Pre-Tattoo Skin Care, Choosing a Tattoo, What to Expect, and more.
Before Your Tattoo
Tattoo Aftercare is not the only thing that will help your tattoo. There are things to consider prior to getting your new art piece.
Getting your skin ready for the tattoo is very important and can make a difference in how it heals. If your skin is damaged prior to the tattoo process, it can ruin the tattoo or delay your appointment. Avoid getting a tattoo on skin that is:
- sun burned, or
- has bad acne.
The first thing is to stay OUT of the sun!!!! If you are sunburned or very red, you will have problems. The redness is blood that is close to the surface of the skin. When you try to tattoo through that, the skin is already damaged and all you are doing is inflicting more damage. The other thing is, blood will thin out the ink as we try to put in your skin and will fade the tattoo! It will also cause more bleeding during the tattoo process, all resulting in a tattoo that can and will have problems and not look as good as it can with the talent of the artists here at Unique Ink.
Use sun block for a few days on the area that you are planning to tattoo or as we said, stay out of the sun for a week before your tattoo appointment if possible. Tans are nice but not healthy and not good for tattooing.
Cuts, scratches, and acne are also bad and can cause scarring and/or uneven healing (light spots), so do your best to avoid or fix these issues. Heck, going to the point of moisturizing the skin for a few days prior to your appointment would help and be a good idea.
As artists, we like to use the best canvas possible and your skin is that canvas. The better piece of canvas that you bring to us the better piece of artwork that you will have to show off the world for years to come. It’s your money, skin, and pain, so lets do it right the first time.
Working with your Artist
We suggest that you take the time to look at portfolios of the tattoo artist. There are way too many shops with scratchers. Remember. “Cheap tattoos aren’t good and good tattoos are not cheap!” You only have so much skin and it’s valuable!
At Unique Ink in Jacksonville, NC, we have hundreds of thousands of designs to choose from, as well as full internet access to assist you in looking for that idea or design, but we are a full custom shop as well.
Tattooing isn’t like the shows on TV where someone walks in and wants a full custom sleeve and then sits down in 30 minutes and then walks out in another 30 minutes with a great tattoo. We will sit down and do a consultation with you to discuss your wants, desires and wishes. If you have ideas, the more reference material that you can bring us to illustrate your ideas, the better, but if not, that is fine. The way we look at things is, we are artists and you are hiring us to not only design you a great tattoo but to advise you to what looks good and what doesn’t. If we are telling you something that you don’t want to hear, it’s only for your own good.
Once your artist and you have worked out all of the details, we will need some time to draw your tattoo up. Depending on the complexity or how busy we are, it can take a day or two or up to a couple of weeks. The more you rush the artist, the lower quality you can end up with. For those that have got to have it now, there is a crack head or scratcher down the road that is more than willing to take your money and skin.
You will be required to leave a deposit and an appointment will be set for you. The deposit does come off the total cost of your tattoo.
The Day of Your Tattoo Appointment
The big day is here !! (your appt.) You’re excited and have been looking forward to your appointment. You’re getting that piece that you have been thinking about forever. Here are a few tips and ideas to make that day run smoothly for everyone.
First, be on time! Remember that old adage “If you are 15 minutes early, you are on time; and if you are on time, you are late.” If for some unseen reason you are going to be late, CALL. We will do our best to ensure that we are ready when you get here, but sometimes things happen. That may seem a little one-sided, but you have to remember that tattooing isn’t an exact science! This isn’t Starship Troopers where we laser a tattoo on you in 60 seconds. It’s kind of like going to the doctor’s office, you have to be on time but may have to wait. I guarantee that you won’t have to wait as long as they make you wait.
Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep, bathe (you would not believe how many come in with funk!) eat a small light meal, bring a drink if you like, and you can even bring your favorite stuffed animal if you are scared, we won’t make too much fun of you. Wear some comfortable LOOSE fitting clothing and ones that you won’t care if they get ruined. Remember there is a small amount of bleeding, and tattoo ink can spatter during the process and it does not come out of clothes!
Getting a tattoo is not the time to be shy. You will have to show some skin. If you are getting something in a private area, we can make arrangements to give you some added privacy if you feel the need for it; please just let us know. We are professionals and treat this as such.
