Ah yes, so I underwent this process just yesterday when I received my first tattoo. The process from getting ideas, to making the appointment, to finally getting my tattoo was very time consuming but holy shit was it worth it in the end. Tattoos are pieces of art that are permanently on your body forever...which seems crazy but it is endlessly beautiful.
It took me two years to finally come to the conclusion on my tattoo, the placement, the design, and so on. Below I will be explaining the steps it took me to complete my tattoo adventure and also the aftermath and how I felt. I can honestly say that I had a great "first tattoo" experience and it's very simple for you to have one too.
Your first tattoo is always exciting but trust me, once you start you wont want to stop! They are absolutely beautiful and I promise that with the proper time and care you will fall in love with our tattoo the second you get it. I strongly recommend thinking things out and finding the best suited artist for your own personal tattoo. Make your summer even better with a tattoo you can cherish forever. I'm definitely going to get another one! And feel free to tag me in your first tattoo pictures on Instagram @emdraicchio & @emdrakesmtlblog!
Step 1: Finding Inspiration
The first step about getting your first tattoo is finding inspiration. Your first tattoo should be unique and something you absolutely love. Finding inspiration isn't too hard with all the tattoo ideas over the internet but the hard part is making it different from everyone elses. I found a lot of my inspiration via Pinterest, Tumblr, my favorite books, and basically things I love and what they symbolize.
Step 2: Choosing A Design
After I found my inspiration, it was time to look at different designs. I chose to have a lotus flower as my first tattoo so I decided to look at a bunch of other peoples tattoos and pictures. Choosing a design doesn't mean that you have to get exactly that. On the contrary, your artist will probably make a design with his own little twist on it.
Step 3: Choosing A Placement And Size
Placement was truly everything for me especially since a tattoo is on your body forever. In today's society, the tattoo trend has truly sky rocketed! It has become more and more accepting but there will always be a stigma that someone will be less likely to hire you if you have a visible tattoo. In my opinion, I didn't really care so I got it right at the top of my back.
Now, it's time to choose the size. Size is also very important and to be honest your tattoo will usually come out bigger than expected. So depending on your design, think of it a bit smaller because it will end up bigger on your body. I suggested the size of a tennis ball for my first tattoo.
Step 4: Choosing The Right Time
Ah yes, tattoos aren't really the best things to get in the summer since you can't be in the sun or go swimming for 2-3 weeks. But hey, I waited two years for this tattoo so I got it this summer anyways. The right time depends on what's going on in your life financially and with school or work. Honestly, I recommend doing it on your birthday so that you plan in advance and make it truly special.
Step 5: Choosing An Artist
One of the most important steps is choosing an artist. You shouldn't base your artist on the tattoo your BFF got. You should base it to the style of your tattoo and to the style they specialize in. After you do some research, yes research is required, you will have too choose between your top choices. In the end for me, I chose JP "Grim" Denis from Tattoo Lounge Montreal (link to his Instagram).
Step 6: Making An Appointment
Making an appointment may be a bit nerve-wrecking depending on the person but a majority of tattoo parlors have the nicest receptionist who are really there to help you. At Tattoo Lounge MTL, I had a great experience with the receptionists! They ask you very simple questions about your tattoo and make you feel cared for. They were so nice and helpful. Make an appointment that you don't have to rush to and when you aren't getting drunk the night before.
Step 7: Getting Excited & Then Nervous
Step 7 happens the week before you are getting your tattoo and especially the day before. I was so nervous but also so excited at the same time. I was most nervous about the pain and if I would regret this in the future. But then I was SO excited because it was something that meant so much to me. The symbolism was the true reason I got my first tattoo as a lotus flower.
Step 8: Not Sleeping The Night Before
Well ya if you get really excited you might not sleep the night before so, try to keep as busy as possible the day before so that you are super tired.
Step 9: Getting To The Parlor
The butterflies you get as you walk through the doors of the tattoo parlor is exhilarating! You are super excited and probably really nervous since it's your first tattoo but don't worry! And try to even get there a bit earlier!
Step 10: Waiting For The Stencil
Once you meet your artist, they will take about 30 minutes to make a stencil up of it. They will then show it to you and you can make any changes you want. After you are pleased, they will draw it again on the proper paper and then the preparation is about to begin.
Step 11: Preparation For Tattoo
Your artist will shave the area you are getting tattooed and they will then sterilize it. Afterwards, they will set up all the machines and so on.
Step 12: Explanation Of What Is Going To Happen
Your artist will explain the process of what is going to happen and that communication is key. If it hurts so bad you will ask them to stop and you cannot move. They will explain the machines and how everything is going to play out.
Step 13: Feeling The First Needle And Not Crying
They will usually start with a very small detail so that you know whats coming and trust me... It hurts! I'm not going to lie and say that it doesn't feel like exactly hat it sounds like. It literally feels like a needle dragging through your skin. But you get used to it after awhile.
Step 14: Breathe
oh ya and don't forget that you need to breathe! Breathing really helped and so did squeezing my arms to deviate from the pain on my back. After awhile it isn't too bad so don't be scared. However, it ultimately depends on the person!
Step 15: Sucking It Up
I decided to stuck it up and I didn't ask to stop once because I find it better to get it all done right away! Plus, you pay per hour so the faster it gets done the cheaper it is depending on the parlor.
Step 16: It's Finally Over
You will be pretty surprised by how fast it goes if you cooperate with your artist. Mine too approximately an hour (just actually getting the tattoo). The whole process was about a hour and a half. Once it's over, your tattooed area will feel a bit strange and it may be soar but once you see it... WOW!
Step 17: Falling In Love
As soon as you check out your tattoo in the mirror you will definitely fall in love, I know I did! I was stunned by how gorgeous it was and that it was now on my body forever and that I have ZERO ragrets.
Step 18: Explanation Of Cleaning Process & Paying
Afterwards, your artist will explain to you the cleaning process of your tattoo. You will use unscented soap and dab it clean 2-3 times a day for 2 weeks. You can't go in the sun (crap it's summer) and you can't swim (YAY). But it is totally worth it in the end.
Step 19: Cleaning On Your Own
Cleaning on your own may be difficult depending on the placement of your tattoo. For me it's a big struggle since the tattoo is located on my back. But don't worry, you get a hang of it after awhile!
Step 20: Obsession
YOU WILL BECOME OBSESSED WITH YOUR TATTOO! Not only will you never stop looking at it, but you will also become obsessed with wanting more and more and more! You will love it so much especially when people will compliment you. Not only do I love mine because of how gorgeous it is, thanks to my artist, but also because of the meaning behind the lotus flower. The lotus flower grows out of the mud into a beautiful flower. So, it symbolize that no matter how hard things get, you can over come adversity and still bloom into all your potential. Even though this process seems long, I would do it all over again and I already am since I'm planning my next tattoo now!