shinobi

Bad first experience

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So I moved out to Cali about 6 months ago. Never got a tattoo before, not because I didn't want one but because I thought I would never something perfect enough.

Well, it didn't take long for me to get bit with the bug seeing all the great work on people out here. I immediately started doing some research on different artists/styles. I grew up in an Asian family around lots of images of Koi, Samurai, Dragons, etc. so naturally the Japanese/Irezumi style was attractive to me.

I especially felt that the symbolism of the Koi suited me and what I represent. After narrowing it down to an artist, and with an idea of what I wanted I booked an appointment back in October and within a few weeks got inked.

The whole experience was terrible! I felt I was pretty clear with the artist about what I wanted but I also wanted to give him some creative freedom as I feel you should with experience artists who put out great work (at least in their portfolios). I suppose him not wanting to do an actual sketch should have been a red flag.

He just wanted to draw it on me first. Anyway, what he drew on me was just an outline, which I had no problem with, but the end product was a Koi with scales that are too small, not running in the direction of the spine, the fins look bad, it's just a mess.

It wasn't 2 days and I was already looking into removal. In fact, I've already had one session (after waiting one month). I guess fortunately for me it's just an outline so that's less to get removed but I'm still pretty distraught about what's on my arm and pretty embarrassed by it. I'm encouraged to read that people are able to get cover ups after doing some laser sessions so hopefully I'm not stuck with it for life.

It just sucks because I got a good eye for good work and feel I have good taste in tattoos, but you would think I'm some idiot who hired a scratcher if you saw it. I don't regret getting a tattoo, in fact I still have some work I want to get done. I am, however, more nervous than ever that it could happen again. I still don't know what I could have done differently. I guess the second I thought this guy was a bit of an asshole I should have ran.

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BTW, seriously not looking for sympathy here. Just wanted to share what went down.

Maybe others have had a similar experience. I'm actually going to a different shop in

a couple hours to meet an artist and get to work on a new piece.

I do, however, need some encouragement from those of you going through the removal process so I'll be active in that forum as well.

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I can understand shinobi. It does happen. I was tattooed by an artist of considerable repute last year, saw his work in magazines, etc. I went with a "trust me" for a sleeve tattoo and am regretting it.

The first alarm bells rang when he inked a perspective line drawing of a phoenix on my forearm. It looked great on paper, but not so wrapped around my arm, it's hard to pick out what's going on and it looks like it has a broken wing and neck. I was in denial for ages and friends told me not to worry as it would all work out in the end. I went through with the full tattoo thinking at the end of the day I will get a great piece of work and I didn't want to micro-manage. But the sleeve isn't great either - far too much solid black, detail on the outside of the foreground pieces has been lost and I've noticed a few errors where lines stop behind foreground pieces, etc. I hold my hands up and think I should have communicated my thoughts and concerns more, but just did not think I would get a bad tattoo.

Same as you, I'm too embarrassed to show it. I've worn a t-shirt twice since I had it and always seemed to see a lot of people with good and fantastic sleeves when I did!

If you're having doubts now, with a work in progress, I'd seriously consider whether you want to go through with it. I wish I stopped after the first session with the linework, but hey ho. I'm looking to remove too if I can scrape the money together so will join you posting on the removal forum!

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this is so silly, there is no need for all this hoopla. If your hesitant why not ask the wealth of knowledge right here are your fingertips? there are many contributors here from California both enthusiasts and tattooers. It can be as simple as I think xxx guy is who I am going to, I live xxx. what do you guys think. It sucks you got a bad tattoo but you dont have to repeat the process or go at alone trying to find a good tattoo.

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You really should have something in your hand that you can look at and decide if you want it on your body or not. I've had details drawn freehand on me... while there are artists who do a complete bang up freehand tattoo, they are in the minority.

Anyone that has never been inked before, I advise them to go with a stencil and approve it before the ink flows. This is also the reason why I like flash on the wall... what you see is what you get.

