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One man's journey with a cover tattoo


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Original was my first tattoo from 20 years ago. Met with my artist to see what would work. He took several photos, did an outline tracing and committed to drawing what might work. The old dragon was 20 years old and tired.  Got it on a business trip in Chicago at the Jade Dragon Tattoo Parlor. At the time a group of young, enthusiastic managers went downtown to see the iconic tattoo shop. 6 of us left with new ink. Many years later, I wanted something new, fresh and keeping with the dragon theme. 

My artist carefully explained what colors would work, what design would work and the size of the new piece to effectively cover the old work. Little did I know this was going to be a journey, a process and commitment of many months. Once I saw the stencil and the pc screen illustrating the color choices. I decided to take the plunge.

First session was about four-five hours for outline work.

Second session was the beginning of shading. (4-5 hours)

Third Session more color. ( five hours)

Fourth Session-almost done ( Was coming down with the flu and getting cold chills and shaking thinking I was getting cold) close to 4 hours..

Have been back for two touch up sessions and have the last one scheduled this week. If you notice the yellow areas in the whiskers and scales between the horns, a little more color saturation is needed to prevent the old image from showing through. 

Comments-Cover work can be very complex. Its a blend of design, choosing the appropriate colors that will cover light and dark and going larger to find a design that will obscure the old work. It may never be completely invisible, however the focus of the new work will draw the eye away from the previous work. Detailed shading and design is never one and done. Plan on more than visit to get the deep color saturation you desire and to cover the old areas. I waited 30 days in between sessions to allow my skin to heal and allow my artist to see what really needed to be done next. Learned a lot about what after care products I prefer. When doing a lot of shading work, some products with lidocaine do make a difference. While you might not experience the same level of relief on line work. When shading and the pores get opened up..there is a difference.  At my age-(56) five hours is longest I can sit. Four hours is much easier. Having a cool artist that understands you and the end goal are very important. I wont be doing any more cover work but I plan on lots more ink. Have had a couple more new pieces since this piece was almost done. 

Hope this helps those thinking about cover work. My artist explained he would much rather work on a 20 year old piece than one done six months ago.

Just one old guys experience.










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