The Tattoo Process

I’ve had a lot of comments on my new tattoos. The most common question is “Why?”. The next question is “Does it hurt?”.


There are lots of reasons people get tattooed. I can only speak for myself when it comes to getting new ink. For me, now, in this moment. It has to mean something. Tattoos are a roadmap to life.

That wasn’t always the case. My first tattoo was a small kanji that means “Dragon”. I got it because I really like dragons. To this day that hasn’t changed. My love of dragons is not something that will go away. However, I’m certain this will get covered up eventually to make room for a sleeve down that arm.

My second tattoo is a piece of flash that I picked off the wall 5 days after I got the kanji. It was a color piece but I wanted it in black and grey. I love it..To this day it’s one of my favorite tattoos and I don’t think I will cover it up.

My third tattoo is a tribal sun, in black and red. It was not something I put a lot of thought in. I went with a friend to get her first tattoo and the bug hit me and I decided to get it. I don’t regret getting it since it reminds me of this person but it’s not one that I would mind getting covered up. In fact with my new sleeve design it will be covered up.

The fourth tattoo is one that still means the most. It’s a kanji meaning “Eternity”. I got it to commemorate something that I thought was going to last forever, and it looks hella cool. I’m under no illusion as to why things ended and I take my full share of that. I see that tattoo almost every day. It’s painful…It reminds me that I hurt someone I care a lot about through inaction and apathy. It will not be covered up. It reminds me of good times as well as bad times.

My fifth and sixth tattoos are newest. Bitter/Better are symbolic of a change. Yes, A change that should have happened years and years ago. But it took a lot of bad things happening to push me in the direction I needed to go. When I first saw them it was like they spoke to me. I knew right then I had to have them on my body. And I knew exactly where I wanted to put them.

Some say tattoos are about healing, a way to cope with things that happen. I agree. Not so much with my current tattoos (with the exception of Bitter/Better). My sleeve will have a very deep meaning and that’s why it’s taking so long to get designed and started. I’m not ready to discuss it yet but as I felt with Bitter/Better it was a “healing process” of sorts…A lot of emotions came up getting those tattoos and I know my sleeve will bring up a lot more. The design process has been healing in it’s own way. I see my demon’s and my inner turmoil on paper..I can touch it, look at it, and hold it. To be perfectly honest I’m nervous about getting it because I will literally be wearing my soul on my sleeve.

Does It Hurt

ummm…duh! Yes..Tattoos hurt. Anyone that tells you different is a fucking liar. I relate it to a cross between a cat scratch and sunburn. It’s not unbearable but it’s not the best feeling in the world. There’s an old feeling that pain is a rite of passage of sorts. You have to earn that tattoo. There are ways to minimize the pain with sprays and other things..But if you’re not ready to deal with the pain of a tattoo..You’re not ready for a tattoo.

Another question is “How do you pick out what you want?”. For me that was easy. I see the design in my head or some other source and I know ,instantly, exactly where on my body it will go and I don’t care how much it hurts or costs. That’s how I pick out my tattoos.

I love the process of getting a tattoo. The smells in the shop, the smell of the solution they use to clean whatever body part that’s getting tattooed. The feel of the stencil as it’s being pulled off. The sound of the tattoo machine and the coolness of the solution (water?) that’s used to rinse the tattoo off once it’s done. Is getting tattooed addicting? Maybe for some people, but I don’t think so..There’ve been some pretty big gaps in between my tattoos.

My advice for someone who’s thinking about getting ink done.

  • Don’t get tattooed for the wrong reasons
  • Think about what you want
  • Think about what you want
  • Think about what you want
  • Research different artists and shops..Find one that you’re comfortable with
  • *DO NOT* try to haggle the price of your tattoo…You get what you pay for. Good tattoos are expensive. Amazing tattoos are amazingly expensive. But as I said before, if you care about what a tattoo will cost then it may not be the right tattoo. Most shops will have their hourly price or set price in an easily viewable place.
  • Tip your artist well. Don’t be “that guy” who tips $10 on a $200 tattoo. 20% is fairly standard but if it’s a really good experience then show your appreciation. I’ve never tipped less than 40% for any tattoo I have, but that’s just me. Most shops have set prices for certain types of tattoos or an hourly rate for large tattoos. Factor in a really good tip and then adjust it for your level of satisfaction.
  • If you need a break during a session let the artist know. Don’t turn what should be a great experience into a miserable one by trying to tough out the pain.
  • Don’t bring 50 people in with you to get work done…This can cause the shop to lose business when people walk in and see, what they think, are a large number of people ahead of them. Check to see what the shop’s policy is on bringing people in..Most don’t mind as they all know that getting a tattoo is a big deal…Just ask.
  • Just don’t be a douche and don’t do stupid shit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *