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Favorite Tattoo Magazine

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Sorry for keeping this off-topic...

@Dr Benway you just did.

I said this a week ago to someone else: Just get tattooed.

But in a nutshel:

1) Tattoos get old, they fade and spread.

2) The skin reacts by bleeding a little.

A bigger nutshel:

1) Your body doesn't want tattoo pigment inside it so your skin tries to break down any foreign object that's introduced. When it can't it forms a protective layer between the foreign substance and your body to prevent it from migrating into your system and vital organs. Obviously humans get old and as tissue ages it's properties alter a little and systems fail to perform as well as they once did, so the protective layer recedes slightly and the foreign body has slightly more real estate than it originally did. Your body has more success with some pigments than others. This isn't to do with the colour, it's more to do with the chemical and mineral composition of the pigment. This isn't an event, it takes decades. (I fear I've opened that same can of worms about "what's tattoo ink made of?" again. - please find that old thread and read it instead of asking me).

If you want to know how your skin reacts to sharp trauma in general I'm sure google would be more helpful than I ever could. I only have just enough 'bothered' to talk about the bits that pertain to tattooing.

2) Your skin bleeds when it's punctured in an effort to flush out foreign bodies that attempt to enter through the skin. Your pain receptors signal to your brain that you need to pay attention to the area under attack so you can flee or fight. (You can't do either while getting tattooed, you also have to be quiet) To assist in the flight or fight response your body produces extra adrenaline. That's useless to you while you're getting tattooed and the flood of adrenaline can make you feel faint or light-headed. This is why it's good to eat a light meal before getting tattooed, to help your blood sugar stay level when the adrenaline wears off.

On a personal note I've found that large scale tattooing affected my skin in general. I became more prone to dry skin and some detergents irritated my skin where previously I'd experienced no ill effects or allergies. I found that once an area was tattooed it was slightly more sensitive to touch for a few months, not much, but just a noticeable increase. This has become a normal part of my life so I rarely notice it anymore.


I started typing a breakdown of the healing process but realised it's fucking boring and it's been said 1000 times online before.

The reason I participate in Last Sparrow is because it has the potential to be (and often is) interesting. If it's just another place for know-nothings to ask ill-thought-out questions, for people to say "Hi, I'm new, lol" or for people to share their sub-standard tattoos/drawings/whatever to coos of amazement, then what's the point? There are many forums that cater to those needs.

These things aren't the reason I don't post here much. The reason I don't post much is because I don't always have anything useful or interesting to say.

I've learned some very interesting and useful things here. I didn't learn them by asking the same question 50 others asked the same month. There's more to learning than asking questions. There's more to asking questions than typing the first thing that comes into our heads. This forum and threads shouldn't be giant repetitive FAQs.

We (The Last Sparrow 'community') are better than this.

Can we talk about something interesting now please? Or at least share interesting or funny things we've found.

Or at least keep thing on-topic.

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Apologies for more off-topic: I completely agree about threads turning into FAQs, and I was being tongue-in-cheek/non-serious, and had no intention of posting that question. I have been looking online about the phsyical effects of tattooing which is interesting to me but probably not to many other people, so I certainly would not have posted the question here. Thanks for your info which I certainly didn't expect. Some other tattoo forums are really difficult to use due to the volume of newbie questions, but in general I haven't noticed many know-nothings asking ill-thought out questions on this forum, although of course I am very new to this. I certainly spent MANY hours going through threads on here before asking questions.

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By saying that you feel a question brewing, you are effectively asking that question.

The physical effects of tattooing ARE interesting to many many people. As are the emotional, social and the spiritual effects. I'm interested in them.

These are the things that most tattoo forums have always been and still are full of. Most of it starts out interesting, then small kernels of mis-information are expanded into giant boring half-truths that become 'facts that everyone knows'. After a while all the 'chatter' drowns out the 'signal'.

I know this to be true by what I hear customers say while in a tattoo shop, convention or while getting tattooed.

I understand that it's not possible or desirable to get tattooed every day, or to sit around in a tattoo shop every day but the fascinating nature of tattoos just won't leave you alone so you need a 'fix' of tattoo's magic here and there. I know what that's like. I wasn't always a tattooer, surrounded by his favourite tattooers everyday.

The only reason I said anything now is because looking for information online about tattoos is like reading a book about learning to swim. Or feeling like we know about altered states or psychedelia by reading Naked Lunch and Doors of Perception. It's real-world, thing. Anything other than the real thing is just a distraction, or entertainment to pass the time. It turns us into tourists. Locals only tolerate tourists if they can benefit from them.

Some of the reasons Last Sparrow isn't like other forums is because one of the founders is a hugely respected and accomplished tattooer. His peers and people who look up to him trust him, so they participate. Meaning that here, there are actually great tattooers (not just people who do tattoos) who can contribute and reduce the chance of mis-information, idle tourist-chatter and help tattoo enthusiasts to have a richer experience. Then there is me.

The best way to learn anything about tattooing is to get tattooed. Put yourself in harm's way.

Meet others with tattoos, attend conventions, visit tattoo shops. But most of all, get tattooed. Do anything except browse and ask questions online.

Then when you share your experiences with others it can help them and enrich their lives.

Again, In my opinion the best tattoo magazines available to the public are:

Tatto Life

Tattoo Energy

Total Tattoo

The others fill the spectrum from crappy, through insulting, to parasitic.

But I'd rather read any one of the Tattootime books anyway.

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I felt I was parodying my own tendency to ask newbie questions in quite a self-aware way, but it WAS derailing (I was sympathising with Patriot Ink) and I know that it is the last thing our generous webmaster needs. Otherwise it will turn into a useless forum, and there is already too many of them.

To broadly agree with your post, I did spend a LOT of time researching tattoos before deeming it necessary to join a forum. On one occasion I spent two full days in London just going to loads of studios going through work, taking notes, and trying to learn. In fact, one of the best experiences was the chat we had in about 2008 when I was hammering studios learning and asking questions in as least an annoying as possible. You generously spoke to me about the intricacies of my design idea for about half an hour, and helped me come to a decision about two different tattooists I was researching. Then you booked me in with Valerie. But the weeks I spent researching and visiting studios in London, Brighton and the Midlands was FAR more useful than the hours I spent online. In fact, just spending time at IntoYou in Brighton a few years ago while my wife was tattooed by Adam Sage ended up being one of the most formative and useful experiences I ever had. Three hours reading books, magazines, and looking through work, but most importanly talking with the incredibly helpful 'receptionist' was far more practical and helpful than months spent online.

Which brings me back to the thead:

I have found Total Tattoo to be the best and most readable tattoo magazine. I don't know how useful it is for experienced tattooists or long-time enthusiasts (although judging by this thread, it is well regarded) but it was very instructive for me. It taught me a lot about the difference between shitty and good tattoos and did not try to fetishise tattoos as some kind of cyber-culture alternative lifestyle. They did pieces on both Duncan X and Valerie that I thought were well-written, and continue to showcase some really good international work. In conclusion: Total Tattoo.

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