- Famous Tattooed People
- What is a GOOD tattoo?
- Deciding on a design
- My kid wants a tattoo
- Finding an artist
- Finding a shop
- In Preparation
- Surrender to the moment
- The process of tattooing
- Permanent Cosmetics
- The school of tattoo
- Glossary of terms
The process of tattooing
Usually you will fill out paperwork and present your ID. This is required in the county where I work. This is a great time to let your artist know about any latex or tape allergies, ointment allergies, skin related allergies, any blood borne disease, heart valve problems, epilepsy, seizures, cooties, etc.
You will be asked to make available the area that you wish to be tattooed. Your artist will wash the area with an antimicrobial soap and apply a stencil. The stencil is a basic outline of your tattoo for the artist to follow. Usually the artist will apply the stencil with your body in a normal relaxed position. Because your skin needs to be stretched to be tattooed and is deceivingly shaped when stretched this is an important step. Most people aren’t exactly symmetrical or even. Often a tattoo artist will have to put a tattoo stencil on your body so that it looks straight, and is not necessarily perfectly straight.
Some people have scoliosis, and their spine and butt crack don’t line up. That’s a tough one for a lower back tattoo but we just cheat the difference. So don’t be scared. Your tattoo might actually make your back look straighter. Try to put a design on a person’s back that has one shoulder three inches higher than the other; I see a lot of this. Most people don’t realize how crooked they are until I show them. As I drive around I notice stickers that I’m assuming are supposed to be in the middle of peoples back windshields, hopefully your tattoo artist has a better eye than these guys. I usually put the stencil on the client and ask them to stand about 10 feet away. I am then able to see if it appears straight. After this I ask one of the other artists if it looks straight to them, and between us we are able to find a happy medium.
Unless your artist has years of experience drawing tattoos onto people and does this daily, or the tattoo needs elements adapted to the flow of your body, you should not trust someone to just draw a tattoo on. Mistakes can easily be made this way.
I know a very good artist that rarely uses stencils. He usually draws tattoos right onto the skin and has been doing so for over 20 years. He is proven in this method and does an amazing job, but he is one of only a few that can consistently have excellent results. Beware any tattoo artist that has no guide lines and just goes to town. Like I said mistakes can be made and this method adds to that probability.
After your stencil is applied your artist will make you relatively comfortable and get the area that he needs to work on into a comfortable position for him.
Expect your lines to last around 10 seconds at a time. The shading and coloring will last a little longer but by then you won’t care and 90% of people will say that shading and coloring hurts less that the outline.
You can expect your tattoo to hurt a little more sharply in the beginning until your body gets used to the feeling. Tattoo needles travel through a tube that acts as an ink reservoir. Your artist will dip the tube into a single service ink cap, where a small amount of tattoo ink is portioned out for your tattoo. The ink will then well up into the tube and travel down along the needles and into your skin. A little bit of your blood will go into the tube and then be in the ink. This is why the ink caps are single use and the tubes are either disposable or autoclave sterilized. Excess ink will be left on the surface of your skin, so your artist will be doing a lot of blotting wiping and washing of the area while he is applying the tattoo. The ointment that he applies to the skin makes his hand slide more easily across the skin and makes the excess ink easier to wipe off without irritating your skin as much.
Don’t ask to get up and see the progress, this just slows everything down. Unless your tattoo is huge and will take hours, don’t ask to take a cigarette break. You have to go outside to smoke and that is not the most advantageous to keeping a sterile area. When the tattoo is completed the artist will let you see the finished product and will put a bandage on it. You will be informed of the proper aftercare.