Thigh Tattoos are Easier than Expected!
The story of my thigh tattoos.
The lead up: I booked my appointment a couple of months back, and initially my artist (Ben at Tattoo City in Wellington, New Zealand) thought it might take around five hours to do, so we booked me in for half a day. I wanted red bows on the back of each thigh, and brought in colour samples and pictures of the style I was after. I also got allergy tested for red ink which involved putting ink samples under large bandages to check for a red or raised skin reaction, and then waited for my appointment to roll around.
The weekend before: I went into the shop to see the drawing, and made a couple of changes in consultation with Ben, including making the ribbons of the bow slimmer and adding a key to the design.
The Day of the Tattoo: I ate a hearty breakfast, and bought some water and arrived bang on time. My artist was still setting up, but okay'ed the final drawing with me. I watched him set up his work station, we decided on final size and he printed off the transfer. I watched him open up the packets for the needles and put together his machines, and we discussed what shade of red I wanted the bows and what colour the key would be. Between us we decided that my legs were pasty white enough that white ink wouldn't be necessary for the highlights on the ribbons.
Putting on the transfers seemed to take a while, which I was fine with - I'd rather my tattoo not be wonky - and to be honest, probably to be expected because various osteopaths and doctors have commented on my apparently noticeable lop-sidedness. I imagine trying to put stencils on me is a laugh riot for my tattooists, espcially with my penchant for matching pieces on either side of my body. Also, I shaved the area where I was being tattooed really carefully about an hour before my appointmentr, so Ben didn't need to re-shave it. Once the stencils were in place my support (my friend) arrived, with immpecable timing (I'd actually just pulled out a book and my phone in case she was late as well.)
The tattoo itself took about two and a half hours which was waaaay faster than either me or my artist had anticipated. To be fair, I found the pain to be extremely bearable, and kept up a steady conversation with my friend, and read my book when she went out for a smoke, so I didn't need a break at all and was sufficently distracted that I don't think I twitched. Changing the design to make the ribbons slimmer probably cut down on the time too, as it reduced the amount of shading needed. We finished one leg totally then moved onto the second, and the endorphins were wearing off a wee bit by the time the lining was done on the second, but it wasn't anything like the level of pain I'd been expecting. For those of you who haven't in the past, I highly recommend bringing a talkative friend if your artist is ok with it. This is the first tattoo where I've talked to someone throughout the process, rather than just lying and concentrating on the pain and it made the experience a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable. I should also note than Ben is completely lovely and very respectful, and so I felt utterly comfortable with him.
I did bleed copiously, which is the norm for me, and necessitated my artist putting together a Macguyver-esque paper towel based edging to the gladwrap once we were finished up so I wasn't leaking blood and scaring the horses once I left. I went off to the bathroom to change out of the short-shorts I'd been wearing for the tattoo and into a more practical and warmer skirt. I foresaw some very careful dressing and undressing in my near future. I paid and headed off to eat something to keep my blood sugar up. (Tipping isn't the norm in NZ, so I made him some cookies instead.)
My aftercare instructions are pretty standard: keep it moisturised, but not oily/damp, stay out of pools/baths/the sun until it's healed, don't pick the damn thing, washing your filthy hands before touching it, don't pick the damn thing.
In the couple of hours between getting it done and coming home I stopped bleeding, and experimented with different ways of sitting so that I didn''t hurt the tattooed skin. I booked the next two days off work because one job involves being in a sweaty kitchen and the other involves sitting down for 12 hours shifts, neither of which seemed like a terribly good idea on a fresh tattoo.Healing has been uneventful, but more painful than my previous tattoos, probably because I simply wasn't prepared for just how much the skin on my thighs moves as I walk.
Overall it was an amazingly positive experience though, and I'm very happy with the outcome.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 19 April 2010