- Table of Contents
- 1. Choose a Motorcycle Tattoo Design That Works for You!
- 1.1 Get a Motorcycle Tattoo in Colors That Complement Your Skin Tone
- 1.2 Understanding Different Motorcycle Tattoo Styles
- 2. What’s the Best Spot For Your First Motorcycle Tattoo?
- 3. What to Look for in a Tattoo Parlor Before Getting Your Motorcycle Tattoo
- 4. What to Do Before the Final Tattoo Session
- 5. What to Expect During the Tattoo Session
- 6. How to Prepare for the Pain of Getting a Tattoo
- 7. Get Proper Tattoo Aftercare
- 8. Useful Tips to Know Before Getting Your First Motorcycle Tattoo
- 8.1 Keep It Simple & Small
- 8.2 Easy Removal
- 8.3 Never Look for Unrealistic Discounts
- 8.4 Check Out Sample Tattoo Designs
- 9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 9.1 Why Don’t Tattoo Parlors Have Anaesthesia?
- 9.2 What is the World’s First Tattooed Motorcycle?
- 9.3 How Long Should I Wait Before Getting Another Motorcycle Tattoo?
- 9.4 Are You Too Old to Get Your First Motorcycle Tattoo if You Are 45 Years Old or Above?
- 9.5 When Can I Work Out After Getting My First Motorcycle Tattoo?
- 9.6 Can I Drive After a Half-Sleeve Motorcycle Tattoo?
- 10. Takeaway
Motorcycles and tattoos are both symbols of freedom. It makes sense that motorcycles are popularly displayed as tattoos. Today, the American motorcycle culture has become full of tattoos featuring motorcycle engines, handlebars, fairings, and other motorcycle parts.
Tattoos are more than body art; they are a lifetime commitment you carry on your skin. The growing acceptance of tattoos in society has encouraged many motorcycle enthusiasts to get their first tattoos. However, many motorcycle riders sign up for their first tattoos without preparing for the process.
This guide discusses things that you need to know before getting your first motorcycle tattoo.
1. Choose a Motorcycle Tattoo Design That Works for You!
Photo Credit: @redbull
Choosing the right design for your first motorcycle tattoo is important. Today, there is a near-infinite selection of motorcycle tattoo designs available on the internet and at tattoo parlors. Here is what you can do while deciding on your first motorcycle tattoo:
- Extensive Research
Though time-consuming, it is best to research motorcycle tattoo designs online or by visiting the best tattoo parlors nearby. Compare and contrast the styles, shading patterns, and color schemes before settling on the tattoo you want.
- Personal Expression & Relevance
Your motorcycle tattoo can have some relevance to your personality or important moments in your life. You will want a design that you would not want to get rid of within a couple of weeks or months. You can also get a motorcycle tattoo appropriate for your workplace.
- Know Someone with a Tattoo? Seek Advice
While it is best not to copy or be influenced by other peoples’ tattoos, you can find inspiration or get advice from those who already have tattoos. They can help you find the best tattoo shops nearby with the best motorcycle tattoo designs.
If you don’t have a friend with a motorcycle tattoo, go through the official social media pages and websites of tattoo parlors. Read customer reviews, check their portfolios, and approach people who have gotten their tattoos at these parlors. This way, you will not be tricked by fake reviews or be accused of stolen work.
If you have a specific tattoo design in mind, discuss it with a close friend or family member. They will help you decide whether the design is a true reflection of your personality and style.
- Approach Tattoo Artists
Once you have done your research and sought advice, consult the tattoo artist whose work resonates with you. Your tattoo artist can help you in the following ways:
- To decide on a design
- To improve or customize a design to your liking
- To translate a virtual image in your mind on paper
1.2 Get a Motorcycle Tattoo in Colors That Complement Your Skin Tone
Tattoo enthusiasts with darker skin tones should opt for darker colors. While they can also get tattoos with lighter shades, these colors would not stand out as much. The best colors for darker skin tones are red, orange, yellow, blue, dark green, and black.
On the other hand, most color schemes seem highly pigmented on lighter skin tones. The best colors for lighter skin tones are white, pale pink, light blue, and gold.
1.3 Understanding Different Motorcycle Tattoo Styles
Photo Credit: @pinterest
While choosing a tattoo style, make sure you find an artist who specializes in designing it. Next, see if the style compliments your personality. Let’s look at the most popular motorcycle tattoo styles:
- Trash Polka
Trash polka motorcycle tattoos are a combination of surreal, mystical, and real-life images. It is a graphic tattoo that mostly comes in black and scarlet.
