Anyone who knows me knows I have visible tattoos. I love 'em, so why hide 'em? I watch LA Ink religously, I have a closet addiction to tattoo mags, I doodle them in my head and on anyone around me at a party (I have about 50 sharpies, I'm npt gonna lie). I would probably have wayyy more tattoos myself if I didn't see too many friends with regrets. So I have two tips for anyone getting any tattoo, whether you have 2 or 20.
1. GET SOMETHING MEANINGFUL TO YOU. Who cares what other people think? It soundds obvious, but you are the one living with it, forever. Get something that means something. Even if you have to explain it to everyone who asks, which can be fun, if it stands for something or sometime in your life, it will never get old.
2. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Don't bargain shop or cheap out when it comes to gettting ink. The reason places vary so much in price is that the artists who are good and in demand will charge more for their time-AS THEY SHOULD! They are worth it, and when you find a shop you love, keep going back. I, personally, trust Jade Dragon in Chicago, and have gotten 3 of my 5 tattoos from them (all 3 are better than the 2 I didn't get there).
Ok, ok, I will step off my soapboax now and get back on topic... being an artist, I have friends ask me fairly often to draw them tattoos. I rarely actually draw tattoos for my friends because they don't come to me with anything specific. Unless you call "draw me something cool," an idea. No pressure. I can't possibly know what would be meaningful to you, not now, and surely not forever. I can draw anything you ask me for, but, please, give your artist friends an idea of what you want!! Noone wants to be blamed 10 years from now when you decide the 8 balls, skulls, roses, or koi fish just aren't "you" anymore, especially if they weren't your idea in the first place!
My friend Zak has been bugging me for years to draw him a tattoo. I have never done it because of everything I have just said. Sitting on the couch Monday night, though, I was thinking of him, and started to doodle. He has been having a hard time lately, and is at that point in his life when you wake up and want to grow and change. I love him dearly, and have spent several nights in the past few months having heart to hearts with this guy that others just brush off. He lets so few in, but I think he let me in enough for me to draw him this:
So, Zak, there you go, I drew you one. If you don't want to get it, that's cool. But now you can't say I didn't draw you one!! So it is out of my hands. It is full of symbolism that I makes me think of you, and so, to me, it is meaningful. A compass because you always seem so lost, and I want you to find your way. A forest through the trees so you can see what you need to. A single lily, well, you know why. Cobwebs to the south because the past is just that, the past. A part of you that will never go away, but it makes you who you are, so don't ever forget it. The filigree, well, that's all me. I put my own style in there.