All You Need to Know Before Your First Tattoo

Getting inked for the first time can be an exciting, yet stressful experience. What should you expect? Does it hurt? Are you going to regret it? Where should you get inked in Singapore? It’s normal to have these thoughts, don’t worry this ultimate guide has you covered.

Get up and brainstorming! I know, it’s an exhilarating process to choose your first ink design. If you’re on a head start to finding your perfect tattoo design, the internet has got you covered! With millions of unique tattoo designs shared on Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram, you’d definitely find one that would spark your interest. Here are some places you could go for some ideas!

Your Tattoo Artist is a design source, but note that there will be an extra charge for that service! Most tattoo artists have their own portfolio that they draw and design. Just let your tattoo artist know what you have in mind and let him do the job! Your design will be one of a kind, one that solely belongs to you.

Pinterest is the to-go site when brainstorming for tattoo ideas. There are tons of art pieces, illustrations, quotes and fonts that you can find on it. If you already have an idea on your ink design, head on to Pinterest to gain a second thought!

Tumblr is a place where people share the things they love. You might get an inspiration from dashboards and blogs dedicated to tattoo designs. Best, most blogs have specific tattoo designs so it’ll be easy for you to sort out your preference!

Instagram is the place where many tattoo artists will share their ink work. So if you’re looking for a specific tattoo artist or just looking for a design inspiration, Instagram can be a great platform to use.


Eenie Meenie, which do you choose? Settling on a design can be a great feat. You’ve been on Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram researching for the best design that relays something meaningful about you. That’s a great start! But no worries, here are some questions to ask yourself to see if the design is yours to stay!

  1. Is this something you’d want to stay with you forever?
  2. Why do you want this design? Is it only because it looks good on someone else?
  3. If it is a person, a value or a quote, is it going to make sense to you 20 years later?
  4. Can you make little edits or tweaks to the design to make it personally yours?
  5. Are you drunk?

Less is more, so don’t go too crazy with your design! The golden rule in design (often) is simplicity and clarity. Being your virgin tattoo, don’t be shy to start small. Let it be an experimental chance to see how your body takes in the ink, healing period, and how your body takes the pain.


Head and shoulders, knees…? Where should you get it? Here are some things to consider: price (the price will vary according to the tattooed area), the size of the tattoo, and if the body part will flatter the design. I also considered my future career prospects. Sadly in Singapore, there are still negative stereotypes emplaced on tattoos. Let’s say, if you were to be a teacher, You probably can’t have a full sleeve of tattoos. So, do take note of your dressing style and if it’s easy for you to hide the design when it is required. There are also parts of your body that’ll hurt more than the others so if you’re curious, consult your tattoo artist about it before making the decision.


Don’t rush into it! Finding a tattoo artist is the next step. The harsh truth is, some tattoo artists are better than others! Take your time to source for a good tattoo artist because trust me, a good tattoo artist goes a long way. My advice to you is, research, research, and recommendations! Ask around your friends, but take a good look at their inks before heeding their advice. Do you like the artist’s strokes, lines or colors? If not, don’t convince yourself that yours might be different, don’t take the risk.

There are tattoo artists who specialize in specific forms of ink designs.  If your ink design is of a specific form such as flowers, watercolor, blackwork etc, I’ll recommend you to find an artist who has been practicing one that particular form and your results will turn out even better than you expect it to be!

There are many other forms of inked designs that you can find in the market, but here are some of the different forms of tattoo designs:

  1. Blackwork
  2. Oriental
  3. Sketchy
  4. Realism
  5. Watercolor
  6. Floral
  7. Tribal
  8. New School
  9. White Ink
  10. Lines
*example of a tattoo done with a thick needle (left), tattoo done with a thin needle (right)

Size matters. Do take note of the needle size when doing your tattoo. A thick needle on an intricate design can destroy it in seconds. A friend of mine had an ink design of Roman numerals with intricate designs across her waist, done with THICK outlines. Hon, let me tell you its not a pretty sight to stay. Thus, always remember to take note if your design requires a thin or thick needle. Most tattoo artist should know this basic theory, but who knows if you’d get a newbie? So to play it safe, do let your tattoo artist know what you prefer and be clear of the inking procedures before the inking starts.

Be a curious cat. A tattoo lasts a lifetime (without surgical removal) so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unclear about anything. Some tattoos require taking off some of your clothes but if you’re shy to take certain things off, just let your tattoo artist know! Your tattoo artist will understand, and there definitely are ways to work around it.


Breathe. I wasn’t afraid of getting inked right up till when I heard the buzzing of the needle. That’s when I knew, this is real. But, my tattoo artist was a tremendous help by being a great liar. He told me that this was going to hurt as much as giving birth! So if I could get this over with, I can definitely triumph over what they call the “ring of fire”. I’ve heard stories of the pain of childbirth, so I got myself ready to welcome the agonizing pain that was coming. When the needle went in, I started laughing at myself because it didn’t hurt as much as I expected it to be. I’m not saying that there was no feeling at all; A tattoo will hurt. But a takeaway lesson from this is: Expect the pain so it’ll hurt less.


You just got inked! It’s done, it’s beautiful but it’s red and swollen. Don’t let loose because this is the crucial and final stage: taking care of it. Your tattoo is like a fresh wound so you’ve to refrain it from getting infected. Your tattoo will be dry, peeling and a little itchy. Beware not to: scratch it, do any form of exercise, or touch it with dirty fingers. Just let your body relax for a few days as your tattoo can still stretch and change. It is a must to slab on ointments or moisturizers onto the ink. My experience tells me that Zambak, the ointment your mom used when you had an “or-cheh” (bruise) back in the days, works. You can also use antibacterial ointments or moisturizers, but note to choose those with little chemicals.  

You’re the boss. If the tattoo is meaningful to you, then it’s right. You’ll find that everyone will have something to say about it, both positive and negative. But remember that it’s yours, forever. So whatever you choose, be willing to take responsibility for your own actions and choices.

Now, you’re ready to go get that tattoo you’ve always wanted.


Photos were taken at Moonstruck Tattoo:
Address: 213 Jalan Besar, #04-00 (1.79 km)
208897 Singapore
Contact: 9761 4242
Facebook: Moonstruck Tattoo
Instagram: @moonstrucktattoo

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