Rob

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If you are close to the San Jose area, check out State of Grace. They have quite a few artists who specialize in the traditional Japanese/Irezumi style. I just got a half sleeve from Horitomo (pics below). Horitaka also does a great job and they added a new member recently in Horiken from Japan. Even if you aren't close, I would check these guys out. I highly recommend Horitomo as he is one of the best in the U.S. in my opinion.

photo-2_zps0418d23c.png

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Lets see a photo of the tattoo in question

I'll get some pics in here soon. I've got before and after laser session pics,

although I might put those in the Removal forum.

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I see a couple of people suggesting that its a bad idea to go the freehand route. sorry but that is false. if you go to someone and they cant draw a good design on you chances are that they wouldn't have drawn it any better on paper.

I am not saying they don't use stencils and I'm sure they do sometimes but I personally have never seen Richard Stell, Troy Denning or Chris Trevino use a stencil. also I work with both Horizakura and Yoni Zilber who I watch draw on entire sleeves and backpieces that become the most beautifuly executed tattoos. So what im saying is its not the process/approach that is to blame for giving you an unsatisfactory tattoo it is the artist that executed it. I'd hate to see you go into a situation where youre gonna get tattooed by a Chris Garver or Horitomo and he says he's gonna freehand it so you get spooked and end up opting out of it because someone on the internet said that freehand is a red flag.

also drawing on the spot is perfectly ok if the artist has the experience and skills to do so. if Gordon Ramsey offered to come to my house and make me dinner using whatever i have in my cupboard I'm not going to request that he figure out the recipe a week in advance because he's going to nail it.

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I see a couple of people suggesting that its a bad idea to go the freehand route. sorry but that is false. if you go to someone and they cant draw a good design on you chances are that they wouldn't have drawn it any better on paper.

I am not saying they don't use stencils and I'm sure they do sometimes but I personally have never seen Richard Stell, Troy Denning or Chris Trevino use a stencil. also I work with both Horizakura and Yoni Zilber who I watch draw on entire sleeves and backpieces that become the most beautifuly executed tattoos. So what im saying is its not the process/approach that is to blame for giving you an unsatisfactory tattoo it is the artist that executed it. I'd hate to see you go into a situation where youre gonna get tattooed by a Chris Garver or Horitomo and he says he's gonna freehand it so you get spooked and end up opting out of it because someone on the internet said that freehand is a red flag.

also drawing on the spot is perfectly ok if the artist has the experience and skills to do so. if Gordon Ramsey offered to come to my house and make me dinner using whatever i have in my cupboard I'm not going to request that he figure out the recipe a week in advance because he's going to nail it.

i have an appt with chris o'donnell next month and that's exactly my plan, have him freehand my entire forearm+hand

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Having a freehand piece would be awesome, have any of you seen Carl Grace's freehand videos? No drawing onto skin, just tattooing right onto the skin. Pretty inspiring...

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Well, i'm going to throw my 2 cents in. I wouldn't say I had a bad first experience but it got a little complicated for me. Basically, I found a well rounded artist in my state to go to. Setup an appt but was told he would draw something up the day of the appt. I show up and he tells me my idea wouldn't work. No problem, I go with his advice and get one of two ideas I had on my back.

Fast forward, to my second appt with the same artist. I want to add on to my first piece and possibly turn it into a back piece. I show up and plan to give him free reign just want to stick with a nautical theme. So, I try to give him some direction tell him a couple design elements I would like to see. Again, he tells me my idea will not work but this time tells me. I can do something similar to what he said couldn't be done on our first appt. This raises a red flag and I can tell he's not really digging the tattoo in general. So, I decide to take off and end up losing my deposit.

Afterwards, I thought I would never go to an artist without having something drawn up before hand but now that I think about it. I just picked the wrong artist and instead of going to someone who is well rounded. I would go to someone who specializes in Japanese work if I planned on getting a koi, dragon or phoenix. This way you know it's something they are both interested in and good at.

Consider it a lesson learned and make sure you don't make the same mistake the second time around. Living in Cali you have plenty of options. Just find someone who's portfolio blows you away and don't settle for the first available.

