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cloudkicker

Finishing a full backpiece over several years?

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Hey everyone, still new to the tattoo scene.. I always wanted a full back tattoo.. but the artists i like are in the high price range.. meaning that the end price of a full back tattoo ... well you guys should know.

So I thought of an idea.. I have funds to start off the back with 2 or 3 good (8 hour) sessions and then i'm wiped out.

Would it be considered rude or unethical to consider finishing the back piece throughout several years? I'm no where near rich.. and I figure if I put away $50 a paycheck.. i can pay for a good 8 hour session every year...

I don't care if it takes me 10 years to complete, but I would like to get a full back tattoo one day.. but I just can't dish out $10k in a span of a few months just to complete it.

So before I call my artist that I have an appointment with in a month and bring this up to him.. is this considered rude or unethical? maybe just plain unreasonable to the artist?

Asking because after going through the whole "full back piece" thread here .. it seems like everyone finishes up their full back piece within a few consecutive months.. so I feel like I'm missing something obvious?

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Will this be your first tattoo? A back piece is a huge commitment. Have you thought about getting a smaller tattoo first? A smaller piece will help you get an idea of the pain/discomfort and how to properly care for a healing tattoo.

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You are fine. Back pieces are a huge commitment and traditionally done in small increments and chipped away at over long periods of time. It's totally normal to discuss with your artist what kind of time frame your funds will allow. They're just happy to have your business. This forum is a tiny subset of a tiny subset of the population. Very few people have the time, money, and dedication to blast through a back piece in a few months. And depending on the design/style that might not even be possible. For example something like a dragon with a million scales will take longer than something without.

Don't act like they are doing you a favor by tattooing you. You're the customer. Talk to your artist, you might be surprised to find that most of them are super super nice and cool people. And if they're not, go somewhere else, my 2 cents.

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10 years is a long time.

I like the suggestion of getting a smaller tattoo 1st. Something by an artist you like, but you can afford.

Yes, the 10 year plan is ungodly long. I could see it taking 2-3 years, I'd never wait longer than that to finish something that I really cannot see without using a mirror. But that's just me.

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@cloudkicker.

I think you are over analyzing man. Take a breather.

Hold old are you? I wanted to be hard into my back by the time I was 30, and I started the outline 2 months shy of 32. It's not a race, and if you're so bugged out by the outlay put it off a couple of years and fine tune what you want maybe. I will say it again, it is not a race.

I would listen to @BrianH maybe get a smaller piece first. Back piece is quite the experience, and while I read a ton before starting it didn't quite prepare me for what I am nowhere near completing. Jump into the water with something manageable.

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I think provided you and the artist are both happy with the arrangement there is no 'wrong' way to do large-scale tattooing.

From a financial point of view you need to honestly evaluate what your income is, and then judge how much tattooing you are going to manage in a given year. If you're able to get in several days of tattooing throughout the year then most backpieces would still be finished somewhere between 2-4 years I would think.... Depending... Which to me is not an unacceptably long time (10 years would be, frankly, although I think that was the OP making a point rather than a serious plan).

Although I did my back piece quickly (less than a year), it was because I was in a position to get tattooed repeatedly - the artist was available and I had the money. Now, working on my front piece, I find myself in a different situation - I still have the money, but the artist is on the other side of the world. I can travel once a year for a couple of days work, but so far it is 2 years and counting. I think we might be finished next year or the year after, which would mean it took us 4-5 years.

What would probably be a bad idea is embarking on a large scale tattoo like that without knowing where or when you're going to be able to find the money to be able to commit to finishing it.

Edited by RoryQ
clarity

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Will this be your first tattoo? A back piece is a huge commitment. Have you thought about getting a smaller tattoo first? A smaller piece will help you get an idea of the pain/discomfort and how to properly care for a healing tattoo.

i actually have no interest in getting a tattoo except on my back side.. it was either going to be something on my shoulder blades that wouldn't extend into a full back piece well at all.. or a full back piece unfortunately.. so i guess go big or go home type of thing for me lol.. but i hear you though, just unfortunately not an option for me

You are fine. Back pieces are a huge commitment and traditionally done in small increments and chipped away at over long periods of time. It's totally normal to discuss with your artist what kind of time frame your funds will allow. They're just happy to have your business. This forum is a tiny subset of a tiny subset of the population. Very few people have the time, money, and dedication to blast through a back piece in a few months. And depending on the design/style that might not even be possible. For example something like a dragon with a million scales will take longer than something without.

Don't act like they are doing you a favor by tattooing you. You're the customer. Talk to your artist, you might be surprised to find that most of them are super super nice and cool people. And if they're not, go somewhere else, my 2 cents.

thank you for that advice... i like the part where to not act like they're doing a favor by tattooing me.. not gonna name names but someone i talked to seemed to be stuckup for lack of better word and turned me off to working with him though he had great work..

10 years is a long time.

