T Nation

Tatoo Tips?


been thinking of getting myself a tattoo soon… anyone have them here? any good advice/tips on the subject?

I’ve read an extensive faq, and been thinking of getting one done when I go to Australia.

Is there anything I should watch out for? Cautious of?

thank you

Just don’t get one.

The novelty doesn’t last as long as the ink does.

Get a W tattoed on each butt cheek.

I wouldn’t say don’t get one, just be sure about it. The one I have had been floating in my head for 3 years, so I figured that was enough time to OK it. I’ve got another in mind right now, that if it wasn’t permament would do in a second, but I have to sit down and think about it for a couple months (it’s been an idea for 5 yrs, but not in a serious enough way). You’ve only got your skin for one lifetime, so enjoy it, but remember you are making a decision that, while not quite echoing through the ages, will still affect you for years to come. But if you decide you really want it, just give 'er. Oh, and listen to the nice people at the tattoo place and treat it nicely. And don’t cheap out! Mine’s an inch by about 2 inches, and it cost $115 CAN w/ tip (don’t forget to do that either…especially if you want more later). Anyway, good luck!

As one of the few T-men into body art, just wanna say, know what u want and don’t just make it a random decision. I’ll think about a design for a few months before i ever go through with it.

Tatoos are permanent, so my advice is not to get one.

To my mind there are two approaches or attitudes toward tattoos. one is decorative, where people just pick something because it “looks cool”. the second is symbolic. i have had three done, but all were done to symbolically mark important events or turning points in my life. so it doesnt bother me that the ink is permanent— that’s the point!

as long as you’ve taken this much time, make sure you find someone with skill and talent to do it. i’m not opposed to the rash decision, but you may as well make it look good. i got one done at a chop shop at a particularly dark point in life, and have since gotten it redone by someone with some skill. so do some research, pay the extra cash, and yes, tip.

also, choose wisely on where to put it depending on what you do in life. mine are all on shoulders and upper forearms, so if absolutely necessary, i can don a long sleeve shirt and look civilized. my friend has one on the side of his neck and that’s pretty much a statement wherever you go…

lastly, dont believe what you hear about the pain. its no big deal. i met a guy one time who had been tattooed in traditional samoan fashion, by pounding bones into the skin with a mallet! now that’s pain. (i later saw him on a discovery channel special, so it was no shite.)

good luck. why not drop us a pic when its done…

When I decided to brand myself as a member of the herd, I went to this really hip, edgy tatoo kiosk at the mall.

thanks for the input…

i was thinking one on the left shoulder… nothing big. want the option to conceal it. of course, i’ve decided on some sort of custom dragon (how original, i know). well, we’ll see if i chicken out or face up to it in about 2 months time… will definately drop a picture IF i get it :slight_smile:

Most everything has been said, but I just want to underline how much of a personal decision this is. I only have one tattoo, but have been contemplating my second one for more than a year now. That’s the sort of planning that I feel should go into something so permanent.

I also don’t know how old you are, so I can’t really say how your judgement is. I got my tattoo right when I was 18, and there hasn’t been a day that I regretted it. That being said, I paid $150CD to get it originally designed and done by one of the premier artists in Toronto.

So to summarize, if you don’t want to read the ramblings: Think really, really, really hard about it, and do it right.


Hey Shamrock,

 If you want a tattoo go for it, just make sure it's something that means something to you.  I have one in the upper back between my shoulder blades and traps (christmas tree muscles).

 Every day I see it and it reminds me of who I am, and the things I overcame at the time that I got it.

Try not to get a tat that is Generic or that tons of people have. When I got mine done I had a buddy of mine draw what I wanted and took it to the tattoo place.  

Even if it is gonna cost you a little bit more go with someone who is a really good artist. Believe me it is worth the extra money especially if it is going to be on your body for the rest of your life.

I don’t think “Just don’t get one” is constructive advice. It’s like if your son asks you about STD’s and you reply “Just don’t have sex!” That doesn’t help. He’ll just have unprotected sex. That said…

I would do some searching on the Internet for artists in the area that you’ll be at in Australia. Also, check out New Zealand, the Maori have a long history of tattooing, and most people don’t get a chance to have it done the “old-fashioned” way. If you can find websites, check out the galleries of their previous work and see if you like their artistic style and subject matter. Most places have portfolios in their waiting areas if you can’t find anything on the Internet. When you get to a place, look around and see if the place is clean. This is one of the most important things. Look for their license or certificate (I don’t know how it works in Australia) Here in the U.S. most states require annual recertification for knowledge of blood-borne pathogens and Autoclave (a sterilizing machine) use. Make sure they open up the needles in front of you so you can see that they are new. They should also cover the machine, cords and chair with plastic wrap. I would bring pictures of dragons with you to give the artist an idea of what things you’d like to see in your tattoo. If you don’t like what they draw up, tell them so! I like letting the tattooer have some leeway and see their ideas and style show through, but you have to make sure it looks like YOU want it to. In the end, it’s your bod.
As for permanence, nothing is truly permanent. You’ll die someday and the tat will be gone. But you want to make sure it looks good until then. So keep it clean and moisturized. Good luck, and post a pic when you’re done!


Hey, thanks! good advice here.

I have been looking at lots of online galleries and seeing plenty of decent tattoos. After a long discussion with a friend of mine (who has a tattoo), I made my mind up of getting a custom tattoo… don’t mind paying, but it should be GOOD.

