What Not To Do When Getting Your Next Tattoo

Don't make the same mistakes most guys make when getting a tattoo.

Kieran Legg |

Meet Waldo Del Rocca.

He’s the owner of Cape Electric Tattoo, and founder of the South African International Tattoo Convention.

We asked him for his expertise on getting inked…

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Will getting a tattoo hurt my job prospects?


We still live in a fairly conservative society, and people judge you on your appearance. But I didn’t get a tattoo because it has a good rap. Tattooing is mysterious and unpredictable, and it would be nice – to some extent – to keep it that way. Visible tattoos (especially bad ones) will definitely hurt your job prospects; but once you’re set in your profession and career, it’s a different scenario entirely. So if you’re still looking for work and indecisive about your career path, keep your tattoos discreet. Any respectable tattoo artist will not tattoo your hands, neck or face, not as long as you aren’t at least 60% to 70% covered in designs already.

Tats dedicated to your girlfriend, wife, um, friend with benefits – yeah or nay?

I’d always ask a guy the following the questions: a) how long have you been together, b) are you married, and c) why do you want their name on your skin?

If you’ve been together for less than ten years, I would recommend rethinking getting a tattoo of her name.

Good compromise: choose an image that reminds you of her, just in case you go your separate ways (you don’t want your next partner stuck staring at her name). It’ll save you the moolah of costly and lengthy laser removal sessions or cover-up tat.

Related: The Beginner’s Guide To Couple’s Sex Toys

What’s the best way to tell if a tattoo artist is good?

Their portfolio of completed work is what you want. Look for consistency; flat, straight and consistent lines, well-saturated colour, striking contrast and well-proportioned designs.

Ask to see their healed tattoos, as these will give you the best grasp of the artist’s consistency. In my experience – working all over the world – if a tattoo artist feels the need to boast, they’re probably not as good as they claim.

What are red flags that scream “This tattoo shop is dodgy – avoid at all costs”?

It’s all about presentation. If artists take pride in their shop, they will put in the effort for their clients. But if it looks dodgy, it’s probably dodgy. Telltale signs: a tattoo artist who looks like he’s been up drinking till 5am and smells like shit. Just stay away. Another red flag: when the owner isn’t an artist himself. It’s a warning that there’s no quality control, and you will most probably end up with a mediocre tattoo.

Related: What You Can Learn From Her Tattoos

Tattoo Traps

Avoid these massive mistakes most guys make when getting a tattoo.

  • Being a control freak: Waldo has seen it before: guys who try to micromanage every line. “They’re trying to control the design process and put zero trust in their artist, and don’t leave room for the artist’s interpretation.”
  • Haggling over price: In the tattoo shop, you get what you pay for, warns Waldo. “Don’t ever haggle over the price,” he adds.
  • Going overboard: “I’ve seen guys trying to fit the 100 tattoos they’ve saved from Pinterest onto their phones into a single tattoo,” says Waldo. Less is more.

Follow Waldo on Instagram (@waldodelrocca) or visit www.capeelectrictattoo.co.za

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