Ray Karpis

Rib cage for first tattoo

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I'm getting a lady head tattoo in January, and I've been of the mind to get it on my rib cage. The more I read and hear, the more uneasy I get about that location. I'm not worried about the discomfort, so much as I am the supposed difficulty in tattooing on that area. Is that a legitimate concern, or should a good artist be able to do the same quality of work on my rib cage as he would on my calf or arm? I haven't talked to my artist yet - just thought I would get some feedback on here until I speak with him.

In thinking about other location choices, I want this tattoo to be concealed most of the time...especially at work. Don't want back, arm, thigh. Only other options I would consider would be chest or lower leg.

If the artist has no qualms, is there any reason I should be hesitant about going with rib cage?

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The right artist is a concern. A hack will say "no problem". A mid-level will voice his concerns. A high-quality might do either.

A lot will depend on how well you can sit for a tender area tattoo. And it's your 1st . . . ??!!

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The artist isn't a hack...I think you may have "liked" his work in the last post of the Lady Heads thread. I hear what you're saying, though. I have a small tattoo on my hip that I got 15 years ago...this will be my first "real" tattoo. I won't really know how well I can sit, until I sit. That has me a little concerned. I'm not too psyched to change the location, but I want to do everything I can to make sure it's a great tattoo.

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I wouldn't worry too much about the perceived discomfort if that is the location you want to get tattooed, that is unless you will be unable to actually sit for it. If you go to a good artist, they will put a good tattoo on pretty much where you want. Usually the only real constricting factors are you. Will you be able to sit through it?

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My first tattoo was on my ribs as well, and was not nearly as hellish as I made it out to be in my mind. But if you're not concerned about the pain and discomfort, then a solid artist can tattoo anywhere. However, my personal preference for a lady head would not be on the ribs as its not a super flat surface and you don't want her head to look weird every time you move, but that's just me. I think the upper thigh is a great place for a concealed lady head, unless you want the tattoo to be larger and more detailed--then go for the ribs. With all that said, I have seen lady heads on the ribs and if they are placed well they look awesome. It's really up to you and where you'd like it best...

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My first tattoo was on my ribs as well, and was not nearly as hellish as I made it out to be in my mind. But if you're not concerned about the pain and discomfort, then a solid artist can tattoo anywhere. However, my personal preference for a lady head would not be on the ribs as its not a super flat surface and you don't want her head to look weird every time you move, but that's just me. I think the upper thigh is a great place for a concealed lady head, unless you want the tattoo to be larger and more detailed--then go for the ribs. With all that said, I have seen lady heads on the ribs and if they are placed well they look awesome. It's really up to you and where you'd like it best...

Thanks for the input. The only issue with thigh is I want it concealed at work, but I want it to be seen other times...like at the beach and at the pool. Unless I pull out my 80s basketball shorts, the thigh will be concealed 99% of the time.

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Thanks for the input. The only issue with thigh is I want it concealed at work, but I want it to be seen other times...like at the beach and at the pool. Unless I pull out my 80s basketball shorts, the thigh will be concealed 99% of the time.

Side of the calf, or upper arm.

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Talked with the artist, and he says he has no hesitation in doing this on the ribs, but to let him know if I change my mind. Currently scheduled to do this in one session (5 hours) in mid-January. A little apprehensive about the long session, but it's out-of-town so I would like to not have multiple sittings.

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Talked with the artist, and he says he has no hesitation in doing this on the ribs, but to let him know if I change my mind. Currently scheduled to do this in one session (5 hours) in mid-January. A little apprehensive about the long session, but it's out-of-town so I would like to not have multiple sittings.

My hat is off to you sir.

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Ok - so those aren't encouraging replies!

My experience is that when you start it's not too bad. You get into a groove and roll along pretty good. As hour three and four roll around the adrenaline starts to wane and it starts to get tough. That was my experience anyway. I was doing a 1/4 sleeve and chest panel. I would imagine five hours on the ribs would be a bear. Not saying you can't do it, but I wouldn't want to try.

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My experience is that when you start it's not too bad. You get into a groove and roll along pretty good. As hour three and four roll around the adrenaline starts to wane and it starts to get tough. That was my experience anyway. I was doing a 1/4 sleeve and chest panel. I would imagine five hours on the ribs would be a bear. Not saying you can't do it, but I wouldn't want to try.

But I will amend the above and say that the first 10-15 minutes of any tattoo tend to suck. I always liken it to jumping into a pool. At first it's freezing, and you can barely stand it. Then the feeling normalizes a bit, and you acclimate. But if you get out of the pool for a while and jump back in, it feels cold all over again. For me, it's the same with taking breaks during a tattoo.

Good luck, and definitely report back!

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My rib-piece was about 4.5 hours, and I didn't much enjoy it...but I'll be doing the other side, so it wasn't THAT bad.

But Ray, I GOTS to know-any relation to Alvin???

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There's a lot of great advice here from David Bruehl about nutrition and tattoos that is well worth considering:

Nibble and Sip Revisited: Tattoo Nutrition « Occult Vibrations

Also be well-rested. This, in my experience, is the most important factor in managing the pain.

It probably won't be the greatest five hours of your life but at the end of it you're going to end up with a great tattoo. Plus you'll have tough guy bragging rights here for doing a five hour session on your ribs.

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