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I sat for 5 hours getting the outline done on my mid/lower back. Went home, hardly slept, and then went in the next day for another 6 hours.

At some point during the lining session, I learned that the left side of my back is way more sensitive than my right side. It felt like an electric knife going through my back. I had no troubles with my right side.

About halfway through my second session, I started complaining. My tattooer told me that there are some people out there that are dying/dead and never say a word about the pain. I told him he was right, so I shut the fuck up and got through it. I was wincing the whole time, though. My back muscles were really swollen and throbbing, and two days later, I'm still really sore.

I have another session or two of shading before I'm done, but it won't be for another month or two. I wish I could have just sat for the 11 hours without taking a break. It was much worse going in on the second day as a sleepless zombie.

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My last session had to be my longest so far. On the back of my calf, about 8 hours total time of tattooing. Was at the shop from Noon until 10:00PM, 3 hours after the shop had closed. Took about 3 breaks.

I think the previous longest session I've had was around 4-5 hours.

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The older I get, the less I can sit.

Me too. Now the longest I can sit is 3 hours. I remember 13 years ago working the night shift in Boston, driving two hours to Portland Maine, getting tattooed by Chris Dingwell for 6/7 hours, driving the two hours back to Boston, then going to work for another night shift. I did that multiple times and now can't understand how!!!!

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Newbie here, does the length of the tattoo session depends on the part of the body getting the tattoo?

Johnny,

Sometimes artists will only work in full day appointments (Yellow Blaze, King Carlos), or just prefer to book full days if it is for a large tattoo that needs a lot of work. A smaller tattoo might only require a few hours or half a day.

It's also true that there is a question of how long the person being tattooed can tolerate it. If the tattoo is in a painful place like the back or on the chest it's possible to sit for a full day, but it is quite painful. Being tattooed for a shorter period is much easier to handle.

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Newbie here, does the length of the tattoo session depends on the part of the body getting the tattoo?

Welcome!

The length of your session depends on several factors. Others around here can add more.

- The size of the tattoo. If it's small, couple hours, it's easy to sit through in one session. If you don't, you will be mocked and ridiculed. Maybe even to your face. If it's larger and your tattooer has the expectation you'll sit for the whole thing in one sitting, you do it or try your damnedest.

- Your tattoo artist's scheduling methods. Some only schedule in well defined time slices, for example, 3 hours. If the tattoo takes longer than that, you sit multiple sessions. If your tattoo artist schedules open-ended sessions, then you'll go until he finishes whatever goal he set for the session. This could be time or a particular part of the tattoo. Or, he'll keep going until you absolutely can't take another second and you have to tap out. No one likes to tap out. It's a sign of moral weakness, contributes to global warming, and will cast poorly upon your family and children. Even after many hours, it's so psychologically awesome to hear, "Ok, we've reached a good stopping point" instead of crying silently into your hand and whimpering that you're sorry you just can't take it any more. The silence that follows such an abject admission is enough to curdle milk and paralyze small dogs.

- The body part. This thread can shed some light: http://www.lastsparrowtattoo.com/forum/general-tattoo-discussion/206-most-painful-spot-get-tattooed.html. Personally, I can't speak to many body parts because I'm only working on a back piece, but yes, location can play a role. (Although your back, in terms of pain, is it's own set of differing body parts.) My one and only tap out was after 5 hours on the top/middle of my back that included spine down to the bottom of my ribs and the bones of one shoulder blade. I've had many sessions longer than this. Apparently, many think the shoulder blade isn't bad. My next session is to do the second coat in that whole area. I'm queasy just thinking about it.

- Your own preparation. How you prepare for your session has a big effect - some may argue that good preparation plays as big a role as where on the body you plan to get tattooed. If you go in tired, hung over, or on an empty stomach, body part may matter very little.

Anything else to add, anyone?

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My first session to start the sleeve took about 9 hours, I honestly didn't think it was all that bad. Seeing tattoo shows on TV just made me think it was going to be this horrendous pain and I would be dieing the whole time.

The wife was bringing over snacks & candy and soda throughout the session and it was pretty easy/laid back. He hit a couple spots where it felt really awesome(ditch/elbow/a weird area running straight down my arm that felt like he was drilling right into a thick ass nerve that runs all the way down to my fingertips) but for the most part, I almost fell asleep while he was shading.

