Hey there!

I got my first tattoo a few days ago! I am really happy with it. It is a small symbol on my left wrist. I have been thinking about getting inked for a while and it was the perfect moment to get one done. Before going in I was really nervous, but in the end it was not as bad as I expected it to be. Today, I will share some tips with you about getting your first tattoo. Maybe these will help you out if you are thinking about getting inked for the first time yourself.

Take Your Time

This might be an obvious one, but it important to take a few months to think about what you want to get, how big, where, color or no color, etcetera. I have always liked tattoos and I have known that I wanted to get one for a few years. You have to know that whatever you put one your body, will stay there for the rest of your life. I have a friend who has a few tattoos and talking to her about her tattoos really helped. I realized that there was no way to know if I was going to like my ink in 30 years and if I do not like it, it will be a reminder of who I was. That was what made me actually get a tattoo, because it will always be a reminder of who I am in this moment.

Also, take your time choosing your design. You might take you a few months or a year to find what you are looking for and if you cannot find exactly what you are looking for, but you have an idea of what you want, you could consider a custom tattoo. I have seen a lot of pictures of tattoos I liked before I found one I loved, but when I found it I knew right away that was what I was going to get. If you have a few images and you like different things about each one, tell your artist what you do and do not like and they can come up with a custom design. 

Choosing Your Design

Like I said, take your time. Do not rush it, because you will be stuck with it for a while. What I did was, I created a Pinterest board and a folder on my phone. Every time I would come across a picture of a tattoo or design I liked, I would pin it on Pinterest or screenshot it. I noticed that I like small tattoos with a meaning. For a long time, I wanted to get "wanderlust" tattooed on my ribs, but I did not feel any connection to that word here in New York. I felt like "explore" represented this time in my life the best and when I found out there was a symbol that meant explore, I knew instantly that was what I was getting. I thought about it for a while to make sure that was really it and when I was sure, I got it done. So, do not worry if you are hesitant or change your mind, as long as you stand behind your final decision.

Use a Marker

Once you know what you want and where you want it, it is a good idea to grab a black marker and draw on your design or at least a shape. That way you have an idea of what it is going to look like. If you do not like it that is okay. Maybe you like it better in another place or maybe the design is not right. Again, take you time to figure that out. You do not have to get it right the first time, but when you use a marker it is not permanent, like a tattoo. I drew a shape on my ribs and I hated it. When I drew this symbol on my wrist, I loved it. I kept the design on for about a week to get used to it. Now, the tattoo is actually on my body, I am already used to having something on my wrist. 

The Right Artist

All you have to do now is get your tattoo done. This might take some time. Tattoo artist all have a different style. Make sure you like your artist's style. Do research; look at photos of their work and read reviews on Google Maps and/or Yelp. It is important to read the bad reviews as well; did someone give a bad review because the music was too loud or because they did a bad job. The tattoo I wanted to get was tiny, so I was not very concerned about finding the right artist, but more about finding a comfortable tattoo shop to get my first ink done. 

When you find the right artist/shop, you will have to make an appointment. Know that it can take a few weeks or months until he or she has time. I could not make an appointment because I wanted a small tattoo. Their website said to call early in the day to see if there was an artist free for a walk-in. If you are able to make an appointment, I would advise you to do it in person or at least on the phone to get a feeling for the artist of the tattoo shop.


Getting a tattoo hurts, there is no denying that. Some part of your body will hurt more than others. Do not let that decide where you want to get your tattoo. I think it is better to be in pain for a while and get a beautiful tattoo than to be in less pain and get a tattoo that is not exactly the way you want it. It will be on your body for a long time and it will hurt no matter what. To me it felt like a cat scratch or a paper cut. The sound of the machine was actually the most annoying thing.

If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, these tips might be helpful. I am very happy with my tattoo and I do not regret it for a second. Now the tattoo has to heal. It will take about three weeks to grow a new layer of skin and in the meantime it might scab or look blue. So, when my mom comes to visit me it should look great again.



Published by Merel Makkus