I got my first tattoo at the age of 40, yet I had spent many years exploring the possibilities before I went final. One option is a henna tattoo. They are temporary, yet pretty. Try one on and see how you like it. Traditionally in India, the henna tattoos are on your hands and feet but you can easily find someone in the West willing to mimic the permanent tattoo you want in the place you want it. I thought about putting it on my back. That way it doesn't clash with the neck line of different clothing you wear. After testing the spot with a henna tattoo I realized you can have the same issue with a back placement tattoo. If it is located on your shoulder, it can still fight with the neck line of shirts and dresses, only worse, you won't be aware of it. No matter how expensive the tattoo, if it's half in and half out, so to speak, it doesn't look right.

You can also use tattoo software, both to create tattoos, print out flash out lines for the designer, or to muse with placements on your body. Another tricky spot for a tattoo is the back of the neck. It seems like a good idea because it can be as obvious or hidden as your hairstyle. The problem is, if you wear a braid, you may find people in line behind you at the grocery store moving the braid to the side to get a better view. If you are not keen on being touched, don't place tattoos in odd places like that.

For the frontal view, never obstructed tattoo, the face and side of the neck are common. In the South Pacific, where I am from, tribal tattoos are common. The son of a chief may have full body tattoos, or facial ones. I have also noticed since moving to Southern California that many people tattoo a "tear" on their cheek, or tattoo eyeliner on their eyelids. The tear can be a statement at the time you get it, but beware, if you don't go back for ten year touch ups, it might start looking like a mole after a while.

Dragon tattoos are common in Asia. I have seen some very elaborate very beautiful full color and one color dragons. You can even search engine, "dragon flash" to get ideas. The tribal tattoos I saw were more geometric and rarely had an animal picture. The Japanese tattoos were the much more elaborate, some people with full body coverings even donate their skin after death to tattoo museums. Butterflies, bridges, fans, and ladies in kimono are all common Japanese themes. You can run up a bill in the thousands for big pictures like that, and they won't be completed in one day.

Some people tattoo to make themselves look like something, like a cat or a monster. Worked in conjunction with piercing they look really wild. For free tattooing ideas you can search engine the internet for some peoples of these people. For a while there was an email going around that was not for the faint of heart. It showed some (real) characters with split tongues, pierced faces, and even horns and screws implanted into their heads. It's a subculture! IF you are in a band, and the look brings you business, I guess it isn't any different than the way these Southern California real estate broker ladies do Botox and breast implants.

For myself, I decided it was important to have a tattoo that was not visible all the time. For that reason forearms were out for me. The same with leg tattoos. I have seen nice tattoos, especially ones with words, sayings, or names on people's arms and legs, it just wasn't for me. My yoga teacher has a tattoo in Sanskrit on her back, and my former husband got my name written in Sinhalese on his arm. It's interesting also to use Chinese or Japanese Kanji characters. Although if you don't speak the language be extra careful! One missing stroke and your beautiful tattoo might say something like "fat cow" instead of Holy Cow like you wanted!

Celtic, Art Deco, and geometrical tribal tattoos look good on almost everyone. When I was down in southern Mexico a couple years ago it seemed like every girl at the beach had some kind of design on their lower back. Situated just above the bikini line, it looked very nice. It is exactly the kind of placement that is either visible or not, and never fights with your clothing. Some of the more popular ones were suns, tree frogs, mushrooms, hearts and flowers.

You can search clip art for designs, or just wander the tattoo studios looking at what they have. It is a good idea anyway to check out what each artist in a shop can do. That way even if you bring in your own design you can see if the artist routinely does similar stuff. I had a nephew who had one awards with his very beautiful, very well shaded Elvis Presley tattoos. The works looked like photographs. I have also seen some pretty bad tattoos taken from photographs. It's definitely a specialty to be able to work from a photograph.

Any tattoo parlor will have a gallery with their stock designs. These usually include a rose, roses, hearts that are open you can put words or names inside of, cartoon and anime characters, and crosses. For some reason, even though the Old Testament speaks against both cutting and tattooing, many Christians like to have Christ and crosses tattooed onto them. I think it has something to do with the permanence of the statement. If you are going to get the full Christ hanging on the Cross, I would go to someone who works well with photographs and can make an artistic rendering. There's nothing less holy, than having it look cartoonish and amateur. A bible verse that means a lot to you, or the serenity prayer is also an interesting tattoo.