Tips on tats from personal experience. Just my opinions. There are many out there. 1. It shouldnt be a race. You may decide you want one....but that shouldnt be hurry and run to tattoo shop. This could lead to regrettable tat down the road. 2. Do research on your pic idea. Google ideas. See similar tats that came out good and bad. Bring a pic or combo of pics to your chosen artist. Also google bad tattoos so you know what not to try. 3. Found a pic or theme you like? Now try finding an artist that specializes in that. It will take searching facebook, instagram, etc. But worth it. If you want a colourful butterfly and you go to someone who specializes in dark themes like black and white skulls...it may not turn out good. The artisit might be great at skulls..but really hates fluffy stuff. They might hurry yours just to be done with it. Their heart might not be in it because its not what they like to do. This is a generlization...im sure there are many artist who are happy to do anything. Same could be said if you want word tattoos. Some are more practiced or specialized than others at letters. My artist is great at black and white dark themes...but he will send me to others for letters or fluffy stuff because he knows others who are better in those areas. Its not his strength. And I have even more respect for him for telling me that. 4. Expect to pay around $100hr for talented artist...or more. 5. I personally would not be a guinea pig to a nube. Yes they need practice....but that can be done on paper or slab of meat. They better be awesome on paper first. Good artist should have basic art classes behind them. They know values, shadowing, blending, light. Experienced ones will know good and bad locations for things...for instance a face around upper arm will contort different ways when you move it because of muscles...making tat look weird. A nube might also not have pressure technique refined...meaning they might dig in your body more than experienced artist. Its not to put nubes down...but for a good first experience... 6. Pain .. Yes. I have a fairly high tolerance..but I will try describing. My first hour was ok. Felt like hard scratches. I think bee stings hurt a little more...but the tattoo can be a four or five hour job of constant stings. After the first hour your skin is probably swelling a little. When artist is going back over the already tender areas...thats when the pain goes up. By 4hrs even I was about ready to raise white flag. I think 5hrs would be my max for one session. Also dont go on empty stomach...it will be much worse if your starving. I would bring a small snack and bottled drink. 7. Tips are appreciated for good jobs. I think I tipped 15-20% cant remember exact. Hope that helps for anyone thinking about getting one. If you cant decide becuase you hear bad things like..it might look bad when your older...well for one who says you will live long enough to get to that point. (not to be mean. but most dont know the hour of their death) Second if you do live long enough to where it looks...different...who cares. Your probably not trying to be in vogue magazine at that point. Besides the tats are for you. Looking at them will remind you of the good ole days. (no offense to those who had tats on bucket list and got them at an older age.) If your career that you want doesnt really allow them...you may have to take that into consideration as to location on body. Doubtful we will see a weatherman on the news with a facial tattoo anytime soon...but i could be wrong.