Your artist will go over this with you in detail after your appointment. In general, a tattoo will take a few weeks to heal and in the meantime should be treated like a sunburn or a scrape. The bandage your artist places on the tattoo should be left on for several hours at least, as this helps keep out airborne bacteria. Once the bandage is removed, wash the area with warm water and a gentle, non-scented soap. It’s best to use your bare hands for this, and not a cloth or anything else which might be overly abrasive. You can definitely shower with a new tattoo, just avoid soaking it in water (pools and hot tubs are out).
After a few days the skin over and around your tattoo will begin to flake and peel – let this happen naturally. Avoid picking at the tattoo or scratching it. Frequently applying non-scented lotion will help with the healing and with the inevitable itch. The itching may be really annoying, but it just means your body is healing properly.