Many tattoos tell a story. Although your artist may create a touching tribute for a loved one, or share an inside joke with friends, the underlying meaning of tattoos is not required.

It doesn’t matter how many tattoos you have, what matters is that your session leaves you happy and with permanent art on your skin. This feeling, regardless of whether you get it for the first time or fifth time is not a guarantee when getting a tattoo.

There are steps you can take that will ensure you love your artwork and keep it healthy. We have compiled everything we can to make the experience as painless, easy, and as enjoyable as possible.

Before you go to the shop, here are some things to consider

You must first know what imagery you desire. Are you looking for something floral? A portrait? Are abstract blots of colour? Maybe you are looking for a simple script?

Before you set up a consultation, it is important to have your core ideas clear. This is unless you are coming in to do lettering which usually only requires that you choose a font. Your artist will be able to work out the details during the consultation. They can also be shown any images that you have saved to help with pricing and placement.

Depending on their availability, an artist might create a mockup of your tattoo right away or wait a few days. However, the final result will be determined by many factors.

  • How much of your body do you want to devote to the art?
  • How feasible tattoo placement is
  • How well the colors you choose will look on your skin
  • How much time you would like to spend with the artist

Here are some more tips for designing your next tattoo.


After you have decided the style you want, you need to decide how it should look. There are many styles of tattooing, so you will want to find an artist skilled in your desired look.

These are some of the most sought-after styles:

  • American classic. This style is often adorned with skulls and roses.
  • Traditional Japanese. This style is often inspired by traditional Japanese art and can be used to create tigers and koi fish as well as flowers.
  • Realistic. This style aims to create realistic subjects by using color contrast and shading, just like they look in real life.
  • Illustration. This style combines elements of traditional tattooing with realism. It is all about bold outlines, intense color saturation, and vivid colors.
  • Neo-traditional. This style is a modernized version of American traditional imagery. It uses color and shading to create realistic portraiture.
  • Minimalist or geometric. This style emphasizes precision and black lines. These results are often symbolic and simple.

These styles are available to anyone who isn’t fluent in the lingo. It’s incredibly easy to browse Instagram because most artists upload their work to their own channels and to a hashtag stream. For example, if you decide to tattoo a cat on your body, you can do a #cattattoo Google search. It will return over 220,000 results.

Save the images that you love most and bring them along to your consultation. These images can be used as inspiration for creating a unique piece of art.


Many prefer pure illustration. However, if you need script (either as a standalone or in conjunction with an image), you will need to choose the right font.

Adobe Typekit offers a wide range of font styles. It includes everything you need, from handwriting to typewriter. You can even see the text you choose in the font you are considering, so you can visualize how it might look on you.

Print out several versions of the same thing you like to show your artist. These pages can be used as a reference, even though they may not have the exact font.


The style of tattoo will often dictate the color palette. However, the artist is able to work with you to customize the design to suit your needs.

Your skin tone is a major factor in how colors will be held together. Fair skin holds white ink more well than other skin types. Also, red and purple pigments will be more vivid on lighter skin tones.

It is more common for darker skin tones to hold darker colors, such as crimson and royal blue. You can still get pastels and other light colors if you have darker skin, but they are less pigmented than darker ones.

Greyscale is another option. This style allows the artist to use a mixture of pure black and watered down black inks to create the desired shades and hues.

Tattoo color guide

  • For those with fair skin, lighter colors will appear brighter, especially purple, white, and red.
  • More vibrant colors will be able to withstand darker skin tones than pastels.
  • All colors will fade with time.

All colors, including black, will eventually fade. To get an idea of the appearance of your tattoo in five years, you can look online for examples.

Location and size

Fading is a term that refers to the appearance of lines and shapes. While they may appear sharp and smooth at first, over time, these will fade or blur. It all depends on how large and where you place your tattoo. It is important to consider where and how visible your tattoo should be.

Sometimes, the location of your tattoo can decide its size. There is only so much space between your forearm and your thighs.

If you are still second-guessing some of the details, don’t be discouraged. You can have your artist help you weigh the pros/cons of the size and location, and set expectations about how you will feel when you get inked.

What to look out for in a tattoo artist or shop?

If you already know what you want, it is a sign you are ready to move on to the next step: Shopping for an Artist. Ask your friends if they know of any shops or recommend you to Instagram or Google.