Belfast Telegraph

Getting inked: 5 tips for choosing the tattoo you won't regret

Co Down tattoo artist Connor Curran offers his tops tips to help you choose a unique design that you’ll be proud of forever.

As the owner of Crooked Mile Tattoo studio in Holywood, Connor knows committing to a tattoo is a big decision, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.

With a wealth of experience as a tattoo artist, Connor is offering his top tips on getting the perfect design you won't regret.

1. Don’t follow the crowd

Just like fashion and music, trends come and go in the tattoo industry too.

Getting a tattoo because it’s the ‘tattoo of the moment’ is a big mistake. A tattoo is a great way to creatively express yourself so it’s important that your ink is defiantly true to you. If you find or create a design that represents your spirit or experience, it will stand the test of time.

Copying a celebrity’s design or choosing a random symbol or icon from a book will probably be something you regret. Go your own way, and don’t follow the expected. Original ideas make amazing tattoos, but you also can’t go wrong with something that stands the best of time, such as a pinup, panther, dagger or eagle for example.

2. Do your research

It goes without saying, take time to choose a design and, most importantly, pick your tattooist carefully. Survey all the options before deciding on ‘the one’.

It might help to visit the tattoo studio and have a look at their portfolio, get a feel for the space, their past work and whether it matches your own style.

Go with your instinct, you’ll know what feels right, think about price and cleanliness, the time to grab a bargain isn’t in the tattoo studio. What matters is that the artist can nail that sleeve you’ve been dying for, in a studio that doesn’t look like it’s been lifted from the Strip in Magaluf.

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3. Think about it - and then think about again

Connor guarantees that impulse decisions are nearly always regrets when it comes to tattoos. Unless you’re picking something last minute from an artist you trust, which can result in a cool unexpected tattoo. 

We all know someone with a holiday tattoo horror story. When you think you’re happy with a design, mull it over and then mull it over some more. Always settle with your own opinion, as you’ll be the one seeing the tattoo on the daily. Never commit to a tattoo if you’re under the influence, and remember that any good tattoo artist will refuse to tattoo on someone who isn’t confident in their decision.

4. Prioritise position

Where you put your tattoo is just as important as what it looks like. Location can alter the entire tone of the tattoo. Some people prefer to hide their tattoo with ease, others prefer to show it off them boldly and confidently every day.

Think about if subtle or bold positioning suits you and your lifestyle. Remember, most reputable tattoo artists will advise against tattooing your face and will encourage first-timers to start small. Although, others may advise against you using a prime space on your body up with a small tattoo that you might want to save for a bigger piece later.

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5. After-care

To keep your ink-job looking as striking and impressive as it was intended, after-care is key.  All tattooers have their own way they will ask you to follow for aftercare, good studios will always want you to give them a bell if you’re unsure of anything about the healing process.

Tattoos can take anything from 7 to 14 days to fully heal, they should be bandaged correctly with sterile dressing and medical tape upon leaving the studio.

Only clean your tattoo with non-scented, anti-bacterial soap, pat dry and never scrub. You should also try to avoid soaking your artwork for at least a month, that means no baths, pools or saunas.  The instructions vary from artist to artist, but any reputable studio will give you thorough advice before you leave.

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Connor is the latest local trail blazer to collaborate with Bushmills Irish Whiskey's #AnswerTheCall campaign, for which he has designed a limited edition 'Bushmills X Crooked Mile Tattoo’ t-shirt.

The t-shirts will be seen on bar staff in venues across Northern Ireland but 50 are available to win at answerthecall.co.uk via the competition section.

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