Local artists share how to prepare and care for your first tattoo(s)

click to enlarge Local artists share how to prepare and care for your first tattoo(s)
Erick Doxey photo
Artist Joey Benson inks Kaitlin Loe at Fortunata Tattoo.

Getting a piece of art tattooed on your body is an exciting milestone, but it might seem slightly daunting if you've never gotten one before.

Fortunately, it's a pretty straightforward process, according to Courtney Pasino, owner and artist at Fortunata Tattoo Studio in downtown Spokane.

"Usually your artist is pretty open with the entire process," Pasino says. "As long as you keep good communication with your artist and you know what you want, you shouldn't have any issues."

Pasino recommends researching artists and studios to ensure you're getting a tattoo in the style you want at a safe, clean and reputable tattoo shop. She says word of mouth can be a great avenue when seeking the right shop for your first piece.

Many artists post their work on social media accounts, further aiding seekers of specific tattoo styles.

"A lot of times in the past, people would just get tattooed by just anyone, whoever is available," says Avery Willmann, a tattoo artist and owner of UndeadINK Studios in Spokane Valley. "If the person's booked out for a while, don't be discouraged [from] getting tattooed by them — that usually means that they're pretty good artists."

To prepare for your appointment, Willmann says it's important to eat a good meal beforehand, stay hydrated and get a good night's sleep.

"Definitely let your artists know if you're taking any kind of medication or anything like that that could affect your healing process," he says.

Pasino also recommends avoiding taking any blood thinners the day before an appointment, such as Ibuprofen or alcohol.

"The most likely reason for someone to pass out is if their blood sugar drops," she says. "And if you're really worried about it, you can also bring some type of drink, like a sugary beverage like a soda, or just something to keep your blood sugar levels up."

click to enlarge Local artists share how to prepare and care for your first tattoo(s)
Courtesy photo
Tattoo by Helena Amor of Undead INK Studios.

If you're not sure exactly where you want to have a tattoo placed, Kas Haas at the Missing Piece Tattoo says many artists are happy to work with their customers to find the best spot.

"If you're working with an artist that you've vetted and are comfortable with, taking suggestions from the artist as a professional is what I would lean into," Haas says. "You can replace the stencil as many times as you need for it to be in the right spot."

Tattoo prices vary widely depending on the size and detail of the piece, and Haas recommends asking your artist what the shop's minimum rate is to give a rough idea of what a piece might cost.

"Once you know the minimum, you know that you'll at least be spending that, and then the artist will gauge how much the piece that you want will be from there," Haas says.

And if you're looking to touch up a piece, Haas recommends talking to the artist and seeing if they offer free touch-ups or to see what their fees are.

Every artist offers slightly different tips for tattoo aftercare, but the most common recommendations are to wash it a few times a day with an unscented liquid soap, apply a very small amount of unscented lotion to the tattoo to avoid over moisturizing it, and to keep it out of the sun until it's fully healed.

"I think that it's just really exciting that we're seeing over the years just such a spike in tattoos," Haas says. "I think it's really beautiful to see people collecting art on their bodies and getting really excited about tattoos." ♦

Experiences of Asian Muslims in the United States @ Eastern Washington University

Wed., May 22, 12-1:30 p.m.
  • or

Summer Sandstrom

Summer Sandstrom is a former Inlander staff writer who has written about 176-year-old sourdough starter, tracking insects on Gonzaga’s campus, and her love of betta fish, among other things. She joined the staff in 2023 after completing a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Washington University...