A Beginner’s Guide to Getting a Tattoo from a Professional Tattoo Artist

Mar 18, 2011

Have you tried temporary tattoos and are now ready to inked for real…you will need “the beginner’s guide from a professional tattoo artist”. It is dedicated to those thinking about getting their first tattoo.  If you are considering getting inked, please read this and educate yourself on procedure, safety, and aftercare. This will give you the confidence to sit in the chair and get inked for the first time.  

Will it be Painful?
The question has been posed time and time again: how much does getting a tattoo hurt? Professional tattoo artists tend to forget what it was like to be on the other side of the chair for the first time. There is no way for me to tell each person what it will feel like for them but here are some things to consider. You will definitely feel it more than those temporary tattoos.

Everyone has a different threshold of pain. What one person considers not painful at all could be very painful to another. Some people describe the feeling as like a "hot scratch". Some have said it was just “annoying". Most say it was not nearly as bad as they had feared. However, there is a little more than pain alone to consider when getting a tattoo.

Fainting and Tears
You may have heard stories about people passing out or crying from the intense pain.
Pain is usually not the reason someone faints during a tattoo but low blood sugar caused by anxiety.
Some find the pain too much to bear but these people are few and far between so do not assume you're going to be one of them. Don’t give in to the horror stories. Mothers love to share labor horror stories but that doesn't stop them from having more babies! If it’s just too scary, try some temporary tattoos until you get your nerve up.

Fear of Needles
If you have a fear of needles or blood, getting a tattoo isn't going to be as easy. However,
the tattoo needle does not enter the skin as far as you might fear. Actually, it only goes in about 1/16 of an inch. If you take a look at a ruler you'll see just how insignificant that is. Another thing you can do is get your tattoo in a place on your body where you will not be able to watch the work going on. This will help to overcome the apprehension of actually seeing the needle. Again, you might want to stick with temporary tattoos for a while longer.

Fear of Blood
The tattoo needle moves in an up-and-down motion carefully pushing the ink just below the surface of the skin. The damage to your skin is so minimal that many people don't bleed at all. The tattoo artist will also be constantly wiping up your skin to clean any traces of blood. Excessive bleeding only results when the patron has been drinking alcohol or taking a blood thinner like aspirin.

Is it worth the discomfort?
Many people do not consider themselves to be tolerant of pain and certain things hurt more than others. Many people can endure childbirth better than a toothache and vice versa.  The end result and the reason you are experiencing the pain can affect how much it hurts. Getting a tattoo is considered worth the discomfort by many people because of the outcome. Just knowing that you are going to have a beautiful piece of artwork on your body that you will be proud of when it's all said and done
usually makes up for all the anxiety. If you need a little more time to make a decision, then get some temporary tattoos to wear for a while.

You're Not Alone with this
Another thing to consider is the fact that nearly everyone is nervous when they get a tattoo. No matter how many you already have, there is always a feeling of apprehension when you sit in the chair. This is your body's natural defense. The first 60 seconds are usually the worst and then you realize it's just not that bad and you calm down and the rest is smooth sailing. Those temporary tattoos you tried just won’t do it for you anymore.

Learn As Much As You Can
The number one thing that helps to deal with any situation is being educated and informed.
When you want to get your first tattoo, do as much research about the whole process and exactly what to expect as possible. When you know exactly what to expect and you will not be nearly as nervous as you thought you would be.

The final Result
If you truly want a tattoo and you take the time to be educated about the process and how to choose the artist, you will not run out the door screaming due to the pain. You will walk out of that tattoo studio with a smile on your face and a tattoo that you will love!  

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