Many people go out and get tattoos without first thinking clearly about what they are going to get. They will show up at a tattoo parlor and lie back after telling the artist what they want, and once the ink has been put on they often sit forward for a look and are appalled by what they see. The important lesson to take from the experiences of these people is that a tattoo is permanent and getting one that looks bad will haunt you for some time. You should be absolutely clear about what you want the tattoo to look like, as the risks of permanent disfigurement are high.
Before you even step inside a tattoo parlor you should either draw or print out a picture to represent what you want drawn on you. This leaves no room for misinterpretation, something which can happen all too easily, particularly if you ask for something a little more esoteric or intricate than usual. It also gives the artist himself something to work from – just as oils and canvas artists work from photographs a lot of the time.
Tattoos can cost a lot of money, and the more intricate ones can look either excellent or horrific. Avoiding being in the second group requires having a firm idea and communicating it clearly. The more examples you have at your disposal, the better. And if you want a tattoo that is all text, perhaps a quote from a song or a book, write it down and spell it clearly. Typos may be OK in an e-mail to a friend, but on your skin they are another matter.