NWR – Tattoo'ed Bees…Advice for a 'First-timer'

posted 2 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
2355 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Look through the artist’s books before you decide. A lot of tattoo parlors will have them in the waiting area. Ask if they don’t. Make sure that artist’s style matches what you want. Show them your rough idea. They’ll sketch it up, and you can approve it from there.

Post # 3
3731 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013


  • Check portfolios!
  • Don’t shop around for the best price– You WILL get what you pay for. Good tattoos are not cheap, cheap tattoos are not good. And a baggie of weed is not an acceptable tip (My husband is a tattoo artist. You wouldn’t believe the things people try to use for a tip.)
  • Don’t try to negotiate the price. Also, tip your artist. Odds are they aren’t the owner of the shop and don’t get to keep 100% of the price you’re paying. They probably get to keep 40-50%, and out of that they have to pay for tattoo machines, needles, tubes, ink, green soap, dental bibs, barrier tape, gloves, tattoo chairs, etc.
  • Use the aftercare the artist suggests.
  • Don’t take a bunch of people with you.
  • Be mentally prepared for the fact that it’s going to hurt. 
  • Don’t go for the ribs for your first tattoo.
  • Don’t ask the artist to draw something if you don’t intend on getting the tattoo by them.
  • Don’t tan or go in a pool/lake/ocean/river/hot tub until the tattoo is completely healed.
  • Don’t pick or scratch the scabs that will form.


Ryansgirl:  As long as you pick something you love, you’ll love it forever!

Post # 5
4413 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

PPs covered it well, so just a couple things to add:

— if you’re getting something kind of large, you may want to consider digging a prescription painkiller/muscle relaxer out of the medicine cabinet to take before the appointment. Adrenaline will make your body shake, and it can be hard to do fine lines on a body that’s shaking. I took a Tylenol with codeine before every appointment on my really big piece, and it relaxed me just enough to hold my body still

— be really clear about what you want and don’t let any misunderstandings go. Several of my tattoos, what the artist first drew wasn’t really exactly what I wanted. So speak up! This is going to be on your body for life — don’t just accept something you’re not happy with just because you don’t want to make waves! (but of course be nice about it and take all responsibility for the miscommunication. Don’t need to be a dick to the person about to drag a needle through your skin!)

— obviously some body parts hurt more than others. But your skin is also really unpredictable — nerve bunches will show up in random places. For example, I have a huge back piece and I found that my left side was nearly unbearable, while the exact mirrored place on my right side was completely fine. So if it really REALLY hurts at first, don’t worry — it probably won’t be that way for the whole thing. You’re just on a spot where you have a lot of nerve endings.

Good luck!

Post # 6
135 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Cadillac mountain

I totally agree with the comments people have already made. Also, be mindful of placement. Do you want lots of people to see it? Do you work in a profession where people will frown on visible tattoos (even though they shouldn’t)

for example, I have a chest piece and had quite a chat with my artist before hand about how visible it is. People will comment. Jobs may not like it. I didn’t realize the extent it would be different as I already had 10 other tattoos at that point, but it really does! 

Post # 7
408 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Be ready to get another! J/K, but I know for me after I got my first one, I knew I was going to get another one. I’m getting my second one in a couple of weeks (Happy 30th to me!). There has been a couple years between so it isn’t impulse. The feeling of empowerment over being able to mark your body in that way is pretty awesome. In terms of practical tips, if you decide to get in a place that is fairly visible be ready to get distracted by it. My eye was constantly drawn to mine. It got kind of annoying, I just kept thinking, I want to not notice it every 30 seconds! I love it and now it is just a part of me. Also, I got mine done on the inside of my lower arm, near the wrist, but it hardly hurt at all! I was surprised, I don’t think I have a super high pain tolerance or anything, but it really wasn’t bad. Arms, thighs, butt, calves are the least painful. Anywhere with more bone/thinner skin is going to be more painful I.E. the top of your foot, ribs, spine. Last, really make sure that it is something personal and meaningful because if it is in a noticeable place, you will get asked about it and you should be able to explain its meaning with pride. Hope this helps a bit!

Post # 8
389 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - Norton Country Club

In addition to all of the great advice above (especially the price point- good work is worth paying more for): find an artist who makes you comfortable.  This person will be touching you and changing your appearance- if they aren’t easy to talk to or if you get the creeps, find someone else!  If you can’t tell them that you wanted the image a little bigger or more stylized, they might not be the person you want to pay.

Also, consider “ink scoping” in your area.  If you see a well-done tattoo that is similar in the style that you want, politely ask the bearer.  I found my first artist this way.  Saw a beautiful tattoo on a stranger’s forearm and started with, “Wow- the colorwork on your arm is great!  Would you mind if I ask who did that for you?”  She was happy to share and when I told the artist, she remembered the tattoo and wrote a note to give this lady a discount if she came back!

