rocketqueen

hello from ontario - and a question

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hello all,

my name is laura, i am from a small town outside of toronto, ontario, canada. i have 3 tattoos so far, one small on my wrist, one large forearm piece (covers my right forearm), and i just got a new portrait of an owl on my left shoulder to start a possible half sleeve of wild animals done in realism.

i joined this forum because of my plans to get more tattoos and as a way to gain some insight and advice from others, especially when it comes to planning a larger piece that i have in mind. i am struggling right now with my most recent addition - my artist is very talented and my new tattoo itself is actually quite beautiful. however, it just did not turn out as i envisioned it would, so i'm feeling a bit of post-tattoo anxiety, and concerned about how to go forward with the larger piece i have in mind.

so as my story goes for those who will be patient enough to read through this:

months ago when i booked this most recent session, i sent the artist a photo of a tattoo that i came across online and absolutely LOVED. rookie mistake, getting attached to someone else's tattoo, and believe me, i absolutely understand that my artist would never copy another artist's work/design, nor did i want him to. he ended up basing the design for my tattoo more on a photograph of a great horned owl as opposed to the photo i sent to him, which i was fine with at the time of my session because i wanted to put my own spin on the owl, and make it my own as to not copy the original picture i had found. we discussed some features of both pictures that he said he would incorporate into my final piece. i was excited to be getting something that i knew i already loved, but make it my own and more original, but the end result was very unlike what i had imagined, and now i am having a really tough time detaching from what i was hoping this tattoo would look like. i realize now obviously that i should have been more direct in communicating what i wanted, but i trust my artist and felt that i had nothing to be concerned about. he also did my other large forearm piece that i was thrilled with, it was exactly what i had in mind. so with the new one, i half expected for it to go the same way with zero afterthought.

i have some images saved that i was hoping to use as reference for the rest of this arm piece, but now i'm worried about how to go about communicating this to the artist without a) offending his artistic style and b) making it seem like i expect verbatim copies of another artist's work. i'm just having trouble with knowing what to expect as an end result if my tattoo does not end up resembling the images that i love in the first place.

anyways to anyone that read this, thanks. just was wondering if anyone has gone through something similar or has any advice.

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Hi, and welcome to the forum, fellow Ontarian!

It's totally normal to have second thoughts post-tattoo. If the tattoo is well executed, you will eventually accept it as it is and probably grow to love it.

With the upcoming work, just be straight up with your artist and communicate what you're hoping for. At the same time though, try not to go into this work with as much of a preconceived notion of what you want to see. You -hopefully- selected your artist based not only on his ability to tattoo, but also on his style and artistic ability. The tattoo is a collaboration between the two of you. It probably won't be exactly as either of you envision it; but that is ok and in the end it will be better than you hoped for.

Good luck with this, and when you get time let's see some pics of your tattoos!

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Hello and welcome!

Even when you are on the same wavelength as your artist when you are discussing the design, the tattoo may not come out as you expected. This is not exactly a bad thing but a little disappointment is understandable. Step back and look at your tattoo as if through another's eyes as if it was the first time.

Also realize that as the tattoo settles in it will change slightly. Some areas like shading will soften.

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This is one of those circumstances where there just has to be good communication between the two of you.

I have had artists say they won't tattoo anyone who brings in pics of tattoos as reference, and then on my last tattoo I was asked to point to tattoos and describe the features that stood out to me, what I liked, what I didn't like, etc., so she could get an idea of what makes me happy. Go figure! It depends on the artist and it depends on how you verbalize your own thoughts sometimes. I don't do such a great job of it myself always, but you get what you get. I tend to want to provide a whole lot of info, lots of pictures, tattoos and other media to illustrate the vibe I'm going for, not (big fat NOT) to copy a specific tattoo, but to let the artist know what KIND of tattoo I envision for myself. Some artists might take that the wrong way, but if you're clear about why you're showing it to them then it could be helpful.

Good advice given above, and, as always, the best thing is tincture of time, and also to get more tattoos.

