Hey, new poster here. After years of planning (and saving!) I finally started my back piece this week, with Nick Mayes at North Sea Tattoo in Scarborough, UK. I asked for 'the Kraken thrashing around in the sea while a flying saucer tries to beam it up'. The design did not disappoint!
As for the session itself, even at a relatively short 2 1/2 hours of actual tattooing, it was pretty tough. As others have said, your body doesn't get used to the pain like it does on a smaller piece. The needle is always on the move to somewhere fresh and so every line feels like the first. I'd say most of the back was an 8/10 pain, with one or two areas only a 7, but a couple were a good 9.5, namely the love handles, lower back and butt crack (that one is like some whole new type of pain!) We will be doing 2-3 hour sessions every month or so, which should keep progress moving well. As for now, I'll leave you with what we've done so far, and will keep you updated. It's an honour to join this legendary thread!