MELewis

Potential first timer from Pittsburgh PA

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Hello Last Sparrow members!

I'm an 18 year old high school senior (for 45 more days...) considering getting a subtle, simple line tattoo of a dove flying away from a cage (for both emotional and spiritual reasons). I'm not completely sure that I will yet for a few reasons, some of which I was hoping this forum could help me with.

The first is that I am fairly straight-laced. I've been in choirs most of my life, high academic achiever, etc. While I recognize that having a tattoo does not change that fact, I can't help but worry that it might lead people to stereotype me and treat me differently. For the most part I care very little about what people think of me *once they've gotten to know me* (I tend to be somewhat blunt and outspoken, and if they don't like me for that, that's fine) however I don't want to be prevented from developing relationships with people simply because they hold different ideas about tattoos and the people who get them than I do and misjudge me off the bat as a result. This is especially a concern as i'll be going to college soon, and will be making first impressions left and right.

I also don't want to be limited in my career options. My tentitive plan for the future is to work for an organization like World Vision or some similar charity group that really helps empower poor communities to break the cycle of poverty. I would hate to be passed over and lose he opportunity to help others simply because my self-expression gave the wrong impression, especially in faith-driven organizations. (While I do not see the Bible as condemning tattoos, I respect others' right to that opinion, just as I wish them to respect mine.)

Any advice and/or experience with this? Perhaps where I can place the tattoo where I can see it (since it's more for me than others, and I'd like to be able to see it easily) but where it can easily be covered up or just not very visible to others? I considered getting it in white ink, but since that seems to be something most artists are inexperienced with and can't guarentee, I've decided against it. Is there a particular color ink that is more subtle? Light gray, perhaps?

The last qualm I have is that, being so straight-laced, I have no friends with tattoo experience, and, therefore, no idea where I should go or what I should ask if/when i were to get this tattoo. Granted, it'd be a simple enough design, but since tattoos are so permenent, I don't want to risk allergy/infection/generally crappy artwork. Any advice for an ignorant and nervous first-timer?

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@MELewis I was a high achieving, *somewhat* straight-laced, choir-thumper high school student that now works in non-profit as a caseworker for the homeless. I think it varies from job to job, but I am planning on tattooing my entire right arm within the next 6 months. My job is fairly lenient, but I do have to cover up for events and I personally make the choice to cover up when working in the field. You may want to check out the 'Tattoos in the workplace' thread on here as people share their range of experiences.

Where are you located so we can suggest artists and shops near you?

Also, if you are set on getting a tattoo, consider placement if you'd like it covered, but make sure to get the tattoo you want. Don't settle for a lighter contrast tattoo just so passerbys may not spot it.

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Glad to hear I'm not the only chorister who likes tattoos! :)

I'm thinking about going with collar bone/shoulder blade since it'd be fairly easy to intentionally hide or show with the right sleeves and hairstyles. The subtly is as much a personal choice as a practical one: since it is so meaningful I don't want it to be super overt and in people's face, I want it to be more a delicate murmur of self expression, if that makes sense.

I live on the east side of pittsburgh, with easy access to oakland (the student district with the most tattoo shops around from what I can tell.) I might wait until I'm in college to get it done to avoid dealing with parental disapproval, in which case I'd be looking for a place in Utica, New York.

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When I was considering getting my first tattoo (which I did just over a week ago) I first experimented using custom temporary tattoos with my close-to-final design in the place I planned to put the actual thing.

I found this both enabled me to check how the thing would look and check the visibility.

I have mine on my upper arm, and I found that it was well covered by normal T-shirt sleeves which is what I wanted.

Of course a temporary tattoo won't look exactly the same as a real tattoo and you have to take that into consideration!

But you can certainly check the overall look and placement.

The place I used was this one:

https://www.straytats.com/

You upload a graphics file and specify a size. Cost was reasonable and turn round was pretty quick.

There may well be other places which are just as good.

When I showed my tattooer the photos I'd taken of the custom temporary tattoo to show where I wanted it, he was quite impressed.

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But you can certainly check the overall look and placement.

The place I used was this one:

https://www.straytats.com/

You upload a graphics file and specify a size. Cost was reasonable and turn round was pretty quick.

Neat. I could see making custom tattoos for a group running a race or something. About 20 of us ran one of those foam fest obstacle races and we ran in costume - this would be cool to add to a custom look.

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