Ok, so youíve got a tattoo idea, youíve done research, found an artist, worked out the design, and now itís come down to getting the tattoo done. Now what? What Iím describing here is a previously established working relationship with a tattoo artist and a client, not a first off experience.
I got email from Kris in the fall of 2003, saying he had plans to come out to California in late January or early February and do some work out of a friend's tattoo shop in Los Angeles. He knew a trip to San Francisco would happen in there somewhere. This was when the online idea swap happened. Kris and I next spoke on the phone when he was in Los Angeles. Iíd known what two weeks he would be there, and had cleared that chunk of time as much as I could as far as work and social obligations went. Being a freelance web designer helped, as it let me flex my schedule. He was working in the Los Angeles tattoo shop over two weekends, and was coming up to San Francisco for the weekdays in between. He wanted to know how that Wednesday and Thursday were for me. I said they were all clear and we agreed on the appointment. Kris would come over on Wednesday to show sketches, take a look at where on my chest I wanted the tattoo work done and for us to banter back and forth about the design.
That Wednesday, Kris showed up, we got some great Mexican food from a take-out place around the corner and took it back to my apartment. There we sat down with his sketchbook, actual peacock feather, several branches of dried lunaria/honesty, some photocopies of the symbols I wanted and talked for the next four hours. Then Kris went to his friendís place for the night, and I went to sleep after cleaning up the living room. Weíd agreed to do the two pieces on Thursday, in what might be one long day.
Kris arrived at my apartment at noon on Thursday. He had his whole traveling tattoo kit with him, which amounted to two black cases mostly. He set up in my living room, right next to the couch. We stacked a 2nd mattress on the couch to make a reclined surface. Then I took off my shirt and Kris sketched on me freehand with some Sharpie markers. He just did a few broad strokes to help him get the flow of each side along similar lines. Then I laid down, getting comfortable with one of my favorite pillows and a blanket over my legs so I wouldn't get cold, and he went to work.
We did the right side first, the side with the peacock feathers and the symbol for quinta essentia. This took about three to three and a half hours. Then Kris bandaged that side, I put my shirt back on and we walked down the street to a restaurant to get some dinner. After eating, we went back to my apartment and set up to do the second side. Kris had me change the direction I was lying in to reverse my head and feet, as we couldnít change what side of the couch he was sitting on. He went back to work, this time doing all black and white shading on the left side of my chest. Three hours later, my lunaria branches and pre-Coptic symbol were done.
If you're thinking about getting tattooed, you might like
Ink: The Not-Just-Skin-Deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo
by Terisa Green
The Tattoo Encyclopedia : A Guide to Choosing Your Tattook
also by Terisa Green