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 Siblings Tattoo

Image credits: tattoobabystuttgart

#2 The Earth

Image credits: bom.tattooer

#3 Fibonacci Spiral

Image credits: axelvanderwaal

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!

#4 Dinosaur Family

Image credits: east_01

#5 Tiny Book

Image credits: wittybutton_tattoo

#6 Small Branch

Image credits: heeyajenny

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 Vines

Image credits: handitrip

#8 Notes Of A Song

Image credits: nadrraw

#9 Pine Trees

Image credits: leehumphs_tattooer

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.

#10 An Airplane

Image credits: som__tattoo

#11 City Skyline

Image credits: skepsis.ink

#12 A Seal

Image credits: buoythefishlover

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!

#13 A Snowflake

Image credits: pt78tattoo

#14 Quote From Your Favorite Character

Image credits: chrisbeta916

#15 Your Favorite Dessert

Image credits: tattooist_basil

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

Image credits: _BaleineBleue_

#17 Paper Plane

Image credits: Magnetron85

#18 Tattoo Under UV

Image credits: MrMemeFirst

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

Image credits: Killatopia

#20 My First Tattoo. Creation Of Adam

Image credits: BreathesFreely

#21 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

Image credits: viblical

#22 Northern Lights

Image credits: noran_ink

#23 Abstract Art

Image credits: nemo.tattoo

#24 Love Yourself

Image credits: panta_choi

#25 Flower Ring

Image credits: haeyum.o_o

#26 Pulse Check

Image credits: _____tukoi_____

#27 Blue Birds

Image credits: mini_tattooer

#28 A Pair Of Glasses

Image credits: playground_tat2

#29 A Dragonfly

Image credits: _fraudi_

#30 Minimalist Flowers

Image credits: wittybutton tattoo

#31 A Tie

Image credits: wittybutton tattoo

#32 A Black Lotus

Image credits: wittybutton tattoo

#33 A Minimalist Bracelet

Image credits: Bicem Sinik

#34 An Equation

Image credits: nieun_tat2

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

Image credits: dunham-doodles

#36 A Slice Of Pizza

Image credits: thiagodelaia

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

Image credits: ml-soham

#38 The Simpsons

Image credits: amazing_cucumber

#39 Cherry Blossoms

Image credits: ilwolhongdam

#40 Minimalist Nature (My First Tattoo)

Image credits: RastaMcDouble

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

Image credits: mrcrs

#42 A Bracelet

Image credits: indigoforevertattoos

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

Image credits: Acymru

#44 Love For Travel

Image credits: vivotattoo

#45 A Lemon Branch

Image credits: pineneedle.pokes

#46 Wedding Rings

Image credits: seankilleffer

#47 A Galaxy

Image credits: obi1.0

#48 Tripping Tattoo

Image credits: girolski07

#49 Pixel Art

Image credits: zzang.ga_tattoo

#50 Spilled Coffee

Image credits: guugaa9

#51 My Shoulder Kronks By Peter Ferguson At Funhouse Tattoo (Vancouver, B.C.)

Image credits: SFRoussimoff

#52 An Elephant

Image credits: tattooist_banul

#53 Autumn Leaves

Image credits: inspirationtattoo

#54 A Dandelion

Image credits: saintmichaeltattoo

#55 Smile

Image credits: homeboytattooer

#56 Waves

Image credits: misspokestattoo

#57 A Fish

Image credits: annoetattoos

#58 Atom Tattoo

Image credits: aluna.tattoo

#59 Soundwave

Image credits: tattoobychang

#60 An Astronaut. Tattoo By Miles Kanne, At Tech Noir In Victoria, Bc.

Image credits: newnwoooo

#61 Scar Cover-Up

Image credits: Yulinka17

#62 Combination Of Styles

Image credits: OLDSKYLbI

#63 Sunflower Tattoo By Dawn At Sweet Needles Tattoo In SLC, UT!

Image credits: AggravatedSalad

#64 Our Little Sock Thief, Done By Mr. Heggie At Deadslowco, Brighton

Image credits: sbaghetticarbonara

#65 A Hedgehog

Image credits: haeyum.o_o

#66 Smiley Face

Image credits: wittybutton_tattoo

#67 Crystal Moon

Image credits: tattooist_banul

#68 My First Tattoo

Your Favorite Pokemon!

