Archive for Dancing Bones Ink Inc

So you’ve decided to get a tattoo—What next?

Posted in About Tattoos, Art, Barbara Guran Eubank, Montana Tattoo Artist, Tattoo, Tattoo Art, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 23, 2008 by dancingbonesinkinc

  • So you’ve decided to get a tattoo—What next?

First of all you need to find a reputable tattoo artist. How do you find one? You can ask friends for recommendations, you can check the phone book, surf the internet, or ask a stranger that has a tattoo that you admire where they got it…

  • You want to make sure that they are a licensed tattoo artist, because that means that they are following health regulations and are monitored by their local or state government (just like restaurants).

You don’t want to get a tattoo from a place that doesn’t believe in cleanliness and using proper sterile techniques for obvious reasons! In Montana, we have to have an inspection of our premises in addition to following regulations regarding sterilization, bloodborne pathogens, first aid, and basic sanitation and take written tests on all of the above. Your prospective tattoo artist ought to have a copy of their local regulations and be able to talk to you about all of these precautions and why they are necessary.

Whether you are finding an artist without having a personal recommendation or have had someone tell you about them, go in and talk with the artist. See how you feel about them. Do you feel comfortable in their shop? Do you feel comfortable with them? Ask questions. Ask to see examples of their work. Don’t feel rushed into making a decision.

  • Remember– you are asking this person to permanently put an image on you! Do you trust them?

  • So what comes next? You’ve found a shop/artist and you have an idea of what you want… What next? What is involved in the tattoo process?

First of all you want to talk to your artist and explain what you want. You can look through their ‘flash’ (pictures that are already ready to tattoo) and/or ask them to design something custom for you. Many times custom tattoos begin with flash designs that are then modified to fit a client’s need.

  • Before you begin a tattoo, both you and your artist should have a clear picture of what you want.


I don’t recommend ever letting an artist ‘wing it’ on you, because your vision of what you want and their vision of what you want may not be the same vision! You should have an actual physical picture of what you are intending to get inked on your body. Believe me, it will save a lot of hurt feelings and/or wondering how to get rid of or modify something that you don’t want! I always use a stencil even when the design I am doing is more of a ‘free form’ design. This gives me key points to hold, helps keep the design sized proportionately to the space and assures that what you are expecting to be tattooed is indeed what you get! Since how you are sitting or laying affects how your skin sags, plus when tattooing, most tattooists stretch the skin, if you don’t have a stencil, you could make something look really great laying down and then when you stand up it could be unrecognizable!

  • Where do you want to put this design on your body and how big should it be?

The next two things to think about are size and location on your body. When thinking about size, you want to make sure that it is in proportion to where you are putting it on your body. When thinking about size, also think about duration of pain. The bigger the tattoo, the longer it will take, which increases the duration of the pain.

  • Yes, tattoos hurt, but how much depends on the location and on the individual getting it (what their pain tolerance is).

The design also makes a big difference. Generally, ribs, under the upper arm, inside of the wrist and feet are some of the more painful areas. Anywhere where your skin is thinner and you have less body fat between your skin and the bone underneath will give you a run for your money! The more detail and color, the more times going over the same area, thus a little more pain. Except for the novice tattooee, I wouldn’t let the worry of pain influence my decision. You should go for what you want—tattoos have to be earned and if you decide to scale down due to pain worry, you’ll probably regret it in the long run!

  • Options to combat the pain of a large tattoo are to just do the outline first.

You may have to go with this anyway, due to how large the tattoo is and how long the outline takes. When you get a tattoo, the first few minutes are usually the worst—after that, your endorphins (stress hormones) kick in and help minimalize the pain for several hours. If your tattoo goes longer than that, the endorphins start to wear off and you feel the pain a little stronger again. So when you get a large tattoo, you can do the outline, wait 3-4 weeks for that to heal, then come back and color as much as you want at a time. That way you can control the duration to never last past the time your endorphins wear off!

  • Hope this helps in your decisions on getting that new tattoo!