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My first GOOD tattoo

Throughout my life, I've been fascinated by body modification. When I turned 18, I rushed to get a tattoo--three stars in my lip, which you may have read about here. The months went by, and I would get little things inked here and there. Then, I decided it was time for something quality.

On my 20th birthday, I was on a popular networking site. I noticed that Chris, the guy who does my boyfriend's tattoos, had an opening. It had to be mine. After all, it was my birthday! I knew exactly what I wanted [I drew it over and over for days, weeks...maybe even months], and I sent this to him in a comment. He replied that he was stoked and to come on in!

Once I stepped into Magnum Tattoo, there was that nice, clean aroma of green soap. Chris greeted me, and we sat down to draw up my design, since my sketch was pretty rough. I wanted a key that had a crown for the part that goes into the lock, and a fleur-de-lis at the tip of the handle. I wanted this to go on my right shoulder blade, but we then decided to make it a half-sleeve since it was a pretty decent size.

While Chris went to set everything up, I went over to the vending machine and bought a Hawaiian Punch to keep myself hydrated...I had already eaten before I'd arrived, but I was nervous and knew that I needed to keep fluids in me. Finally, Chris announced that he was ready. I nervously sat down in his chair, and he instructed me to stand back up. In my excitement, I had forgotten about the stencil! He had me stand up straight, gently positioned the stencil, and peeled it off. It looked great! I sat down once again, and we were ready to go! Or he was, anyway. I was nervous about pain--each of my tattoos [my lip, then hips, then feet] had hurt more than the last! He told me that I would be fine and that helped to calm me down.

The gun now started to hum that familiar whir. I was still a bit nervous, but I trusted Chris. I suddenly had a huge burst of adrenaline and was ready to go! I heard the slight damper of the gun's whir as it touched my skin...but I didn't feel anything! This caused me to laugh out loud for how nervous I had been. The outline took about 2 and a half hours, during which we chatted and laughed as if we had known each other for years, not weeks.

Once the outline was done, we took a quick break. He had to use the bathroom, and I wanted to call my boyfriend to tell him about my little birthday present. He didn't believe that I was getting a tattoo done, but he would definitely find out in a few hours! Once Chris came back, he made sure that I was happy with all of the colors that we'd chosen. I still was, so he went to work on the shading. I HATE SHADING! I don't care when people say that's the least painful part--it is so annoying! It just feels like your skin is grinding off. I tried to ignore the feeling, but it was difficult. I remember also getting pretty sleepy during this part, probably from my adrenaline rush being gone. He shaded for about an hour and a half, and I was done! He wiped me off for the hundredth time, wrapped me up, and gave me the aftercare lecture, which I was well aware of. We took pictures for his portfolio, I paid [it was supposed to be $130, then we were going to add a rather large adornment border-type piece to make it $260, but then I forgot that we didn't do that part, so I essentially gave him an additional $130, plus a $30 tip, making it a $160 tip. But hey, it was Christmastime, spread the cheer!], and waited for my boyfriend to pick me up.

I was then very tired and ornery from sitting in a chair being poked and scoured all day. I didn't want to sit in the car, I just wanted to take a nap! But, it was my birthday and I had plans. Fast forward through dinner and birthday festivities, night came and I gently rinsed the plasma and continued to dry-heal my tattoo. When it came time to peel, I got very nervous because it appeared that all the color had fallen out, especially the gold. Luckily, it hadn't, and I was just being silly. I would recommend for everyone to dry-heal their tattoos! It may be a bit more itchy, but the color is much more vibrant.

Today, six months later, I have a beautiful, well-done tattoo, and I'm anticipating getting an entire traditional sleeve done by Chris Bettley. I would recommend him and the entire Magnum Tattoo staff to anyone looking for a high-quality tattoo.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 05 June 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Chris+Bettley
Studio: Magnum+Tattoo
Location: Grand+Rapids%2C+MI

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