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Choosing a tattoo design 

It's a good idea to have a tattoo design in mind before you enter the tattoo shop. If not, you'll have to look through pages of flash, which are tattoo design samples. If it's your first tattoo, choose a design that is large enough to reveal the artistry and that will be appropriately placed on your body. It's also important to research your tattoo and to make sure you're not placing the wrong meaning on your body. For example, make sure you're choosing the Japanese symbol for courage, and not something else. It's also vital that you choose your own tattoo design, and not let anyone talk you into a tattoo that you're not sure about. 

The Internet, magazines and tattoo enthusiasts are a good place to start researching your tattoo design. Once you have the design in mind, some tattoo gallery websites such as allow you "test-drive" your tattoo to check out its placement and shape on your skin through transfer sheets and downloadable designs.

Cost of tattoos  

Good tattoos aren't cheap and one should expect to pay for artistic detail and for the tattoo artist's time. Generally, all tattoo artists charge by the hour and by the type of tattoo being done. On the low end, a small heart tattoo may run $50, while a large Chinese dragon tattoo could run upwards of $800. If tattoo artists charge by the hour, they could charge $100 to $175. You also need to consider the amount of color, shading, and intricacy in the price. You should also tip your tattoo artist between 10 and 20 percent, depending upon the quality and service. 

The tattoo pain factor

Many times the pain depends on the person's threshold and where the tattoo is placed. Body areas that are fleshier, like the legs and arms, will absorb more of the pain as compared to more bony areas such as the shoulder or lower back. The feeling can often be compared to bee stings or cat scratches.


However, be prepared for some pain because the tattoo machine uses metal needles to inject the dermis with ink. The best way to endure the process is to lie extremely still and practice a breathing exercise to manage the pain. 

Tattoo safety issues 

You may wonder if tattoos are safe and if you'll be free from infection. Be aware that if you have a skin condition such as lupus, psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis, you could be putting yourself at risk if you get a tattoo. Tattoo artists enjoy working on skin that is tight, in good condition, and hasn't been sun damaged. The better the skin, the better the tattoo. 


Tattoo shops are aware of the risks of contracting hepatitis B and C through blood and bodily fluids. As a result, tattoo artists individually package their needles and inks and use their autoclaves to kill bacteria. 


You're on your way to having a fantastic tattoo experience. Getting a tattoo is a fun process and shouldn't be a stressful one. Consider it a right of passage and a good learning experience that teaches you more about who you are and why you got the tattoo in the first place. The hardest part about the tattoo process is learning how to find out information on tattoo artists and what questions to ask tattoo enthusiasts. But if you're prepared, pretty soon your friends will be admiring your new tattoo and asking you to explain the tattoo process to them.

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