Tattoo actionMy kid wants a tattoo. Ok, he’s not really a kid, he’s in his late teens and he really wants a tattoo. My first thought is one of immense gratitude that he is discussing it with me; my second thought is that I want him to have a safe tattoo and my third is that I don’t want him to regret his decision. So, bearing in mind that I’m only his mother, here is the conversation I want to have with him:
Now you have decided you want to have a tattoo, you need to think about what kind you want. Some people go to an artist and pick off the shelf, as it were, but then it’s quite likely that you will bump into someone who has the very same image inked on their body. Not exactly a good moment. It would be so much more satisfying to have a totally original image - one that truly belongs to you. So how do you go about designing your own tattoo? Well, there are many online sites that allow you to do just that but where to even start?

When you want something unique – something that really reflects who and what you are – create your own design from scratch. Think about what you want your tattoo to do. Are you marking a moment? An event, perhaps or a person, or are you after something visually pleasing, or even just funny? What images come to mind? What colours would you like to use and if there is wording involved, even if it is just a series of initials, what font would you prefer? For some ideas, browse the online galleries of the multitudes of tattoo sites on the ‘net.

Once you have a couple of ideas for images, find a site that will sell you your images in temporary tattoo form and wear them to get a feel for how you want your tattoo positioned. Microsoft have software that allows you to do this for yourself, if you prefer.

Once you’ve decided on the final design and location you want, then you need to find an artist. Once again, the internet is your friend. Find a few tattoo artists and go meet them in person to discuss your choice of design.

The first thing you must make sure of is that your artist is registered with the authorities. Ask to see their certificate and check with the authority that they are still registered. Ask to see their equipment. Look for needles that are hermetically sealed and/or an autoclave machine which is what tattooists use to disinfect their equipment. You do not want a disease or infection and this is how you protect yourself from that possibility.

Once the safety issues are sorted, make sure you feel comfortable and that this artist understands what you are looking for. Don’t be shy about this. You are basically interviewing to find the right candidate for you.

All this may seem like a lot of fuss over a tattoo but remember that the more effort up front, the less likely you are to need to fork out again (possibly much more in money and pain) to have a nasty tat sorted afterwards. Unless you want to go through tattoo removal, this is something that will be with you for the rest of your life. Spending time developing it will only make the tattoo more special to you.