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Plus Size Ink
One tattoo is all I have. Not nearly enough to talk to the Large & Lovely readers about. So I went to the best source I know, Rae Schwarz. If you don't already know Rae she has been the Body Art Editor at BellaOnline since August 2002. The thirty-nine-year-old writer and web designer from Seattle Washington has a little knowledge about the subject. She stopped counting her tattoos when the background was added joining many of them. She is solid from elbow to elbow across the back of her shoulders dipping down the front of her torso. She also has a tattoo on the back of each calf. Rae didn't get her first tattoo until she was twenty-one, when she felt she had the maturity to make the decision. Not only does she know a lot about tattoos, she knows about being plus size. She's a petite size 16. If you're plus size and considering getting inked then I'm sure you'll find this interview informative.
Moe: What was your first tattoo?
Rae Schwarz: My first tattoo was a small black kanji of "koto" which means 'be different' in Japanese on my left upper arm.
Moe: What is the most important consideration for a plus size woman wanting a tattoo?
Rae Schwarz: Really, for any woman regardless of size, you should only get tattooed if it's for you, and if you have no hesitations or future concerns. You can always wait until later if you're not sure, but once the ink is in the skin, reversing the process becomes more expensive and more painful than getting the original ink. Oh, and only get someone's name if they are NOT your lover/partner/spouse. Names of kids, grandkids, parents, people who are deceased, people you admire, pets and your own name all seem to be things that don't cause a problem. If your lover/spouse passes away, then suddenly it's ok, but if the name is someone you can break-up with or divorce, get some other design.
Moe: Does size matter?
Rae Schwarz: I personally think big tattoos look better... (laughs). Pencils can draw lines finer than what can be tattooed, so if an artist says the design should be larger, they aren't just trying to get more money, they are trying to craft a piece of permanent art that will still look good 30 years from now.
Moe: Does the longevity of a tattoo differ on a plus size body?
Rae Schwarz: There are a few considerations, but overall, not really. If the person's weight really fluctuated, it might alter the design. You hear a lot of mean-spirited jokes about old women being tattooed, but I've seen some pictures and so far, I've just seen beautiful older tattooed women. I get email where people ask if they can get tattoos over stretch marks, and you can, but if the area stretches further in the future, you might find the design changes.
Moe: If someone is planning on losing weight in the distant future where would the best place to get inked be?
Rae Schwarz: That depends on where the person carries their weight. An area where the skin is more taut versus saggy or textured does better, as do areas that have more muscle underneath the skin. I've heard a few tattooists say large women are good subjects as they are larger canvases.
Moe: What kinds of tattoos are least affected by weight gain/loss?
Rae Schwarz: Finer details and shading are the bits that get effected the most, regardless of the person's weight. Sun exposure/sunburn will kill a tattoo's color much faster than weight gain or loss. Delicate shading and pale colors are also the elements that are changed the most just by the skin aging over time too. The big issues with skin and weight is rapidity of weight change and skin moisture. Fast weight gain on skin that isn't well hydrated results in big stretch marks, on both skinny and large people. Rapid weight loss without exercise and hydration makes for more sagging and bad texture as the skin tries to clear toxins released by the body fat. Bolder and larger pieces of work will hold up to changes without the line-work softening as much visually. I'm sure some of the folks with the big tribal style pieces are going to find those look the same over time versus the folks with fine-line shading.
For more information on tattooing and tattoos visit Rae Schwarz Body Art site.
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