Love them, hate them, or never really thought about them? No, I’m not talking about American Idol contestants. I’m talking about tattoos.
Not too long ago this wasn’t the case, but here in 2012 most people of my acquaintance either have at least one tattoo or have seriously considered getting one. As for me, I have two, and both have deep personal significance. They’re designs that I will love for life, which is good considering how costly and painful tattoo removal can be.
If you’re on the fence, I recommend arming yourself with as much information as you can. Talk to people who have tattoos, especially those whose design and details you admire. Where was the work done and with which artist? How much did it cost? How long did it take?
There’s only one question you shouldn’t ask: does it hurt? The answer is obvious (um, YES!) so don’t waste anyone’s time asking. Tattoo artists can be very personable and accommodating, so do ask questions and don’t be shy about admitting it’s your first time. All the artists I’ve met have had a sense of humor and were experts at color matching and shading, as well as being responsive to my comfort and satisfaction with the whole tattooing experience.
If you still can’t decide, or if you’re just not seeing any designs you really love, check out some of these books from the library. They may sway you in one direction or another.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting a Tattoo by John Reardon and Ink: the Not-Just-Skin-Deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo by Terisa Green, Ph.D. provide comprehensive overviews of the tattooing process. Here you’ll discover the long and sordid history of tattoos and tattooing, etiquette “in the chair,” how to care for your newly healing tattoo, and what to expect as your tattoo ages with you.
Both of these books have designs or photos of tattoos to give you ideas. You can also try 500 Tattoo Designs by Henry Ferguson. While the designs featured may be on the small side, some are highly detailed and complicated. It’s definitely what I’d call a good starting place in the search for the tattoo that’s right for you. Remember that sometimes learning what you don’t like is just as important as learning what you do like.
Chick Ink: 40 Stories of Tattoos—and the Women Who Wear Them edited by Karen L. Hudson delves into the stories behind the tattoos as well as the writers’ experiences actually getting the work done. They discuss stereotypes, levels of pain, and memories of family members’ tattoos. It’s actually a pretty good insight into the minds of women who have walked the path before you.
A blog post about tattoos wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Kat Von D. Her book, The Tattoo Chronicles, complies what Kat calls her “blood books.” Part journal, part biography, part inspiration, these pages contain stories from the lives of people whom Kat has tattooed. But there’s also a healthy dose of autobiography as Kat records the stories from her travels and adventures in tattooing and life.
Do you like the idea of something pretty adoring your skin but don’t feel ready to commit to the permanency of needles and ink? Our Teen Zone has some fantastic books on creating temporary tattoos and body art that will eventually wash away. Temporary Tattoos by Erick Aveline and Joyce Chargueraud, Body Art Chic by Barry Bish, Mehndi: the Art of Body Painting by Carine Fabius, and Mehndi Designs by Marty Noble are packed with designs, templates, and instructions for creating amazing, but temporary, adornments. Don’t be put off by the fact that we shelve these books in the Teen Zone. These designs are cool enough for adults, too.
Getting a tattoo can be as easy as going to a random tattoo place on a Saturday afternoon. Or it can be as complicated and involved as selecting a couple of designs, showing them to an artist you’ve researched, having him combine the designs and colors into one amazing image, and scheduling your session well in advance. There’s really no wrong way to go about getting a tattoo as long as you’re committed to the process and well-informed.