Post # 9
1164 posts
Bumble bee

Have them set up right in front of you so you know their stuff is new and not used, make sure you are comfortable with them and they are comfortable doing your tattoo.  I have a portrait of my grandfather on my thigh and wanted my tattoo artist to do it (he dated my aunt and was a paul bearer when my grandfather passed) but he didn’t feel comfortable because that wasn’t his style.  He told me who in the shop would be able to do it I just proceeded from there.  As pp stated, make sure you tip your tattoo artist and just be as still as possible.  Make sure you are hydrated and have eated in the last 4 hours.  Whenever I go in, I make sure I have some sort of candy to keep my sugar up.  Good luck!

Post # 10
1164 posts
Bumble bee

Forgot to mention, make sure you keep the covering on for however long they say.  I know it’s tempting to take it off early to admire their work or show it off but leave it be until the time limit is up.  Non scented everything when caring for it.

Post # 11
182 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Here are a few things I think are helpful.

If you are not sure about who you want to do the tattoo, use instagram to find your artist! I follow hundreds of tattoo artists on instagram. I found some in my area by searching hashtags, for example I live in Delaware so I searched #delawaretattoo and found a few local artists, and they often tag other artists in the area who I work with. Really shop around for your tattoo and look at the artist’s style and skill. Look for clean linework (no shaky or uneven lines). Instagram is also awesome for finding tattoo ideas. For example, if you want to get a hummingbird tattoo, you could search #hummingbirdtattoo and see a bunch of tattoos that other people have done. If you see something you like, or a style you like, you could show it to your artist so they can get a better idea of what you want.

Be careful though about taking any painkillers before the tattoo, as they tend to make your blood thinner which could result in more bleeding and possible loss of ink (even medications like Tylenol). I know some people are ok with painkillers, but you might want to talk to your artist first.

If you are going to a good artist, you might have to make an appointment in advance. Depending on how big your piece is, you may have to wait a month or two, even more to get in with a popular artists. Some small pieces can be done in walk-ins, but you may want to just make an appointment to lock your date in.

Also, this is something I didn’t think about until I already had multiple tattoos, but if you plan on having a few tattoos, think about if there is a certain tattoo style you want. It doesn’t matter to some people, but others like to go with a tattoo style and match it for the rest of their pieces. Some styles to think about are traditional, neotraditional, black and gray realism, color realism, new school, japanese, etc. Searching all of those on google will give you an idea of the differences between each. Thinking about this ahead of time can help you decide what style you like best, so your tattoos will look similar. Then again, there are many many people with various different styles all over their bodies and that is fine  too. Also, thinking about the long run can help you decide on placement. If you think you might want to add on to what you have in the future, consider placement and if there is room to expand. Or, you might think of something later that would have been better in the location of a place you already have a tattoo at.

Post # 12
1676 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

Ryansgirl:  I don’t have much to add really.  

I always take painkillers before mine.  

And don’t believe what other says about certain places hurting more than others.  As a rule of thumb backs of arms and legs HURT but others can be sporadic!

Always check their hygiene – good artists won’t mind you asking

Find an artist that suits your style, and you feel comfortable

Don’t soak a new tattoo for about 4 weeks (ie bath or swimming) and make sure you always put sunscreen on your tattoos no matter how old or new


Finally – post a pic so we can see!!!  😀

Post # 13
187 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: mountain venue

besides using a reputable artist the only advice i can give is, dont be a little bitch, if you whine or cry or take a bunch of breaks most artists will fuck your tattoo up on purpose, i always ask my artists what bothers them the most about their clients and thats what they all say! It makes sense too, you areb walking into a shop in which you plan to inject ink into your skin..it will hurt. But i have about 30 tattoos and it doesnt bother me a bit.

Post # 14
167 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m also seriously thinking about getting my first tattoo, so I have no first hand experience to share, however I have started following a few tattoo critiquing blogs on tumblr. I’ve learned so much about what makes a good tattoo vs. one that won’t hold up/ is poorly executed as well as different tattooing styles. At first I thought the bloggers were pretty harsh, but they’re just looking at the execution of the artwork in order to educate others. I know that personally I used to look through a tattoo artist’s online portfolio and think eh they’re pretty decent, but now I have a better idea of what to look for in terms of good designs and artwork. 

Post # 15
135 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Cadillac mountain

Also, yes it’s going to hurt. Don’t let that deter you from having it done where you want. My collar bones, sides of my feet, insides of my ankles, and wrist were all excruciating to have tattooed but I’m SO GLAD I sucked it up and had them done there. 

And don’t take 5000000 breaks, but if you need one, take one! I passed out during one of mine partially cause I wouldn’t ask for a break.

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