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First Tattoo FAQ

Common Curiosities

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If you're wondering how much do tattoos cost or how to select a tattoo, this first time tattoo FAQ will help prepare you in the body art process. Tattoos are permanent markings and with that comes great decision and thought. Give your body art selection some time and review these common questions so that you can hope to avoid any tattoo regrets.

1. What is a Tattoo?

Redhead model with tattoos
Ian Ross Pettigrew / Moment / Getty Images
A tattoo is a permanent mark made under the skin. Tattoos have been worn as part of ceremonial rituals and rites of passage for centuries. Using needles to deposit ink into the skin, after the wounded skin heals the ink remains and a beautiful tattoo is revealed. Tattoos can only be removed by costly tattoo removal services and some can be covered up with other designs. For the most part, anyone considering a tattoo should be ready to commit to a lifetime with their design.

2. How Much Do Tattoos Cost?

Tattoo artists set their own rates. Depending on the popularity and skill level of an artist, you can expect to pay much more. Basic flash designs will not require much creative process from the artist, but if you choose something custom and ask for their own creativity, there may be a design fee charged. Speak with and interview your selected artists carefully and get a quote before making the first appointment. An average small tattoo can cost anywhere from %50-$150. Most artists charge by the hour and that's where you'll see the rates fluctuate based on the size and color of your tattoo.

3. Where Do I Get a Tattoo?

Where you get a tattoo depends largely on your design and how much thought you've put into the artist selection. Some people track down world famous tattoo artists at international conventions to get their ink. Other people go down to the corner tattoo shop and opt for the latest talent. Wherever you go, make sure the establishment is clean and licensed. You want to ensure your health and safety above everything else, so if it looks like a seedy tattoo shop, trust your instincts and raise your standards.

4. What Design Should I Get?

Choosing a tattoo design is the fun, if not complicated part of the tattoo process. What's your tattoo art style? from Old School to New School and everything in between, find out what type of tattoo you like and then start thinking of some of your common interests, hobbies, and personal interests. Begin to consider how you can blend these into a unique tattoo design. If you lack the creative process, spend some time with an artist going over your ideas. Treat a tattoo artist with the inspiration they deserve and you may just find yourself happily surprised with what the come up with.

5. How Do I Choose a Tattoo Artist?

You may find your tattoo artist by word of mouth or by simply walking in and being excited about an artist's portfolio, so take the time to shop around. Visit every local tattoo studio, read bios, check out tattoo artists that are published in popular tattoo magazines and go to tattoo conventions to discover talent.

6. What If I Am Unhappy with My Tattoo?

Tattoo regrets are common. They happen. If you have a tattoo you're no longer happy with, you have a few options. First, visit with the tattoo artist that created the design. Is there something that can be done to remedy the outcome? Perhaps a bit more color or a larger and more defined design? Give your artist the heads up and talk with them right away about your concerns. Most reputable artists want you to be just as thrilled with their work, so talk things over and try to find a solution. Your other two options are laser tattoo removal or covering up your tattoo with a new design. Both can be painfulo, costly, and make no promises. This is exactly why taking the time now to decide on a lifetime tattoo piece is so essential. Do your homework, design your tattoo, and find the right artist and you'll enjoy your first tattoo experience.
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