Image credits: Pixitt

#69 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

Image credits: lolidkimjustakitten

#70 A Panda

Image credits: awit.arts

#71 My First Time Getting A Tattoo, A Cowboy Cactus. Done By Mike Stout At Top Boy Tattoo, Brighton

Image credits: Mickyjam1

#72 Cheetah, Inspired By Untamed By Glennon Doyle, Ink By Danny Pennie Of Ink & Anvil, Cambridge, On

Image credits: ErroneousRecipe

#73 Got My First Tattoo This Week, A Simple Reminder That Means A Lot To Me

Your Favorite Tweet

Image credits: tipz1o

#74 Tiny Cat

Image credits: playground_tat2

#75 A Violin

Image credits: compondoseusom

#76 Two Faces

Image credits: hannahnova_tattoo

#77 An Elephant

Image credits: playground_tat2/

#78 Cat On A Back

Image credits: playground_tat2/

#79 Paper Plane Foot Tattoo

Image credits: dreamed_dream

#80 A Rose

Image credits:

#81 Mercury’s Wings (Talaria) By Barış At Barış Polat Tattoo Studio In Ankara, Turkey

Image credits: ninostark

#82 Maple Leaf

Image credits: tattoograin

#83 Coordinates

Image credits: tinytatsatx

#84 Paw Prints

Image credits: tattoosbyeloise

#85 A Heart

Image credits: artcoholicph.official

#86 Studio Ghibli

Image credits: nanas_tattoo

#87 A Rabbit

Image credits: opossum_blues

#88 A Rubiks Cube

Image credits: dittattoo

#89 Smiley

Image credits: luna.fino

#90 Tattooed Some New Brows On A Client With Alopecia

Image credits: lynneasomething

#91 A Sloth

Image credits: AlexAndertheAble

#92 A Manga Panel

Image credits: oozy_tattoo

#93 Hello Kitty

Image credits: tat.boo

#94 A Poppy

Image credits: kikinoland

#95 Stars And A Planet

Image credits: wittybutton tattoo

#96 A Small Whale

Image credits: playground_tat2/

#97 Palm Tree

Image credits: neoul.tt

#98 Arrows

Image credits: klaratattooart

#99 The Moon

Image credits: tattoodo

#100 Planets

Image credits: wolfandbear.co

#101 A Seashell

Image credits: yardenmizrahi

#102 Chemical Formulas

Image credits: lolatattooist

#103 A Red Balloon

Image credits: ayhankrdg

#104 A Trident

Image credits: ami.playhouse

#105 A Heartbeat

Image credits: hybridink.helsinki

#106 A Favorite Number

Image credits: gregorifrancesca

#107 A Birth Year

Image credits: tamarafalcomer

#108 A Semicolon

Image credits: thehealthyhollows

#109 A Jellyfish

Image credits: anitadarkling

#110 Your Cats

Image credits: truetattoolondon

#111 Initials

Image credits: nillo.ink

#112 Four Leaf Clover

Image credits: tattoosbyina

#113 A Brain

Image credits: misspokestattoo

#114 Teach A Man To Fish… Then Tattoo His Leg

Image credits: FreshlyCutGrass976

#115 The Last Airbender. Thought You Guys Might Like My New Tattoo

Image credits: nickjackca

#116 A Cactus

Image credits: moganji

#117 An Orca

Image credits: fernandomejiastattoo

#118 Red Lambda

Image credits: pineneedle.pokes

#119 A Bouque

Image credits: picsola

#120 Your Own Zodiac Sign

Image credits: debs_tattoo_

#121 Feather

Image credits: cattlady54

#122 The Infinity Symbol

Image credits: yeowool_tattooer

#123 Dreamcatcher

Image credits: songe.tattoo

#124 A Starfish

Image credits: carolinatoscano

#125 A Bee

Image credits: lucietattoo

#126 A Willow Tree

Image credits: parry.w.s

#127 The Roman Numerals

Image credits: singletontattoo

#128 A Sailboat

Image credits: pokeeeeeeeoh

#129 Handwriting

Image credits: heather.corini

#130 A Clock

Image credits: sailors_ink

#131 Scar Coverup

Image credits: gil_sinner

#132 A Gramophone

Image credits: guadalupe.depaulis

#133 Bert And Ernie

Image credits: ahmet_cambaz

#134 Golden Gate Bridge

Image credits: ___dadc___

#135 Pair Of Dice

Image credits: eddie_dit

#136 Knitting Tattoo

Image credits: salvacata

#137 Smoke

Image credits: ink.feb24

