Walking into a tattoo shop for the very first time can be intimidating. Most of the workers you’ll see will have awesome tattoos all over their body and you’ll just be walking in for the first time as a clean slate. To break it down for you, this is what actually happens when you get a tattoo.
Some shops allow walk-ins, for people who just decide the day of to get a tattoo. Others you’ll have to make an appointment. My recommendation, as I’ve stated, is to do your research and make an appointment with an artist who’s work you like the most. If you’re walking in, you’ll tell them at the counter what you’d like and usually whoever has time in that moment will do your tattoo. They’ll ask for an ID and have you fill out a form. The form is more for them, stating that you are old enough, you are not intoxicated, and that you do not have any skin related illness.
Once you’ve talked to the artist about what you want, they’ll either print or draw what they have in mind. They’ll show you to see if you like it. Once you’ve come to an agreement with them, they’ll take you back to sit at their booth.
First, artists draw over the image of your tattoo with blue ink. That way they can transfer the image onto your body but will still be able to make any modifications. Before placing it onto your skin, they shave the area so that hairs do not get in the way of the needle. They wipe it down with rubbing alcohol to disinfect the area. Yes, it will burn.
They place the tracing of the tattoo onto your skin. If you don’t like the size or placement, it is not permanent yet so let them know if you’d like to change anything. They then begin with the outline of the tattoo. Once they are done with the outline, they move onto the shading or filling in of the tattoo. The last thing they work on is the coloring of the tattoo.
Once the tattoo is complete, they’ll place saran wrap over it to protect it for the rest of the day. If they don’t wrap it, you’ll end up with blood on your clothes. Don’t forget to ask them about how you should clean and take care of it. Some say to clean it with antibacterial soap while others say just clean it with water. Their are different opinions on how to take care of a tattoo, so ask your artist what’s best since it’s their tattoo as well.