Where Should You Place Your First Tattoo?

Updated 04/11/19
  Fei Hn / EyeEm/Getty Images 

When it comes to getting your first tattoo, the design you're going to get is the most important, of course. But the placement—where the tattoo actually lives on your skin—is also a key aspect to consider. So choosing the best spot, whether it's a tiny tattoo or a larger piece, can help you appreciate the art at its finest. 

Placement Considerations

Oftentimes people show up to get a tattoo with an idea of the design and placement they want. But a good tattoo artist will offer their thoughts on what would look best on your body—they are the experts, after all. So it's helpful to ask for advice. At the end of the day, it is your decision where to place the tattoo though.  

While tattoos that are placed out of sight have their advantages, unless you stand in front of a mirror to look at your back, you'll likely never really get a chance to admire it. If you'd rather be able to see your new tattoo daily, consider areas like your wrist, forearm, or even your ankle. But if your job requires you to hide your tattoos, or even if you'd just rather keep them out of sight—you can choose a spot that tends to be covered by your clothing, like your inner arm or your calf.

Another consideration is how your body fluctuates. You may want to consider any potential weight gain or loss and even the reality of aging (as your skin loses elasticity, it sags gradually). Just because a tattoo looks a certain way now, doesn't mean it'll stay that way forever.

Breast, stomach, and inner thigh tattoos are all likely to change and distort while forearm and wrist tattoos will stay the same shape for longer.

Designs and Scale

It's not just the placement that matters when considering your first tattoo. The scale is also important. Depending on how elaborate you want the tattoo to be, it'll need to be a certain size. The more detailed it is, the larger it'll have to be. This can also change the tattoo placement as you'll need a wider area of skin for certain designs.

Some people opt for small tattoos the first time around, others go big. Prominent and grand scale tattoos make such a visual statement. So if you're getting your first tattoo you may decide you'd rather have one large one, rather than a collection of small designs later.

Be Open Minded

It's valuable to be very open-minded with your first tattoo. There's no harm in meeting with several artists and then finalizing the process with the one you feel most confident and comfortable with. You can also take a look at their work online to see if their style suits you. From there you can request a custom design unless you have your mind set on a traditional flash tattoo.

Planning your first tattoo is exciting. So long as you understand the most common placement concerns and select a design that will work within the area, you can be confident that you'll appreciate your design and hopefully have less risk of any tattoo regrets.

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