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Curious about getting a tattoo? Here are 11 tips to keep in mind as you set out on the path to owning art you can carry everywhere.

Special thanks to Mickey Schlick of Montana Tattoo Company and Tattoo-ee Tammy Ravas. Also thank you to Blaque Owl Tattoo, and filmmaker Caitlin Hofmeister for filming.

Check out Montana Tattoo Company here:

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For many people, getting a tattoo is part of becoming an adult. And hey, getting a tattoo requires some very adult decision-making. 

They may be as ubiquitous as avocado toast, but you need to be sure of yourself and think through an action that will have permanent consequences. 

If you've really thought through whether tattoos are the right decision for your life, and you understand that they are are extremely difficult and expensive to remove, they're acceptable in your profession, and you still want one: congrats! It's not complicated to get a tattoo.

You go into a shop, tell the artist what you want, and set up an appointment. But there's a few things that a first-time customer should know to start off on a best foot. 

So here's eleven tips to keep in mind before you get inked up.

 Tip #1: Find an Artist you Like (0:50)

One, look for a reputable tattoo artist whose style you like. The internet will be super helpful here, but if you have friends who have tattoos who you trust, they may be one of your best resources.

You'll definitely want a licensed tattoo artists who uses hygienic practices, but it's also pretty important to find an artists whose style matches up with your personal preferences.

Most tattoo artists work hard to develop their own style and they often dislike being asked to copy other people's designs. Click around the artist's website, Instagram, or ask to see their flash-book at the store itself.

  Tip #2: Prepare for the Process (1:24)

Two, expect that tattoos might hurt and bleed a little. Tattoo needles are poking into your skin with thousands of tiny punctures, after all. 

As a general rule, tattoos usually hurt the most near bony places like elbows, ribs, ankles, and collarbones. Otherwise, tattooing usually feels like a buzzing ballpoint pen pressing against your skin.

Your tattoo artist will be able to advise you on what will be able to work best for you.

 Tip #3: Decide Between Custom or Flash Art (1:51) =

Three, decide if you want custom artwork or flash. Flash tattoos are the kind that tattoo shops display on the wall and in their books. You can just point to, say, a mermaid or a rose and the tattoo artist will draw it on you.

Flash pieces can be a great choice for a first tattoo, but custom artwork is also fun and gets most artists excited to try something different. Custom art is where you can do whatever you want. A portrait of your dog, chips and dip, a jar of mayo!

  Tip #4: Consider What your Tattoo Means for You (2:20)

Four, you don't necessarily have to worry about whether your first tattoo is an intensely meaningful impression of your soul. It can just be a drawing on your skin that looks cool. 

Also keep in mind that a visible tattoo is something that other people will ask you about and remark on the rest of your life. If you're going to get a tattoo of, say, a jar of mayo, be prepared to have a good story ready when people ask you why you got a jar of mayo.

 Tip #5: GO SMALL (2:46)

Five, go small. For your very first tattoo, it's ideal to choose a design that's relatively simply and find unobtrusive place for it like your upper back or ankle.

That way, it's easier to cover it up later if you have to. And you can also decide whether you like the artist and want to go back to them later for more extensive work.

  Tip #6: Be Willing to Pay for Good Work (3:07)

Six, be willing to pay for good work. Tattoo costs can really vary, but even for a small piece of art you might be looking at $100-$300 depending on where you live.

That can seem really steep, but remember you're paying a professional to create custom artwork that becomes a part of your physical appearance.

 Tip #7: Trust Your Artist (3:25)

Seven, trust your artist's advice when it comes to design and placement. Especially if they tell you that something you want isn't a great idea. You don't have to look far on the internet for some unintentional tattoo fails that could have totally been prevented. 

  Tip #8: Expect Wait Time Between Consult and Tattoo (3:41)

Eight, talk to your artist in person about what you want and then expect that the artist will need at least a day to create the drawing before you can come back for an appointment.

When you make the appointment, you'll also usually put down a deposit so the artist is sure that you're not going to bail.

 Tip #9: SPEAK UP! (3:57)

Nine, speak up if you don't like the drawing the artist creates for you. It's going to be on your skin for forever. A good artists will be happy to make adjustments to teh drawing before starting the tattoo.

 Tip #10: Don't Fear the Needle (4:08)

Ten, don't fear the needle! Tattoo needles are very small. They're more like a small, vibrating pen that's quickly applying color into your skin. If it grosses you out, don't watch while the artist works. But most likely, you'll enjoy watching the process. Sit back and enjoy getting the tattoo.

  Tip #11: Tip Your Artist (4:25)

Eleven, tip your artist after the work is done. Especially if you really liked the job they did. Not all tattoo artists expect it, but it's still a polite thing to do.

So congratulations on your tattoo! You now own a piece of art you can carry everywhere.

Thank you for watching! If you want to learn a little more about hte science behind tattooing, check out our sister channel SciShow in the Complexly network.

And if you want to see more of Hank and me, don't forget to subscribe at