cloudkicker

Hi everyone! Have a question about a full back tattoo

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hi everyone. tattoo virgin here and still naive and new to the whole tattoo concepts..... i was hoping someone could answer this for me...

i've always wanted a full back tattoo and i found 2 artists i'm debating on.. the first one charges <removed> an hour. being naive.. i asked the first artist how much a full backpiece would cost and he said he couldn't directly answer that.. but he showed me a picture of something similar to the work i wanted and he said it was over <removed>!! holy shit i never new tattoos were so expensive (mastermike at inkfiendart.com)

discouraged... i thought up of a design that consisted of only my upper back being tattoo'd and went to the second guy who charges <removed> an hour. he then was saying the placement of what i want doesn't make sense and that i should really consider a full back piece because that is what i truly want anyway and when i asked him how much he said he can't say neither but it would cost the price of a car o_O (someone from jess yen family at MY TATTOO)

but then i thought of something. if a full back piece will seriously cost me something ridiculous.. maybe i can do 2 full 8 hour sessions within a month of each other ... then put away $50 a paycheck for my "tattoo fund" and get an 8 hour session every year till it's complete.

i don't even care if i'm friggin 45 when it's done.. but this is what i ultimately always dreamed of.. but reading through this whole thread it just seems like work is always done within months of being started and after some google research i have yet to find anyone that took years to finish big pieces of work

so before i go calling my tattoo artists and making a fool of myself..is what i'm asking for unreasonable? (starting off a full back tattoo then having 1 [maybe 2] full sessions a year until it's complete)? is this unheard of or disrespectful at all?

thank you for any suggestions and help!

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Hi @cloudkicker

Generally we don't talk price around here, pretty sure it's in the rules but either way it's kinda bad form. Lots of variables go into pricing a tattoo and we try to concentrate more on the quality of the work more than anything. That said, a backpiece is definitely a huge commitment, a lot of time and pain will go into it, but you can break it up over sessions that are easier for you to manage. Maybe you would spend more on it than a new car, but you won't have your car for life, will you?

I don't have my back done yet, but from what I read here an 8 hour session on the back is some serious warrior shit, shorter sessions throughout the year could be more manageable for both your wallet and your pain tolerance.

Again, try not to stress the price so much, this is something you're going to have forever! Remember, a good tattoo ain't cheap, and a cheap tattoo ain't good. Looks like you've narrowed it down to a coulple of great tattooers also, I know a few people on here have been tattooed by Jess and could probably tell you about the experience.

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hey Exume thanks for replying. i just edited my post to remove the pricing.

ahh everyone in the business keeps saying to not worry about the money lol.. but when we're talking about thousands it's kinda hard not to!

ya that's what i was thinking.. but that's what he said so i'll just warrior through it lol. maybe i misheard him but i guess we'll see.

i'm hoping someone can answer me though if this is uncommon or considered rude... to start a full back piece with 2 long sessions.. and do maybe a session or two a year until it's finished (might take 5 years to finish?) i'm just wondering if the ink lines won't match because of the delay between the sessions or just not good etiquitte?

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A full back is the ultimate. Completely understand you dreaming of this, as we all did/ do.

Good advice above. Don't concern about the price. Choose the design, nut it out with your tattooer, build a rapport and your dream will come alive.

I personally hate the money Q, because a serious enthusiast will agree, it ain't about the dollars, it's about the sense.

For a 1st tattoo, full back is serious want. It can be done, but one also appreciates why there's so many unfinished back tattoos walking around.

Good luck.

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thanks for the advice Mick... i mean don't get me wrong.. i really want to understand what you guys are saying.. but it really is a money situation if you don't have much of it!!! lol.. i'm willing to torture myself for 8 hours if i have to!! wanna get this baby started

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Cool. Now kick back & read the forum. You'll learn more by reading. Scroll through the archives.

Like my old man always said to me. We have 2 ears & one mouth meaning we listen twice as much as we talk.

Plenty of knowledge here with a truck load of info already posted.

Enjoy & welcome.

