Thinking about getting a tattoo?
Welcome to my blog series focusing on how to prepare for a tattoo appointment, with tips for every stage of the journey: before, during, and after. The final blog of the series will go beyond immediately after your tattoo, exploring what it's like to live life with a tattoo when it's fully healed and has had time to settle in, featuring interviews with past clients who graciously share their personal tattoo experiences.
So let's get started! Here we focus on things you can do to prepare before you get your tattoo, including:
- When booking
- The week before
- The day before
- The morning of
And don't miss my downloadable check list at the end of this blog post!
If you are only just considering, potentially, maaaybe getting a tattoo you might want to give my 'thinking about getting a tattoo' blog post a quick read, but if you're set and ready to get your tattoo, it's time to get booked in!
This step seems pretty obvious... you want a tattoo, right, better make an appointment! But booking a tattoo isn't as simple as it may seem. To begin the process you will want to take some time to do some research. You'll want to make sure that you know your artists, as not all come equally! The industry is very unregulated and going to a reputable tattooer is very important. A clean shop means no complications, and a good artist means getting a tattoo that you'll love wearing for a lifetime.
Also not every artist is adept at every style of tattooing! Each artist has their content preference and particular style, so make sure you are choosing according to the style of tattoo you want. For example, I specialize in clean, minimal, blackwork floral and nature inspired designs, using linework, dotwork, and shading, like this...
So coming to me for a realism tattoo doesn't make much sense (but if you do I'll happily recommend some artists that would be able to do that for you).
You'll also want to make sure you know what exactly you want as content for your tattoo, including the size, color scheme, and location. Don't forget to think about your budget, as the size of your tattoo will certainly be affected by this.
If you don't have a specific custom tattoo in mind many artists offer flash and wannado designs so you can always look to see if you're into anything they have to offer. I keep my wannado's in 'The Vault'!
If you are booking a custom tattoo make sure to check your artist's design process. Some design in advance (like me) and some like to design on the day of your appointment. Make sure you are happy with the way your artist chooses to do the design process.
Now you need to check your chosen artist's booking process! Many artists now ‘open their books’ every so often rather than always being open to taking bookings. Take a look at their social media and website to see if they have a date listed for their books opening. And put a reminder in your calendar! If you're interested in booking with me you can find more information about my booking process here.
Also it's worth checking if your chosen artist may also have a newsletter, so you can get updates straight to your inbox rather than miss announcements because of the good ole' social media algorithm, (like mine).
Once you have your artist selected for your tattoo, go ahead and take the leap! Book the appointment according to process laid out by your artist. Keep in mind most of them, like me, will require a deposit (sometimes non-refundable) to secure your appointment.
With your appointment secured it's a good idea to make sure you arrange to have the time off work and arrange travel time where necessary. If you are travelling from out of town, I'd recommend checking out my Tattoo Travel Guide blog post, which has a downloadable ebook with looooads of useful information and tips on things like accommodations, transportation, food, and fun things to do during your visit to Toronto!
The Week Before
As your appointment approaches it's always a good idea to plan ahead. If you're anything like me and you hate being late for things, you probably already do this. I recommend checking out the location of your studio and mapping out directions on how to get there. By planning transportation ahead of time you won't need to worry so much about logistics on the day of and you can go to your appointment feeling confident and relaxed. If you're driving, plan ahead for parking as well!
Another tip that I like to recommend is taking the time to grab aftercare supplies before the day of your appointment. You're not likely going to want to hunt supplies down afterwards, and you'll be happy when you have everything you need at home so that you can just go and relax afterwards.
You're going to want:
- Unscented soap
- Unscented moisturiser
- Paper towels
- A plan for the day after - you will want to take it easy!
I email clients around a week before their appointment to check over their design and send over an info pack about the studio, as my private studio is a little tricky to find without it. If you have any questions about your appointment don’t hesitate to ask your artist!
And finally, if your artist has already given you a rough sketch of your design, look it over and make sure you don't need to make any changes. The more notice you can give for edits to the design, the better for your artist.
The Day Before
My advice for the day before your appointment is based on the basics of self care... do your best to have a chill night, and go to bed early so that you can get good night's sleep and wake feeling restful.
I also recommend eating a good meal, hydrating, and avoiding alcohol. On top of thinning the blood, getting tattooed hungover and dehydrated is not a fun experience for you or for your artist. So no partying!
Plan ahead by downloading your favourite (relaxing) movie / tv show or audio book and a chill playlist. You can also plan out comfy clothes and get clean bedding and towels ready for your return.
This might also be a good time to pack a bag, some things you might want to pack include:
- water and snacks
- layers / warm socks
- something to hold onto / anything that will make your feel more relaxed and comfy
The Morning Of
Similarly to the day before, I recommend treating your tattoo day like a self-care day!
It is very important to eat a good breakfast. Even if you're nervous and don't feel like eating!! Getting tattooed on an empty stomach sucks, and eating well will help your body remain comfortable and your mind strong.
It's a good idea to shower the day of, but be sure not to over moisturize your skin afterwards, and don’t use any other products on your skin (such as self-tanner or exfoliators).
Last but not least, leave early! Give yourself lots of time to make your way to your appointment, make any necessary stops along the way, and find parking.
So have a relaxing morning, take a long shower and eat your favourite breakfast. Maybe do something that puts you in a particularly restful mood. Wear your comfiest clothes to your appointment. I always recommend wearing layers so you can adjust according to the temperature of the studio!
And that, my friends, is it! Keeping these simple tips in mind will help you go into your tattoo appointment feeling prepared, confident, relaxed, and above all, stoked! I am also always here to help make your experience the best it can be, so always feel free to reach out with any questions or hesitations.
Thanks for checking out how to prepare before your appointment. I hope you find the next part of the series on how to be prepared during your tattoo equally useful!