I like the suggestion of getting a smaller tattoo 1st. Something by an artist you like, but you can afford.

Yes, the 10 year plan is ungodly long. I could see it taking 2-3 years, I'd never wait longer than that to finish something that I really cannot see without using a mirror. But that's just me.

sorry was meant as an exageration but i think 5 years is actually realistic in my situation

@cloudkicker.

I think you are over analyzing man. Take a breather.

Hold old are you? I wanted to be hard into my back by the time I was 30, and I started the outline 2 months shy of 32. It's not a race, and if you're so bugged out by the outlay put it off a couple of years and fine tune what you want maybe. I will say it again, it is not a race.

I would listen to @BrianH maybe get a smaller piece first. Back piece is quite the experience, and while I read a ton before starting it didn't quite prepare me for what I am nowhere near completing. Jump into the water with something manageable.

haha ya man i over analyze everything.. just who i am.. i mean this is permanent.. i need to make sure this goes right for me if i'm going to be committing this much money and time into it... i'm 30yrs old.. with the whole adult life about to hit me hard (engaged, moving to a different state, kids, the whole damn shabang), so this is kinda my succumbing to adult life present to myself before i slave my self to money to afford kids =)

I think provided you and the artist are both happy with the arrangement there is no 'wrong' way to do large-scale tattooing.

From a financial point of view you need to honestly evaluate what your income is, and then judge how much tattooing you are going to manage in a given year. If you're able to get in several days of tattooing throughout the year then most backpieces would still be finished somewhere between 2-4 years I would think.... Depending... Which to me is not an unacceptably long time (10 years would be, frankly, although I think that was the OP making a point rather than a serious plan).

Although I did my back piece quickly (less than a year), it was because I was in a position to get tattooed repeatedly - the artist was available and I had the money. Now, working on my front piece, I find myself in a different situation - I still have the money, but the artist is on the other side of the world. I can travel once a year for a couple of days work, but so far it is 2 years and counting. I think we might be finished next year or the year after, which would mean it took us 4-5 years.

What would probably be a bad idea is embarking on a large scale tattoo like that without knowing where or when you're going to be able to find the money to be able to commit to finishing it.

thanks for the advice Rory and sharing. ya after reading people's replies here and on another thread.. i made sure i can afford a consistent financial plan for this thing.. i mean it's a small one but i can make it work if my artist will work with me. i just shot him an email as he's off today and just waiting to see what he thinks.

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haha ya man i over analyze everything.. just who i am.. i mean this is permanent.. i need to make sure this goes right for me if i'm going to be committing this much money and time into it... i'm 30yrs old.. with the whole adult life about to hit me hard (engaged, moving to a different state, kids, the whole damn shabang), so this is kinda my succumbing to adult life present to myself before i slave my self to money to afford kids =)

I understand 100%, I will so buy you a beer on that whole statement

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Just want to add another little gem. Some artists, especially very busy ones, can be a bit curt when communicating via email. This can be especially true if you are a new client and they don't know who you are yet. So, don't be discouraged if it appears like they are being rude. Best way to ensure you have a good consult where you can get good feedback with your artist would be to call the shop and see when he/she is available for a face-to-face. Depending on your relative location, of course.

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i actually have no interest in getting a tattoo except on my back side.. it was either going to be something on my shoulder blades that wouldn't extend into a full back piece well at all.. or a full back piece unfortunately.. so i guess go big or go home type of thing for me lol.. but i hear you though, just unfortunately not an option for me

.......

No interest in tattoos except a full back piece as your 1st tattoo is kind of a unique position. Take your time deciding on the subject and picking your artist.

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Just want to add another little gem. Some artists, especially very busy ones, can be a bit curt when communicating via email. This can be especially true if you are a new client and they don't know who you are yet. So, don't be discouraged if it appears like they are being rude. Best way to ensure you have a good consult where you can get good feedback with your artist would be to call the shop and see when he/she is available for a face-to-face. Depending on your relative location, of course.

i actually met the guy in person.. and well.. i wanted 2 foo dogs on my shoulder blades.. and he was very adamant that i need to rethink my placement because there's no room to expand.. kept saying you can't put water underneath it or anything... and he kept suggesting all my other body parts.. chest.. thighs.. ribs.. anything lol.. but i was pretty stuck with the image i have in mind even though he had good points..

and i think the fact that i'm clean of tattoos made him talk to me differently and i honestly dont know if i was feeling his vibe.. he was really cool on the phone but in person he was kinda pushy.. but he jus came from accross the country so maybe he was tired..

gonna talk to him on the phone tomorrow and see how it goes

- - - Updated - - -

No interest in tattoos except a full back piece as your 1st tattoo is kind of a unique position. Take your time deciding on the subject and picking your artist.

ya i can see why lol... thanks for the advice

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Something to think about... I didn't see a single photo of a back piece (complete or in-progress) on your artists website or instagram.

edit: nevermind i see them now. maybe not atleast 2 of the 3 are jess yen's work.

