My very first tattoo experience
I have always been interested in the art of body modification. However, growing up in a small town (now considered a city because it is the birth place of an ex prime minister) and also a conservative family never gave me much chance to get one.
I got inspired by my brother who got a tribal tattoo on his leg one year and thought to myself "heck if he can get it, I can too!"
I didn't want any flash tattoos off the walls or something common that everyone would have. For me, a tattoo is something that has to mean something to me not just a random piece of ink that was chosen on a whim.
After a few years of thinking and tossing away ideas, I decided to get a realistic side profile of my most precious thing to me, my whippet, Ashlyn. The reason she is precious is because she is an assistance dog to me and has saved my life numerous times by alerting me to my panic attacks before they happen so I could leave the area before I collapsed.
Now, to find a tattooist. I didn't know what to look for while looking at portfolios and all that but a friend of mine had a few tattoos done at Dynamic Tattoos in Richmond, Victoria (Australia) and recommended me to go take a look there. I booked an initial consultation with them and after talking with Rob, he pointed me in the direction of Malika, his colleague who he says would be better at realistic tattoos. So I got a consultation with her and everything went as planned. We chatted for a while and I booked in a date for the tattoo to be done!! gasp
Since she was going to be away for a while (it was late august I think when I first met up with her) and had a waiting list, I got the appointment for the 2nd of October. I didn't think about the appointment at all up until sometime last week when I started getting nervous and freaking out. I had heard so much about botched jobs and awful tattoos that I started getting quite scared.
Then Malika called up and said she couldn't do 2nd of October and asked if I could do the 1st! I said yes immediately but freaked out cause it would be a day nearer. The night before, I couldn't sleep at all.
Woke up in the morning and felt my stomach knotted up with nervous butterfly feelings but yet feeling very excited. I had to force myself to eat breakfast so I didn't faint or collapse halfway through the tattooing. On the way there I was almost psyching myself out of the tattoo by saying "what if I don't like it?... what if.. what if.." until I was told to shut up by my boyfriend or else I would have turned the car right around and gone home.
At the tattoo shop, Malika was already waiting for me with the drawing. She lined it up on my arm and then went to re-size and set up a stencil. Then after shaving my forearm (no I am NOT that hairy) and putting some sort of cream or solution on it, she placed the stencil. I took a look at the placing and we agreed that it was too far up the arm (the end bits was sitting on the crease of my elbow). So she rubbed it off and tried again. This time it was perfect!
She asked me if I had a tattoo done before (I think I may have looked very nervous) and I said no. She nodded and proceeded to get the needles ready. They looked unreal! Then she asked me to jump up on the table/couch thing and lie down with my left forearm facing her. She rubbed a little cream or Vaseline on a spot and asked if I was ready. I was too busy biting my lip to answer so I just nodded and off she went. Ouch!!! It hurt although it wasn't as bad as I expected. She stopped and asked if that was alright and I said "yes, keep going" and she did.
It felt like someone had taken a really sharp object and started scratching against my skin. I knew that the needle would be puncturing my skin but it definitely didn't feel that way. I'm not very partial to pain so this was intense but surprisingly I could stand the pain just enough to not tell her to stop and run right out the door.
After she completed the outline for the vines and the name "Ashlyn" on my arm, she moved on to the profile (head of my baby). The end bits of the vine and the ear and neck of the dog's head was on the upper section of the forearm near the elbow and I swear I thought she was tattooing on the elbow crease itself!! It felt like the pain was coming from that part instead of where the needle was actually hitting!
When she was done with the outlining, she changed needles (at least it looked like she did, I'm not sure. I was trying not to be a whinger and cry) and started on the shading. The tattoo was going to be in grey-wash so there was no changing of colours or any fiddling around. Once she started, my left eye began to tear a little with the pain. I thought to myself right there and then "Whoever mentioned that the colouring in doesn't hurt as much as the outline has got to be kidding!" but again I gritted my teeth and bore with the pain knowing that this was something I really wanted.
Malika was really nice and chatted with me throughout the process taking my mind away from the pain for a little while. In the middle of getting the tattoo done, my boyfriend had gotten my a Boost juice to keep my sugar levels up (I recommend anyone getting a tattoo especially if it is their first experience to bring something sugary to drink while getting it done!).
As she was shading the head in, I took a peek as best I could without moving my arm and saw that I was bleeding heaps!! It surprised me since I didn't think I would bleed that much. The paper towel that she used to wipe away the ink and blood had almost as much blood as there was ink!
Finally, the head of Ashlyn was completed. At that point, I had drank so much juice that I needed a toilet break. Malika agreed that I should take a quick stretch while she took a break herself. Some girls that were sitting around waiting for their friend to be tattooed asked me if it hurt and I said the first thing that came into my head "It feels like someone tried to scratch my entire skin off my forearm" The expression on their faces was epic.
Getting back to the tattoo, she only had to do some shading in the vines and a little touching up of the finer details such as the whiskers. I regretted taking a break. It felt worse after the break than it did when I was just going through it in one go! I think it was probably the case of me getting used to it and not feeling as much pain but the break would have given my skin a rest and getting back to it would have shocked it a little bit.
Thankfully, she finished up not long after and i looked at the finished product. It was beautiful! I looked exactly like Ashlyn and all my fears of not liking it was immediately forgotten. I showed it to my boyfriend and then Malika put some aftercare cream on it and wrapped my arm up with some glad wrap/cling foil. She advised me on proper aftercare and gave me a tube of cream to use on the tattoo and also a card with aftercare instructions.
Walking out of the store, I was very proud of myself for getting it done and I love every single bit of it. I have now begun to plan my next tattoo and when I see Malika again in 2 weeks to check on the healing progress of my current tattoo, I will consult with her on designing my new idea to place on the ribs!
Now to inform my mother overseas that I have a tattoo
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 19 Oct. 2009