Tattoos hurt. In some areas more than others. Some people have a higher pain threshold than others.
This goes without saying but it is important to breath! Practice some breathing exercises before your appointment and put them into practice during it.
Don’t be afraid to tell your artist that you’re nervous or scared. They see nervous and frightened people all the time and can often help your state of mind by explaining the process to you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you are nauseous, dizzy, or feel confused about anything. Sometimes people feel faint when getting tattooed, particularly during the first few minutes, there’s no need to be embarrassed or afraid. Let the artist know if you are feeling anything unusual besides the tattoo itself.
You’ll need to sit however the artist asks you to sit which might be difficult at times. From your perspective it may even seem harder for the artist to reach an area in these positions, but artists are also concerned with stretching out the skin not just reaching it. Be careful if you find yourself straining to hold a position because it may make you shake or twitch. You’ll have to try your absolute best to stay completely still in the position they choose. If your leg or arm falls asleep or if you feel like you can’t maintain a position much longer, let the artist know before it becomes a struggle for you. There are often alternative positions the artists will have you try to make it easier for you.
Needless to say, if you ask to take frequent breaks or feel the need to constantly adjust your position to see the artist’s progress, it’s going to take longer. The artist will work as fast as they feel comfortable working, but you should be aware that regular stops tend to break up their rhythm and could make it take much longer. You’ll probably notice that after a break the tattoo hurts pretty badly. Consider this another reason to limit the number of breaks you request.
Hold still! If you find yourself needing to cough, re-adjust your position, stretch your leg, wiggle, answer the phone, laugh, or flinch; you have to give the artist warning first. You should also not assume that because you don’t hear the machine running, they don’t still need you to be motionless.
If you wish to take a selfie please inform the artist as this usually involves some stretching.