SeeSea

Newbie jumped straight to a full back

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Hi all,

I've been surfing around and landed here after finding a thread on full back pieces. I've been toying with a sea life tattoo on my back for years, and finally got my act together and found an artist who designed a sea scene. I wanted several kinds of critters in it. He advised I should go large because it would be very difficult to add to it later if we only did some on the mid/top of my back. And also so that the fish weren't too small. I hadn't thought about going all the way but the design looked nice and I thought, what the hell. He makes a lot of sense and spent a lot of time walking me through why this would be a good strategy, and I agree. I've wanted a back tattoo, and I'll always have to deal with the negative feedback, etc., associated with getting a tattoo in the first place (which I accept), so I figured, let's do a good design and not constrain it to a particular shape. I'm actually pretty excited about a full back now, although I wonder if I didn't jump into it a little too quickly, but the reality of a good design makes sense.

But, when the needle hit my skin for the first session, I thought, "What the hell did I just do?!? How the hell can I sit through my entire back with this pain?!?"

And that's when I started surfing for pain strategies, how to sit more comfortably, how to survive long sessions (I've had 2 so far - 6 hours and 5.5 hours) and I'd like to be able to sit longer. I'm older and have 1 very small tattoo, so this was a massive jump for me.

Anyway, that's what brought me here - looking for advice.

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Welcome, please post some pics of your tattoos so far.

If you search around the forums you will find plenty of information including tips on how to deal with the pain. You also might find the 'full back experience' thread of interest. You can find it here http://www.lastsparrowtattoo.com/forum/crazy-tattoo-stories/870-full-back-piece-experience-thread-page21.html

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Thanks TaeTae - the forums have a lot of good info, and the post you linked to is really good. I don't know about posting any pictures yet. He didn't do a stencil. He said he's doing it like a painting, and there are two sections so far, and neither are "done" but a lot of shadow and dark areas. He said it wouldn't look good since the color and highlights and that kind of stuff wouldn't be done until later sessions. So they look dark and not like they will look in the end - hopefully he will swing back and finish up one of the sections after they heal so I can post something. One session was last weekend and the other was 2 weeks ago. I'll be back for #3 in about 3 weeks.

Hi harry878 - thanks for saying. I didn't really have a reference. My artist says he does minimum 3 hour sessions so I guess that was my reference, and he said the first session would be really long because he spent hours just freehand drawing on my back. Then he took a picture of what he drew, and he said that would be his reference going forward instead of a stencil. I was pretty zoned and exhausted at the end but I just stuck it out - I think because I didn't really know any better! But yeah, by the end of each, I was complete quivering toast.

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I agree 5 to 6 hour seasons is really good! I could only imagine since I don't have a back piece YET. I could imagine ribs and other areas on the back is just as painful as the front. I think a min of 3 hours is a good idea otherwise the tattoo may take forever..

As far as pain strategy just make sure you eat sometime nice before hand. Also some candy or something with sugar. After marathon sittings I usually can't eat much because I feel like crap. Haha! Other than that just stay strong and "try" to relax! I heard loud music helps a bit, or maybe even some pain killers. Not going to recommend pain killers but I have friends that swear by them when getting tattoos in those special spots!

Good news is after youre done with your back other areas such as thighs or upper arms will be nothing!!

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Hi Killercock76 - Thanks for the tips. I took a lot of food and ate something on every break, like a bagel, candy, banana. I read not to drink coffee before hand, but I did the second session and I don't know if that was why it seemed to hurt more. And I get cold REALLY EASILY (I'm a small female) so I was dressed in two layers (backwards) and gloves. I still got cold later on and am thinking about bringing a heating pad to put under my chest (I sit in a massage chair). I've watched movies and listened to music. Sometimes that helps but I don't have a magic formula. I'm going to try learning some meditation techniques to stand it better.

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Hi Killercock76 - Thanks for the tips. I took a lot of food and ate something on every break, like a bagel, candy, banana. I read not to drink coffee before hand, but I did the second session and I don't know if that was why it seemed to hurt more. And I get cold REALLY EASILY (I'm a small female) so I was dressed in two layers (backwards) and gloves. I still got cold later on and am thinking about bringing a heating pad to put under my chest (I sit in a massage chair). I've watched movies and listened to music. Sometimes that helps but I don't have a magic formula. I'm going to try learning some meditation techniques to stand it better.

Killercock? haha!! thanks

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Your right. There's no magic formula. Getting extensive work never gets easier, you just learn what to expect.

It's definitely a mindset though. If you can't get your head in the right place, enduring a monster session is impossible. This, plus being well fed & hydrated is a must.

Steer clear from the pain killers. Learn to manage the pain, don't let it manage you.

Looking forward to seeing your work. Progress pics are always great! ;)

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