Lifestyle · May 21, 2016

Getting My First Tattoo

She’s getting a tattoo, yeah she’s getting ink done…

(Yup, I did absolutely just quote, incorrectly, Offspring lyrics for this post- whatchagondo)!

Let’s talk all things ink (body wise that is, not calligraphy this time, folks). I’ve thought about getting a tattoo pretty much since I was about 16, and considered a Gloomy Bear/knuckle tattoos spelling something dark/and or meaningful and an elaborate chest piece my only viable option for body art. It probably would have been (and would have fully satisfied and legitmised my long-lasting goal to be part of the Audrey Kitching/Jak Vanek Myspace #squad), but alas it was only up until earlier this year that I bit the bullet and ticked off the number one check on my 25 before 25 list; the tattoo.

It’s not that I’m afraid of committing to ‘getting something on me for the rest of my life’ and I’m not particularly squeamish of the whole process, but being possibly one of the most indecisive people around, it took about 5 years to fully appreciate and work out what it was I really wanted- and after talking to tattooed friends (lookin’ at you Carrie, Dunya and Jen) I knew I was ready. I think there’s a lot of pressure to have something extensively meaningful in a tattoo, but in the end what I opted for was mainly a simple floral design I adore, by an artist I love (with my favourite person holding my hand/laughing at me throughout the process)- and that was certainly enough to satisfy me. So, after seeing that Armelle was coming to London for a couple of weeks I was determined to have a spot with her, and emailed within minutes of spotting her Instagram post #fangirl and before I knew it I was Finsbury Park bound…

(and here’s what I went for! It’s a simple crossed floral branch design with Armelle’s signature dotted blooms and delicate line work. It’s pretty hidden away on the side of my body, but I love the fact it’s visible when wearing low armed dresses/bikins too)

Now, I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination (I know having one small inking doesn’t make me a Noel-know-all) but I thought I’d share some tips on getting your first tattoo, in case any of you were thinking of diving on in any time soon!

So, you’re getting a tattoo…

No pain, no gain?
Perhaps it was because I’d prepared myself for the absolute worst that I was actually relatively surprised by how pain free my tattoo was. Being near enough on my rib cage, I’d been told countless times how painful it could feel, but apart from 20 minutes of giggling and an annoying scratchy sensation- it was actually ok?! But saying that, Joe had his the day after on his arm and did feel the burn a little- so it’s good to keep in mind everyone experiences different levels of pain (especially when lots of shading comes into the picture too)- but try not to worry too much, or let this put you off!

Getting it in the diary!
Planning ahead was something I knew I needed to do a lot of after booking my spot in- so getting lots of inspiration is key! After scouring Pinterest, looking at various flowers and floral designs (both illustrations and art work)- I had a clear idea of the shaping I wanted and was happy to let Armelle do the rest. Another thing to note is that it’s important to not base your design on another too much (which can be easier said than done)- obviously this can be helpful, but most artists will be looking at completely totally original pieces not copying anything else (naturally)- so make sure you’re not just bringing in tattoo photos and have a bit of an idea of what you’re after.

Get talking! If necessary…
Before you go in, you might not see your final design until you arrive- which although is incredibly exciting can be nerve wracking too (particularly if you’re not especially spontaneous)! Don’t be afraid to vocalise any changes you’d like in your design (it’s you who will be wearing it), but also be open to their suggestions and advice too- they’re the experts after all. Most artists will allow you time to talk through anything beforehand, so it’s a great chance to talk about what you’re after and final placement (although this is often spoken about via email before).

Know your artists…
This isn’t the be all and end all, but I think it’s nice to have an idea of who you’d like doing your tattoo, especially if you’re not sure of what you want. I’d been following Armelle on Instagram for a long time (as well as Nicola who owns Parliament Tattoo) so felt excited to pay a visit and get it done by her- as I knew I loved her style and work. Other women I love the work of include Tati, Rebecca and Olivia (sadly in the U.S)- but think it definitely helps to be following along the people you like (especially if any local residencies pop up near you too)!


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