these can thin your blood. You should also avoid having alcohol since it also thins your blood. You do not have to take any pain medication beforehand, but if you must, then consult your tattoo artist and ask what they recommend.
  • Depending on where the tattoo will be placed, it would help to wear something you can easily slip in and out of or wear something that leaves the tattooed area exposed if it is possible.
  • Ensure you show up for your tattoo appointment on time or even earlier if you can and fill any paperwork if necessary.
  • It would also be best to ask your artist what kind of ink they use, or if you have any allergies let them know beforehand.

Finalizing Design and Placement

In case there are any adjustments or corrections you would like done, let your artist know so that they can make them.

If they are minor, they can be done on the same day you are getting the tattoo done, but you may have to reschedule your tattoo appointment if it is complex. Ensure that you have thought out your design and you are sure that is what you want.

Carefully consider the placement too. As mentioned earlier, your artist will advise you on the placement and inform you how different placements may feel. You can also check out a pain threshold chart so you can gauge where your tattoo should be located.

Sitting for Your Tattoo

Once you have finally decided you are getting a tattoo, you have settled on the design, placement, and price. It is time for you to get tattooed. As mentioned earlier, be on time for your appointment, so the tattoo artist has enough time to ink you.

  • Once you get to the tattoo shop, the artist will lead you to their workstation.
  • You will then need to have the part you want to be tattooed exposed.
  • The area will be disinfected, and if there is any hair, they will use a brand new razor to remove it.
  • They will then place a tattoo stencil where you want it tattooed, and the size can be adjusted and moved around until you are satisfied with how it looks.
  • Once you are satisfied, they will start inking you. They will first draw the outline before filling it in.
  • Once they are done, they will clean your tattoo, wrap it up and instruct you on caring for it.

Finishing Up

Feel free to ask any questions you may have as your tattoo artist is cleaning you up. Ensure you also pay attention to what they recommend for aftercare to avoid getting an infection and heal properly.

Tipping Your Tattoo Artist

Remember to carry cash so you can tip your tattoo artist once they are done. Usually, you should tip at least 20% of the total price. However, you can tip more if you have the money and if they have done a really good job. No written rule demands you must tip your artist, but it would be best to tip them.

Tattoo Aftercare

It is essential to pay attention to your artist and follow their aftercare instructions. Typically, you should only have the dressing on for a couple of hours.

Ensure that you have washed your hands before you remove your tattoo dressing. Treat your fresh tattoo like you would a wound, meaning if it is exposed to dirt or bacteria, it can be damaged, and the healing process will be slowed down.

Use a gentle and unscented soap or cleanser recommended by your tattoo artist to wash the tattoo. Scented soaps will cause irritation, so it is best to avoid using those.

Once you are done washing the tattooed area, use a clean towel to pat it dry gently. Do not rub that area since it may result in ink fall out, and it could also pull your skin. Your artist will recommend an ointment that you can apply to your skin to deal with dry and itchy skin.

Apply a thin layer of it. Alternatively, you can also use a gentle and unscented lotion. Anything with alcohol or fragrance will cause irritation, so it would be best to avoid such.

Some artists will give you a handout you can refer to during aftercare, but they would have already explained it to you verbally. Do not panic when your tattoo starts to peel or flake. It is normal and is also an indication that your tattoo is healing. This takes about a week. When it starts peeling, do not pick at it since it can ruin the art and cause the ink to fall out. Allow it to peel on its own.

Your tattoo will heal on the surface in a few weeks, but it can take a few months for it to heal completely. Ensure you take proper care of your tattoo to avoid getting an infection, and it would also help to keep it hydrated and fresh.

Make sure that your tattoo artist is a professional to avoid getting low quality and shoddy tattoo. If it is your first tattoo, make sure you have done proper research before choosing a tattoo artist, so you have a good experience and are satisfied with the tattoo you get.

I'm a professional cozy gamer and lifestyle writer with over 10 years of experience. I love sharing my passion and knowledge of gaming, crafting, and tattoos.