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Hey there. How do we feel about tattoos just for the sake of art? Like, do all tattoos need some deep meaning? I'm 21, and I've wanted a tattoo since I was 15, but I can never really settle on something because I'm fixated on finding some perfect 'thing' and anytime I think of an idea I talk myself out of it because it doesn't really have any huge meaning to me, apart from looking great and me wanting it. Thoughts?

Here’s what I can say about mine.

My first tat means absolutely nothing to me. I turned 18 and I said what the hell and just got some cute stars on my hip. They’re cute and I live them and want to extend them but they have no meaning for me.

My second tat is my last name which is Italian. I got the English translation, little flower, tattooed on my wrists. I’m proud of my heritage and who I am. Always have been. It’s nothing huge but means a lot to me because it’s who I am. Plus my great grandmother came on the boat from Italy. She was the best and though I never saw her much I can only imagine how brave and strong she must have been. Even at 104 she was keener than anyone and I can only hope to be half the person she was.

I have other tats planned out. My next one is say boarders both meaningful and artistic. Some people might look at it and day oh yeah cool Zelda tattoo. But I’ve thought very hard about what I wanted included in it to the very smallest detail. Because even though I love the series, is also something that means a lot to me. An escape when I needed it. Words of encouragement that I live by. And it made me the kind of creative person I am today, I think.

Long story short. There doesn’t have to be a meaning to a tattoo. Sometimes I think it’s better to get something fun especially if it’s your first. Unless you plan on only having one and you specifically have something meaningful in mind. For example I know a girl who got a tattoo with her best friends signature after she died. She has no plans on ever getting anything else.

It’s just preference but there’s nothing wrong with having ink just for fun :)

how much would a lip tattoo swell after getting it?

I don’t know much about lip tats. Most tats don’t swell in general. I’d imagine there would be some swelling though on a lip. Probably not much. Anyone else have any experience with this?

Does a sleeve tattoo have to be one picture/one idea because I wanted to get a few smaller tattoos and over the years make it into a sleeve. For example I love sci fi so I wanted to get a TARDIS on my left forearm and later on get a transformers symbol on my left shoulder so I was wonder if I could turn that into a sleeve over the years with more tattoos from other shows and movies or would it look weird like that

you can do whatever your heart desires :) i think it would look cool since it kind of has a movie/tv theme to it. however, you should consider how you are going to do this. newer tattoos will look different than older tattoos, so the sleeve may look more vibrant in some places. plus, you have to consider the artists you use. different artists have different styles, and some might not want to add to someone else’s design. also, consider how these are all going to be connected together. i would try to get the sleeve completed sooner rather than later - don’t wait years in between each design. it’s fine to do it in parts as the sessions can be long, but i think you’d be better off sticking with one artist and planning sessions, maybe a couple months apart, until it’s completed. also, have an idea between you and your artist ahead of time with all the details worked out (how it will all come together, background, etc.)

hope that helps! good luck :)

Im turning 18 next year and i've been waiting to get a tattoo for years now. I've been struggling with severe acne for years too and I would like to get a tattoo to represent that i've been strong through it all and that i need to believe im beautiful even though it. The trouble is, i don't know what to do, do you have any tips? thank you <3

Its hard give ideas to someone I don’t know without being vague but maybe something will spark an idea for you. You could always go with a quote. Maybe something that has helped you get through it all or something someone said to you. Or maybe there’s something that makes you feel beautiful? Or something you relate too. Maybe like a butterfly. They start out as not so pretty caterpillars. Or maybe something simple like stay strong. Use your imagination and just think about what’s important to you and I’m sure you’ll think of something. Hope that helps! Good luck :)

Hi c: I had the idea of tattooing "Cogito ergo sum", as my first tattoo. But now I'm really doubting where to do that. It won't be super small, but also not super big. I was thinking about getting it inbetween my shoulderblades. Do you think that would be a good spot?

personally, i think words/phrases can look good almost anywhere. between your shoulder blades sounds good, depending on the size. it would have to be the right size, i think. not too big that it stretches complete across your back, but not too small so as there’s a lot of space between your blades. 

if you need ideas for other places, too, i’d say on your side, maybe on your hip if it were small enough, or around your collar bone. i’ve seen some nice phrases on feet, too, wrists are great, too, for words. one of my personal favorites. i love my wrist ink.

but, in the end, it’s what you like best. i certainly think that’s a good place, so go for it if you want :) good luck! send pictures, too!

The tattoo I want is inspired by the song "Maybe (Next to Normal)" from the musical Next to Normal. There's a specific section in there that Natalie says to Diana from "I don't need a life that's normal" to "Close enough to normal to get by" and it was the words said to me by my best friend when I was going into the hospital for suicide watch when I finally told her I was struggling. I also want to incorporate the mangled music staff on the album cover, but I don't know what else?

personally, i don’t know this song or musical or anything about it, but it sounds okay to me. i wouldnt worry about adding too much - less is almost always more. too much can look too busy and crowded. if it were me and i wanted to add one more thing, id think maybe the initials of the friend that said that or something. but, otherwise, i think you have a pretty solid idea and should keep it simple. especially when it comes to words and phrases, too. phrases especially make things look busy. i think what you have is good. send pictures when you get it done :)

My brother and I are getting semi matching tattoos on our shoulders (the outline of nc with AVL written over it and then our corresponding astrology signs on the other side of the nc outline). The thing is we don't want them that big (like 4inx3in maybe. Someone told us that was too much detail for a tattoo that size so I was wondering if you had any ideas to adjust them some so that size would work?

it’s hard for me to visualize it just by you describing it. do you maybe have a picture/sketch you could send? it personally doesn’t sound like too much detail to me as long as you kept it simple (as in simple black ink, no crazy designs, just lines.) if that’s what you’re set on, then the only way to adjust is to make it bigger, or maybe the symbols further apart from each other. if you can, sketch it out yourself. maybe with one of those thinner sharpies. something thicker than a pen, but not as thick as a sharpie marker, you know? that should give you an accurate idea of how thick the ink would be and how it would all look together. good luck.

What happens if you tattoo over a scar too soon?

I’m not quite sure what you mean by too soon… a scar becomes a scar when a wound is healed. it’s essentially new skin. a fresh wound isn’t a scar. a scar is just the result of a healed wound. so once something is scarred, it’s healed. done. so you can’t really tattoo over a scar too soon. it would only be too soon if the wound were still fresh and not completely healed. but once its a scar, its essentially okay to tattoo over. but i suppose this would also depend on where it is, how big, etc. maybe something to discuss with an artist if you’re concerned.

Hey, thinking of getting a tattoo pretty soon of a phrase underneath my collarbone. I have a very low pain tolerance- any ideas on how painful this area is to tattoo?

Honestly, it sounds like a painful area to me, but I don’t have anything in that area, so I don’t know from personal experience. It’s a pretty boney area - something to keep in mind. Depends how close to the bone, too. Plus, right on your neck. I would think that would hurt. Poke yourself with a toothpick to get an idea! Sounds silly, but might help. I’d say it’s up there on the pain level, especially if you have low tolerance.