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The apprentice and the Yellow Submarine

It all started one day at work. My good friend Tia (who I work with) had found out that I had recently started my tattoo apprenticeship under Nathan Chapman at Bzzt! Tattoos.

Now Tia is a pretty big fan of The Beatles, and by pretty big I mean extremely huge fan, but I was still skeptical when she told me her idea. 

"Kelsey" she said "we've been friends for a long time and you are the only person I would be comfortable with doing this tattoo...I want you to tattoo the yellow submarine on my butt." Wow, now there's something you don't hear everyday. 

I hadn't actually started tattooing at this time since I was still getting my sterilization techniques down ( I wasn't allowed to even touch my machines until I could set up and tear down well enough to satisfy Nate, which is very hard to do!). So I didn't think too much of tattooing Tia over the next few months. 

Then the day finally came where I was deemed ready to perform my first tattoo, but unfortunately not on Tia. I did a few other tattoos on a few other friends first. I thought she had forgotten about it until she saw a tattoo I had done on a friend of ours wrist.  

She came up to me the next day and asked when she could schedule a time for her bum to get inked. I called up Nathan and we decided on that upcoming Thursday. Both of us started to get pretty excited at work that day, and there were a lot of comments about me wiping her butt for her and her wandering around the studio with no pants on and so forth. I know, very professional. 

Time seemed to crawl by until that Thursday. I was scheduled to do a tattoo before Tia that day, but the other poor girl had to cancel do to puking everywhere. So when the day finally came it was a bit frantic. I wanted Tia to come by the shop as soon as possible and she had to work until two and then go home and shower before she could make it. So we eventually got her to Bzzt! around 5:00 p.m. 

We stepped outside to split a smoke and then went in to look at the image she had brought. It was basic, all solid color and no shading, (which is good for me, being a beginner and all.) and about four inches long. We contemplated putting a few bubbles around it, thinking the blue would offset the other colors nicely. But we decided to leave that for another day because I am still extremely slow and she wanted to get out of there sometime in the next decade. 

Finally I got down to making the stencil. So I busted out our stencil paper and some pencils and traced out the design. There were a few wobbles, but I was defiantly improving with all the practice Nate makes me do everyday. I showed Tia and she seemed happy, and even Nate said it was okay (whew!). 

So then I was on to the next step. We clean everything before and after every tattoo we do, and when I say we clean I really mean I clean, I guess that's one of the perks of having an apprentice. After everything was sterilized to the umpteenth degree, and I had changed gloves for about the millionth time, I put down our surface barriers (light blue dental bibs, very cute). Then I grabbed my clipcord and a clipcord bag and fought with them for a while (getting those things bagged is like giving birth backwards sometimes, I'm sure there's a trick that Nathan is not telling me about), and then I slipped some bags over my wash bottles. Next I took out my inkcaps (not pouring the ink just yet), and stuck em in some Vaseline so the didn't fall over. 

Finally it was time to set up my machines, I decided to line with a 5 round and color with a 7 mag. I expertly (or so I'd like to think) slipped my needles into the tubes after bending them slightly and fitted them over grommet covered armature bars. Then covered them with my lovely blue bags. 

It was time to place the stencil. Tia quickly whipped down her pants reveling some very cute pink booty shorts that we decided to leave on even though she had a wedgie for four hours (hey, no pain no gain!). She wanted the sub more on her hip then on her butt cheek in the end, which was fine with me. I squirted some Dettol on a paper towel and disinfected the area and shaved the itsy bitsy hairs off. Then a little more dettol and then we slapped on (placed gently) the stencil. I got it perfect the first time, thank God.

There was a bit of hassle with the ink when we almost ran out of yellow, but we managed with some orange and made the perfect yellow submarine color.

Nate came in and checked the depth of the needles and the tuning and we were ready to go...bzzzzzzzt! After four hours of lining and coloring, spilling ink and smoke breaks, we were finally done! One beautiful (red and swollen) yellow submarine on Tia's butt.

It is now a couple days later and it looks like its about to peel. No scabbing yet and hopefully never. We just have to wait and see...


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 Aug. 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Me+%28with+help+from+Nathan+C.%29
Studio: Bzzt%21+Tattoos
Location: Nanaimo+BC

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