As you may know already, I recently got my first ever tattoo in May. Before getting my tattoo, I took a lot of time to research artists, aftercare, and anything else I could possibly think of. Tattoo’s are not only expensive, but they also become a part of you forever, so you need to make sure that you’re well-educated on what it is you’re getting. I gathered a lot of information in the months before getting my tattoo, and decided to include this into a blog post for you. Not only will I talk about finding artists, but I’ll also talk about getting vegan tattoos, and a couple do’s and don’ts that helped me out!
Choosing a Design
So, the first thing you’re going to want to do is choose a design. This is obviously essential, because you can’t really get a tattoo if you don’t have an idea in mind. For mine, it took me such a long time to decide on an idea, but what helped me decide was following lots of artists on Instagram. One of my favourite artists is Alexis Hepburn, based in Australia. I saw a tattoo on her instagram and absolutely loved the concept behind it, so showed this to the tattoo artist I found, and he adapted it to his own style which was really helpful. Pinterest is also a great place to search for ideas, although try stray away from copying tattoo’s exactly. They should all be individual, and many tattoo artists will turn you away if it’s a straight copy you’re looking for!
Here is what I saw from Alexis Hepburn. As you can see, mine turned out pretty different in terms of style to how this one looks!
You can search pinterest, or the interenet in general, and also look up tattoo designs. I really love traditional tattoo’s, so I based a lot of my searches around this. But there’s so many styles out there, I reccommend searching them too to see what suits you! Knowing what style you want will also help a lot when choosing an artist, as they all have a unique style.
You also don’t have to think of a design, you can just think of an idea and your tattoo artist will create a design for you!
Finding an Artist
This was one of the hardest parts for me, as I really wanted a particular style. Many local tattoo artists all seemed to produce very realistic/true-to-life designs, whereas I prefer the look that comes with traditional tattoos, so I searched further a field. I was living in Coventry at the time, so I searched big cities close to that and artists in those areas. Birmingham was my first searching point, and whilst they had traditional artists, I just found I wasn’t 100% loving the designs I found. When looking for an artist, I believe it’s best to look at their portfolio and love the work they’ve already done, especially for your first tattoo. This will put you at ease so much more.
After failing to find artists close by, I took to Facebook. I remember seeing a tattoo thread on a Facebook group (UK Pop Punk, if you must know 😂). I relocated this thread by searching ‘tattoo’ on the Facebook group, and found everyone showing off their tattoo’s and mentioning the artists. Then I came across Josh Marks. I absolutely loved his work, but he was based in Southampton. Whilst this is a long way to travel from Coventry, I believed it was worth it to come out with something I adored on my skin for the rest of my life!
Instagram is also an awesome place to find artists. I follow so many that new artists are always on my explore page now, and I’ve found so many awesome artists this way!
Artists I Adore
Here’s a list of artists I love, and go to for inspiration. They’re not all UK based, however, many artists do guest spots and travel to different cities and countries, so it’s worth following artists you like regardless of their location, as they may be near you soon!
Getting in Touch with the Artist
When getting in touch with the artist, you may not live near by to be able to go into the studio and talk to them, which is the situation I was in. Instead, I sent over an email with an image of the tattoo I had seen. I kept it pretty casual and basically said that I love the concept behind the tattoo, are they able to do it for me. Further communication involved asking about the price, giving a location I want the tattoo placed, how big I want it, and I even sent over a picture of my arm so the artist could judge how big it will be! This is particularly important if you already have tattoos surrounding the area.
One thing you shouldn’t do is ask to see the tattoo before the day. I emailed another artist before this about an idea I had, and she basically said she couldn’t do the tattoo as she has done “too many similar” and “it wouldn’t be original”. She also said no artist ever shows the design before getting it done, because of course, you could take this design to another artist local and get it cheaper, and they’ll have spent all that time on the design for nothing.
If you can go into the studio though, I highly recommend it!
- Save money!! Find out how much it is from your artist and make sure you save for it. You’ll also have to pay a deposit to secure your place.
- Wear comfortable clothes! I wore a sports bra and a huge t-shirt as tattoos can take a long time. I also made sure that it was an old shirt I didn’t mind getting ink on. It was a black tee and the ink washed out, but just in case!
- Make sure the clothing you wear, makes it easy to get to the area you want tattooed.
- Don’t be scared to ask your tattoo artist what ink they use. Sometimes they’re not always vegan, but many places will happily order in vegan ink if they don’t already have it!
- Watch Qcknd on YouTube – her videos helped me out a lot in preparing!
- Eat a good meal before you go and keep yourself hydrated!!
Once you’ve gotten your tattoo, you’ll want to take care of it. This post is part of a two-part series, and in the next post I’ll talk to you about vegan, cruelty free aftercare that helped me!