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Thinking of getting a tattoo, need advice

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have been wanting to for a long time but never did due to worring over what my dad and sister my think and now I really don't care what they think.

I want to get one that represents my grandparents on my mothers side both of which are of native american descent. My grandpa is half choctaw and my grandma has alot of cherokee in her, enough that you can see it in her she looks almost full cherokee but she wasn't.

My grandma was so good to me and so were my mom's siblins. And I found some beautiful tribal art that I want to have done. And I also want to get a tattoo to honor my Irish roots on my dad's side.

Here's the problem even though I have a high pain tolorance to some things I hate needles but with having to get shots in the nursing homes I have gotten alot better about it. But I don't know how I will react to the needles from a tattoo, how deep do they go and how bad does it hurt. My friend says it stings more than anything I want to get it on my left arm up close to my shoulder but not quite so high.

So if anyone who has tatts can give me some advice I would appreciate it.
post #2 of 18
I hate needles too, but I have three tattoos. It doesn't really look like a needle when they do it, it's like a big plugged in pen sort of. I'm not going to lie and say it doesn't hurt. You just have to know it's going to, and know it's worth it. It's a very thrilling experience, and very addictive. Just don't move no matter how much it hurts!! Good luck - it sounds like you would have some neat ones with the ideas you have.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay I am a nurses aide so do I need to do it when I have two days off to give it time to heal.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tavia'smom View Post
Okay I am a nurses aide so do I need to do it when I have two days off to give it time to heal.
They take about 6 months to heal fully, but I kept my last 1 covered until after the scabs fell off (about 1 week). I am a nurse so I know exactly why you're wanting to make sure it's healed.
post #5 of 18
The advice I would give you is:

1. Reasearch, research, research. You really want something that is going to make you happy every time you see it. If you get it wrong, you're going to forever be kicking yourself for that one little mistake.

2. Find a tattoo artist who is ideal for you. Find one who's artwork inspires you - and do not base your choices on price. If you have to go back three or four times to complete an expensive tattoo, the chances are the quality is going to be far higher than a tattoo made by someone completing it in one sitting. This is for life, it's got to be right.

3. If you're frightened even remotely of needles, it's a good idea to have the tattoo made somewhere where you can't see it being done... say, on your back. Some tattoo artists also recommend taking a couple of ibuprofen before the tattoo so that it numbs the pain - even if you have a high pain threshold, I can guarantee you there will be parts of your body that will scream at you.

4. When it is done, find a very good burns cream, or even a cream against a babyøs nappy rash (pseudocrem is amazing) they're fantastic for healing the tattooed area and for keeping the moisture in - which is essential for keeping the ink in place. If you don't, it goes dry and your tattoo can finish up all patchy where ink has run and been lost.

5. Do not, under any circumstances get a tattoo done without posting pictures thecatsite.com.
post #6 of 18
Wow, I have been thinking and designing a totoo for my Irish/Scottish and native american roots for the pst few months I am looking at a Celtic knot surrounded by eagle feathers.
I am like you I have been procrastinateing about having it done. I am not all that pain concious but I am more worried about how my family would react. My dad is of the generation that only bikers and prostitutes have tatoos. So i'm thinking he wouldn't look well upon it.
post #7 of 18
I cry before the nurse even brings the needle into the room I'm SUCH a baby about needles. I also have a pretty low pain tolerance.

I have 3 tattoos and one was on my foot!!! oh my word did that hurt!!!! That was the only one that I actually said owww about. The other two I never flinched or even said oww once! It doesn't really hurt like you think it would. It's a kind of pain that you can't discribe so it's hard to say or think that it really hurts. It doesn't feel anything like a shot. I have one on my foot, one on my bum/hip, and one on my shoulder. The one on my shoulder took the longest 2 1.5 hour sessions. I came back to get the color filled in more. It's about as big as your hand with your fingers spread, all colored in.
post #8 of 18
My friend is half cherokee and half Irish. Her living room is all cherokee and her bedroom is all irish. I have 2 Tattoos and it felt like getting clawed by the Cats. It wasnt bad. Make sure the Needles are clean and they have the machine that cleans them. My Dad dosent like that me and my Sisters have Tatts.
post #9 of 18
I have a tattoo on each side of my shoulder where you described, and I didn't find the pain to be that bad at all. (NOTE: I am a huge baby, if someone pokes me with their finger I will say owwwww)
It is a hard feeling to describe, but I would say it is like a vibrating, tickling sensation, with a bit of a scratching feeling in there too. Plus the more you want it, the less it's going to hurt because in the end it's all worth it.

