Sounds like you've got a good idea around what you want, just not the absolute specifics. This can actually be more beneficial: Find an artist in your area whose style/portfolio you like (traditional, neo-traditional, photo-realistic, etc). Once you find one, schedule a consult, bring in your sketch, ideas, and any other example images you can find that have aspects you enjoy and talk with the artist.
They'll work with you to help implement a design that will look good in tattoo form (some images on paper/screen don't translate exactly the same into tattoo form well), take your deposit, and present you a stencil of the design the day of your scheduled tattoo. You can make any final alterations then if needed, then you're ready to go!
Good luck, let us know how it turns out!
i have a few large, multi-session tattoos and plenty of one shot tattoos, so i know and love the feelings of each. i've also thought about this in the past after starting and completing the multi-session pieces.
one shot tattoos get you that instant gratification. they can be sign posts thru life or little things to remember. they work better for collectors who want to get tattooed by many different tattooers and have different experiences or vibes. they can fill the itch quickly, with little to no thought.
large, multi-sessions tattoos are a whole other experience. It takes planning, commitment and dedication which increases the level of gratification. Each step along the way gets you closer to the finished product and furthers the anticipation. Schedule a consult. Consult. First session line work. Shading. Color. Details. The final wipe down. BEING DONE. There are times when you dread going in for that one part that's gonna hurt like a motherfucker. There's the joy when you see that part done and you know that a tattoo needle never has to touch that part again, for the rest of this lifetime. You build up a relationship and familiarity with your artist.
You can still get some of those same feelings with smaller tattoos. You can get a body suit of one shot pieces by the same artist. You can plan how all those pieces are gonna fit together and get the gratification of getting each spot done.
here are a couple examples by Paul Dobleman and you gotta love both! It's really just the aesthetic and experience that each individual is seeking, and that journey is as different as can be. (by the way, @Nadams1024, the mermaids are facing outwards and it's still right).
i guess this is just a long-winded way of saying that it's all good, to each his own, just keep getting tattooed!!