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Traveling to get a large tattoo a logistic nightmare?


Matthew Williams
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I'm considering flying out to get a tattoo done and wondering if the logistics of it are even possible.

I've heard a detailed tattoo sleeve can take up to 40 hours depending on the artist and obviously there would have to be multiple sessions with healing in between.

The amount of time I'd have to take off work or the amount of flights I'd have to take makes this seem pretty affordable. Not to mention you have to schedule times that work for both you and the artist and book tickets accordingly.

Anyone had any success traveling to get a tattoo from a favorite artist? How much time and money did you have to spend?

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I travelled to get a sleeve done so it is certainly possible. I won't talk time and money in my case, because they're basically unimportant: I wanted a particular tattooer to do my arm because I loved and love what he does and none of his many imitators even come close to what he does. In my opinion, my tattoo was absolutely worth the effort I put into getting it.

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All depends I guess, on how long the distance is and if the artist is likely to be guesting in other places closer to your location from time to time. Also it depends on how much of a hurry you are in to get it done and how much difficulty you have finding time to travell.

But I think often when you book in something like that you can sit down with the artist and really plan out at least 5 sessions and book them all so it doesn't have to be such a hassle every time to match your schedules.

I travelled to Italy and Scottland for my backpiece and that gave me reasons to do those trips that provided me with really cool experiences, meeting new friends and so on. I was lucky to be able to take time off from work and travell for extended periods surrounding those dates. Pretty sure I wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much if I just had to fly there, get tattooed, fly back. If you plan to do it, try to get in with the artist while he/she is guesting some place too so you can see some other places during the progress, and make the most of the trips so it doesn't start feeling like a job. That worked for me and the 9 months that we worked on my back was really beautiful, considering all other things in my life too.

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Just go for it, you don't have to be in a hurry to finish

It's funny, but I never thought about it that way. In my head I was thinking about how to get it finished as quickly as possible, but there's really is no reason to rush it. Do artists care if you have another artist color-in or finish shading their tattoo? If not, I could travel for the design and initial inking, but have a local artist finish up.

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this is not acceptable.

What he said, you would regret that big time, just choose the artist and get there as often as you can to finish it

- - - Updated - - -

this is not acceptable.

What he said, you would regret that big time, just choose the artist and get there as often as you can to finish it

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Do artists care if you have another artist color-in or finish shading their tattoo? If not, I could travel for the design and initial inking, but have a local artist finish up.

You really shouldn't ever take this "coloring book" approach to any tattoo. If you are willing to travel to get tattooed by someone whose work you really love, why have someone else complete the work? It makes no sense and is a disservice to everyone, including yourself.

I'm currently getting a sleeve from an artist I've admired for a long, long time. I tried for 3 years just to get an appointment, which wasn't until the end of 2014. I can't go often or for more than one session at a time, but I've had 4 sessions, and there's still work to be done. It's been a long process, but I wouldn't trade any aspect of it because the end result is so, so worth it. If you're gonna commit to traveling for a long-term project, then fucking commit.

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  • 1 month later...

I've traveled twice.  One time I went to California and got tattooed 3 times by two different artists.  Stayed in California for a week and really enjoyed my time there.  I drove to Delaware alone and got one all day session.  Stayed at a hotel and drove the following day back.

It can get expensive so plan it out well and really early to save up and maximize on the cheaper hotel rates.  I strongly suggest doing it because it's an experience in life and you can enjoy your time in a different city/country.  Update us if and when you do. @Matthew Williams

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I've traveled twice.  One time I went to California and got tattooed 3 times by two different artists.  Stayed in California for a week and really enjoyed my time there.  I drove to Delaware alone and got one all day session.  Stayed at a hotel and drove the following day back.

It can get expensive so plan it out well and really early to save up and maximize on the cheaper hotel rates.  I strongly suggest doing it because it's an experience in life and you can enjoy your time in a different city/country.  Update us if and when you do. @Matthew Williams

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I've been wonder the same thing for a while now. I'm planning to get a full sleeve done by traveling back and forth from South Korea. There's an artist whose work I really love in Italy, and I can't imagine settling for less for a project like this.

I understand that it's going to be expensive and time-consuming, but I'm determined to make it happen, even if the time scale ends up being years rather than months. What would be the best way to go about it, though? The logistics of the whole thing are really troubling me. I'm planning on talking to the artist to see what she thinks, but I'd like to have an idea first. Would it be best to fly there for a few days, get whatever I can done, and then fly back the next year (realistically I won't be able to get enough time off to go any sooner)?

