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Does it Hurt – Probably the single most asked question when it comes to getting a tattoo. The short answer is “yes of course if hurts” you are, after all, getting needles stuck into your skin repeatedly very quickly.

Let’s not be too much of a baby though. The pain varies from person to person more than anything and it’s probably fair to say that girls handle it better than the boys. Ha, ha, ha the girls say reading this… Well the other way of looking at it is… where there’s no sense, there’s no pain… ha, ha, ha say the boys!.

Different tattoos hurt more than others. If there are a lot of hard lines then it will hurt more than shading for instance. The biggest factor though is where you have it. Some parts of your body are more sensitive than others. There are charts out there which claim to tell you the best and worst parts, but do you really need one of those? You know which parts of your body are more sensitive. And of course a girl will have different sensitive parts to that of a bloke.
Choose wisely, it’s for life – Tattoo’s on faces, names of past love flings, your favourite band who split up years ago. It might seem a good idea at the age of 18 to get “All Coppers Are Bastards” tattooed on your forehead. But give it a short while and you’ll look a right twat!

That seems like the obvious out of the way, but it does make a valid point about all tattoos. Think about the design, where on your body it’s going and how it might look in the future. Tastes change and so do yours. Pick your design, then give yourself plenty of thinking time before you get it done.
Where to get it done – It goes without saying that you want someone reputable. I’m not going to waste too much time warning you about dodgy tattooists. Don’t be pressured though in to using the same one your friend used. Perhaps he just wants you to look a twat like he does. Don’t get me wrong, maybe he does have a great tattoo and you’d be right to go to the same artist. It’s just I’ve heard of a few mates flogging the praises of the place they went and to be honest their tattoo is shit!.

The complexity of the design you want is also a factor. If a trained monkey could draw your tattoo then you don’t need to be as fussy than say if you want a really complex and difficult design. Some tattooists are great at tribal tattoos for instance but are totally rubbish at shading portraits.

One big indicator though, which can help you decide, is the better the tattooist, the harder it is to get an appointment. Yes, all of them will fit you in for a quick 20 minute tattoo. But the general rule is – if you can walk in off the street and get one done straight away then they are probably not going to be as good as the ones you have to book months in advance.
When to get it done – The big no is do not have one whilst on your holiday in Spain or wherever. Not so much because of the tattooist, I’m sure there are plenty of great tattooists working tourist resorts. The big problem is – New Tattoos Are Wounds. They do not like sunburn. They do not like you swimming in germ infested pools or the sea. They do not like you getting pissed!!!. Do I need to spell it out?

When you get a tattoo, it will need time to heal. This healing time might vary from person to person and tattoo to tattoo, but a good yard stick is anything between 7 – 14 days. During that time you can’t go swimming or play sports. The last thing you want is to injure the tattoo area and start bleeding.
What it costs – Generally speaking all tattoos cost the same relative to the take they take. Most tattoo shops have designs up on the wall with prices alongside etc. That’s all they’ve done is worked out how long each one takes and priced them accordingly.

If you walked in with your own design then they’ll just charge you on the time it takes. Simple really. It’s a bit of a myth that tattoo shops charge more for your own designs. What they will charge though is drawing time. So if you walked in with a scribble on a bit of paper and they have to re-draw it, then expect to pay for that time on top of tattoo time. They tend to charge by the hour but most will break down an hour in to smaller chunks. So if a tattoo took 2 hours and 30 minutes then they'll charge for that rather than round up to 3 hours. Their rates vary but a typical amount would be around the £50 to £60 per hour mark. It's difficult to say what tattoo takes how long, but a design around 3 inches by 5 inches would probably take 2 hours. It doesn't cost to ask though.
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What it costs – The tattoo'd girls featured in these photos would have spent quite a few hours under the needle. The one thing that suprises people the most is how much time it takes to get these large tattoo designs inked. Some are seperate designs that work well together but others are the same tattoo. When getting a large tattoo it can take many hours and usually a number of sittings where you return at different dates. Best is to find this out in advance from the artist and book the sessions in before you start. Pay the cash that way you know it's all paid for out of the way. There's nothing worse than an unfinished tattoo.
Copyright 2008   Berwyn Jay Cardiff