And then we reached the last hour... where he was going in, doing fine detail work over areas he had already covered/shaded... I was starting to consider choking him, not even going to lie. Felt like he was going over a fresh, really bad sunburn with a razorblade attached to a vibrator. Holy balls of awesomeness.

On the drive back home, I ended up power napping for like 45 minutes hahaha, guess it takes its toll on your body.

Going back in for the 2nd session on Friday. Starting at 10AM and will go till we're both exhausted again... we're going to be doing shoulder, back & under parts of the arm and more ditch/elbow work... I have a feeling another 9 hours session isn't happening this time.

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ive done quite a few 8-9 hour sessions but by far the craziest days i have to recover from are friday the 13th. nonstop stenciling and tattooing with no apprentice help beside paperwork from 12 noon to 7-8 am every time. last event i did 42 tattoos i think? and they werent all 5 minute simple jammers. cuhrayzeee.

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Just done 7 hours on the ball of my shoulder and blade. I was adamant that I wasn't going to show any discomfort, and actually that mantra really helped me power through the last hour. It also helped that my artist was continually complimenting me on how well I sat. There was one spot on the back of the shoulder blade that was really punishing and I did flinch the once (could have kicked myself), but apparently my artist didn't notice. I could have gone longer, but was glad when he was done. Only 3 more hours to go on it :eek:

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There was one spot on the back of the shoulder blade that was really punishing and I did flinch the once (could have kicked myself), but apparently my artist didn't notice.

I think a good tattoo artist understands flinches and some uncontrollable movements, and can compensate. I have a muscle in my back that always does a long slow twitch when we start in that area, and he recognizes that. The body's musculature has some common traits that are somewhat stereotypical, or can be anticipated. Don't kick yourself over something your body does without your control. Your artist knows what your body might do. If they spend hours with you, they learn how your body responds.

There is a difference between involuntary twitches and a fidgeting PITA whiny client. Doesn't sound like you're a PITA. Don't worry about it.

Congrats on sitting strong - you are so close to the end! Exciting!!!

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I think a good tattoo artist understands flinches and some uncontrollable movements, and can compensate. I have a muscle in my back that always does a long slow twitch when we start in that area, and he recognizes that. The body's musculature has some common traits that are somewhat stereotypical, or can be anticipated. Don't kick yourself over something your body does without your control. Your artist knows what your body might do. If they spend hours with you, they learn how your body responds.

There is a difference between involuntary twitches and a fidgeting PITA whiny client. Doesn't sound like you're a PITA. Don't worry about it.

Congrats on sitting strong - you are so close to the end! Exciting!!!

Haha, I know! Thanks. It's weird how hitting a certain spot on your back/shoulder can cause a nerve to twitch in your leg or hand. Odd.

Only 3 hours to finish what we started today... but typically now I'm looking at it and thinking.... more, we need more... lol

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Haha, I know! Thanks. It's weird how hitting a certain spot on your back/shoulder can cause a nerve to twitch in your leg or hand. Odd.

Oh my gosh, yes! Last night he was grinding away on my upper back and I was getting this really horrid burning sore muscle sensation in my left forearm. Like, What?!? The body is so freaky and interesting! LOL!

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I had that last week on my hip - felt my nerves light up from my foot all the way up into my jaw. This has motivated me to see which acupuncture meridian may have been temporarily activated... GallBladder! Good stuff!

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I was getting the top of my shoulder done Friday and he kept hitting a spot that was shooting pain straight up into my neck all the way up into my ear lobe... ugh. Can't wait to go back so he can finish that spot... definitely reconsidering getting the other arm done.

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About a month ago, I went to the Portland Tattoo Expo where I got two large tattoos in one day. I don't know what I was thinking when I scheduled this, but it was BRUTAL. First one - was about 5 hours of work on my upper back, then the second was 3.5 hours of work, an hour (and a lot of hamburgers and french-fries) later. 5 days later, I sat for another five hours for a session on my leg... It was a terrible week and a really fuckin stupid idea.

But I now have a LOT of awesome tattoos! No regrets.

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6 hours in one session for me, and that was the Giger piece on my thigh (pics in my intro thread if you want to see).

@Swifty Yes, I know that spot you're talking about! Felt like he was tattooing my neck, though mine was 15 years ago. I still remember it, some experiences never leave you eh? :)

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18 hours 15 mins... full sleeve. Both my artist and I became caught in the moment and we kept going. We intended to only do the outline initially but pulled an all-nighter. It was an ultra-marathon session for the two of us.

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