gougetheeyes

Full Back Piece Experience Thread

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As of today I am exactly 4 weeks away from starting this whole backpiece thing. That seems like a long time, but I'm having renovations done to the house in that time, so I know it's just going to fly by. I'm spending a lot of time thinking about the appointment.

Anybody have any advice specific to surviving a looooonog day of lining? Greg wants to get the lining done in one day and we're going nape to thighs -- and I am not a waif -- so I suspect this is gonna be quite a day. I just wanna be as ready as possible.

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As of today I am exactly 4 weeks away from starting this whole backpiece thing. That seems like a long time, but I'm having renovations done to the house in that time, so I know it's just going to fly by. I'm spending a lot of time thinking about the appointment.

Anybody have any advice specific to surviving a looooonog day of lining? Greg wants to get the lining done in one day and we're going nape to thighs -- and I am not a waif -- so I suspect this is gonna be quite a day. I just wanna be as ready as possible.

I don't have any specific advice, but the lining sessions were really challenging. The back, to me, was entering a whole new world of getting tattooed. It's not a difficult spot, it's a series of difficult spots that are challenging for different ways, and it wasn't until I came in on the morning of my appointment and saw the stencil that I realized exactly how big my back is. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck after that first session.

With that said, getting through those hard sessions is 90% mental. Be well-rested, well-nourished, and all that, but it comes down to gritting your teeth and just putting up with it and not fighting it. I would assume that because you have quite a few tattoos from Greg and because you're having him do your back that you get along well with him and that's important too: good conversation, jokes, funny stories, things that will distract you from the tattooing make a big difference.

Often during sessions I'd drink a beer maybe an hour or two in and I found a nice imperial stout or the like helped me to relax, but that depends on you and your tattooer being cool with it. I don't think there's any shame in getting a little bit of assistance in getting through the sessions (I've heard that muscle relaxants can help a lot to quell the body's instinct to tense up) but I don't think that tattoo sessions are a good time to experiment with that stuff either...but I don't think any of that stuff is necessary.

- - - Updated - - -

As of today I am exactly 4 weeks away from starting this whole backpiece thing. That seems like a long time, but I'm having renovations done to the house in that time, so I know it's just going to fly by. I'm spending a lot of time thinking about the appointment.

Anybody have any advice specific to surviving a looooonog day of lining? Greg wants to get the lining done in one day and we're going nape to thighs -- and I am not a waif -- so I suspect this is gonna be quite a day. I just wanna be as ready as possible.

I don't have any specific advice, but the lining sessions were really challenging. The back, to me, was entering a whole new world of getting tattooed. It's not a difficult spot, it's a series of difficult spots that are challenging for different ways, and it wasn't until I came in on the morning of my appointment and saw the stencil that I realized exactly how big my back is. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck after that first session.

With that said, getting through those hard sessions is 90% mental. Be well-rested, well-nourished, and all that, but it comes down to gritting your teeth and just putting up with it and not fighting it. I would assume that because you have quite a few tattoos from Greg and because you're having him do your back that you get along well with him and that's important too: good conversation, jokes, funny stories, things that will distract you from the tattooing make a big difference.

Often during sessions I'd drink a beer maybe an hour or two in and I found a nice imperial stout or the like helped me to relax, but that depends on you and your tattooer being cool with it. I don't think there's any shame in getting a little bit of assistance in getting through the sessions (I've heard that muscle relaxants can help a lot to quell the body's instinct to tense up) but I don't think that tattoo sessions are a good time to experiment with that stuff either...but I don't think any of that stuff is necessary.

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The back, to me, was entering a whole new world of getting tattooed. It's not a difficult spot, it's a series of difficult spots that are challenging for different ways, and it wasn't until I came in on the morning of my appointment and saw the stencil that I realized exactly how big my back is.

This is a masterful quote. Reading it brought me back to the entire experience. Never a fan of that F--King Liner, I would hear the shader get disconnected and I thought "not again". It did get to the point where I would hear "sorry" after my tattooer realized he needed lines to complete.... But it's a great experience and I do miss it. Planning the appointments and watching the piece come together. It only happens once.....ENJOY @sophistre

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I've only had one short lining session on my back, but I've had a few other gnarly-sits (a few 7+ hour sessions on ribs/full shin in one sitting etc).

