“You know that’s going to be on your body for the rest of your life, right?” This is a common — and obvious — warning given to those planning to get their first tattoo.

When getting that first ink, there are these factors to consider: Which artist is best suited to create the tattoo? Where will you place the tattoo? Should the tattoo have a specific meaning?

To help ensure your tattoo is one you won’t regret, WiG offers these tips:

Follow tattoo artists on Instagram

On Instagram, tattoo artists can reach potential clients with their portfolios. So, start following the artists whose work interests you to get a good idea of their styles, images and colors. Artists also post line drawings on Instagram that they’d like to tattoo. So, if you don’t have an image in mind but like an artist’s style, you can volunteer some skin canvas.


Give the artist creative freedom

When you present an idea for a tattoo, there’s a possibility that what the artist envisions is going to conflict with your original idea. The more creative freedom you give the artist, the better the tattoo will turn out. Also, not every tattoo has meaning: While your first tattoo may have some significance, you’ll find it gets harder to assign meaning to each tattoo. Tattoos can be meaningful or they can just be decorative or funny. Don’t let the fact that a tattoo you want has no meaning behind it prevent you from getting it. 

Consider the placement

You should consider whether you plan on getting more tattoos when deciding on the placement of your first tattoo. You might want to place a tattoo so it can fit with others. And, if you don’t think you’ll get more than one tattoo, that might change — tattoos are addictive, and the first is hardly ever the last.


Don’t argue prices

Most tattoo shops have a shop minimum — no matter how small the tattoo, it will never be cheaper than the shop minimum. So, if you’re looking to get something around the size of a quarter, you should expect to pay $50 to $70. Also, artists typically charge by the hour. The average in the Milwaukee area is $100 per hour, but some can charge $150 or $200 per hour. Don’t outright ask an artist how much a tattoo will cost after you’ve briefly explained what you want — especially if it’s over the phone. It’s not something he or she can calculate on the spot with no idea of the placement, size, details and color going to go into the tattoo. If you’re strapped for cash and can’t be flexible with the price, then maybe the time isn’t right to get a tattoo. 


Tipping makes it hurt less

Walk into any tattoo shop and you might spot a sign on the wall that claims “tipping makes it hurt less.” It’s obviously a joke, but tipping your artist isn’t. Most artists pay rent money to the tattoo shop. So, some artists only get a percentage of the cash you’re paying for your tattoo. Many artists also don’t have health benefits through their work. So tipping helps make ends meet more than you think. 


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