Having worked the desk of a couple of tattoo shops over the years, I’ve found the hardest part – by far – is having to tell a very excited potential client that their beloved idea just won’t work. Most people that come into the shop already know what they want, and have their heart set on it. Our artists of course always try to make their ideas a reality, but on occasion, someone comes in with a design that will not turn out the way they are hoping. Most of the time, it’s because of the size, or the location. We never like telling people their idea isn’t the best one, so here are a few tips to ensure you get the perfect tattoo for you.
1. Size does matter. This isn’t to say you cannot have a small tattoo – you most certainly can – but in the tattoo world, small=simple. Over time, lines spread a little. Not enough to be noticeable if the tattoo was an appropriate size to begin with, but if you attempt to take a really intricate design with a lot of tiny lines and shrink it down to the size of a quarter, what you will end up with in five years is a lovely ink blob. If you want a detailed design, it’s going to have to be on the larger side. If you want a tiny tattoo, it’s going to have to be fairly simple.
2. Location, location, location. Where you get it is almost as important and what you get. A good 90% of your body is fine to tattoo, but you want to give some thought to it nonetheless. Inside of your mouth, palms of your hands, side of your finger? Not such great ideas. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it, only that it’s going to heal badly, and possibly fade away entirely over time. Some artists, in fact, are now refusing to tattoo those areas, as they tend to heal so poorly that they feel they’d be doing a disservice to the client by giving them a tattoo they know will look terrible, or disappear, in a few months’ time. Even “normal” locations need to be thought about – do you want the tattoo to be visible all the time, or do you want to be able to hide it? Is the design something that will work on a wrist or ankle, or should it be given a larger canvas? If it’s text, do you want to be able to read it, or do you want others to?
3. Tattoos don’t come with spell-check. If you want text, particularly in a different language, check, double-check, and then check again to make sure the spelling and characters are correct. The most regrettable tattoos tend to be script that was misspelt, or foreign language tattoos with errors in them. Check online, check dictionaries, and, highly recommended – ask a native speaker if it’s correct. Once that script is on you, it’s on you – we cannot go back and change the spelling or insert a different character.
We want you to get a tattoo that not only makes you happy right this second, but will continue to make you happy for years to come. Taking just a little extra time to ensure your tattoo will work can make all the difference in the world.