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Did you read the "Full Back Piece" thread? It's 147 pages long….lots to learn.

Not following the advice of your tattooer is a preventable, yet classic and regrettable newb mistake - look, they just know more that you (or I) do.

I think an 8 hour back session is a just "bit" optimistic, (unless you are Peter) - 4 might be more reasonable. Doing a full back over a few years of chipping away at it is fine. Maybe he had a bit of reservation talking to you because it takes a lot of dedication for both you and your tattooer to complete a full back and you have no tattoo experience, so can't really understand what it means. Lots of people talk the talk, but don't walk the walk…

Good luck!

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Something to think about... I didn't see a single photo of a back piece (complete or in-progress) on your artists website or instagram.

edit: nevermind i see them now. maybe not atleast 2 of the 3 are jess yen's work.

hm you do have a point.. what do you make of that though? not sure what to think of that..

Honestly, if you're not willing to take good advice from your artist about design and placement there's really no need for this thread to continue past this point.

i see where you're coming from.. but everyone starts new no? at the end of the day he was willing to work with my idea..

i came here to learn and have learned quite a bit including etiquette among other things and now i'd approach things differently.. hence now with a new idea and more room to work anything he wants.. i'm pretty much giving him what i want in the tattoo and letting him have free range of what he wants to do

This all sounds kind of impulsive or made up.

lol what? look i know i'm new here and i know how it is to "plain-skinned" folk, but i came here looking for advice. so rag on me all you want can care less. definitely not impulsive as i've been thinking about this for years and finally have some sort of income to somewhat support such an idea. made up? lol what

- - - Updated - - -

Did you read the "Full Back Piece" thread? It's 147 pages long….lots to learn.

Not following the advice of your tattooer is a preventable, yet classic and regrettable newb mistake - look, they just know more that you (or I) do.

I think an 8 hour back session is a just "bit" optimistic, (unless you are Peter) - 4 might be more reasonable. Doing a full back over a few years of chipping away at it is fine. Maybe he had a bit of reservation talking to you because it takes a lot of dedication for both you and your tattooer to complete a full back and you have no tattoo experience, so can't really understand what it means. Lots of people talk the talk, but don't walk the walk…

Good luck!

completely understandable.. i shot him an email (he's usually slow to respond), but gonna shoot him a call today and see what he thinks about everything

i did read the full back thread in the stories section.. every single post and thread.. i made it to maybe 6 pages of the full back piece thread and will work my way through

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hm you do have a point.. what do you make of that though? not sure what to think of that..

I would be concerned that he has limited experience with back pieces.

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hmm... ya i guess u got a point.....well fuck..

no big deal you aren't committed to anything yet. keep researching. maybe expand your search to other artists and shops just for comparison.

you are interested in black and grey japanese, correct?

check out this piece by Yokohama Horiken at State of Grace:09.jpg

https://stateofgracetattoo.com/artists/horiken/attachment/09/

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no big deal you aren't committed to anything yet. keep researching. maybe expand your search to other artists and shops just for comparison.

i did put a $100 deposit lol...

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finally talked to my artist.. got off on a good note and picked his brain and he kept it real with me which i appreciate.. and i don't want to name who he is but he quoted me on a price that's literally the price of a good, brand new car.

i think i might have to go with someone else.. it's just not reasonable for me. thanks again for everyone's responses and help

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I don't know whether this will help ya but, with all my work which has entailed long sittings, we work out design say for my back & I say quote me for the job for a one up front payment.

Then I squirrel away what I need, then after the 1st sitting, I pay for the entire job.

That way, money is only discussed once, and we can both concentrate on the job at hand without any other interference.

Anyway, might not work for you nor your tattooer as it's hard to anticipate every factor regarding application along the way, plus...my tattooer I have known for years also, so he's happy to roll this way.

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If you're going to Jess Yen's shop you'd be foolish to get a backpiece from anyone but Jess Yen.

Foo dogs are a great subject for a backpiece, especially with peonies. You should probably listen to your artist when it comes to placement.

But if you can't afford a good backpiece, don't get one. Now is not the time to go bargain hunting.

My advice: Get the best tattoo you can. Money is secondary. If you can't wrap your mind around that one, you're not ready to make that kind of commitment. The reason many tattooers can't quote you a price up front is because it's hard to know how long a piece of that size and scope will take, but I'd guesstimate you're looking at least 25-50 hours – 100 on the outside. Hourly rates are mostly meaningless because some of the best artists are very fast and some newbies are very slow. By trying to get a bargain you could end up with a mediocre to bad tattoo that's way more expensive than the one you could have had.

Take the time and save up while you make up your mind. And/or consider getting one foo dog on an arm or a leg and take it from there. From everything I've read, however, you're probably not ready. Feel free to prove me wrong but don't ignore good advice from people who know more than you.

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