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thank you all so much that replied. you guys are all SO friendly and helpful (i kinda got virtually yelled at on another forum for posting a similar question so thank you all for being genuinely kind and helpful and not making me feel stupid!). you are all absolutely right. the tattoo is actually looking a lot better in terms of the shading etc, the way it's settling it making it look super well done. i do trust my artist and love his style - i cannot take that away from him. and i definitely understand the mistake i made by having a really concrete preconceived notion about the outcome of my tattoo. i honestly blame myself for getting so attached to the pic of that other tattoo. will go into my next round of work with a different perspective!

however - one last dilemma. there are some small details/changes that i think could be added to this tattoo once it's fully healed that will make me love it as much as my initial vision for it. I'm really really apprehensive about asking my artist to make these changes though. again, he is a really nice/cool person and a talented artist, so i don't want my asking him to tweak the existing tattoo to come off as offensive or ungrateful anything like that. do you guys think it's common for people to make little changes/add-ons to an existing piece? or example, it's a greyscale owl but currently his ears are rounded and i want to make them a bit more pointy, and i just wanted to make his pupils slightly larger (they're really tiny right now and he looks really pissed off lol, just wanted to make his eyes a bit softer to maybe feminize the overall look of the tattoo)

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thanks SStu, my next session is booked for the end of march so i have about 4 months to really think about things and get my final ideas together. i'm sure by then i'll know a little better what i'm looking for. still though, do you think if i decide to make changes at that point that it would be okay to ask the artist? is that bad client etiquette?

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@rocketqueen, I think the only thing to be done is to ask the artist and see what response you get. Let him know the tweaks you'd like to make pertaining to eyes and ears, and if they're doable, then I can't see why the artist would have a problem. If you are a tattoo artist then, ultimately, you want your client to be HAPPY, right? A happy client is a client who will recommend you to others, etc.

Don't be hesitant to ask for reasonable changes - this is your body, and you should feel very comfortable working with your artist. Assuming the artist is experienced, then there should be zero issue. If there IS an issue ("how DARE you suggest that every single line I placed on your body is not exactly what you want?!!! Get out of my shop!" - unlikely) then you can feel comfortable going to another artist/shop and asking them to tweak the design for you, and not worry for a second about etiquette. This will let you know what kind of artist you're working with, and whether you can have a good relationship that might mean more tattoos.

Every artist I've ever worked with (who is in my area, anyway) has urged me to get back in touch if there's any touch-up or adjustments that I find I'd like to make after the healing process. This is not uncommon, so don't worry about bringing it up.

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I had post-tattoo anxiety after my first (and so far only) tattoo as well. I was young, didn't realize what I was getting was super trendy, so of course straight afterwards was like "what have I done".

Fast forward to now and I love it, get compliments on it all the time, don't give a shit that it was trendy!! It's really become a part of me.

Like the others said before me, I'd give it just a little more time before you rush back to get it changed. And if you still feel the same in a couple months I'm sure that your tattoo artist would feel good that you came back to him rather than going elsewhere.

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@Valpolicella i feel like i've had post tattoo anxiety after all 3 of mine actually lol...it's like this moment of "o_O my skin is no longer bare and never will be again, what was i thinking?!" i find this feeling difficult to shake during the healing stages of the tattoo because it's so scabby/peely looking. it's almost as if the brain perceives it as a wound or foreign body that will somehow go away, like all other wounds...it's hard to imagine at that stage the tattoo being a part of your skin forever. i'm really prone to anxiety, overanalyzing, and overthinking with everything though so i think it's just part of my brain chemistry lol. once my other ones healed and became soft, smooth, and flush with the rest of my skin, they totally became a part me. i can't even remember those areas ever being bare lol. hoping this happens with my owl, especially once it's healed and then fixed up to how i want it! i'm glad you love your tattoo now :) what is it of?

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To be honest, I've never seen bird silhouette tattoos like yours and I like them. They remind me a little of PRS fret board bird inlays.

AllPRSBirdsc.jpg

Most artist should have no problem with a request to slightly modify their work like you are wanting, especially if asked nicely.

I will ask my artist to brighten up the eye area around the tiger he created since there is a little blowout there and it needs the contrast. (he had to shrink his artwork to fit my leg better so the line work was compressed slightly together)

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i had a really rough go today about this tattoo, i work for a dermatologist and basically broke down in his office (messy tears and all!) and asked him about laser options. i keep going back and forth with the idea of either going through the expensive/painful/gruelling process of lasering this thing off, or speaking with my artist and adding the small changes to the owl to make him more what i envisioned :(

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i had a really rough go today about this tattoo, i work for a dermatologist and basically broke down in his office (messy tears and all!) and asked him about laser options. i keep going back and forth with the idea of either going through the expensive/painful/gruelling process of lasering this thing off, or speaking with my artist and adding the small changes to the owl to make him more what i envisioned :(

Definitely don't go the laser route - at least not yet!! There is nothing that removes post-tattoo anxiety like getting more tattoos. Also, if your artist thinks small changes are possible, do those first and then see how you like what turns out. Then if all else fails it wouldn't be any more work to laser off the tattoo including those changes, or to replace the owl with a panther.

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