Your First Tattoo: Tips and Tricks for the Best Possible Outcome! 

If you’re thinking about getting your first tattoo, you’re probably wondering which design you should choose. You want to have “no ragrets” when you look at your tattoo every day for the rest of your life. There are so many options and styles out there. How do you find a tattoo that inspires you and that’s great for a first-timer? Here is our best advice for choosing your first tattoo.

Image C/o iam_vannderrick on Instagram

Start Small-ish

It’s a good idea to start with a smaller piece so that you can get the tattoo experience and then decide if you’d like to move on to larger pieces. Getting a small piece can give you an idea of what getting a tattoo feels like so you can be fully informed when you want to move on to a larger tattoo. Smaller tattoos are also easier on your budget. 

The only caveat to the idea of “small” that you want to think about is, if your design has empty spaces in it, you can’t shrink it down too small.  Over the years, those little spaces will migrate a bit naturally and lose clarity. So any reputable shop can show you the minimum size that’s safe for the long term. Just remember it can’t be done as small as it can be printed sometimes. 

Also, keep in mind, with text tattoos, sometimes less is more. For a bible excerpt, for example, it may be better just to use the short citation instead of the entire paragraph, which is not usually a good look on a tattoo. 


Frida Kahlo Line Tattoo

Be still simple tattoo script











Will Your First Tattoo Stand the Test of Time?

A tattoo is on your body forever (unless you want to undergo costly laser removal). You want to give a considerable amount of thought to the design you pick. Think about if the design will stand the test of time. We generally advise not to get the name of your boyfriend or girlfriend. 

Is there something that you’ve loved since childhood or something that references your family or heritage? Are there designs that appeal to your taste that likely won’t change? Imagine yourself in the future. If you are absolutely in love with a design and you don’t see that changing, go for it! Remember you will evolve over your life, so try to pick something you can enjoy as you grow and change. 

Will the Placement Hinder your Future?

While tattoo acceptance is becoming more widespread in the workplace, there is unfortunately still some bias out there with certain employers. If you want to go into a career field where a tattoo might hurt your chances of getting the job or where you might have to cover up your tattoo daily, consider placing it somewhere that’s covered by normal workwear. 

If you’re considering going into the military you can research the rules of each branch. Jobs like the FBI may not accept any tattoos at all, so make sure you think ahead. Also, please don’t ask for a hand or finger tattoo for your first because many jobs that are fine with tattoos, in general, have a “no hand” policy. Hand and finger tattoos also have their own set of complications. Usually, only more advanced tattooees get them as they understand and accept the risk and maintenance. Other more advanced areas that first-timers usually avoid are the neck, some areas of the feet, the ribs, some areas of the stomach, chest, and the inner upper bicep.

Research Designs Which Appeal to You

Sometimes you don’t know what you want until you see it. Search online and find styles and designs that appeal to you. Start an album or image repository somewhere so that you can keep everything organized. You can take those to your artist to communicate your vision and have them custom design a tattoo with your own personal spin on your inspiration pictures. 

Check out Tricia and Tobias’s portfolios and pin some designs for inspiration. You can also come into the shop and check out our wall of flash designs and tattoos we’ve designed that are up for grabs. You can even sketch something yourself — even if you don’t have an artistic background, it will help communicate your vision. 

Preparation for the Day Of

The most important thing you can do to prepare on the day of your tattoo is to eat some good, real food in the hours beforehand. We’ve seen it over and over and over again, empty stomach plus adrenaline and endorphins can make you woozy. We have a special box on our paperwork to check now that you have eaten recently; it’s that important. 

You’re going to be nervous and those brain chemicals are going to be produced and during your tattoo. That’s a great thing! Try to appreciate your body and the amazing things it does to protect itself. When you feel that nervousness just embrace it. It means you’re alive and having an amazing life-affirming experience! 

There’s no need to get too wound up though, just do some deep breathing and think about how you’ve put in the research and thought and come to a reputable shop that you trust, and you will be taken care of. 

Another thing you want to do to prepare is to try to get a good night’s sleep. Definitely don’t be hungover, worn out from work, studying, or partying. Try to have your body in optimal condition for a little trauma, and it will pay you back by how you feel as you’re getting it done. 

Pack a few snacks — both sugary and wholesome. You will also want water and a drink with sugar in it, like fruit juice. The glucose in the snacks and drinks, in moderation, will be a nice little pick-me-up if you need it during the tattoo. 

You could also bring a small blanket or extra jacket just in case you want a little extra coziness. Feel free to bring a friend or family member with you for support and to take pictures. 

For aftercare, you can wait until after your tattoo to be educated on the procedure, and make your choices for what products you want to use. We have some for sale in the studio or some are available for purchase at the drug store. 

Join Our First-Timers Wall-of-Fame

First timers wall of fame polaroids

Are you thinking of getting your first tattoo in Fredericksburg, VA?  You can get your pic on our first-timer wall-of-fame! We love to capture the moment each of our clients gets their first ink and display them to commemorate that special event. 

If you’ve got some ideas brewing for your first tattoo, give us a call at 540-710-0580, email us at or come into the shop and get a personalized consultation. We can help guide you through the creative process so you choose the perfect design. Every tattoo is just as important no matter how small or how many other tattoos you may have!

Ready for your first ink? Contact us today!

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