A tattoo is special for every person and has a different meaning. It is a life long commitment. First, it is essential to know what you want and why.
It is also imperative to choose your tattoo artist wisely. Every artist has a different style and preference of what they like to ink.
A tattoo artist's love is to design and do tattoos. However, there are a few designs that tattoo artists can't stand.
Tota Volpe-Landi from Happy Sailor Tattoo in London said that most tattoo artist, including herself, prefer big tattoos over small detail inks. Although she has a few smaller tattoos that mean a lot to her, she still enjoys tattoo designs with thicker lines.
Naresh is a London-based artist and owner of Flamin' Eight. He explained that small tattoos do not heal as nicely as their larger counterparts. Also, if they survive the initial healing stage, they tend not to age well.
One design that tattoo artists are super bored of, the infinity symbol. We have all seen the design as it is a commonly-seen tattoo around the world. Stefan Dinu, from Inkaholics in London, is not a big fan of the idea. In fact, it's the design he hates the most purely because of "the volume of inquiries we got throughout the years, it's a design that makes you roll your eyes and say 'not again!'"
The feather and birds designs are also another image artists are bored of. Everyone knows someone with a tattoo that includes feathers and swallows. Stefan is also not a fan of this design as he thinks it lacks originality and inspiration.
Some of the most common tattoos include roses, pocket watches and roman numerals. And now lions with crowns are making the rounds. While artist Tota acknowledges that everyone seems to love this new lion craze, she thinks it looks "weird". Stefan added that getting a fashionable tattoo today is risky as "fashion comes and goes."
Instead, he suggests getting something unique and meaningful.
Yet another world favourite by tattoo fanatics are the name tattoos. Getting a tattoo of your spouse's name, your children's name, or a relative that passed away, is also common globally. For Stefan, the design is risky. He said: "After 17 years as a tattoo artist, I still don't understand why people get their partners' names on them, especially at the beginning of a relationship."
In his experience, most of the people with their partners' name, are the ones who are the first to get a tattoo removed. In place of your loved one's name, he suggests thinking of something that represents the love each person has for the other.
Several artists will refuse particular designs. So how far is tattoo far for the artist?
Even though artists will resist some designs, they will rarely convince a customer not to get a tattoo that they've set their heart on.
Although Tota will always attempt to please the customer, she will turn down any work that she doesn't feel comfortable taking on. For example, tatting people who are either intoxicated or who are underage. Tota added that he turns away customers who want visible tattoos on their neck, hands and face.
Stefan also doesn't encourage people to have ink on their hands, neck and faces. He will also politely decline a finger tattoo. "We try to put things in perspective and ask them, 'how would it be if you had to wear your favourite baseball cap all your life...?' And that's when they started having second thoughts and really sleep on it," he said.
Naresh from Flamin' Eight said he'll also refuse to do a design that could be seen as offensive.
And there you have it, from the horse's mouth. A tattoo should be unique and personal, so consider the design carefully. Otherwise, it could be an expensive, embarrassing mistake.