Abstract motorcycle tattoos feature images, geometric patterns, and designs that have no explicit connection with real-life objects. Abstract motorcycle tattoos are the second most popular motorcycle tattoos after trash polka.
- American Traditional
American traditional motorcycle tattoos are classic tattoos inspired by sailor symbols. These tattoos are known for black outlines and limited use of color.
Neo-traditional motorcycle tattoos are inspired by older tattoos but also give them a modern touch. These tattoos feature fresh colors, thin lines, and natural elements mixed with geometric shapes.
Motorcycle tattoos based on realism portray an image or a story with a photorealistic effect.
Old school, or traditional motorcycle tattoos are inspired by biker tattoos from the 1940s and 1950s. They are characterized by bold thick black lines and dark colors.
Tribal motorcycle tattoos have unique patterns and symbols sacred to different cultures and tribes. Many of these tattoos draw inspiration from a Native American or Polynesian culture. Tribal motorcycle tattoos are worn by motorcyclists who belong to or are descendants of native tribes. These kinds of tattoos often feature a small motorcycle hidden within a tribal pattern.
Watercolor motorcycle tattoos feature delicate images in soft or vibrant colors. There are no sharp lines, creating an illusion of flowing colors. Watercolor motorcycle tattoos are popular body art for women motorcyclists.
Blackwork motorcycle tattoos have an all-black tattoo categorized by bold imagery, complex patterns, or simple motifs grafted in black ink.
Also Read: 10 Harley Davidson Tattoo Designs for Men
2. What’s the Best Spot For Your First Motorcycle Tattoo?
If you are a student or work in an environment where tattoos are not well received, then you should not get your first tattoo on a visible part of your body. It is best to get your first tattoo on one of your forearms, behind your ears, upper arms, or shoulders. Tattoos in these areas can be covered or displayed depending on the environment and circumstances.
Even if you don’t have workplace restrictions, ask yourself if you want others to see your tattoo? Is your tattoo only for you to see? If so, then would you like to have it on a part of your body where you can easily see it or would you prefer it to be hidden? Here are the best five spots for men and women to get their first tattoo:
- Upper Arm
- Back of the Neck
- Back of the Ear
3. What to Look for in a Tattoo Parlor Before Getting Your Motorcycle Tattoo
Visiting possible tattoo parlors is part of getting a tattoo. It allows you to select a design that you prefer and also helps you narrow down the list of tattoo parlors that best suit your needs.
While choosing a tattoo parlor, here are some important factors you should take into consideration:
In America, each state has different licensing laws, rules, and regulations for tattoo shops. Learn about the rules in your state and check to see if the tattoo parlor of your choice has proper licensing. A tattoo artist’s certification and shop’s license should be displayed in the shop, on the official website, and social media.
Hygiene & Environment
Here are quick tips to help you inspect the hygiene of a tattoo shop:
- They should have autoclaves to sterilize reusable tattoo equipment
- A sealed sterile needle should be used for each session
- The shop should have collection boxes for disposables
- They should have single-use colors
- They should use disinfectants frequently
4. What to Do Before the Final Tattoo Session
Now that you are satisfied with the hygiene and safety standards of the tattoo shop, here are the final steps to take before you finally get a tattoo:
Approach the tattoo artist as a potential client. Set up a consultation to discuss your final design and cost. You might also need to have follow-up meetings to revise your tattoo design. If you are on medication, then inform your tattoo artist. Some medicines have blood-thinning properties and can result in complications when getting a tattoo.
- The Night Before
Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, and sleeping pills, and make sure to get a full night of rest.
- Final Appointment
The day you get a tattoo, try to arrive early to discuss any concerns or minor details with the tattoo artist. Sign the required consent letter and other paperwork before getting your tattoo.
4.1 How Long After a Tattoo Consultation is the Appointment?
Once you have finalized your tattoo design, you can get your tattoo the same day. Popular artists can make you wait for a month or longer depending on their appointment schedule.
5. What to Expect During the Tattoo Session
Once you take your place at the tattoo studio, your tattoo artist will first disinfect the area where the tattoo will be grafted and remove any hair with a razor. After cleaning the site, the artist will apply an ointment to soften the skin and make applying the tattoo more comfortable.
Next, the tattoo artist will put the tattoo stencil on your skin, adjusting it until you are happy with the placement. He/she will then create an outline of your tattoo and fill in the colors.
Once the tattoo is done, the tattoo artist will clean the part of your body and apply ointment again. For larger tattoos, bandages may also be applied.
6. How to Prepare for the Pain of Getting a Tattoo
When getting a tattoo, the insertion of needles and grafting will result in varying degrees of pain. To better handle the pain, you need to be aware of your level of pain tolerance. The size and placement of the tattoos can also affect how much pain you experience. Sensitive areas with a large number of nerve endings and getting a detailed tattoo will result in more pain. You may experience vibrations, stinging sensations, and burning.
