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Half finished tattoo gets finished at last!

Several years ago I got a quarter sleeve started at Bodycraft, Nottingham by Aaron. I basically wanted a fun tattoo – I have several tattoos that are important to me that were finished so I thought it was finally time to get something silly, so I designed a pseudo-Japanese picture loosely based on the PS2 game 'Okami'. I used Aaron many times before, and always found him to be a great tattooist, fairly priced and always giving good results. However he was moving to the US, and the last time I went to visit him to talk about colour he told me that in his eyes the tattoo was finished – I was in total disagreement with him, it was always supposed to be a colourful tattoo and all I had was the outline. So after several years this is where we parted ways!

So, after going to London Tattoo Convention recently I felt spurred on to get this tattoo fixed. Only trouble is – as I found out – not very many tattooists want to finish an already started tattoo. I had a lot of negative responses to my enquiries, even to downright rudeness, but I didn't give in. At the tattoo convention I saw Jeff Ortega's stand, and remembered his studio being recommended to me before. On walking into the shop several days later I got introduced to Mark, who immediately seemed happy to help me with my tattoo, quoting me a time and how much it would be, etc. He's a really down to earth guy so we hit it off immediately, and I booked in for a couple of weeks after. I put down a £100 deposit, and that was that.

The studio itself is quite small, smaller than I was used to, so not enough room for someone to hold your hand! But the atmosphere is cool and everybody talks to you, so who needs friends! Anyway to start off I was booked in for 2 ½ hours to redo the outline, it was already faded despite taking good care of it, Mark himself was surprised at how faintly some of the shading had been done. Unfortunately he was running a little late, overrunning with a previous client, but that was ok, I still got a full 2 ¼ hours of work and Mark discounted me a bit. The work didn't hurt at all, probably because it was going over old lines, so I felt pretty hardcore! All the time Mark and I were chatting so it was really relaxing.

The 2nd visit I had was to finally finish the colour, and I wanted something really bright – oranges and yellows, greens and purples and blues – Mark seemed pretty enthused about this although wasn't keen to colour the wolf at the bottom of the sleeve white, simply because the ink might not take, so some light blue outlines were opted for instead. Because of some of the outlines still being quite faint it was quite difficult to colour some areas in, so Mark improvised quite a bit – there is a section that is streams of smoke, and the lines were pretty much all gone. This time the tattoo hurt like hell, but after so long (3 ½ hours – my longest yet) I wasn't expecting anything else! Normally I find it really easy to just talk – particularly as Mark and I are both super geeks! - but it was quite unbearable after a while. I had a quick look at it in the mirror before I was cling-filmed – the colours were a lot brighter than I imagined but I was told that they would fade slightl y when healing, particularly the orange (although it was pretty neon right after we had finished!), and Mark told me if there was anything I was unhappy with or wanted touching up to come back after it had healed and that he'd do it for free, which I really wasn't expecting! I was really astonished too because the prices for the hour at the studio are extremely cheap, particularly for London - £70 an hour.

So far it's been healing beautifully, and the more I look at it the happier I am! I do still want some blue adding to it as the purple is a bit too strong (with all the orange I do look a little like a giant halloween decoration!) but apart from that it looks absolutely amazing. I'm already thinking of going back to get one of the other tattooists brainchild, the Simpson's Forbidden Donut! As I already had tattoos Mark didn't detail any aftercare with me, which is fine because you do get so many different things recommended to you I'd prefer to stick with what I know (warm soapy water and savlon) and so far its doing really well, and I couldn't recommend a better tattooist that can do such a good job and that makes you feel as comfortable as Mark does!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Nov. 2009
in Tattoos

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Artist: Mark
Studio: Evil+from+the+Needle
Location: Camden%2C+London

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