When I know I've got a big-sit coming up I try to "stack the deck" in my favor with a 2 week anti ritual of: no caffeine, no sugar, no booze (in fact I'm in one of these phases now for a back session). All in my head? Probably. But I like the discipline leading up.

Small snacks (during) with some protein and fat make a difference for me too. And, most importantly, THE STOKE WILL PULL YOU THROUGH (someone on here said that about sitting multiple sessions/days in a row...can't remember who or the context or I'd give credit. Its one of my favorite quotes).

It's been my experience that the day after a big session is worse than getting the tattoo. Your mileage may vary ;) Good luck!

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With that said, getting through those hard sessions is 90% mental. Be well-rested, well-nourished, and all that, but it comes down to gritting your teeth and just putting up with it and not fighting it. I would assume that because you have quite a few tattoos from Greg and because you're having him do your back that you get along well with him and that's important too: good conversation, jokes, funny stories, things that will distract you from the tattooing make a big difference.

I couldn't agree more with this and will say that every session is different than the last. Sometimes I would find it helpful to chat and other times I would just listen to music trying to zone out. One of the most challenging aspects of getting your back done, besides the pain, is just how long it takes for it to come together. Your dedication to getting tattooed will be tested especially in the beginning. I remember early on I did two days back to back for a total of 7 hours and while a lot was accomplished I remember seeing what was done and thinking "Oh shit.... only another 40+ hours left." Any where else on the body you'd be on your way to either finishing a tattoo or having a really good portion of it completed but not your back. There is no instant gratification with a back piece. It is a slow, long, and painful process that you must endure. In the end though you will have an incredible tattoo and will say it was all worth it.

Just remember that it isn't a sprint but a marathon. Go at a pace that is comfortable for you and a session length that you know you can handle. In my honest opinion, the extreme session length times are not needed unless you are traveling far to get tattooed or the artist is doing guest spots. Long sessions are not only taxing on you but the tattoo artist as well! 4 hours is a good session length especially for the back. Also... forget about the hours or the money spent. I don't keep track of it because it serves no purpose to you in the long run. Once it is done, it's done and you will not have to worry about it ever again. Just keep chipping away and eventually it will all come together. If you ever find yourself tired and needing a break, please do so.

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4 hours is a good session length especially for the back.

After doing a couple 5.5-6.5 hour sessions on my back and front this year I 100% agree that 4 hours is the perfect session length. Those longer session become a mental struggle. The pain doesn't necessarily get worse in hour 5, 6, or 7 it just gets really boring and difficult to let my mind drift off into a happy place.

@sophistre my advice is to never go into a session too confident. Tell yourself the pain is going to be 11 out of 10 so when it ends up being 8.5 out of 10 it ends up being much more manageable than the horrors you were imagining. And on the flip side, when you end up having an easy session delete it from your memory because it will set your pain expectations too low for the next session.

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If I can offer some more advice, depending on how often you're planning on working on your back, invest in a good pair of boots or shoes before you start, because you might find money getting pretty tight at some point during the process and things like replacing worn out shoes or clothes become far less of a priority.

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I would assume that because you have quite a few tattoos from Greg and because you're having him do your back that you get along well with him and that's important too: good conversation, jokes, funny stories, things that will distract you from the tattooing make a big difference.

Often during sessions I'd drink a beer maybe an hour or two in and I found a nice imperial stout or the like helped me to relax, but that depends on you and your tattooer being cool with it. I don't think there's any shame in getting a little bit of assistance in getting through the sessions (I've heard that muscle relaxants can help a lot to quell the body's instinct to tense up) but I don't think that tattoo sessions are a good time to experiment with that stuff either...but I don't think any of that stuff is necessary.

Greg and I get along well, and I like everybody else in the shop, too. My visits are always really enjoyable even when the spot we're tattooing is rough for all of those reasons. RE: the other stuff I don't know what they tolerate, but since drinking anything would have me up to pee every 3 seconds for the next two hours, it's probably better that I don't, haha. :) (I would be a dirty liar if I told you I hadn't given the leftover percocet I have from surgery in November a passing thought, but I don't think I want to mess around with anything like that, either. For all I know it would make things worse, and I'd definitely feel crappier after it wore off, anyway.)