Make sure that you are hydrated with water, not alcohol! We understand that some people may be nervous or even scared. If that is the case, just let us know and we will work with you to ensure that you understand everything that we are doing and take the time to make sure that your are as comfortable as possible. Virgins are handled with care and we’ll be gentle!!!
A tattoo parlor is not a proper environment for kids! Please leave them at home and make arrangements for them. Sometimes language can be adult oriented, pictures of an explicit nature, and zones that need to be kept sterile. Babies like to scream and while you love them and don’t mind the noise, others don’t. Artists can’t concentrate while kids are running around or making noise, and that isn’t fair to anyone. If you are lucky enough to have one of those perfect kids or babies that don’t make noise or move, then God has truly blessed you, but we still need to ask you to leave them at home for their safety. Someone might get jealous and steal them!!!
Tattooing is not a group sport….. you and the tattoo artist are the only ones allowed in the tattoo room. This is a North Carolina state LAW and a Jacksonville NC Health Dept. requirement. We don’t mind you bringing a friend or loved one with you, but they will have to stay in the lobby. They won’t be able to hold your hand while you are getting your masterpiece. Cell phones are nice and everyone owns one, but just like at the dentist or doctors office, we ask you to turn them OFF — you won’t die or go through DT’s, I promise. Do you answer your phone or text while the doctor is talking with you or while the dentist is working on you? NO. Tattooing is exacting work and you need to be still. People sometime have crazy ringers, and scaring another customer or artist is not a pretty sight!
If you want to listen to your own music while we are working on you, that would be fine.
Starting your Tattoo
We are ready to start; the design is perfect, properly placed and the buzzing starts……………..Did you check the spelling? We are tattoo artists, not spelling bee champions. The proper spelling of a tattoo is up to the customer. We have you spell everything and we will do our best to help you and spell check everything, but it’s your responsibility! We are also not linguists. Foreign languages are done for artistic purposes, but if you bring it to us, we will do it for you. We have full access to the internet, so we are more than happy to help you look something up, but ultimately, the correctness is up to you.
Pain during Tattooing
Yes, that’s right , there is actually pain involved in getting tattooed. Jacksonville, NC is full of Marines and they are tough, right? Well, some more than others. My toughest customers have been two female Marines. I had one that did 13 hours in a 6 and 7 hour session on the ribs (one of the worst spots). The other got a full sleeve doing 4, 5, 6, 7 hours at a time. Neither one ever complained, moved, or made a face. That may be the exception, but my point is, if they can handle that, then you can handle what you are wanting. Yes, some areas hurt more than others, and we can help guide you as to what is best for you and your situation.
When the tattoo artist first starts, the pain will be a little more, but after about 10 minutes or so your endorphins will kick in and then you get more comfortable with it; and then it become more annoying than anything. Some say that the outlining hurts more than the fill in. That is true for the most part, but if you are getting something large or something that has lots of layering of colors, then at some point the fill in will hurt more. A final note: Remember to breathe and do not hold your breath. It won’t keep you from moving more, and you will get light headed and pass out. Then we get to do funny things to you!!! If you are feeling dizzy or light-headed, make sure that you let your artist know immediately!!! Don’t try to tough it out!! Often all we need to do is let you catch your breath, drink a little cold water, take a 5 minute break, and then you will be fine.
Remember that old nursery rhyme, “Dem Bones” — “The ankle bone is connected to the leg bone”? Your whole body is connected!! If I’m working on your arm and you are moving your foot, YOU WILL MOVE YOUR TATTOO!! My needle is about 1/64th of an inch. If you move 1/4 of an inch, you just moved my needle 16X (sixteen times) the thickness of my needle and that can make a big difference on the outcome of your tattoo.
Are you a LOOKIE LOO? You know, the person that has to look every 20 seconds. That slows the process down incredibly and is annoying to your tattoo artist. You will have this tattoo for the rest of your life and can look in the mirror later for hours to your heart’s content.
Are you a FIDGETER? This just slows down the process and can result in a less than perfect tattoo.
Are you a DRAMA QUEEN or WHINER? All you are doing is aggravating your artist and causing them to want to get you out of the chair as fast as possible. Yes, you will have a good tattoo, but the person who sits there, doesn’t move, complain, fidget, whine, or stink will have an tattoo artist that is willing to go the extra mile and put some added touches to your work of art, and then instead of having a passable tattoo, you’ll have a masterpiece to show off for a lifetime!