A tattoo is for life. By the time you sit down in the artist’s chair, you want to make sure you have found the perfect design and are not getting something you are going to regret in years to come when your fashion has changed and your skin has started to sag.
With so many styles and designs, it can be difficult deciding whether you want a Japanese tattoo, traditional Maori, or an old-school sailor jerry design. Take your time. Don’t rush, and carefully consider each of these steps before you settle on the design you want.
Explore the Possibilities
The first step of finding your next tattoo is exploring what is on offer. Instagram pages, Pinterest and online tattoo magazines are great places to see what artists are doing and what styles and designs work on the skin and are popular at the moment.
Seeing what other people are doing might be enough to get the creative juices flowing and inspire you to come up with a similar idea or design of your own.
Research the Artist
The research stage shouldn’t just be about designs, it should also be about looking at prospective artists. Look at artist portfolios and see what techniques they are using. There are a lot of poor tattoo artists out there, producing inconsistent work without the proper training. You want to find an artist you know consistently delivers the best and employs techniques that align with the style of tattoo you are seeking.
Bold Will Hold
When thinking about your design, it is important to think about how time changes tattoos. Small, intricate lines become wider. Light colours fade. Dark colours lighten. Edges become softer.
As a result, there is a saying in the industry that “bold will hold”. This means, often the designs that are most likely to look good for the long term, are those with significant contrast which can withstand the effects of colours lightening and some lines blurring.
Avoid Names Altogether
The most common tattoo that customers end up regretting and later ask to be covered up or removed, are names. If you don’t know what to get, spend longer thinking about a nice design. Don’t just settle for a name because you “want something but aren’t sure what to get”.
Consult the Artist
Once you have an idea of what you want, go to visit the artist in person and ask their opinion. They do this for a living and will be able to tell you what concepts work well on the skin, what don’t, and may be able to make small amendments and recommendations to improve the design.
Visiting the artist in person at the shop is also an opportunity to look at the establishment, ensure it looks clean, and take a peek at some of the artist’s other work.
Ultimately, it is your body, and no artist is going to pressure you into accepting their ideas. They are there to look out for you. They want to do a piece of work they are proud of and can show to prospective clients as evidence of their skills.