The key element is finding your artist. You and your artist should have a relationship, where he does awesome work, and you get awesome work. You should allow your artist as much freedom as possible, because he’s going to know how it’s going to lay out, as a quarter sleeve, or a half sleeve or a full sleeve, because he has a lot of experience doing that.
I’ve found with tattoo clients, even very heavily tattooed clients, that generally speaking, their ideas aren’t very good. It’s like me going to a plumber, and telling him what I think he should do, to make all the pipes work. When really, I just want the pipes to be awesome. When you pay somebody, and that’s their vocation, their livelihood, and what they do, chances are that they’re going to be able to provide you with an incredible set of art, that you would have never even considered. It’s good to give guidelines, though, or ideas. Not like, hey, I want this, with this around it, with these initials in it, because then, that’s exactly what you’re going to get, and it’s going to be crap, but if you’re like well, I really want to represent temptation, or some kind of idea, or some kind of feeling or mood, or tone, or experience.
Then, I would relay that to my artist, and say, Hey, I want to get something that represents the fact that I just had a child. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to get a picture of the baby, all busted, with funny hair, and no teeth and stuff. There’s a million ways to represent parenting, and reproduction, and love, and eternal bliss, and like all this crap, responsibility. Like, if you just think about the concept, and give your artist those, then he can take those, and create something incredible with it.