gougetheeyes

Full Back Piece Experience Thread

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The Full Back Piece Thread prompted me to start a new one about what the experience was/is like of getting your entire back done. I've actually always been extremely nervous about starting (my goal is to start before I'm 30) because I'm convinced my back is weirdly sensitive..

SO. How's it been for all of you who either have full coverage or are on your way? How's the process? How incredibly draining is it? How much have you had to plan, artistically? Mentally? Physically? Financially?

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nice topic, I am in planning stages for full back piece and have had decent amount of work on back and it didnt bother me(see cover up section)

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I'm convinced my back is weirdly sensitive..

That's because your back is weirdly sensitive. Ever asked someone to rub your shin? Nope. But back rubs are awesome because your back has a million sensitive spots, all of which feel super fucking awesome when getting tattooed, especially the lower back. You already know that tattoos hurt, and you seem to be acutely aware that the back will hurt, too. You also know that you're already on this path (didn't you just get your hand tattooed?) and that the back is the ultimate canvas. you just need to figure out what you're getting and who's gonna do it, although something tells me that you have more than a few ideas in mind.

While I did find the process to be painful (and expensive), I have no regrets at all about doing it. It was so exciting to see it come together, session by session. There's something about having a full back piece. It's something that I've always admired, but for years, I didn't think I'd be able to make the physical/financial/mental commitment to go through with it myself. Completing it was a big milestone for me, and I have a beautiful souvenir of the experience that I get to wear for life.

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That's because your back is weirdly sensitive.

Well, I'll be damned! My only fear is that I'll get into it and puss out. In the first five or ten minutes I STILL sometimes get the "Oh shit, can I make it through this?" thought. Which I know is kind of ridiculous for the number of times I've been tattooed. But yeah, if I had a full back piece I think I'd be pretty pumped for the rest of my life.

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my back is almost constantly itchy. rather than give me back rubs, i ask Jackson to scratch my back at the end of a long, hard day. i'm hoping that the actual tattoo will be more like getting a giant, long, hardcore back scratch, so i'm kind of looking forward to it. it's the healing that i'm dreading, and the possibility of getting my ass tattooed along with it :(

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I found the healing to be pretty easy. It's not like healing an elbow or ditch or some other joint, at least in my experience. And Gouge, I feel you on the first 5 or 10 minutes. It always takes me a while to get acclimated. I liken it to getting into a swimming pool: it's freezing at first, and it feels like you'll never acclimate, but within a few minutes, the water's fine and it actually gets worse if you get out and jump back in. Another reason why I don't like taking long breaks during tattoo sessions--then I have to get acclimated all over again!

I remember getting birdies tattooed on my chest over 15 years ago and thinking, "Man, there is no WAY I could get a full back piece!" But then 10 minutes went by....

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My back is in progress and last session I realized that getting one's back tattooed is like getting your ribs done all over again. I foolishly thought going into it... "At least my ribs are done. Nothing could hurt that bad." If I'd given it an ounce more thought and considered the anatomy involved I might have realized that ribs wrap from front to back... fucking duh! I told Scott we will be finishing this thing in 30 minute increments. What a cry baby I've become in my old age.

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jesus christ my back killed. i tried to brave it with a first sitting of 3.5 hrs for the outline and gradually those sessions tailed off to paltry 45min ones. if i had been my own customer id slapped me honestly haha. i didnt really plan anything artistically, i asked the tattooer for a design id had in mind for a few years and after seeing a few sketches the final design came thru, i feel like he wanted to show me the drawing thought process to let me trust him but i already did so for me, they werent so important, i just wanted to get it started!

the only respite was the shoulder blades and even then they hurt, the worst for me was the butt and lower back towards the side, ugh. i have to admit i was embarrassed at how crap i sat sometimes and have been very sympathetic with customers of mine whose backs im working on since.

my backpiece almost felt like the beginning of being an adult and getting serious about my job and getting serious about the tattoos i got. i think i'd been at Frith st for less than a year when Alex started it and it felt like an important step for me, it def marked a special time for me in life and work.

so yeh, it's gonna hurt like a bitch so take painkillers, have a decent breakfast and take the rest of the day off, youll be useless afterwards haha

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I was waiting on getting my back tattooed due to people telling me when I started getting tattooed that the front hurts way more and as you get older the pain increases to get tattooed so I started getting my front done which thank good is ninety percent there plus the tattoo ideas for my back have continued to change over the years. Some portions of the ideas/designs have stuck while others fall off and continue to take shape in my mind though I think I am getting close to nailing it down. When I finally thought I had some great ideas for me and had two tattooers who I would love to see their take I thought fuck it lets see if they'll do it as a collaboration. Waiting on the finances before I pitched the idea to them I did tell my brother, Jake, and that lil bastard took my idea. I think he has even asked both of the tattooers and they've showed interest though I'll have to ask him as I just tune him out now when it comes to the talk, haha. So now I'm gonna have to up the ante and I've got some ideas.....brotherly rivalry is a blast.

Anywho.....

From the above comments it seems it may just be as much fun as the front has been......I look forward to continuing to read this thread in anticipation and get ideas/learning on making it more tolerable for me and the tattooer(s) who will finally do it.

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I'm in progress on my back piece now. It's my 30th birthday gift to myself and I couldn't be happier with the experience so far. I never realized how huge my back is. Wow, there is a lot of space there. The pain really hasn't been so bad yet. There are a couple of spots on my lower back and the base of my spine that killed, but it's bearable. I freaked out before starting the outline on my butt. I was nervous that I would be twitching uncontrollably, which I did, but not as bad as I thought. My plan is to have one session a month to make it less of a burden financially.

