The idea of having a tattoo can be exciting and an opportunity to express a part of your personality through body art. Those people who have chosen to have a tattoo without visualising what it will look like when it is in place on the body have often lived to regret either the choice of design or the placement. As you would want your tattoo to be a friend for life and not a permanent reminder of a mistake, it helps to plan in advance and be sure you are prepared for the final plunge.
The design of your tattoo is one of the most important decisions you will make. Ideally it should be something that is relevant to you now and that will have longevity. The idea of having "I love Dave" tattooed across your forearm might seem a good idea now, but what about when you have an important interview, or on the day you marry someone not called Dave? It is advisable to spend some time considering an appropriate design that you will be proud of your whole life. After all, a tattoo is a lifelong commitment.
Many people visit their tattooist with only the vaguest idea of what they would like and where they would like it to be placed. Placement is particularly important if you think that there might be days when you don't want your tattoo to be visible. With that in mind, it is wise to try on different types of clothes and imagine neck lines and sleeve lengths, for example. Be sure about where you want your tattoo placed and give your tattooist precise instructions.
Visualise at home
You can give yourself an idea of how your tattoo will look with only a small amount of effort and equipment at home, and you don't have to be a great artist to do it. Get some tracing paper, your tattoo design and a soft pencil. Trace the outline and some of the detail of the tattoo onto the tracing paper and be sure to go over it several times, so that the pencil lines are thick. Now, place the tracing paper tattoo onto the part of the body you intend to have the tattoo and press down firmly and consistently to avoid smudging. Depending upon where you want the tattoo to be placed on the body, you might need the help of another person. You should have a basic pencil line tattoo outline on the body part where you wish to have it and can actually see how it will look with clothes, or without!
Various online companies are now offering a service where you can send them a photograph of yourself and an image of the tattoo design and they will combine the two. This makes the resulting photograph appear as if you already had the tattoo and you can use this image to consider your options and ask the opinions of friends and family.