As far as general advice on getting a tattoo, here's what I would recommend:
- Find a great artist. Remember that this is permanent so you want to get the best quality tattoo as possible. If that means traveling to a bigger city or waiting for an appointment, it's worth it. Think of it as a piece of art and be willing to splurge a bit. I went to Clay Decker at True Tattoo in Hollywood and had a great experience.
- Live with the idea for a while. I drew the sketch for my tattoo at least six months before I actually had the work done. Again, this is permanent so you want to make sure you're not going to get tired of the design. If you think of an idea for a tattoo and six months later you're still happy with it then go for it. I changed my mind a couple of times before I settled on this design so I'm glad I waited it out.
- As far as pain goes, I didn't find it to be too bad. As I understand, it greatly depends on where on the body you're getting the tattoo and the upper arm is not too sensitive. It's more like a nagging pain as if someone is scratching you too hard.
Here are a few old photos I dug up of me getting the work done back in 2006.
The first photo is the completed outline with just the leaves filled in. The next photo looks a lot grosser than it really is. That's just the pink ink smeared all over my arm as he fills in the petals. Then you see the almost completed tattoo with only the highlights left to fill in (as well as a rare glimpse of my natural hair color!). The last photo was taken about two weeks after the tattoo was completed when it was just healed.
photos taken by Tom b.