I have the same problem with my parents not really liking my tattoos, but in the end it's on MY body for the rest of MY life, not theirs, and both have a strong meaning to me (like yours will too), so it's not like I went out and did something silly to myself for no reason!
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tavia'smom View Post
So if anyone who has tatts can give me some advice I would appreciate it.
Yea dont get. Unless you 100% sure you want.
Then pick something that means something to you. OR y ou will get sick of it.

Also dont put where it will show how you work.
post #11 of 18
I don't believe in such things but my grandmother told me, and my mother agreed with her, that the tattoo I got on my 18th birthday was going to keep me out of heaven. She told me it said so in the Bible. I worried about that for a long time but eventually got over it! After worrying about that for a while, I went out and got two more.
post #12 of 18
I have lived with a tattoo artist for 22 years, tattooing 20 of those. I have about 40% coverage.
The advice he gives his clients is always make sure it is what you want, and don't worry about it being something "nobody else has" somebody, somewhere will have something at least very similar, and as long as it means something to you, or you like it, that is all that matters. (I got a piece that covers my whole outer thigh that came from a book of old Japanese woodcuts that I was sure I would not see anywhere else, and the very next time I opened a tattoo magazine, there it was.)
Make sure you research your artist. Just because it says "award winning" or some such nonsense on the front of the place does not mean much. It could have been a certificate from a bar tattoo and *itty contest that some lame made up for the local scratchers. (scratcher-bad tattoo artist) If you don't mind telling me what area you live in, he may be able to recommend a good artist, he knows artists from all over the world. A good artist will not act like you are bothering them for asking questions about sterilization and single use equipment. Needles, inks, anything that cannot be put in an autoclave should be single use. The machines themselves cannot be autoclaved, but are often bagged for barrier control, or can be sanitized without harming the electrical parts. A good, clean artist will be proud of the way he works, and will not mind telling you as long as you are asking intelligent questions and not the same ones over and over. To them, time is money, so going in and talking to them is best done during a slow time, so don't be offended if they don't have a long time to talk to you if there is a shop full of people.
Pain depends a lot on your pain threshold and where you get it. If you stay off places with bones close to the skin, you will be fine. The flat part of the shoulder blade, calf, chest and upper arm have been my least painful spots. It is good advice to maybe place them where they can be covered with work clothes. As many as I have, you could never tell it by looking at me in "normal" clothing. (I have seen my SO argue a young woman up and down about getting her first one on her wrist, she later came back and thanked him for refusing to put it there as she was accepted into a Christian college, and said her confidence level would have been less if she had gone in there trying to hide a tattoo)
I hope this helps, rambling on as it is.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by pipersjo View Post
They take about 6 months to heal fully, but I kept my last 1 covered until after the scabs fell off (about 1 week). I am a nurse so I know exactly why you're wanting to make sure it's healed.
6 months? Mine only took about a month? Guess it depends on how bid it it
post #14 of 18
Let's see, you are afraid of needles, and have a low pain tolerance, but you want to do what? Why?????
My advice would be wait until you are 40, and if you still think you must have one, go for it.

I think there are plenty of other ways to honor your heritage, without dishonoring your skin and body.

How about making a painting, a sculpture, a poem? something that envelops your creativity and spirit, as opposed to scarring your body forever?

Just my two cents, and perhaps your families as well.
post #15 of 18
I just skimmed the responses for now (I will go back and read) so I may be repeating things.

1. Don't get flash art (this all the images hanging on the wall when you go it) get a custom piece done. Once you find an artist you want to work with and you like their work tell that what you are looking for, the meaning , and the elements you want in it. Let them draw something up for you and look at it and tweak it if need be. Remember this is for life and something unique for you.

2. Research research research. Ask people who have been inked who they recommend. Go to several shops. Check the cleanliness of the studio. Do they use single use needles (mine does), how do they clean the guns, etc. Look at all of their work. Make sure they do good work, make sure it is a style you like. Price should be the very last thing on your mind. You want great work not cheap work.

3. Pain. Well this is very subjective. If I say it barely felt like a sting for me may be a different story for you. But there are thinks you can do to ease this. Me I think an artist that can talk and tattoo at the same time. Your you can bring a friend in with you to chat with. Just talk about any ole thing just something to take your mind off the tattoo. Another thing is bring a MP3 player in with you (talk to artist before hand) this can work well as well. I like watching my tattoo getting done it puts my mind at ease and I know whats happening. Most artists will do a few small lines to begin with for a first time tattoo this is so both of you know what to except.

