first time tattoo advice

It’s been quite a long while since I have posted about tattoos on here.  But recently I have had a slew of tattoo related questions in my inbox!

I just have to say, I’m so happy so many people have found solid and sound advice here.  I know entering the realm of the tattooed can be intimidating at first.  I remember I was nervous before my first tattoo!

After many tattoos and friends made and years worked in a shop, you come to learn a lot.  Mostly that tattooers, piercers and the anyone running the desk are generally total nerds and genuinely lovely people. But also, that they are there to not only make beautiful art, but also to help you get the best tattoo possible for you.

I was recently asked by a reader fast approaching her 18th birthday about getting her first tattoo. She has been swooning over the work done by Russian artist, Sasha Unisex.  

sashaunisex on Instagram

She had read my article { Don’t be a Tattoo Copy Cat! } and I’m glad she took the advice to heart.

She loves the unusual, new and unique style of Sasha Unisex, but does not want to have an artist imitate her work.  She was curious if I had any recommendations on local artists for her in Texas that may specialize in a similar style and any other advice I had for a tattoo virgin.

Here is what I shared with her, though I have expanded on this a bit since I exchanged emails with her, but I thought I should share it with you all:

Dear D,

Since you have found a style that really appeals to you, and you are not in an uber rush to get tattooed I recommend taking your time.  I know the excitement of being legal to claim your body and mark it how you chose is almost overwhelming.  But I recommend waiting and continue researching.

You will always end up with a far better tattoo in the long run.

I know so many people, myself included, that rushed to get something done and ended up regretting it.  I have done an extensive {and expensive} cover up on my first tattoo while others may still have them, but use them as reminders of when they didn’t know any better.   I don’t say this to discourage you from getting tattooed, just as a reminder, we all make mistakes.  I just think using patience and caution is always the wiser route when planning on a permanent decision.

As for finding an art style you love and an artist that appeals to you, fear not!  Texas has many talented artists and I hope you are if you ware willing to travel a wee bit to get a rad tattoo {for something that will be on you permanently, why wouldn’t you?}  I do not have a recommendation off the top of my head, but I know, with more research, you will find someone who knocks your socks off!!

I recommend checking out websites like and, also finding prominent tattooers on instagram is helpful.  Look at who those artists are following as well. It can be kind of a rabbit hole, but I promise it is a rewarding one!  You will be exposed to soooo many great artists & styles.

Thinks & Ink magazineThinks & Ink magazine

The other thing to keep in mind is that tattooers travel. Which means they do conventions and guest spots all over the world.  Texas {or a neighbouring area} may not be that unlikely for someone like Sasha Unisex, or another artist who appeals to you,  to come visit for either possibility.  And never completely cross off travelling to get tattooed yourself.  Talk about a journey and a story to attach to your art!Just take your time, keep looking around and be patient.  Go into shops and talk to them ask them questions, listen to what they have to say, they are professionals.

Look at their portfolios, look up reviews online, ask friends or get online to forums and websites.

Sadly, not all shops and artists are keeping your best interests in mind, but the good news is, this is not common, just something to be mentioned.  Never let an artist convince you to go with them if you are not head over heels in love with what they have put out.  Trust your gut.   If you are looking for a particular style and they don’t have it in their books, then they are not the artist for you.

This, conversely, can be said about finding an artist that you do like and are head over heels in love with, don’t ask them to do something they have never done or are not comfortable with doing or is not displayed in their portfolio.

You will definitely end up with a better piece that will keep you happy for a long time!

Additional advice when getting your first tattoo:
  • eat at least an hour before your appointment!! and do not drink the night before!
  • also, avoid taking any pain meds before your appointment that are blood thinners. Tylenol s ok!
  • Avoid what is called “prime real estate” places like your upper bicep/shoulder are prime places for larger work when you get older and if you decide to get more tattoos, working around something pre-existing not only compromises the new art you want, but also makes it more difficult for an artist to work around.
  • A really great rule to keep in mind is, small tattoo, small body part.   Small tattoos in larger body parts can look lost and floating, like someone stamped you or placed a sticker on you.
  • wear clothes that make it easy to access to area you want tattooed. {ex, getting your thigh tattooed, where a skirt.  Getting your ribs tattooed, wear a cheap bikini top so they can tape the garment to you if they need more access. And If it is an area where you need to strip down a bit to get tattooed, wear something comfortable and easy to get back on after the tattooing is done for the day!}
I was trying to brainstorm someone in your area, but really, that research journey should be yours, as you will find so many great styles and open yourself up to so many ideas and find oodles of talented artists!
I also recommend checking out these instagram pages:
They all feature quality artists. And make sure to check out each artist that appeals to you and look at who they are following and where they are located.
Happy hunting and good luck! ❤


Do you have a tattoo related question? Then fire me an email!!

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5 thoughts on “first time tattoo advice

  1. thanks for the advice! I’m in the same situation as that girl, I’m so impatient to get my tattoo done and this made me think, so thank you 🙂

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