- - - Updated - - -

BTW, seriously not looking for sympathy here. Just wanted to share what went down.

Maybe others have had a similar experience. I'm actually going to a different shop in

a couple hours to meet an artist and get to work on a new piece.

I do, however, need some encouragement from those of you going through the removal process so I'll be active in that forum as well.

I missed this post. So, whatever happened?

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I have had pieces put on entirely free-hand, knowing ahead of time what it was that was going on, and roughly, how. That involved a whole level of trust that you just can't have with someone you haven't worked with, or someone who isn't a major, major tattooer.

If you are getting a large piece done, a sleeve, a backpiece, whatever, I don't think it out of line to have the whole thing laid-out on paper ahead of time. Doesn't necessarily have to be a stencil, but I'd sure want to see the tattoo in it's entirety before I committed to getting it done.

When I had my arm sleeved, I already had a decent amount of work on it. The tattoer that did it, Miles Maniaci, wrapped my arm in onion-sheet and traced the old work. A few weeks later he called me into the shop to see his design. I had given him some elements I wanted used, and he did the whole thing on the onion-sheet so that I could see how it looked on my arm. It was tits, and he started it the following week. About thirty-odd hours later, I had a sleeve that I'm still, ten years later, proud to wear.

Trust is the key element. If you don't know what someone's ideas and thoughts are for your work before they start, trust is hard to come by.

.02

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I see a couple of people suggesting that its a bad idea to go the freehand route. sorry but that is false. if you go to someone and they cant draw a good design on you chances are that they wouldn't have drawn it any better on paper.

I am not saying they don't use stencils and I'm sure they do sometimes but I personally have never seen Richard Stell, Troy Denning or Chris Trevino use a stencil. also I work with both Horizakura and Yoni Zilber who I watch draw on entire sleeves and backpieces that become the most beautifuly executed tattoos. So what im saying is its not the process/approach that is to blame for giving you an unsatisfactory tattoo it is the artist that executed it. I'd hate to see you go into a situation where youre gonna get tattooed by a Chris Garver or Horitomo and he says he's gonna freehand it so you get spooked and end up opting out of it because someone on the internet said that freehand is a red flag.

also drawing on the spot is perfectly ok if the artist has the experience and skills to do so. if Gordon Ramsey offered to come to my house and make me dinner using whatever i have in my cupboard I'm not going to request that he figure out the recipe a week in advance because he's going to nail it.

Sums it all up, nothing to add on that.

I have still been waiting to see this tattoo in question, I know another user posted a picture of his, but still no picture of tattoo that started this thread. I guess it doesn't really matter at this point, but still want to see the finished product.

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this is why I'm having so much trouble choosing an artist.. i'm afraid it'll be bad

Listen to @Lochlan. The LST community is quite good at helping to avoid bad experiences with getting tattooed. If you even just browse the (most epic) thread Latest tattoo lowdown..... or any of the monthly contests you can get a hellva good idea of some good artists and 99% of the time they are just amazing to deal with. I personally experienced this when I got tattooed by @Stewart Robson. Just look around on the site for a bit and you can't really go wrong.

As far as the whole freehand vs stencil thing, I go with the following. Who cares how the design is drawn up as long as it becomes a good tattoo. I've had a mix of both freehand, stencils, and even just "putting lines where there aren't lines" before. I know the shop got a kick out of it when I said "dude do what you want, I know your shit always comes out epic". Go to a tattooer you can trust and all is good! (also let them do their job.)

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@spyro if you listen to LSTers I'd bet your chances of a good first tattoo will increase greatly!!

You should listen to Loch. I hear he knows what he is talking about... much like 90% of this board. Then again... this is coming from the dude who is here for the pictures of dudes asses freshly tattooed.

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You should listen to Loch. I hear he knows what he is talking about... much like 90% of this board. Then again... this is coming from the dude who is here for the pictures of dudes asses freshly tattooed.

The people that sit next to me on the bus/train must think I'm into freshly tattooed dude's asses because it seems 60% of my instagram is pretty much that.

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