Many people start out the right way. They decide they want a tattoo and start looking. Next they find designs and most people looking for tattoo graphics turn to the same resources. First and foremost, the tattoo magazines out there are amazing, but not all artists can work from that alone and, even if they do, they still have to draw the thing first. This is where I watch people make mistakes they sometimes regret, and hopefully I'll prevent you from doing the same.
Once you decide you want a tattoo, or another tattoo if you're like me, then let the searching begin. The biggest mistake you can make is to choose a design off the board - you know, one of those designs that look like clip art. Instead, find tattoo graphics that are out of this world, by looking at award winning ones and those that designers strive to create (choppers-tattoos is used by artists and laymen alike for tattoo graphics and designs). Once you have a handful of designs you need to take the graphics to an artist and ask them to work their magic.
When you choose your artist you want to see their portfolio and not of art work. You want pictures of people showing work of the artist so you can feel confident this person is qualified. If you show them the tattoo graphics you like and they try and alter them or change your mind, consider the idea you've got an artist in over their head and politely move on to find another one. No need to be a guinea pig or practice palate for an emerging tattoo artist. That's what to do with the graphics and I hope you take the time to do so, or else you'll get a standard design that other people could also choose and that isn't very unique.