The Swell Guide to Getting Tattooed

Body ink and adornment has always been a part of culture, every culture. Around the world people tattoo their bodies in various ways with a myriad of images. Sometimes it is for mere adornment; sometimes it has a deep spiritual meaning, or a mark of class or status. In popular culture the draw of inking oneself has ebbed and flowed over time, but in the last several years has experienced a renaissance. There are so many resources for tattooing, every city of size has hundreds of tattoo parlors, there are huge tattoo conventions, and at least 20 television shows, including a half a dozen spin-offs of Miami ink.

With the huge popularity of tattoos thought it was fine time for a guide on how to do it swell. I am a fan of tattoos of nearly all types, and when done well by an artist with an important meaning, they can be very cool. That being said here are some guidelines for you, if you’re getting a tattoo, to be sure that it looks swell.

My Sun representing my Sons

  1. The single best advice that some one ever gave me is; once you decide to get a tattoo, find an artist, design it draw it, and have it ready to go, then…..wait a year. If after a year you still want this ink on your body, then it’s more likely you will want it longer. If you had the patience to wait a year then it’s less likely you’ll get tired of it too soon.
  2. Don’t drink. Not only is it obviously a way to impair your judgment and make a poor choice, but alcohol will thin your blood and cause your tattoo to bleed more making it more difficult for the artist, and harder for your skin to hold the ink. You will likely end up with something less than your expectations.
  3. Do eat. It can be painful to get tattooed, and if you’re in for a long session it can be fatiguing as well. The last thing you want is to arrive with an empty stomach get hungrier and more fatigued as the hours pass, only to pass out when you stand up after getting that “tough guy” full sleeve. You won’t be looking very tough as they pluck you off of the floor.
  4. Get a referral, trust your artist, and see his work. Don’t go to your buddies’ buddies’ basement for your art just because “he’s got a load of Indian ink, and always got A’s in art class”, and “cause you’re my friend so you’ll get a deal”. You want a discount tat, then that’s what you will get. If you meet someone with a tattoo you like, ask them who did it, they will always tell you, and if they are happy with the work they will surely brag up their artist. Next step go see the artist (in their Shop) and ask to see books of their work they all have at least one.
  5. Follow their directions and let it heal, then take care of it. This one is important, you want your tattoo to look as awesome as the day you got it, but you also want to show it off on the beach all day the day you get it. Don’t! Keep it covered for as long as they tell you to, use the A&D ointment (or other balm they recommend) as they prescribe, don’t scratch at it, and don’t bake it in the sun. That fresh ink on raw skin will fade out faster than you sunburn. When you are in the sun get some of this to protect your artwork from fading
  6. Choose the correct place on your person. This should be a no-brainer, but guys you don’t want to get yourself a tramp-stamp and ladies that cool face tattoo isn’t very becoming. Also consider how much you want to show off your ink. If you have, or want a career where you are required to dress to a certain level tats across your knuckles or on your neck may look a little misplaced at best. Choose a site that you can show off freely or conceal easily.
  7. No names, dates, and avoid portraits, these are very much a cliché’ and look rather odd. You need to be especially careful with names you will be forever explaining why Suzy is on your arm when your wife’s name is Mary. Portraits can be a nightmare if they are not perfect, and they rarely are, just ask the guy who wanted Che Guevara and ended up with a Carlos Santana look-alike.
  8. Get something meaningful, the clovers, dice and horse shoes you thought were so cool when your 18, may seem rather silly at 30 while pouring your own 3-year-old a bowl of lucky charms full of all of your tattoo designs. I met a gentleman with a Green Bay Packers #4 on his arm, and boy was he upset when Favre went to the Vikings and started texting girls about willie.
  9. Remember this is permanent, if you feel something is important enough to ink on your body you should b expecting to have it for a very long time. I know that there are a number of tattoo removal options available now, but to count on that is silly. They are painful, expensive and not entirely complete. The best thing is to think wisely before you commit to a new tat.

Follow a little advice, take it from “How to be Swell” and you won’t have any regret. You will wear your tattoo proudly, and your ink will always look swell.

  Now he’s getting a tattoo. Yeah, he’s gettin’ ink done. He asked for a thirteen , but they drew a thirty one!

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2 responses to “The Swell Guide to Getting Tattooed

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  2. Pingback: Skincare For Your New Tattoo | 'Best Match Results' for your keyword search

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