Your first tattoo is just like your first love - it’s either the worst choice of your life or the sweetest thing you could’ve hoped for. Nevertheless, it’s a thing you’ll remember for the rest of your days - one etched into your heart and the other inked onto your skin. But, of course, there’s one difference. If with love, you don’t really get to choose who you fall for, then with a tattoo, it’s always your own decision. So, if you are ready to fall in love with your first tattoo, we’ve gathered a list full of prime choices for your ink. 

As a tattooed person myself, I can tell you this much - if you fall for a specific, seemingly meaningless design, the connotation to it will come later on. And vice versa for sure! If you have a meaningful idea but no particular way of expressing it, then give doodling a shot. Or, if you are desperately bad at putting your thoughts into shapes and lines, then talk to your tattoo artist, and you’ll come up with a tattoo design together. Either way, some of the ink examples that we’ve featured below might catch your eye, and then you can put your meaning or your drawing ideas into the composition to make it your own.

To make sure that your first tattoo is a happy kind of love, not only have we gathered design suggestions for you to choose from, but we have also talked to Nicoletta Trifiro. She’s a professional tattooist whose works reflect the old-school tattoo style, based in London and Italy. You can see her gorgeous works on her Instagram page, and maybe she’ll be the one that’ll give you your first ink. See what kind of advice she gave to tattoo first-timers below!

#1

Man Tattooed His Daughter’s Last Drawing Before She Passed Away

Man Tattooed His Daughter’s Last Drawing Before She Passed Away

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#2

Tattooed Some New Brows On A Client With Alopecia

Tattooed Some New Brows On A Client With Alopecia

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To make your decision about whether your first tattoo should be a meaningful one or just a cute design, we’ve asked Nicoletta’s opinion on the matter. She told us that, “Usually, on the first tattoo, it is much more common to get a meaningful one - something for yourself or to be done together with friends or family. But this trend is changing quickly, and I have tattooed many people for the first one with something they just like because they like my work.” She also added that “I guess nowadays people are much more informed and passionate about the tattoo industry than before.” I think that it’s the internet to be thankful for that - whole lotta articles and ideas to read and to choose from!

Nicoletta has also confirmed our guess about the designs people choose most often for their first ink. And no, it isn’t usually a dragon covering half of your body or your ex’s name on your chest, but rather “little symbols or a quote”. Nothing that requires a considerable commitment, but rather some cherished memorabilia or daily inspiration.

#7

Finally Got The Tattoo I’ve Always Wanted!

Finally Got The Tattoo I’ve Always Wanted!

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#8

Decided To Get My First Tattoo On My 23rd! Thanks Ty! (Kindhand Tattoo/Menomonie)

Decided To Get My First Tattoo On My 23rd! Thanks Ty! (Kindhand Tattoo/Menomonie)

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#9

First Tattoo! Clarinet Designed By My Father And Done By Pascal Guimond At Sinister Skin In Port Moody BC

First Tattoo! Clarinet Designed By My Father And Done By Pascal Guimond At Sinister Skin In Port Moody BC

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Purely out of curiosity, we asked about Nicoletta’s, as a professional tattoo artist, pet peeves from a tattoo design perspective, to which she replied, “I normally refuse to ink something downloaded from the internet, which is some other artist’s work.” But what to do if you’ve already fallen in love with the design? Well, then Nicoletta advises to “modify it to make it custom and unique.” See, there’s always a way! Besides feeling strongly about stuff downloaded from the internet, she refuses to ink something even remotely suggestive or related to disrespectful ideologies.

#11

Teach A Man To Fish... Then Tattoo His Leg

Teach A Man To Fish... Then Tattoo His Leg

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Archer Harris
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one needs to be higher up. That is hilarious

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Lastly, she kindly shared her advice to every tattoo first-timer and emphasized the importance of talking to your tattoo artist before actually going under the needle. “Ask as many questions as you need to make you feel confident about it and comfortable with the process - there are no stupid questions or requests.” She also added that she’s always open to listening to people’s stories, which helps give sense to a tattoo design that’s being created. So there you have it - trust in your chosen tattooist, don’t forget to speak to them openly about your wishes, and you’ll be fine!  

Thank you, Nicoletta, for sharing your insights with us, and if you’ve missed it before - here’s her Instagram profile and her stunning tattoo designs! Oh, and best of luck in this year’s The Great British Tattoo Show!

#18

My First Major Tattoo! It’s My Pup Bentley, Who Has Been The Best Part Of My Life. By Brandon Thurston At Bloodmoon Gallery, NC

My First Major Tattoo! It’s My Pup Bentley, Who Has Been The Best Part Of My Life. By Brandon Thurston At Bloodmoon Gallery, NC

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#24

A Small Painting. Les Coquelicots (Monet) By La Fragile At White Whale Tattoo Society (Padua, Italy)

A Small Painting. Les Coquelicots (Monet) By La Fragile At White Whale Tattoo Society (Padua, Italy)

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#27

A Galaxy

A Galaxy

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A B C
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Those colours are amazing! I love the goldish copper.

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#28

My Latest Tattoo, Winnie The Pooh And Friends By Ashley June At 522 Tattoo Just North Of Seattle

My Latest Tattoo, Winnie The Pooh And Friends By Ashley June At 522 Tattoo Just North Of Seattle

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#31

A Snowflake

A Snowflake

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No.
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

this reminds of that one scene from frozen when elsa sings let it go (first chorus) and makes little snowflakes that sparkle <3

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#32

The Earth

The Earth

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aiyshag
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

so simple and clean. nice!

#33

Tiny Book

Tiny Book

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Francis
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

the tinier and the more narrow the lines the more it gonna look like sh*t in some years. the lines gonna fade and blurr. but it looks pretty the first months

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#36

My First Tattoo Had To Be A Sentimental One, My Moms Favorite Saying To Me In Her Hand Writing! Done By Elekktra At Beneath The Surface In Las Vegas, Nevada

My First Tattoo Had To Be A Sentimental One, My Moms Favorite Saying To Me In Her Hand Writing! Done By Elekktra At Beneath The Surface In Las Vegas, Nevada

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Vicky Z
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would never make such a choice because "don't forget to take a jacket" wouldn't be so cool for a tattoo

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#38

Got My Very First Star Wars Tattoo. One Of The Most Memorable Scenes

Got My Very First Star Wars Tattoo. One Of The Most Memorable Scenes

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#40

Fibonacci Spiral

Fibonacci Spiral

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Note: this post originally had 200 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.