How to plan your tattoo – Nation Online – – The Nation Newspaper

Tattoos are a fun and unique way to express yourself, but they are also permanent, and therefore require some serious thought and consideration. If you want a great tattoo that you will enjoy for the rest of your life, it takes a lot of planning. This is especially the case when it comes to getting your first one.

Since everyone has their own take on what a tattoo means to them, there is no consistent script to follow when planning your first tattoo. However, having been a tattoo artist for the better part of a decade, I have managed to come up with general rules of thumb which everyone should think about when getting their first tattoo.

Think things through

Whether youre completely undecided about what you want or you already have most of the design elements in mind, its always a good idea to think it through. If you end up getting a tattoo you regret, just remember that it is much more painful and expensive to get it removed.

This will be the initial phase of your planning, where you have to think about the style of the tattoo, design, placement, and whether or not youre going to add to it in the future. This type of thinking will not only help you to plan your tattoo, it will also help us artists have a better idea of what you want on your body.

Ironing these details out will also require you to do a fair amount of research on your part, as social media has made it easy for a lot of budding tattoo enthusiasts to be impulsive and reckless when picking out their tattoos.

Finding the right artist

This is where figuring out which style you want comes in handy. Similar to most types of art, tattoos come in different styles with each artist being good at different styles. This means that the artist you pick has to be one that is in line with the style you want tattooed on you.

These artists can specialise in either just one style or several, and there are countless styles such as Micro-realism, American Traditional, Neo Traditional, Portraits and Black and Grey, to name a few. This is another phase where your research skills come in handy, as finding the right artists for your style of tattoo requires several hours of research.

However thanks to social media platforms such as Instagram, this process has got infinitely better. Most international and local tattoo artists post and promote their work on their Instagram pages, which helps clients such as yourself look at their previous work, see if they do the type of art you want and gives you a direct line of contact to them.

Tattoos done by Uditha Rangana

Initial contact

Once you pick an artist you think is best for you, you need to message or call them and set up a consultation. Similar to any other consultation, this is mostly a discussion between you and your artist, so that you get to communicate what you want from your tattoo.

The best practice is to take a reference of what you want your tattoo to be and discuss with the artists on how to adjust it to better fit your body. This is also where you have to be open to the artists suggestions, as they know what works best and on what type of skin. Most artists will use your reference and work with you to create an artwork which is unique to you.

On the day of

One thing I tell my clients when they come to get tattooed is to always keep at least half the day free. Even if you go on time for your appointment and your artist is on time, there can be delays due to other appointments getting late. Once one client is done artists have to clean up and sanitise their work stations before starting on another client.

This time will also be useful for you if you want to change the size, placement or even tweak the design of your tattoo.

Moreover, do not get tattooed under the influence. We get it, tattoos are painful, but things like alcohol or painkillers thin your blood, making it harder to tattoo and will disrupt the healing process.

Finally when you come for your appointment, make sure youre well fed and hydrated; and if it is a long tattoo make sure to bring a snack or sugary drink to keep your blood sugar level high.


Any tattoo artists would agree that aftercare can break or make your tattoo. While artists have a major role to play in how your tattoo turns out, the healing process is almost completely in your hands.

So when youre getting a tattoo you must also be prepared to dedicate the next 10 days to a few months to aftercare depending on your artists. While each artist might have his or her own aftercare routine, they all have the one goal of making sure that your tattoo heals the way it is supposed to.




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How to plan your tattoo - Nation Online - - The Nation Newspaper

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