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Ink


I did a lot of research about tattoos in general and my artist in particular before I took the plunge. I pondered my tattoos for *years* before I got 'em, I was 25 when I got my first. Now I have 5. What follows are my words of wisdom:

  • About Artists: No artist that is worth paying the vast sums they will demand will work on someone who has been drinking or taking pain killers. Alcohol and a lot of pain killers thin the blood and will cause you to bleed more. Make sure you can see an autoclave in the shop. A good artist will also demonstrate how the little bands on the paper envelopes change colors when the contents have been sterilized.
  • Placement: I have tattoos on my shoulder blades, back of my neck, bicep, and ankle. The ankle was a bitch, obviously because there is less depth of skin there, similarly the back of my neck. The bicep was the easiest.
  • Colors: Colors are what's expensive. Where I go, my artist uses little tiny cups to put his ink in, then dips the needles. Even with tiny pencil eraser sized cups, there is relatively a lot of ink thrown away. You pay for what the artist doesn't use because once the needle has been in your bodily fluids then back dipped in the ink, it's contaminated. Therefore, if you have 6 or 8 colors, there is that much ink thrown out times 6 or 8. This sounds obvious, but lots of people I've talked to don't realize it.
  • Bleeding: I'm not a bleeder, but there is some.
  • Needles: A thin black line is *usually* done with a set of 2 or 3 needles. Colors are commonly filled in with 3, but *up to* 7. Sounds nasty, but it's actually faster that way, and they are so close together, you'd never know the difference if you were pricked with 2 or 7.
  • Needles, Part 2: Depending on placement, the depth of the penetration should be changed. Even across a shoulder blade, the depth of skin changes and the depth should be adjusted. Too shallow and you tattoo will peel off. Too deep and it will be horribly blurry, like Grand-dads Navy Bulldog :)
  • Care: You have to care for your tattoo as if it were a brush burn, like road rash. Keep it moist with an antibiotic, for a week to 10 days, but NOT a triple antibiotic, as one of the ingredients is a drawing salve, and will pull ink out of your skin. Bacitracin is a good choice, and I never had any trouble finding it at Wal~Mart. After that A&D ointment (baby diaper rash stuff) is a good choice.
    • Your tattoo will peal; don't freak out.
    • DO NOT cover with a band aid or gauze until it is fairly well healed, it will pull the ink.
    • DO NOT scratch! You will do damage, and blur the colors.
    • DO NOT LET IT SCAB! Again, it will pull the ink.
  • UV light is bad for your ink, it will fade just like anything else in sunlight.
  • Retouching: Another reason I suggest doing a home town tattoo is retouching. Any quality artist will retouch their own for free or really cheap. Most tattoos will need retouching especially if they're colored in with dark ink. It is inevitable that spots will get missed. You should wait at least 3 months after getting your ink to go back for retouching, it takes that long for the ink to spread and to see exactly where it needs more.
  • Pain: Yes, it hurts. I don't have a problem with pain, so it's no thing. If you have a low tolerance for pain, and are determined to try it, have your artist do a "dry run" without ink to see if you can take it.
  • About design: My tattoos are things that are near and dear to me, 2 dragons, as I've been called DragonChilde and Hatchling. The astrological symbol for Capricorn, obviously my Sun sign. Dragonflies, for similar reasons as the dragons, and they have the most amazing ability to hover, then dart in any direction, they're also one of my totems. Hummingbird, similar to the dragonflies, also a totem.
  • My future tattoo plans: a tiger, a mynah bird, and lizard, all totems as well. I have been thinking about getting something in Elvish, but I haven't decided what yet.

My point is, make sure you'll want it for as long as you'll have it; make sure that what you get is a part of you, because it will become a part of you. I don't take this lightly at all, as you may have noticed, it's actually a bit spiritual for me.


Smoke
Smoke Dragon
Dragon - Right shoulder blade

Flame
Flame Dragon
Dragon - Left shoulder blade

Capricorn & Sun
Capricorn
Astrological symbol and Tribal Sun - Back of neck

Dragonflies
Dragonflies
Dragonflies - Left bicep

Hummingbird
Hummingbird
Hummingbird & vines anklet - Right ankle


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