What I'm worried about is the length of the project. Right now I'm still super excited by it and the progress made each session. I just hope it doesn't become a chore by the end. Did any of you reach that point where you thought, "I just want this done so I can move on to other pieces"?

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I have had three sessions, around 7 or 8 hours, on my back so far. It doesn't hurt more than my ribs, but it doesn't hurt much less. I had planned on spacing it out over eight months, but the guy doing it, Matt Arriola, is moving to New York in July so the whole thing has been sped up a bit.

Like Hogg I have found the healing to be very easy, but I generally do not have much trouble healing. It is a pain in the ass to wash for the first couple of days, but i have a wonderful wife that helps me out. I also agree with Valerie, take some pain killers, eat well, and don't plan on doing much else the day of the tattoo.

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I told Scott we will be finishing this thing in 30 minute increments.

I told him the same thing about what he's doing on my ribs. I fear it may never get finished.

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My plan is to have one session a month to make it less of a burden financially.

I think that's my ideal situation. And yeah, I also worry about it becoming so tedious, but then I think about other tattoos of mine and I've always been stoked at the progress.

Has anyone had issues with their skin back there? Mine tends to be not the smoothest as times.

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I've been working on my back for about 3 years now and it has been a great journey and humbling experience. During my sessions of pain I've learned a lot about myself mentally and physically and would also have the best dreams of my life the nights after my most painful sessions. I would say my shoulder blades, ass, and inner thighs to be the most painful. Anyway I've extremely enjoyed seeing the progress which is about 90% complete started color a few months ago and it just makes the piece pop which has motivated me to finish it by end of summer!

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I've been working on my back for about 3 years now and it has been a great journey and humbling experience. During my sessions of pain I've learned a lot about myself mentally and physically and would also have the best dreams of my life the nights after my most painful sessions. I would say my shoulder blades, ass, and inner thighs to be the most painful. Anyway I've extremely enjoyed seeing the progress which is about 90% complete started color a few months ago and it just makes the piece pop which has motivated me to finish it by end of summer!

Good luck, Torchie! I may have to try to snag some Maxilene when I get started on mine.. which is not anywhere in the foreseeable future, ha.

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Was wondering if you do sleep on your back would it be kosher to just wear a tshirt to sleep in. That way if it sticks at all, you just need to jump in the shower with the tshirt on? Or has that not been a problem for anyone that has had there back done?

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In my experience the worse your back is before getting tattooed the worse it will be while getting tattooed. If you have any really sore spots, get a massage about 4 days before getting tattooed. I also found that when i started working out regularly it hurt less and I was able to go longer. Overall it was the most painfull tattoo I've gone through. Outlining across the tops of my shoulders was the worst by far. It felt like being cut open is really the only way I could describe it.

Healing for me was really easy. I did many short (1-2hr) sitting instead of fewer long ones, because of that there wasn't a lot of huge areas at once, or a lot of layered colours so I didn't get and large thick scabs really. I don't sleep on my back so I never had my clothes stick to the tattoo. I also always left the bandage on overnight the first day which keeps anything from sticking.

In the end when it's all done and healed having it there is a great feeling even though you never get to see it.

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My only fear is that I'll get into it and puss out. In the first five or ten minutes I STILL sometimes get the "Oh shit, can I make it through this?" thought. Which I know is kind of ridiculous for the number of times I've been tattooed.

I don't think this ever goes away! At least it hasn't for me either..

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My wife is in the process of getting her back tattooed. She was also afraid of going through the possibility of painful sessions... trust me, after the first couple of minutes of getting tattooed you almost become numb to the pain... from my experience I've actually felt more pain during the healing more than anything else... people not knowing you have a fresh tattoo on your back and they surprise you with a nudge or a tap... ouch!!! then there's the itchy feeling... but hey no biggie :)

While she is light years ahead of me on the coverage on the back now, the process is going just fine... 5.5 hrs of outline just last month, a week ago she had a 4 hr session of shading and colour... now looking forward to more sessions of shading and colouring till we get to the finished piece and that will be the big reward... The healing process is something else... lots of soreness and irritation, no pain, no gain... right? but that's lasting for about a few days to a week at a time. Financially... it's demanding of course... but we figured that every three weeks to a month would be manageable...

jonesy

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For me the back was quite easy to do, apart from some places.

I had the whole thing done in about 3months or so broken down into 3hr sessions.

I found the parts that are your "love handles" was the most painful aswell as when i had a 3hr session on my butt cheek. I went in with an idea my artist drew up a couple stencils for my koi and then drew the rest straight onto my back with a texter, then he altered a couple things and we went at it.

He was very quick throughout the whole thing, about 1hr to stencil the koi, about 1hr to put everything on my back. around 1.5hours to tattoo the outline.

I then just went back everyweek or so for a 3hr session and it was finished pretty fast.

I don't like seeing unfinished work so i need to go back asap till its done.

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getting my back done was intense, especially the outline session. lower back and love handles were the roughest, and there were times i thought my solar plexus was about to pop through my chest from the force bearing down on my back - strange sensation. probably the itchiest tattoo i've experienced, though it may just seem that way b/c of the coverage involved. 1st couple of days of healing i got this really weird goosebump/chill/spasm thing that would randomly happen hard to describe but really funky feeling. so worth the discomfort, though - i'll catch a glimpse of it in the mirror and can't believe it's finished..

gouge - have you picked out an artist yet?

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Just had the outline for a Japanese backpiece tattooed this weekend. Every second of it was absolute screaming agony - especially around the spine, lower back and buttocks. Am stoked with the results and looking forward to seeing the work completed, but with an estimated 20hrs to go am wondering what kind of painkillers, if any, it would be ok to take before the next session. Have read that some thin the blood etc. & don't want to make it harder for the artist to work. Does anyone have ideas?

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