3. After care. This varies from artist to artist and site to site. I have mine on my leg so this is a little different then say the arm as far as shaving goes. What my artist does is put saran wrap over the tattoo till the next morning. When I showered he said to lightly wet it and slowly peel off as to not rip the raw skin. Take some anti-bac soap and light wash the area. DO Not Scrub. After that pat it dry do not rub. For 2 days put no lotion on it at all. After that apply a thin coat of non scented lotion (vasoline intensive care was recommended by my artist) 2 times a day, 3 times tops. Wait 15 mins after showering and drying before applying lotion. Continue with lotion for 30 days even if it looks healed. Do not expose to light till it is healed. When its healed apply sunblock so the tat does not fade. For the first week you will notice it scab. After about 7 days it will start to itch do not scratch. If you do you run the risk of pulling the scab and ink will come out of that spot. I took 1-2 anti-histamine pills to combat the itching). I am on day 10 now and the scabbing is done barely any scabs save a few places. And most of the flaking is done now. Most important ask your artist he knows his work and how it heals. Whatever he says follow it.

4. Do not soak your tat, take long showers or swim until it heals.

I can't think of anything else right now.
post #16 of 18
If your artist is referring to their machines as "guns" run away, do not look back. They are morons that don't know which way is up.
There is nothing wrong with flash, it is drawn by skilled artists that know how a design should flow on the body. Many "custom" pieces are put together with components of flash and are just beautiful. If someone even says the word "freehand" run away. There are only a handful of artists anywhere that are qualified to do that. They should at least draw it on the skin first, IMHO they should use a stencil for mostly anything but tribal. If Michelangelo used a stencil on the Sistine Chapel, and he did, there should be no problem with someone using one on your skin. You will know exactly where your tattoo will be and if the placement is right.
If your tattoos are taking 6 months to heal, you should change artists and see a doctor. Even the little secondary peeling should not take that long. I got my last one just a few weeks ago and it is completely healed.
Not trying to be argumentative here, but many long time artists consider saran wrap to be a hotbed of bacteria, not to mention just kinda icky. Personally I would never let anyone use it on me.
Once again, not trying to be argumentative, but you should never let your tattoo go very long without putting something, preferably plain white Lubriderm, after letting it air dry after showering. I have tattoos 17 years old that look as good as the day they were done and that is what was used on them.
I have worked in or been around tattoo shops since 1979, and have seen trends come and go, and people whose only qualifications were owning equipment and opposable thumbs. It has changed a lot, but you still have to take good care of them and choose your artist carefully, or your dream could turn into a nightmare.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by krazy kat2 View Post
If your artist is referring to their machines as "guns" run away, do not look back. They are morons that don't know which way is up.
There is nothing wrong with flash, it is drawn by skilled artists that know how a design should flow on the body. Many "custom" pieces are put together with components of flash and are just beautiful. If someone even says the word "freehand" run away. There are only a handful of artists anywhere that are qualified to do that. They should at least draw it on the skin first, IMHO they should use a stencil for mostly anything but tribal. If Michelangelo used a stencil on the Sistine Chapel, and he did, there should be no problem with someone using one on your skin. You will know exactly where your tattoo will be and if the placement is right.
If your tattoos are taking 6 months to heal, you should change artists and see a doctor. Even the little secondary peeling should not take that long. I got my last one just a few weeks ago and it is completely healed.
Not trying to be argumentative here, but many long time artists consider saran wrap to be a hotbed of bacteria, not to mention just kinda icky. Personally I would never let anyone use it on me.
Once again, not trying to be argumentative, but you should never let your tattoo go very long without putting something, preferably plain white Lubriderm, after letting it air dry after showering. I have tattoos 17 years old that look as good as the day they were done and that is what was used on them.
I have worked in or been around tattoo shops since 1979, and have seen trends come and go, and people whose only qualifications were owning equipment and opposable thumbs. It has changed a lot, but you still have to take good care of them and choose your artist carefully, or your dream could turn into a nightmare.
I don't know the actual name of it thats why I call it a gun. I have never been told nor asked what the tech name is. I trust my shop totally they have done both of mine and both have came out great. My first one was done in Jan 02 and still looks as new today as it did when I walked out that day following their advice and instructions.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dixie_Darlin View Post
6 months? Mine only took about a month? Guess it depends on how bid it it
They look healed, but your chance of getting an infection is still there. It takes about 6 months to replace the skin cells that have been damaged. I researched it pretty well when I got the last one because I get, for lack of a better term, yucky stuff on myself all the time. Having 1 on my wrist where the chance of getting someone else's blood or bodily fluids on it were fairly high worried me a lot.
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