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Ready for your first tattoo? Here’s everything you need to know

The top artists in the industry share their tips and tricks for choosing a design, placing it, scheduling an appointment, and tipping.

You’ve created a folder on Instagram with bookmarks for inspiration, and you’re now ready to get your very first tattoo. What next? We can help.

We have compiled a complete guide for getting your first tattoo. Allure surveyed tattoo artists like Sanjay Singh founder of the one and only best tattoo Studio in Mansarovar Jaipur well known as Unique Tattoo Art Gallery and Doreen Garner (aka @flesh_and_fluid) to provide their insights on each step. When you make and arrive at the tattoo studio, as well as finalize your design, you will know exactly what to do. You’ll be given detailed instructions on how to proceed after you have your first ink done. These tips won’t make tattoo easier but they will make it less intimidating and memorable.

How to Choose an Artist:

If you aren’t sure who to choose to give you your first tattoo, Britabad from Portland recommends that you find someone you can trust and have fun with. She suggests that you follow them online to get a feel for who they are as people. A great experience at getting a tattoo can have a profound effect on how someone feels about it. You’ll love your artist more than the artwork if you love them.

New York City tattoo artist Ariel Wei recommends that you also look at photos of healed work while doing your research. She posts highlights of her work on Instagram. She says that tattoos fresh and healed are two different things. Colors fade with tattoo healing and lines become less distinct. This type of research will give you a complete understanding of the aging process of your chosen tattoo artist.

Make an appointment:

The preferred method of scheduling an appointment with a tattoo artist in Jaipur will vary depending on the tattoo artist you choose. You may find links to their website or Instagram that will take you to an online form where you can fill in the information required to book. Others might ask you to email them. 

Here’s what to include if that is the case:

The design you desire: Please be as precise as you can about what you are looking for, including whether or not you would like color. Referring to images can help your artist understand your vision. You shouldn’t expect your final design to be identical to work by another artist. Wei states that unless a commission was made, I do not allow others to copy my designs.

Size and location:

Wei prefers that her clients indicate the size in inches. However, don’t be too exact. It is possible to estimate the size and placement of your tattoos. “Both can be changed later,” says Sanjay Singh, an Indian tattoo artist.


It’s also important to be precise about the times and dates that you are available, so there isn’t too much back and forth between you and the tattoo artist.

Skin tones:

While some forms might ask for your skin color, Thomarya Fergus, a Toronto-based tattoo artist emphasizes that tattoo artists should be able to create a design that suits your skin regardless of your complexion. You should not be told by an artist that they won’t work with darker skin tones, or give you a list limiting the colors and items they can do for you due to your skin color. Find someone who is more inclusive and accommodating. They explain that it should not be like “You automatically can’t have this thing without trying to find what works.” I’d be like “OK, cool.” You’re here. Let’s try it. Fergus mentions that they also have some color pieces on their bodies so clients can see how certain colors of tattoo ink look on darker skin tones. Some artists also offer color testing. Before making any final decisions, the artist will give you a few lines or dots in different colors. You can request one by filling out the form or sending an email to the artist.

Size and location:

We prefer that clients indicate the size in inches. However, don’t be too exact. It is possible to estimate the size and placement of your tattoos. “Both can be changed later,” says Sanjay Singh, an Indian tattoo artist.

Preparing for Your Appointment:

Doreen Garner, a New York City tattoo artist, says that depending on what design you want, you might need to visit the studio to have a quick consultation. She mentions that if they are unable to describe their tattoo clearly enough to me to create an image from their words then it would be about just elaborating on their idea. Garner says that some of her clients come in for a consultation to get an idea of their preferences and where they work. “The tattoo can complement that is the best,” Garner says.

Many tattoo artists that we spoke to said that the preparations for the actual appointment were similar to those for a medical procedure. Get a good night’s rest, avoid drinking the night before, drink plenty of water, and eat something before you arrive at the tattoo studio. You can bring snacks to enjoy while you get tattooed. Garner states, “I always make sure that my clients have something to eat at least 30 minutes before I start tattooing.”

Garner advises that you let your tattoo artist beforehand if you have skin conditions such as eczema. You may need to cancel your appointment if you have a flare-up. We also suggest that you avoid any tattoos or cuts on the area where you plan to have them done.

Finalizing your Design and Placement:

Your consent forms will be filled out and your tattoo artist will present the design that they have created for you. All the tattoo artists that we spoke to agreed that you should speak up if you have any questions. The art will be permanently attached to your body. Your feedback should be respectful. Abad says, “Remember that you contacted the artist because you trust their vision.” “It’s normal to request changes to your drawing. However, communicating this politely and without insulting or showing mistrust is important.”

Keep in mind, however, that not all tattoos are small. You may have to enlarge some letters in order to make them legible. Garner states that if you want it to be smaller because it will be easier to read, it is fine. However, the tattoo will still hurt. The size of the tattoo will not lessen the pain. This is a common mistake that people make when they start.

The stencil will then be created and placed on your body. The placement of the tattoo can be altered, so let your artist know. Fergus mentioned that they have redone stencil placements up to five times in order to accommodate clients who had been contemplating their first tattoo for years. Because you have been picturing the tattoo on your body for so many years, it’s normal to be indecisive.

It is important to think about how the image might be affected by the movement of the body. Wei says that skin is not like paper. If the area is not flat, it may cause the tattoo to stretch or appear unevenly when you move. This is normal.

Abad says that she recommends to her clients to walk in front of a mirror in order “to see how their tattoo will move in normal life.”

Sitting at the Tattoo:

Your tattoo artist may take some time to prepare their supplies before the actual tattooing begins. Fergus said that they do this to ensure their clients are satisfied with the quality of their supplies. Your artist will likely tell you where to lie or sit while they do this, so be comfortable.

After the tattooist starts turning on their machine, you should try to remain as still as possible. You can tell the tattooist if you feel lightheaded, uneasy, or need to take a break. Most likely, the artist will do the same. Garner states, “The tattoo process can be quite intimidating.” People believe they must endure the process, but most tattoo artists are human. They’ve all been there and have seen it firsthand.

Tips and Wrapping:

After your tattoo is completed, your artist will either wrap it in plastic wrap or place a clear, medical-grade tape like Saniderm on top.

Now it’s time for you to pay your bill. After booking your appointment, your artist or manager will likely tell you how much your tattoo is expected to cost and the preferred method of payment. Many studios accept cash only.

There is no “standard price” for tattoos. Each artist will charge a different price depending on whether they are charging a minimum or an hourly rate. Wei suggests that you be mindful of the pricing, as tattoos can be permanent art and should be treated as an investment.


Your artist will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions before you leave. Pay attention to their instructions. You may be given a slip of information that you can refer to. Wei states that different artists have different ways of caring for tattoos. However, it is important to listen to the artist and not your cousin or friend who has had a tattoo done before.

You can easily remove any plastic wrap that your tattoo artist used to protect it. Follow the instructions of your artist if you have a clear bandage like Saniderm. Each artist has different recommendations. For example, Wei suggests that you leave it on for 3 to 5 days while Fergus recommends that it be removed after 24 to 48 hours. Ariel W. states that during this time, blood, ink, and plasma can build up under the film. This is normal. Make sure you take it off gently with clean hands.

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