I’m 25, done with my education (except for specialisation)… so i’m pretty much set. As mentioned, I cannot have it on a visible spot, so i’m choosing my left shoulder/deltoid.

Now I have to research famous parlours in Aus/NZ. Don’t think I’m hardcore enough to do it the Maori way hehe. I’ve seen that on TV, looks pretty bad :slight_smile:

I am no tattoo expert nor do I even have one. I do how ever have a bestfriend who is slowly covering her entire body with ink including a fricking mural on her back. My advice to you is just make sure that you absolutely love the design that you are getting and have no second thoughts. It should be one of those things where if you have all of the research done then you don’t have any second thoughts. My friends adores every bit of ink on her body and is quite happy with the look. I on the other hand would be very unhappy if I had the amount of tatoos that she had. It is a personal thing. Someday I will get one but it will be very small, very symbolic, and very coverable…

Sorry if this is offensive, but I don’t know why anyone would let a scummy nasty-a*s biker or tattooed, drugged-out freak inject ink into my body, and have the idiotic notion to call it “art”.

I think the fact that people get tattoos because its a trend is so f’n pathetic and pavlovian. There was a girl this past semester who I was extremely interested in, but when I saw she had an ass-crack tattoo, my enthusisasm went down a notch or two.

Piercings are in this group too - though those aren’t permanent.

-Rant over-

THat said here is my advice, from a tatto hater:

-I agree that if u get one, it must be SYMBOLIC and highly representative and meaningful to you. For example, joining the armed forces is understandable.
Having a lifelong commitment to a martial art might be another. Marking a great achievement, or overcoming a huge obstacle would be others. For example, say you become an elite athlete, or make a Div-1 team. Get the logo. iIt must be an achievement you will always be proud of.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t get one because the design “looks cool” to you. I’m sure you’ll regret it.

Ask yourself: what does this dragon mean to me?

-if you are white or light-skinned, stay the hell away from orange and green. They look hideous and orange esp is hard to see. A friend got one of a dragonfly, and I never once was able to figure out exactly what it looked like. As an example, there is a wrestler, the Big Show, who has a tiger on his shoulder. Good luck figuring that one out. Even when there are closeups of his shoulder you can’t make out what it is.

-stay away from chinese characters! By themselves they mean NOTHING! My friend once told me how much of a joke they are in the Chinese community, because one letter by itself doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It has to be read in context with other letters.

-if you are a musician, go for it. it looks cool on them, but at this rate having no tattoos and not using drugs will be cool.

  • if you do get one, like others have said, make sure it is from the BEST, not from the “best” guy in your area. Travel somewhere if need be.

Another pro wrestling reference: the Rock traveled to Hawaii multiple times to get his done by the best traditional Samoan tatto artist. I know you prob can’t afford that, but you can learn from it.

BTW it is a Samoan tradition to have tattoos, like the Maori, and he’s 1/2 Samoan. THey represent their heritage and family tree I believe.

-Last piece of advice: get a henna tatto first and see if you like it.

well, though i cant claim to be a tattoo hater, sonny is right on some points. it is trendy. but then, everything one does becomes trendy at some point. take it from a tattooed, shaven-headed rock climber. my life has become a mountain dew commercial over the past few years.

but tattooing is a part of many traditional cultures, and if used in a symbolic way, then i think it is meaningful. my idea is that people should be able to read my body to see what i have been through and what my view of the world is (not literally, but symbolically). plus they remind me constantly of where i have been so that i dont forget.

as for color, all of mine are just black ink. i have never been a fan of color tattoos. but that is personal preference i suppose.

can you introduce me to the chick with the ass crack tat?

Mine are black and each mean something. My only recommendation mimmicks those put forth already. Know what you want, don’t just pick something off the wall for the sake of getting one.


[quote]Sonny S wrote:
For example, say you become an elite athlete, or make a Div-1 team. Get the logo. iIt must be an achievement you will always be proud of.

There is always a risk there too. I remember there was a Div-1 athlete who got his school’s logo tattooed on his chest and ended up transfering to the rival school after 1 or 2 years. I believe his was a wrestler, but his name and the schools’ names are escaping me right now.

But anyways, just think through the tattoo. Try not to get anything “trendy” and have it at least mean something to you. To each his own though…if somebody wants to get a generic or trendy tattoo, who am I to discriminate against them. I definately agree though to make sure you research where you will get yours done. Quality is well worth the money. I only have one done, but I went to an internationally known artist who happened to only be a 20-30 minute drive away. The artist had also set up the licensing and health code stuff in Rhode Island as well.
Can’t always judge a book by it’s cover too. Some of the best artists look like the stereotypical “biker dude”. Just make sure to do your research.

If you’re going to get an armband - go all the way around your arm. It just looks tacky to see folks with half an armband.

[quote]LevelHeaded wrote:
Sonny S wrote:
For example, say you become an elite athlete, or make a Div-1 team. Get the logo. iIt must be an achievement you will always be proud of.

There is always a risk there too. I remember there was a Div-1 athlete who got his school’s logo tattooed on his chest and ended up transfering to the rival school after 1 or 2 years. I believe his was a wrestler, but his name and the schools’ names are escaping me right now.


Yeh - a bit like Beckham

Gets the Number 7 - his Jersey No. - Tattooed on his forearm in Roman Numerials when at Manchester United.

Gets Traded to Real Madrid and because the Jersey 7 was already gone now has to wear the Number 23 … knob