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ya i've been reading nonstop actually... seems like this long term tattoo idea of mine doesn't seem like a plausible idea........ i have yet to hear someone say "i finished my large piece finally after 5 years"... lol

anyway thanks again guys

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There definitely are some people who take that long for whatever reason. It might not seem as common, nor preferable for certain scenarios, but it happens. Have you thought about getting other tattoos, then working on the back down the line, when you think it's more possible, from a logistic standpoint?

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Hey Dude welcome!

I have a piece on my back from 3 years ago that was left to add more too as we went. At the time I was unsure of how to progress, and then my tattoo artist moved 3 hours drive away.

But I am still in touch with him, and he touched up the original recently to make sure it was looking good ready to be added to. I plan on having him and his sister do a collaboration on it to complete in the next year (she is his apprentice but is pretty amazing!). So you are not the only one who might have something spread out. I can only afford to do it bit by bit, and prefer to have longer sessions to get more done in 1 go, which means longer to save! But I have also been getting other work done in between, with different artists I wanted to collect.

Dont worry if your story isn't the same as someone else getting it smashed out in 6 months of mad sessions. As long as you found a great artist to do it justice, then let it take the time it needs to save for the best of the best. You will not regret it!

:)

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... seems like this long term tattoo idea of mine doesn't seem like a plausible idea........ i have yet to hear someone say "i finished my large piece finally after 5 years"...

Eff what you've heard. Don't worry about what is common. Get tattooed for yourself without concern for what other people do. That starts with not caring whether how you approach it is similar to how others approach it. Before there was an internet and the false assurance of general consensus there were people getting tattooed any way they could. Don't worry about whether it's normal, just worry about whether it will work.

The one thing I would say, as a tattooer... do not compromise the image. Don't go the cheap route, sacrificing the quality of a permanent tattoo on your permanent body to meet your temporary means. Your body is forever and you will regret it...eventually if not instantly.

And when you have an artist that you trust to do it, take his or her advice. They may say to hold off til you can afford a large enough portion that it will look fluid in the end. Don't try to get one corner done, then a little over here and some in the middle if it will look like disjointed sections poorly stitched together. Always be thinking of the whole. Some styles can be tackled in sections but much of the beauty of a back piece is its wholeness as a large piece. Sometimes this means a whole outline of the principle image has to happen first.

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There definitely are some people who take that long for whatever reason. It might not seem as common, nor preferable for certain scenarios, but it happens. Have you thought about getting other tattoos, then working on the back down the line, when you think it's more possible, from a logistic standpoint?

ya i was thinking bout it.. just not sure if it would flow properly.. i'm going to bring it up with my artist and see what he thinks

- - - Updated - - -

Hey Dude welcome!

I have a piece on my back from 3 years ago that was left to add more too as we went. At the time I was unsure of how to progress, and then my tattoo artist moved 3 hours drive away.

But I am still in touch with him, and he touched up the original recently to make sure it was looking good ready to be added to. I plan on having him and his sister do a collaboration on it to complete in the next year (she is his apprentice but is pretty amazing!). So you are not the only one who might have something spread out. I can only afford to do it bit by bit, and prefer to have longer sessions to get more done in 1 go, which means longer to save! But I have also been getting other work done in between, with different artists I wanted to collect.

Dont worry if your story isn't the same as someone else getting it smashed out in 6 months of mad sessions. As long as you found a great artist to do it justice, then let it take the time it needs to save for the best of the best. You will not regret it!

:)

that's great to hear! as i suspected.. some touch up has to be done... i guess it should be safe to assume that i'd have to get it touched up every time too. thanks so much for sharing

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@cloudkicker

I would say that you are getting some solid advice from the people here. My back will slowly be completed over the next year and a half as that is how my sessions got booked. When it is done we may tip 2 years if that makes you more comfortable. I am averaging a session a month.

I gotta say that you always lead with honesty. The price is the price, hey it happens, but if it is something you have always wanted for yourself then every penny is well spent. Also, when you start getting into the project and complimented trust me that sticker shock fades fast. But, like I said honesty, tell him/her that you are worried about having the funds for the project not that his prices are too high. See if the artist is cool doing a long term project with you that way you both know what to expect. Get the artist you really really want first, worry about the $$ second. If they have a waiting list use that shit to your advantage to start saving. Maybe stop wasting so much at the bar and get a tattoo fund lol.

