Back tattoo. Photo: Courtesy

Think it through: Think long and hard if that is what you want to carry for the rest of your life. As much as there are temporary tattoos and cover-ups, think and don’t stop thinking until you have agreed with yourself. Never leave a party intoxicated and head to the artist. That is not a hangover that will go away after hydration. This might begin to sound like a career choice but the truth is this is much more than that.
Research: Ask your friends who have had them before, do your homework and enquire, anyone cheaper for sure has a fault and you better find out which one. Ask your friends with tattoos. Not just one, maybe five or seven or ten of them. Know what it feels from the other side.
Choose a meaningful design: No one should go into a tattoo shop and choose a design off of the tattoo artist’s collection. That is a no-no. One of the reasons people get inked is because they are extensions of oneself. They have a meaning; either it is something you believe in, an experience you have been through, a remembrance of a fond memory or a journey you are on. Years down the line it will still have meaning to you.

Military tattoo. Photo: Courtesy

Be original: just because you have seen it on someone else does not mean you should go ahead and say “nataka kama ya yule ( I want one like that)” this is not a drink and once you have it, that’s it. Mostly. Personalize the art as much as possible, get creative. If having the same outfit is a problem, what about having matching tattoos with thousands of other people? I thought so, nobody wants that.
Pay up or stay bare: The artist you choose has to be someone with great talent otherwise you might as well just draw yourself with a marker pen and live. If you want a lion, it had better be a lion not a grinning fat cat. Your tattoo artist might be cheap but cheap is expensive. Sometimes very expensive because laser removals are not discounted.

Face tattoo. Photo: Courtesy

Be mindful of the position: As a young person, you might think that it is all a phase and since everyone is getting a tattoo on the face I will have two so that I stay on top of the cool-kid chain. You are not Lil’ Wayne and no please do not get a tattoo at a visible place because minds change all the time and people switch careers where it so happens that in some places “no visible tattoos” is a top requirement. You cannot allow for adolescent decisions to make you lose out on opportunities.

Gang tattoos. Photo: Courtesy

It is addictive: I don’t know anyone who got one tattoo and that was it. Do you want to be an ink junkie? Sleeve tattoos sure do look sexy even the whole back looks even sexier but you are not from Blindspot and life is not a film, no credits will roll as you come back to yourself. It is like choosing to be a smoker only that this addiction is deliberate.
Observe hygiene: Congratulations, you went ahead and got it, what now? This is an artistic rapture of the skin and a fancy reason for having wounds for a while. What do people do to wounds? They clean them as often until they heal. This is the tasking part and you have to be very careful not to cause an infection, that won’t be cute. Go the whole nine yards.