Things to know before getting a tattoo

Getting a tattoo is a ‘big deal’ and should never be taken lightly or at least this is how I feel about it. For me, it is something that will be permanently on your skin. Yes, you can get them lightened, removed & covered up, but do you really want to go through all that. When all you needed to do was think twice about what you wanted, and where you wanted it?

I now have 9 tattoo’s and have booked for my 10th one (which is happening in March). So, I might just have a little insight into what it’s like getting a tattoo.

I was 19 when I got my 1st tattoo, 20 for my 2nd and then only got my 3rd when I was about 30…yes as you can see from there it escalated. But I can safely and happily say that I do not regret a single one. Yes some of them are old and a different style but that reflects where I was in my life at that time and I have since evolved and changed…thank goodness! That is also something you have to keep in mind when choosing your design & style…you are unlikely to stay the same person you were when you got your first tattoo.

How to choose your design

I was recently asked this question at a friend’s braai and to be honest, I do not have a good answer at all. This is probably because I have always known what I wanted, I tend to be pretty decisive about what I like and what I don’t. Yes, I have looked online for some inspiration to give to my tattoo artist (who is brilliant by the way! I will include her details below) but in general, I have just known, yes I want that on my skin forever.

However, I did read a fantastic piece of advice on getting a tattoo, it said, if you are not sure on the kind of design you want. Print it out, and stick it on your mirror or keep it in your wallet, so that you look at it everyday and if in 6 – 12 months, you still love it. Get it tattooed on your skin. Which makes perfect sense, if you ask me.

Do tattoo’s have to have a meaning?

For me, all tattoo’s have a ‘meaning’ as otherwise why would you have them put on your skin, but I don’t like that word when talking about tattoo’s as people expect you to stay it means love, for example. I prefer symbolism, as you might want a certain tattoo because of the feeling you get when you look at the design…which is a type of meaning but difficult to explain to others.

I can’t tell you how often people ask me what my Celtic tattoo’s mean and to be honest, nothing! I wanted a celtic design with hearts so I found a design I liked the look of and went from there…and the others have a similar story.

A tattoo is a piece of art, so it’s like walking into someone’s house looking at a painting and ask what does that painting mean? For everyone the painting will have a different meaning and evoke different feelings…tattoo’s are the same. They are personal expressions.

So in short, to me my tattoo’s are meaningful and beautiful but they don’t have a specific meaning per-say and I’m ok with that. But, if you do have one or want one that has a meaning…that is more than ok too. When it comes too tattoo’s, there is no right or wrong. Only what you like.

My Tips & general advice

Like I previously mentioned getting a tattoo is a big deal, so make sure

  • Make sure you choose a well known tattoo studio with a good reputation. I only go to Fallen Heroes in Parkhurst, so if you are in JHB, I really can’t recommend them and their artists enough. They are all incredibly talents but I have personally been to Bryan & Sarah
  • Do your research. Get recommendations from friends/family who have tattoo’s if you are not sure who to go to. Then research them and their work to make sure you like their style…after all they are artists. Also you need to be comfortable with the artist, so think about if you would prefer a male or female, young or more mature, etc.
  • Trust your artist. At the end of the day you also need to trust your artist, like I said to Sarah when she did my last 2 tattoo’s, you would know better than me, so please give me your opinion. As far as I’m concerned, she is the expert. All I have to do is like the design and then sit still and let her work.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak out, if you want them to change something in the design or want a slightly different placement. This is your tattoo and you need to love it. I can only imagine the worse thing must be leaving a tattoo studio sad and disappointed with your new tattoo.
  • Prepare properly on the day of your tattoo. Don’t drink alcohol the night before having your tattoo done and avoid taking any pain pills. Shower the morning of your tattoo and have a good breakfast. Also, pack something to drink and a sugary snack (this is incase your blood sugar drops, which happens to some people). Depending on the size of your tattoo, you might be there a while and want to be comfortable and most artists are happy to take a 5 min break if you want to have a snack, etc.
  • Bring a printed & digital copy of your design. This is only if you haven’t had a meeting with your artist beforehand and if they are not drawing up the design for you.
  • Be prepared for some pain…depending on where the tattoo is, it will hurt. If you need a break because it’s too painful, let your artist know. But don’t be afraid to choose somewhere because you think its going to be painful. The pain is worth it.
  • Keep still – this seems obvious but for some people they struggle to keep still when there is pain. Just breathe deeply and slowly through the pain…it will pass.
  • Look after your tattoo. Follow the tattoo artist’s guidelines for aftercare for your tattoo, you have spent money, time & pain getting it. Make sure you look after it. And my best tip…once your tattoo is completely healed, always put sunblock on it, this will keep it looking good for longer. I have one that is about 4 years old and a few months ago I was asked if it was new…and that’s what you want your tattoo’s to look like.

My Tattoo Artists

I know I have mainly talked about Sarah in this post, but that’s because she has done by 3 newest tattoo’s and is doing my next one. But, I must also mention her fiancé, Bryan, who was in fact my first tattoo artist at Fallen Heroes. To be honest, they are both incredible and I love them and their work to bits. But as my pieces are a little more girly, I thought Sarah would have more fun designing and doing them.

But please feel free to follow both of them as well as Fallen Heroes on social media

Sarah Jardim Instagram – @sarah_jess_

Bryan du Rand Instagram – @tattoosbybryan

Fallen Heroes FB –

Fallen Heroes Instagram – @fallenheroes

website –

My 3 newest tattoos done by Sarah Jardim from Fallen Heroes

My 3 newest tattoos done by Sarah Jardim from Fallen Heroes

*please note, I have written this because of the fantastic service I receive and not because I have been asked to or paid to. This is NOT a sponsored post.

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