Don't do a half back then add half back later I gotta agree with that. and when in doubt listen to @Abellve what he posted is dead on.

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Eff what you've heard. Don't worry about what is common. Get tattooed for yourself without concern for what other people do. That starts with not caring whether how you approach it is similar to how others approach it. Before there was an internet and the false assurance of general consensus there were people getting tattooed any way they could. Don't worry about whether it's normal, just worry about whether it will work.

The one thing I would say, as a tattooer... do not compromise the image. Don't go the cheap route, sacrificing the quality of a permanent tattoo on your permanent body to meet your temporary means. Your body is forever and you will regret it...eventually if not instantly.

And when you have an artist that you trust to do it, take his or her advice. They may say to hold off til you can afford a large enough portion that it will look fluid in the end. Don't try to get one corner done, then a little over here and some in the middle if it will look like disjointed sections poorly stitched together. Always be thinking of the whole. Some styles can be tackled in sections but much of the beauty of a back piece is its wholeness as a large piece. Sometimes this means a whole outline of the principle image has to happen first.

that's great advice and will definitely keep everything you said in mind

- - - Updated - - -

@cloudkicker

I would say that you are getting some solid advice from the people here. My back will slowly be completed over the next year and a half as that is how my sessions got booked. When it is done we may tip 2 years if that makes you more comfortable. I am averaging a session a month.

I gotta say that you always lead with honesty. The price is the price, hey it happens, but if it is something you have always wanted for yourself then every penny is well spent. Also, when you start getting into the project and complimented trust me that sticker shock fades fast. But, like I said honesty, tell him/her that you are worried about having the funds for the project not that his prices are too high. See if the artist is cool doing a long term project with you that way you both know what to expect. Get the artist you really really want first, worry about the $$ second. If they have a waiting list use that shit to your advantage to start saving. Maybe stop wasting so much at the bar and get a tattoo fund lol.

Don't do a half back then add half back later I gotta agree with that. and when in doubt listen to @Abellve what he posted is dead on.

thanks for sharing your experience.. see what you seem to be doing is the norm.. having a session a month.. that's why i started the whole topic because the route i'd like to take just seems so rare.. going to shoot my artist a call/email and see what he thinks. thanks again appreciate it

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@cloudkicker

I would go down the route of doing 2-3 hour sessions, at the moment you have no idea how you will cope with a hour never mind 8, get the outline done and maybe start the black shading, and see how you feel then, Then your getting tattooed every few months and can watch it progress rather than a bit of a stop start journey

I havnt touched my back yet, so I'm not a expert, but I love watching a back piece grow on instagram

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I would suggest being financially able to knock out the whole outline that way the foundation is set.

Also, The road I have now crossed is "oh crap, I think I want a body suit..." so yea be careful what you start.

who knows maybe open a kickstarter for your backpiece lol

EDIT: just because I am a jerk, what do you want on your back???

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I don't know what I can add that hasn't been said already, but this the damn internet, and everyone has to listen to my 2c if they want to or not.

Backs take time. Artist/client travelling, money, holidays, vacation, etc.... Just set a pace that you can tolerate and then stick with it, that's my recommendation. While getting my back done, I see more and more other guys who just haven't been able to make progress on theirs. I've asked Dana how many backs he has in progress, he doesn't even have hard number with all the guys who are still in progress over the course of a decade. People drop in and might only get work once every 2 years. He told me about a guy he worked on recently who he hadn't seen in almost 5 years. One guy with a half suit (not the term but I can't remember it) from Shinji Horizakura took 7 years.

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want to thank everyone for their replies.. even though every does have their own opinion.. me being naive to the whole thing and hearing people's experiences is really putting things into perspectives well..

i think i like the idea of getting the outline done first and then going for small sessions of shading little by little instead of going for big chunks at a time.. will keep everyone posted after i talk to my artist!

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You may want to look into a shop that isn't a high profile shop like the two you mentioned.

There's plenty of good tattooers working in lesser known shops,that put out really good work with a more reasonable hourly rate.These guys do nice b&g work in CA.Is that the style your thinking of getting done.

Johnny Quintana@ Instagram

Black Diamond Tattoo | Juan Gollaz | Tattoo Artist in Venice CA | Black Diamond Tattoo

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