#138 The Starry Night

Image credits: leehumphs_tattooer

#139 A Turtle

Image credits: platypus_tattoo

#140 Magnolia

Image credits: peria_tattoo

#141 Monkey D. Luffy

Image credits: Content-Ruin7538

#142 Drawing Compass

Image credits: zengertattoo

#143 Thunder

Image credits: evanatattoo

#144 Map Of The World

Image credits: contrastinktattoo

#145 A Crown

Image credits: its_banzo

#146 The Avengers

Image credits: epicgamerink

#147 The Deathly Hallows

Image credits: mitjaalder

#148 My Freshly Poked Shards Of Narsil Tattoo

Image credits: schishkaboob

#149 Runners High

Image credits: inkswell74

#150 Bone Anatomy

Image credits: truetattoolondon

#151 A Sand Clock

Image credits: tatuajeslaclinica

#152 A Ghost

Image credits: justinemaediaz

#153 I Went On A Date Today, He Proudly Showed Me This Tattoo

Image credits: btacceber

#154 First Tattoo Finally. Odin And His Two Ravens. By Merv Heiner

Image credits: zFarnsworth

#155 Something Spicy

Image credits: iporkedittattoo

#156 Calvin And Hobbes

Image credits: thebeeink

#157 A Collar Bone Snake

Image credits: nyinkstudio.914

#158 La La Land

Image credits: ink.feb24

#159 Shoe Laces

Image credits: panta_choi

#160 A Microchip

Image credits: okanuckun

#161 Mountain Range

Image credits: the_chaotic_ginger

#162 Stars

Image credits: irotasone

#163 A Compass

Image credits: ogiehollywood

#164 Owl

Image credits: ian_tattoos_

#165 A Coffee Cup

Image credits: latinbless

#166 A Matching Or Aligning Tattoo

Image credits: tattoofilter

#167 Mom

Image credits: deeenster

#168 Dad

Image credits: jakedelbene

#169 Game Of Thrones House Crest

Image credits: shadowstudio.ph

#170 Chef’s Knife

Image credits: f.dick_official

#171 Finally Got The Tattoo I’ve Always Wanted!

Image credits: blakerjames

#172 Aku Aku. My First Tattoo. Done By The Talented Gabbievasquez At Rocknrolltattoo Glasgow, Scotland

Image credits: j33pstr

#173 Geometry In Nature By Kenny Belling @ Chapter One Tattoo, San Diego

Image credits: HighAsASpaceMan

#174 Ramen Bowl

Image credits: lizatattoos

#175 A Staircase

Image credits: fleurnoiretattoo

#176 The Ying Yang

Image credits: winkrot

#177 Moth Design

Image credits: breckmarquette

#178 Galaxy In A Skull Done By Carson Ellen At Blue Horseshoe In VA Beach

Image credits: carlo1678

#179 Lock & Key

Image credits: 5e_tattoo

#180 The Velvet Underground Banana

Image credits: metzra

#181 Two Flowers

Image credits: __jesschen__

#182 My Dad Hates My Tattoos

Image credits: ginger_cnut_tattoo

#183 A Diamond Heart

Image credits: yeontaan

#184 Orchids

Image credits: jamezkan

#185 Succulents

Image credits: ajmcguiretattoos

#186 Lion

Image credits: richard.art.tattoo

#187 Stylized Portrait Of My Dog. First Tattoo By Vanessa Monday Of White Rabbit In NYC

Image credits: Curtaindrop

#188 A Lighthouse

Image credits: mick_cage_tattoos

#189 Nautilus

Image credits: emrahozhan

#190 A Butterfly

Image credits: melty.pokes

#191 A Merry-Go-Round

Image credits: gmaz

#192 Some Patchwork

Image credits: DoYouLikeFishSticks_

#193 We Can Do It!

Image credits: dr_vega_tattooer

#194 Eye Of The Pyramid

Image credits: theworden86_tattoo

#195 Symmetrical Tattoo

Image credits: valentinhirschtattoo

#196 Horseshoe

Image credits: knoteyetattoo

#197 The Circle Of Fifths

Drewbixtx

This is the circle of Fifths. All I had was the diagram and he drew this up for me. It’s essentially a musicians cheat sheet. It’s on my left arm so I can see it while playing.

Image credits: Drewbixtx

#198 Anime Eyes

Image credits: poko_ono

#199 My Husband’s Newest Tattoo

Image credits: cady_heron

#200 Off-Duty Grim Reaper

Image credits: sharpyyynicks

Art – Bored Panda