If you have low pain tolerance, avoid getting your first motorcycle tattoo on these body parts:
The least painful areas to get your first motorcycle tattoo include:
- Shoulder-Arm Joints
- Upper Thigh Area
- Upper Back
Photo Credit: @tinytattooinc
6.1 Tips to Handle Tattoo Pain
- Relax your muscles
- Practice breathing deeply
- Take breaks
- Use numbing sprays, balms, or salves during and after the session (if you don’t mind discoloration)
- Distract yourself by engaging in conversation.
7. Get Proper Tattoo Aftercare
Once your tattoo is done, you must follow the tattoo artists’ self-care guidelines as your tattoo will need time to heal properly. The tattoo artist will apply ointment and a bandage onto your tattoo. After 24 hours, remove the bandage and wash your tattoo with water and soap. Also apply ointment or balm as recommended by the tattoo artist. Usually, this process is repeated twice per day for three weeks.
Neglecting after care can result in swelling and infections. Skin peeling after getting a tattoo is normal, but if peeling persists longer than a week, it may indicate an infection.
8. Useful Tips to Know Before Getting Your First Motorcycle Tattoo
8.1 Keep It Simple & Small
It is common to get elaborate motorcycle tattoos, but they tend to fade as you age. Over time, the finer details of an elaborate tattoo grow wider, darker colors look washed out, and sharp outlines lose their edge.
Small tattoos with a lot of detail are reduced to blurred images after a few years. Hence, it is better to keep it simple, even if you are opting for a full-sleeve motorcycle tattoo.
It is best to take a small section of an elaborate motorcycle tattoo and turn it into a large yet simple tattoo.
8.2 Easy Removal
Though tattoos are usually permanent, it is possible to remove them. Before you get a tattoo, make sure that you are satisfied with the design so that you do not have regrets later. A small and simple motorcycle tattoo is preferred since it is easier to remove. Possible tattoo removal methods include laser therapy, surgical excision, dermabrasion, etc.
Also Read: How to Remove a Permanent Tattoo From Skin?
8.3 Never Look for Unrealistic Discounts
Applying tattoos is hard work, requiring hand and eye coordination, attention to detail, and unique artistic skills. Accomplished tattoo artists do not work for less. If you find a discounted deal that is too good to be true, stay away from it. You can negotiate the price, but do not expect overly generous discounts.
8.4 Check Out Sample Tattoo Designs
When choosing your tattoo artist, also check his/her previous works. Portfolio images should contain the highlights of the artist’s career, primarily including fresh tattoos.
9.1 Why Don’t Tattoo Parlors Have Anaesthesia?
Anesthesia is an expensive medical procedure that can only be administered by an anaesthesiologist. Numbing creams can be applied to the tattoo area, but they may cause discoloration of tattoos.
9.2 What is the World’s First Tattooed Motorcycle?
Game Over Cycles designed the world’s first tattooed motorcycle known as the Recidivist. Worth about $1 million, this tattooed motorcycle is a Harley Davidson Softail Heritage model with many custom parts and a sidecar. When making tattoos, the team first wrapped the motorcycle in leather and then grafted motorcycle tattoos on it. It took 125 days to construct this unique motorcycle and more than 104 days to tattoo it.
9.3 How Long Should I Wait Before Getting Another Motorcycle Tattoo?
At least 2-4 weeks. There is nothing wrong with getting more than one tattoo at once, but it is better to let your first tattoo heal before getting another one.
9.4 Are You Too Old to Get Your First Motorcycle Tattoo if You Are 45 Years Old or Above?
You are never too old to get a motorcycle tattoo. Just make sure to first get clearance from a doctor, preferably a dermatologist.
9.5 When Can I Work Out After Getting My First Motorcycle Tattoo?
Ideally, it is best to wait for four weeks to let your tattoo heal properly. If you don’t want to wait that long, wait at least 72 hours and only engage in low-intensity exercises.
9.6 Can I Drive After a Half-Sleeve Motorcycle Tattoo?
Yes, you can ride after getting a half-sleeve or any other type of arm tattoo.
Most motorcycle tattoos are products of a memorable journey or emotional attachment to one's motorcycle. However, your first motorcycle tattoo need not have a deep secret or an underlying story. You can get your first tattoo for fun or to overcome your fear of tattoo pain. It will also help you see if you like getting your skin inked.
For a satisfying experience, follow the steps and tips provided in this guide. And you will always walk away happy, whether it is your first motorcycle tattoo or one of many.