15 People Share Their First Tattoo Stories So You Know What To Expect

List Rules
Tattooed people: vote up the stories that will help prepare first-timers.

If you are thinking of getting some ink and are wondering what to expect when you get a tattoo, these first tattoo stories may help you prepare for the whole ordeal. Read on and vote up the most helpful stories!


  • 1
    10 VOTES

    They Got Freaked Out Watching Another Person Pass Out

    From Redditor u/beeeeeeeeeeeeeagle:

    I was in Alicante in Spain when I was 18. It was raining and I saw a tattoo shop. Nothing else to do so I walked in. I had an old dance music magazine called Mixmag with me and ended up getting the Cream nightclub logo on my shoulder.

    Pretty funny. The dude in front of me was getting a giant tribal back piece and passed out while I was waiting. It must have freaked me out because when the dude got started I got dizzy. The guy gave me a coke and I settled down enough for him to finish it off. Probably only took 20 minutes or something in total. It's tiny. Probably about the size of a golf ball.

    Good Times.

    10 votes
  • 2
    7 VOTES

    They Neglected To Tell The Artist That They Were Afraid Of Needles

    From Redditor u/RoninTraveller:

    I was 33 and got it because I was in a “f*ck all this f*cking shit” stage in my life.

    Didn’t tell her before that I was scared of needles. Got my first sight of the machine while she was putting the transfer on, smeared it all down my arm while hitting the deck. Didn’t really hurt much after she managed to clean off the old transfer, apply the new one, and actually start tattooing.

    7 votes
  • 3
    7 VOTES

    They Compromised With Their Artist To Get Something They Loved

    From Redditor u/Immediate-Steak3980:

    I was 21 when I got my first. It needed to be hidden for work and family reasons so I went with high upper thigh placement. I went to a shop, had a consult and brought in my electron micrograph of a snowflake that I’d taken and wanted tattooed (science nerd here). When I came back for my appointment he had drawn this very nice and girly neo-trad design but it wasn’t at all what I wanted. I’m so glad that I pressed him for what I wanted. Bad news was he couldn’t use my micrograph so we went online and found a photo he could work off of. That was our compromise. And he made it a lot bigger than I had originally envisioned but he explained there was a good bit of detail and there needed to be a balance between size and detail. Reading other people’s stories on this sub I realize how lucky I was that the artist was patient enough to explain this all and work with me on something we could both be happy with, especially for my first. This was pre-socialmedia also so I remember going into the shop and flipping through the artists books and flash sheets till I found a style I liked.

    I remember it feeling like a slow rug burn. It wasn’t too painful and I kind of liked it until it was time for the third color and I was ready to be done by then. It healed really well and has aged pretty well too. It doesn’t get much exposure to sun and the colors were pretty soft to begin with so even if it’s faded a bit over the years it was sort of designed to be that way.

    7 votes
  • 4
    7 VOTES

    They Didn't Check To Make Sure The Tattoo Artist Could Actually Draw

    From Redditor u/kathompson:

    I had a sketch of the tattoo I wanted for over a decade before I got it; I talked about getting it off and on for so long that one Christmas my son gifted it to me... so I was actually getting it. I took that sketch to the artist I had decided on, made an appointment for the next day, and was both thrilled and slightly nauseated. I was sure it was going to be agony and who looks forward to that?

    She made the stencil from my sketch, slapped it on my upper arm, and got started...and it didn't hurt nearly as much as I had been afraid it would. An hour and a half later ad I had my spiffy tattoo, and I loved it.

    Lessons were learned, though... She did the tattoo directly from my sketch. That means I have a tattoo that is drawn up, and I have no artistic skills. She didn't clean it up, just transferred it. On one hand, it's very much my own tattoo. On the other, it's not very good. Make sure your artist can actually draw. My untrained eye thought her portfolio was decent, but looking back? Damn. I have two not very good tattoos from her and my son has one.

    It's going to hurt, but not as much as you likely think it will. I've since gotten several quite large tattoos, and none were horrible. Eat and drink well beforehand, take a snack with you, and it'll be fine.

    7 votes
  • 5
    4 VOTES

    They Didn't Go To A Professional And Had To Have It Covered Up

    From Redditor u/jamieface16:

    I was 17. I went to a trailer park and someone’s mom did it. I got it on my hip bone. It was a music note with a red and blue heart. After it healed, it looked like I’d had it for 40 years. Just real bad and faded.

    I got it professionally covered up with some stars and swirls (so original) and you can’t even tell now. I don’t regret it, just wish I’d picked something cooler haha

    4 votes
  • 6
    1 VOTES

    They Turned 50 And Realized It Wasn't That Big Of A Deal

    From Redditor u/Calabama_Ken:

    Just turned 50, and finally justified spending money on myself. I drew something up and emailed it to the artist. He had it printed out on this transfer paper stuff and transferred it onto my arm. It was two Celtic knot-style hearts forming an infinity loop, had him color in my wife's and I's birthstone colors on top and bottom. I love the work he did but was very anticlimactic.

    1 votes