This will be my first tattoo so I'm not sure how much I can get done at at time (it probably depends on how long she likes to work, how fast she works, my pain threshold, healing time, and many other factors, I'm sure). I understand you need at least a couple of weeks to heal before continuing, but can you get work done on another part of your arm in the mean time?

Sorry if any of these questions are stupid, and I don't mean to hijack the thread at all! I hate asking such newb questions, but I'm happy to admit my ignorance if it means getting the right kind of advice.

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@tofer = not stupid questions. Yes this can be done. Establish communication with the artist (preferably both e-mail and voice, and hopefully you share a common language) and make sure you ask all those questions above and that she is onboard with the scope, ideas, duration of visits, etc. 

It is preferable not to tattoo over the same areas prior to healing, but tattooing near freshly tattooed areas is perfectly fine, if you're up to the stress. Your artist's planning is, of course, important in the success of this direction.

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Thanks, @SStu and @Gingerninja!

I think it's going to be hard to know at this point how well I sit, but I'm quite determined to make life as easy as possible for the artist. I've never had a problem with needles, I have a pretty high pain threshold, and I've happily sat through many 13 hour long haul flights in the past, so hopefully those are good signs.

Fortunately, she does speak English, so that should make communicating about the timeline and scope a lot easier. I'd love nothing more than to fly over, get it all done, and come home, but I know it's important to be realistic and remember that good things are worth waiting for.

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  • 1 year later...

One pro tip I've learned when traveling is to try and take at least one "rest day" after your last tattoo session.  If not a rest day, at least 12-18 hours of downtime before getting on any sort of transportation.  You don't want to be leaking all over the place!

Edited by JazzyMac
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All mine I travel for, my tattooist is an hour and a half away, the one I've been going to since 2014 and he's going to finish my body.   I know that travel distance is nothing to some of you, but for someone who is prone to travel sickness, it is a lot. I always book a couple of days off either side, so if getting inked on a monday, travel on a saturday and travel back on a wednesday. By the time I am travelling back, the excess ink is all off and my body is more settled for travelling back home.   The reasoning for me for resting before tattoo, is that body is rested after travelling, more relaxed, which makes for an easier tattoo session.  I have got tattooed before on day of arrival and it was too much for my body.  Learn what works for your body and go with it. 

But yes, have a rest time after your tattoo and yes travelling, no matter the distance, means longer time getting tattooed. But you can appreciate each piece you get done, before moving onto next piece, if getting continued work by them.  It also builds up a relationship with your tattooist, which is important.  Also listen to your tattooist and talk to them, communication is highly important. Whether you travel or no.

Edited by purplelace
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@purplelace - I once was VERY prone to car sick, sea sick, air sick, etc. I found three preventatives. One may work for you: Dramamine - Modine and Bonnine are just sugar pills to me. Although it might make you drowsy, Dramamine just works for me, and is OTC here. Martinis - not too many, but a double can really do wonders. Made our honeymoon cruise enjoyable for my wife. Saltines - old sailor's cure, and it works! Our captain even brought a pack back into the engine room once when we had a long, rough surface transit (nuc submarine). We told him we were not allowed to eat in the engineering spaces, then broke out our boxes of saltines when he went forward.

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On 10/12/2017 at 6:49 AM, pidjones said:

@purplelace - I once was VERY prone to car sick, sea sick, air sick, etc. I found three preventatives. One may work for you: Dramamine - Modine and Bonnine are just sugar pills to me. Although it might make you drowsy, Dramamine just works for me, and is OTC here. Martinis - not too many, but a double can really do wonders. Made our honeymoon cruise enjoyable for my wife. Saltines - old sailor's cure, and it works! Our captain even brought a pack back into the engine room once when we had a long, rough surface transit (nuc submarine). We told him we were not allowed to eat in the engineering spaces, then broke out our boxes of saltines when he went forward.

Nvm

Edited by JazzyMac
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@pidjones thanks for your advice, but I am on anti-sickness medication all the time and I take an extra one before travelling. I was just trying to say more on the emphasis of staying over after a tattoo, than the travel sickness part of things.  Especially since I get large tattoos, I find it is less of a shock on the system. 

Edited by purplelace
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  • 2 months later...

I've been to London to get tattooed from Cardiff and I'm cheap when it comes to transport so k went on the bus. 6 hours I think it was door to door plus an hour hanging around waiting for the shop to open it was pretty rough on the way back especially sitting for all that time. Trousers were stuck down with leg juices. Yum

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