Ahhhh... that first tattoo. It's a moment you'll never forget, and it's not just because you'll carry the reminder of it on your body pretty much forever.
Choosing your first tattoo should never be a rushed decision, yet many people have made this mistake regardless. Whether it was a rush to be the first in their circle of friends to get one, or it was a "dare" between friends... or it was simply a decision that was made when in a not-so-sober state - tattoo regret is nothing to take lightly.
To avoid tattoo regret, it is best to take things slowly and do your research beforehand. Getting a tattoo is a major life decision, and just like any other big decision, you must put a lot of thought towards it and outweigh the pros and cons. Here are some questions that may help.
First off, before taking the plunge in finding a perfect tattoo, ask yourself "is a tattoo really what I want?" As silly as it may sound, just because you really, really want a tattoo today, does it mean you're gonna still want it tomorrow, or next year, or 10 years from now? For some people, a tattoo was simply a "phase of their life," and something their older selves don't jive with anymore. Google "tattoo removal" sometime and see how big of a market that is! My advice? Let that tattoo idea percolate a little while longer - picture yourself 5-10 years down the road with your tattoo - if say, a year from now, you still have this burning desire to get inked, go for it. If not, well maybe it's not meant to be.
Secondly, keep your mind and your options open. If you've decided that you're going to get permanently inked, make it a good one. This means taking your time to not only research different flash ideas, but to also research different tattoo artists in your area. The Internet is wonderful when it comes to research, and I definitely recommend starting here. Google "tattoo design ideas" or "tattoo artists" or "dragon tattoo designs" - you get the idea. There are way too many ideas to go through in your lifetime, but the more specific you are in your search query, the better information you'll get. After you spend a bit of time with Google, you'll begin to get a good idea of who's who and who's not!
As good as the Internet is, remember, it's just a start. Keep track of what appeals to you, and even print out designs you like. Mull them over for a while. Again, picture having this tattoo 5 or 10 years down the road. Ask, "will this look good even in a few years, or is it simply a trend right now?" Remember, a trend is just that, until something else comes along and replaces it.
Now it's time to add some human touch. Although your tattoo design idea is your decision in the end, it doesn't hurt to get other opinions on it. See what your close friends (or even family) think of it. Talk to other people who actually have tattoos. See what they think (and make sure their tattoos don't suck, first!). While you're at it, ask them who they recommend as a good tattoo artist, and why. Check out a tattoo convention or two. Get yourself out there and asking important questions.
By now you've chosen a tattoo that is unique to you, have talked to others, and have decided on your tattoo artist. Now what? Well, if you haven't already, decide exactly where on your body you'll be inked forever. Do you want everyone to see it, or do you want it in a more inconspicuous area of your body? Is this area going to be ultra-sensitive to a tattoo needle? Will this area heal fairly quickly, or will it be constantly rubbed against? Again, how about a few years down the road? Talk it over with your tattoo artist, and when you're ready to take the plunge, let the fun begin!
These are just some of the basic tips to help you when considering your first (or even your next) tattoo. Of course, if you have any medical issues that may affect getting a tattoo, discuss them with your doctor AND especially your tattoo artist. I hope this little bit of information will help you in making one of your life's big decisions. Better yet, I hope it helps you to AVOID tattoo regret!
Brian Hallaert owns a custom tattoo review website that showcases articles and videos on everything tattoo. Whether you're looking for tattoo design ideas, the newest information on who's who in the tattoo world, tattoo after-care, or even tattoo removal, you'll find it all here! The website can be found at http://www.tattoofindernow.org - see you there!