The Price Of Ink.
A good few folk in my orbit seem to be considering getting tattooed this year. As one of the more inky people they know (8 tattoos, ~18 hours of work) I am regularly being asked my opinion on a few stock bits and pieces. This is quite lovely, and I am more than happy to offer up my wider thoughts on the subject, but for the record these are my answers..
Does it hurt?
Yes. Dragging a tightly bound bundle of between 3 and 15 hollow needles through 5 layers of epidermis and down into the dermis (1.5mm deep as a general rule) at a rate of 75-120 punctures per second does hurt, yeah. People who say it doesn’t are lying to you. Depending on where is being tattooed it can hurt much less than you would expect. It can also hurt a disproportionate amount more than seems fair. What can I say? Nature loves balance.
How much does it hurt?
This much. *gestures with fingers*
Seriously, that’s impossible to answer. It depends on you, your pain thresholds, the types of pain you are better at enduring, where on your body you get inked, what time of year, month or day you get tattooed, whether you’ve slept and eaten well, how comfortable you are with the artist and the studio who are working on you..
Even if I could know how much it would hurt you, how would I begin to convey that?
It’ll hurt ‘an amount’. If you’re at a good studio they will make sure you’re comfortable and make sure you get breaks and sugary drinks if you need them. It isn’t insuffurable (see how many inky people there are?) If you want the piece definitely don’t let concerns about pain put you off.
How much does it cost?
Not enough as a general rule.
I get very angry at people complaining at the price of ink. My feathers were done at one of the more expensive studios and still cost me a measly £800 for 2 discussion visits, all the design work, and 7 hours of actual tattooing over 2 sittings. I spent more than once on a 2 week holiday, *a two week holiday*, and likely so have you. Now, read the first paragraph again and tell me a decent tattoo artist doesn’t have to have phenomenal skill? What they’re putting on your skin is going to affect the rest of your life (see below) This is not the time to be stingy, kids. Quit your bitching. Save the instinct to get a bargain for buying your next pair of jeans..
What if I change my mind / don’t like the design later?
Um.. Tough? That said, there are various established methods of tattoo removal and more coming into general practice every year. None of them will put your skin back to normal though. Realistically your options are a cover-up (which will be very limited in terms of size, colour and design – though there are some fantatsic artists out there specialising in just this) or a scar where the tattoo used to be. There is no way to magically get rid of a tattoo and, while I’m at it, there is no such thing as a semi-permanent tattoo. If you get inked you had better assume you’ll die with it there. Don’t kid yourself.
Where should I go?
1.) Somewhere that makes you comfortable, takes time to listen to you, and you see clear evidence that you’re being heard and your requests are being acted upon.
2.) Somewhere you feel you can speak freely. Could you say to this person “no, actually, I think that stencil needs to be a little bit higher”?
3.) Somewhere happy, if not eager, to go through their health and safety procedures with you.
4.) Somewhere/one with a varied and up to date portfolio.
5.) If you can, somewhere peer-recommended.
Should I go for it?
Yes, but only if I had said ‘no’, you’d have done it anyway.. ;)
Hope that helps, or was at least interesting!
Comments are open below if you’ve questions / criticisms / recommendations or adorations!