A little more info...
Posted by: plainsman on Apr-15-12 4:15 PM (EST)
The first step is finding a great tattoo artist. One who works in a well respected, clean, busy, tattoo studio. Visit many studios and you will be able to tell the differences. Ask to see the artists' work to get a feel for the style and skill level.
Look for an artist who always wears gloves, and puts the machine and cable in a plastic bag as well. Look for a medical sharps container near the workstation, to know needles are being properly disposed of. A good studio will be free of chaos and clutter, and will smell hospital clean and sterile. Floors will will not have any carpet, only hard surfaces easily disinfected. Never get a tatoo at a studio that tolerates or does work on drunk or drugged out clientele.
Look for a studio that only does tattoos and piercings. Not one that also does hair or nails, or sells clothes, or bongs, or music or anything else.
Leave a deposit and have the artist draw the design for you. Don't feel obligated if you do not like the end result. Have it re-drawn until you are completely satisfied.
Tattoo inks definately have evolved from what was common 20 years ago. Still you must treat it with care, bright colors will fade quickly, especially in the sun. I'm guessing your ankle sees a lot of sun. A good quality, sterile, black tattoo ink will stay vivid many years with proper care, make sure to use sunblock on the tat.
When you find a great tattoo artist, heed their advice. Not all drawings make good tattoos. Let them help you create something that you will enjoy for many years.