For years I have wanted tattoos, I watched my parents get tattoos throughout my childhood, I loved bands with members that were covered in tattoos. I love the idea of covering yourself in beautiful, meaningful art work. Its such a creative way to express yourself, to visually show your identity, to visualise the journey you have made within your life. For me tattoos have always been something that I have always seen in my future, but I am SO glad I waited till I was old enough to get them, rather than go to a place that will give me something badly done and cheap whilst underage.
When I was a child I wanted traditional roses and birds (basically anything you could find in a shop window). When I was 14 I wanted an entire sleeve of bands logos, I basically wanted to copy every single one of Hayley William’s and Jared Leto’s tattoos and add a few. (Thank god I didn’t illegally get them!!) When I was 16 I decided I wanted handwritten lyrics by my favourite band. When I was 17 I wanted only black and white tattoos (mainly realism) and when I turned 18 I still wanted this.
My First Tattoo!!
Building up to my first I was filled with both excitement and anxiousness, despite people telling me that the best first place to get a tattoo is on your thigh (or just somewhere with some ‘meat’) I decided I wanted my first to be my ribs- aka one of the most painful places on your body. I know I’m bonkers!! In all honesty I didn’t find it painful, I only felt discomfort once which lasted about a total of 20 seconds. The tattoo shop has a sign saying “If you are worried about the pain, then we are worried about how much you want the tattoo” this really reassured me that whatever pain would be worth it.
Although, my taste in tattoos changed dramatically over the years, when I was sixteen I decided I wanted lyrics by my favourite band. So I got the singer to write them out for me and I kept hold of it until I was able to get it on my body for life. Waiting 3 years with a tattoo in mind meant I was really able to make sure I wouldn’t regret it. I had people telling me that “I would regret it when I stopped liking the band” “I will move on” but I got the tattoo to symbolise a time in my life. Thats what I think tattoos should be for. A way of symbolising a moment in your life, my tattooist at the time even told me that he believes a sleeve should be made following your journey through life not done in a few sittings over a number of weeks like people are doing nowadays- and I really agree.
I am so happy with my tattoo, and it makes me so happy whenever I see it. But people sometimes don’t believe I actually have it since I never get it out. To me its a personal tattoo, a tattoo that I rarely get out, a tattoo purely for me. Thats what tattoos should be, something to make you happy not to please everyone around you.
Just over two weeks ago I got my second tattoo. Compared to me 3 years of planning, this was very spontaneous. In a matter of weeks I decided what I wanted and booked it for the earliest appointment available, and literally counted down the days.
I knew over summer I wanted to get another tattoo, so I started looking through the portfolio of every tattoo shop in town (Newquay), decided who I liked the work of and who I didn’t. I feel this step is so important before booking a tattoo, before even getting the design drawn up, if the tattooist doesn’t specialise in the style of tattoo you want then it is unlikely they will give you the tattoo exactly the way you want. When you see their sketch you should be amazed, thats how I felt when I saw my design for the first time. I couldn’t stop starring at it, every single day leading up to my tattoo I would look at the design- which I saw as a good sign. I loved (and still love) every single detail.
When booking a tattoo its important you explain every detail to the artist- they aren’t mind readers so won’t know how you want it. Likewise, remember they are the professionals sometimes an artist may want to change your idea slightly, they know what is best and what will achieve the best outcome. For me I sent in two images, one showing the style of mask I wanted and one showing the style of heart I wanted and told my artist to come up with anything along those lines. He asked me for my placement (area of body, including which leg as well as part of leg) and sizing, which helped him design my tattoo.
Despite already having a tattoo I was still overcome with anxiousness. Unlike my first, which was just line work, this tattoo was full of shading. Although its common knowledge that line work is always more painful, I had it in my head that for some reason I would be different to the rest of the world and find shading the worst part. I can now conclude I am in fact normal and find line work more painful!! I guess I just have a higher pain threshold than I thought (I am not complaining one bit!)
For me getting a tattoo is made great by the experience you have in the shop. If you don’t feel comfortable in the shop it is likely you are going to hate every minute and even find the tattoo more painful as the pain is the only thing you can think about. I was lucky both times that my artists made me feel as comfortable as possible-but my most recent tattoo was definitely the most enjoyable experience. Obviously, the artist asked me about my previous tattoos so I had to explain the meaning behind it, which lead onto the conversation of music naturally, I found out that he had indeed seen The Blackout live which obviously made my experience in the shop considerably more enjoyable. Throughout the whole session I felt extremely relaxed, keeping up conversation which helped keep my distracted, whilst also listening to bring me the horizon (the artists choice, which of course again made me extremely happy.) The only times throughout the whole session when I felt uncomfortable was when my foot when numb, but my artist was able to spot this and asked me if I needed to stop which again made me enjoy my experience more and I was very appreciative- due to my foot going numb so many times I was unable to walk for 10 minutes after the session, so I am very grateful that I was able to stop throughout the session or I probably wouldn’t have been able to walk for an hour!!
For me I don’t think having a meaning behind your tattoo is necessary (despite both of mine having meaning) as long as you find the artwork beautiful and think you will find it beautiful for the rest of your life then I think its fine. For me this ghost face tattoo symbolised my family, both me and my sisters were named after the horror film. Thats why I have placed the horror icon within a love heart ( I do love the film but for me its more about family). I wanted to have a tattoo celebrating my family and the fact that I wasn’t actually named after Australia.
Thanks for reading! This will probably become a series of posts as I do plan on getting many more tattoos.
“You know you’re not alone” Artist: Dudley, DNA, Newquay.
“Ghost face” Artist: Elmo, The Drunken Sailor, Newquay.
Images: By myself