Here is a story about a girl and a tattoo. Her first tattoo. Let me begin by breaking the suspense and telling you that the girl is me. The idea of a tattoo is something that I had long been toying with. At first I had no idea what I wanted but I knew I wanted it on the inner ankle of my right leg. Why there? I just think it is sexy is all.
Anyway I drew many different little symbols, all quite small and abstract but really could not settle on one. I kept asking people what they thought of different drawings. This went on for 2 years. I think it is important for you to be really happy with something that is going to be a permanent fixture on your body. This is not like getting a lousy haircut, as upsetting as that can be at the time hair grows. Time went on and my plans for the design changed. I fell in love with dragonflies when I went to Central America. They have such an ethereal quality and are far more elusive than butterflies so you feel blessed when you see them. I had also now decided that I wanted a larger tattoo. Most of this was due to the fact that I wanted a home for the dragonfly, I didn't want it just plonked (not sure if this is a North of England word, it means crudely placed), on my ankle. I wanted to have the notion of it flying through the setting.
My next dilemma was to find a tattoo artist that I felt comfortable with. Whilst there are many talented artist out there you need to find one who has a style you like. I worked with Clare to create a design that I was happy with.
Let me address the issue of pain for those of you who are thinking they might like a tattoo but are worried about the pain. I have to be honest I have a high pain threshold but I would not describe it as pain. It was not a sharp pain like when I dislocated my shoulder, or more importantly had it popped back in. Nor was it a pain like sewing through the bone in my finger with the sewing machine, everything is downhill after that. It is unlike any sensation I have experience so I will do my best with the analogy. It is a sharp scratch, like being caught by a kittens claw. It does have a cumulative effect as if you scratch your skin it becomes raw and feels slightly warmer. Therefore you become slightly more sensitive in that area. I am told that the area I had chosen to have done is notoriously sensitive, and I would say it was fine. I managed to just have a good old natter (extensive chatting - sorry I sometimes get emails about my colloquialisms). It is great to be a woman you can natter your way through anything! I would not let pain put you off.
I am sorry mum but I have the bug and have a couple more planned. I have rules for them. My own personal rules. Such as although they look stunning on the back I would be moody about not being able to see it all the time as I do love looking down at my foot and seeing how pretty it is.
Now the after care. Take the advice your tattoo artist gives you. I was happy to have the bepanthen cream to stop the itching, the itching was more unpleasant than the process. If you want to itch don't give it a light slapping instead. This lasted about a week for me. The redness went down quite quickly however I do have accelerated healing powers (a Buffy reference there). These photographs were taken 6 days after the tattoo was first done, to give you an idea.
My top tips;
- Pick a design and placement you will be happy with. Don't be rushed it is your body. Remember something that might be cool and funny now may not be in a few years. Then you are left with getting a cover up or a removal.
- Get a recommendation for a tattoo artist. I have seen people who have had horrid tattoos where the colour has bled and they have had to go elsewhere for a cover up.
- Don't panic if a little disappears after the healing has finished, this is not un-common. Especially in certain areas. I need a little filling in just under my ankle, the skin is particularly tough here. Your tattoo artist will sort this out for you
- If you are in pain during just remember how ace it will look when it is all done and you will be fine.
If you would like to see more of Clare Lupino's work or arrange your own tattoo with her visit her facebook page HERE.