heyyyyy, so i took a little detour from the ink series (ok. not really a series but the two part story). life happened, we had guests and have been preparing for an insane globetrotting experience (more on that later). in case you missed part one about my first ink, go here i describe the choice i made and what spurred me to make such a permanent decision.
today i wanted to talk about the process and the art of tattooing. it’s not something you want to just show up on a whim and do (unless you already have many tattoos already). the first one truly comes with some weight and people often endlessly obsess about attaching some sort of meaning to it. i’d argue that it isn’t necessarily all about the art, but in the experience itself.
a few rules that i found made my experience absolutely incredible:
1. do your research! find a style that suits you (monocolor, vibrant, traditional, illustration, japanese etc)
2. choose a reputable artist with experience! you are going to be spending some quality time sitting while someone is intimately close with you so you should be sure they ‘get’ you and the art you are after. also, practice makes perfect right? i didn’t want a noob for my first go round!
3. don’t be bossy! if you seek out an artist, you should trust them with their craft! not to say that your opinion doesn’t matter…but they are the expert in this field so you should keep an open mind to suggestions.
4. be clean–inside and out! seems like common sense but i’ve heard some ‘stories.’ shower beforehand and make sure that the artist shaves/cleans the area appropriately before they begin. do not take blood thinning medications (prescription or otc) prior to an appointment! also, stay hydrated—drinking booze before a session will not win you any friends and the artist will most likely not tattoo you that day.
5. choose a tidy shop! remember, this is a wound after all and you want to prevent infection. the artist should be trained in blood born pathogens and use aseptic technique as much as possible. makes sure that the needles are sterile and single use. note the cleanliness of the shop, you don’t want to be in a situation where people are careless. the artist should advise about appropriate aftercare and send you home with a little package to help your new ink heal.
ok! that said, on to the good stuff! my ink! i had met with the artist one week prior to my actual ‘ink date’ for a consult to describe what i was looking for and discuss the placement of the work. i made a pinterest collage that i left at the shop so the artist could do his ‘homework’ and design something that was in his style but felt suited me after meeting me and seeing my style/personality.
the day of my appointment, i showed up belly full and well hydrated! i was so nervous…like almost to the point of shaking with excitement—err that might have been the caffeine too they set up a table with fresh papers and saranwrap on the arm stand. i could still smell the anti-viral cidal spray lingering in the air so i felt right at home #clinicalscienceFTW
after his station was set up, i was called to come back to see my designs for the first time! yep, this control freak didn’t see the art she was getting until it was ‘go-time.’ i know, i’m amazed that i freed myself to allow someone else to make something for me that would be permanent! he assured me that i could make any alterations to the stencil sketch ups before we went ahead and applied the decal to my skin to secure the placement of my soon to be ink.
much to my surprise, i didn’t want to change a single thing…on either of the pieces?! i’m getting so chill in my
old age. so we moved on to the next steps, cleaning the area and applying the stencil. i took a look in the mirror at the outline and we were ready to go! he started with a few zaps of the needle gun so i could feel what the next 3 hours of my life were going to be like. honestly, i was surprised at how little it hurt—i do have a pretty high pain tolerance though. i was told afterwards that the inner arm is a painful place to get a tattoo (try pinching your chicken wing some time
this only took about 40mins and now it was time to move on for the fun part: color! i explained i wanted something rich and vibrant so we went with red and he did an ombre effect from the deeper red outer portion getting lighter to a more orange/yellow center. he chose teal for the accent color on the banner and i am obsessed with it. it is so beautiful!
i waited one week (it was pretty much healed in 6 days). if you would like to hear more about the healing process, let me know in the comments! i lucked out and was able to get my second appointment in about a week later because he had a cancellation! it was just meant to be!
the second piece was a globe and i went alone this time since nate was at work and i had a holiday. once again, the same stencil/placement application and we chose the colors as we moved through the piece. i have to say that the liberating feeling came over me yet again as i trusted someone else to place something permanent on my arm. this one took about 5 days to heal completely and i’m guessing because it was more detail outlined and less overall color so it healed faster than the flower. also, i should note that the red shading is NOT blood. it’s typical in the american traditional style of tattoo to do that kind of thing behind clouds or in nautical looking pieces.
obviously i am over the moon excited and will openly say that i have never felt more confident in all my life. these perhaps are a shield that has given me the security i have spent most of my life searching for. insecurity has always been a huge part of my personality and i no longer feel ‘held back.’ i am putting myself out there and engaging in my life like never before. if you are on the fence about getting a tattoo, take a step back and truly ask yourself why you are holding out. life is beautifully imperfect, so embrace it!
here’s the finished product on both all healed…now can we have warmer weather so i can show them off? after this photo was taken, i
rushed leisurely put on a sweater and brushed my hair. i might even put on some makeup if i’m feeling frisky–oh weekends i love you!