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How I adopted a dragon

rted about two years ago, when I got the urge to get tattooed. I lost track of that idea for some time, but it kept reappearing. Finally, some 7 month from now, I decided to get it done, but what motive, eh? I longed for a dragon, but anyone has a dragon or at least anyone who does not have rose. So I decided to get something else, but what? I happen to like several manga, be it funnies, action-oriented, adult or fantasy, but they did not make good motives. Then I considered some fantasy motives like demons, ironclad knights and grim dwarves, but they were unsatisfactory. Now, there isnt much thinking involved to get back to dragons, once you start with knights. Ok, finally I settled for a dragon, but it had to be special. No way I was getting one of those chinese take-away menucard-style dragons, how good ever they may look on someone else. So it was a western dragon. But there are infinite ways to draw them. Then I stumbled across a way cool comic, which merged manga and graffitti into a unique style, and, lucky me, featured a dragon, among other beasties. So this was going to be the one, except for the colors, green and signalorange. I took it to a studio, which appealed to me, cos they looked clean and had some photos of recent work which looked good. An appointment was made to talk about the artwork, cos it had to be redrawn to make the dragon look like he sits on my shoulder. Said, done. Some 3 weeks later Ralf had done the first draft. I nearly accepted it at first sight, but would rather have the dragon smiling. No prob. Now we talked about the price, which ended out to be around 550 dollars (or rather its counterpart in german marks). OK by me, it was. First appointment, I was rather nervous. Faded once before he started, had drunk too much the night before. First prick, then a lots, 1 hour of buzzing. After that the first, thin outline was done. Got a lot of advice to heed: remove the foil after four hours, then shower, but dont rub too hard, use this product twice a day, it will help regenerating and keeps the itching down (what itching, that just plain hurt), dont go swimming, take no sunbathes or the color will fade, try to keep sweating low, DONT scratch! Looked like a lost summer to me. Found out the hard way that backpacks arent a good idea when your shoulder hurts like hell. Should have thought about that before mounting my bike and hurrying to work. Regretted it the whole day. Tell myself to be more carefull next time. Second appointment, nervous again, faded, had no excuse of drinking too much this time. Buzz, 2 hours gone, tada!!, in the mirror I see a real cool, fat outline, with perspective and everything one could want. Black looks good. Next time first colors, shading and detail, first part (2 hours). Didnt fade, now resting firm in my inner self. Load of blood and sweat made the blue color look like turquoise. Ulp. Ralf calmed me: Everything allright, will work out as blue. Want to believe him, but my eyes say otherwise. But the shading looks just like right out of the spraycan, just like I wanted it. Really, will it be blue? Yes, it will. But it looks turquoise! Do you think i would lie to you? No, but... Get lost! Fourth time, (color is blue by now), more color, more shading. Didnt bleed half as much this time, middle-of-inner-self-trick helps through another two hours. Forgot about that backpack thing again. Ouch! Lost all shyness in the process. Ralf was a big help by telling stories like the one about a girl who came with some longtime-clients, helloed him, and asked: Do you remember me, I had rose done by you once. Har-Har. Me, asking innocently, was told that womens tattoos tend to be mostly roses. Personally, I cant see why. Swapping stories about how customers tend to be weird, no matter what kind of work you do, talking about music and cooking, strange neighbors, biking and so on. That helped to relieve nervousness and to establish a feeling of normality, not being stabbed a thousand times by a painted needle. I have to admit that, no matter how unmanly it may seem, it hurt like hell at some points, where was no flesh between skin and bone. But it was worth every second and some spots only felt tickly or even completly without sensation. Healing off for a week now, I can see how cool the tattoo will be once my skin looses that shiny appeal. I am really proud of it and dont regret a thing. Just now I am thinking of a cute, sexy catgirl on the left upper arm and shoulder and have Ralf doing first sketches. After that I am undecided between a gargoyle or a werewolf on my back or something completely different. Maybe someone out there can give me cool input, so feel free to mail me.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 Aug. 1999
in Tattoos

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Artist: Ralf
Studio: Pleasure+and+Pain
Location: Cologne%2C+Germany

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