It only happens once.....ENJOY

I've started to feel like that about all of my tattoos! Ever since finishing my arm, I guess. It's a strange way to feel when you're me and you know you have barely any coverage at all, but after the arm it was like 'oh, shit, one limb down already?' I have absolutely no regrets about my pacing whatsoever, but it's weird to be so aware of shrinking space, and the fact that eventually there will be no more room, or none left that I want to tattoo, anyway.

And, most importantly, THE STOKE WILL PULL YOU THROUGH (someone on here said that about sitting multiple sessions/days in a row...can't remember who or the context or I'd give credit. Its one of my favorite quotes).

It's been my experience that the day after a big session is worse than getting the tattoo. Your mileage may vary ;) Good luck!

I definitely try to follow all of that lead-in advice. I've never had to do it that many times in a row for so long, so hopefully my self-discipline holds out for the duration.

I love that quote. I'm heavily relying on the truth of it. I don't know anything about getting my back tattooed, but I know for a fact that I will have all of the stoke.

(For me, I think the night of the day of my tattoo has turned into my worst day. That's when I get the tattoo flu. Bluuuuh.)

Just remember that it isn't a sprint but a marathon. Go at a pace that is comfortable for you and a session length that you know you can handle. (...) Also... forget about the hours or the money spent. I don't keep track of it because it serves no purpose to you in the long run. Once it is done, it's done and you will not have to worry about it ever again. Just keep chipping away and eventually it will all come together. If you ever find yourself tired and needing a break, please do so.
After doing a couple 5.5-6.5 hour sessions on my back and front this year I 100% agree that 4 hours is the perfect session length. Those longer session become a mental struggle. The pain doesn't necessarily get worse in hour 5, 6, or 7 it just gets really boring and difficult to let my mind drift off into a happy place.

I've had a couple of appointments that went over 4 hours, but none (I think?) that went over 5. Maybe one that came close to it. I've found that I only get tattoo flu symptoms for the longer appointments, and it seems like anything over 4 hours is when my endorphins go away and things become something of a struggle (though for me it absolutely does start to hurt much more once that pain response starts to fade). I'm very lucky in that Greg is fast, but given the scale of this, I expect the first session might be my longest one ever...if I can hack it. If I tell him I have to tap out though, I don't think he'll make me feel bad about it. Hopefully after everything is lined, we can return to a saner schedule. I think mostly he wants to avoid trying to have to line everything up again if we don't finish. I am just guessing, though.

@sophistre my advice is to never go into a session too confident. Tell yourself the pain is going to be 11 out of 10 so when it ends up being 8.5 out of 10 it ends up being much more manageable than the horrors you were imagining. And on the flip side, when you end up having an easy session delete it from your memory because it will set your pain expectations too low for the next session.

This is such good advice, and I try to do this, but I think I'm bad at it! Haha. I always tell myself to expect the worst, but I always go in there hoping it won't be so bad. :( At least this time I actually really do think it's going to be horrible. rofl.

If I can offer some more advice, depending on how often you're planning on working on your back, invest in a good pair of boots or shoes before you start, because you might find money getting pretty tight at some point during the process and things like replacing worn out shoes or clothes become far less of a priority.

I will take every bit of advice! That is also good advice, and I AM due for some new chucks, so I will take your advice and get some. ...maybe put in an order with Sephora, too.

You guys are lucky you don't have to worry about your Sephora budget. (Unless you do, in which case I high-five you in solidarity.)

Edited by sophistre
omg formatting errors

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I've had a couple of appointments that went over 4 hours, but none (I think?) that went over 5. Maybe one that came close to it. I've found that I only get tattoo flu symptoms for the longer appointments, and it seems like anything over 4 hours is when my endorphins go away and things become something of a struggle (though for me it absolutely does start to hurt much more once that pain response starts to fade). I'm very lucky in that Greg is fast, but given the scale of this, I expect the first session might be my longest one ever...if I can hack it. If I tell him I have to tap out though, I don't think he'll make me feel bad about it. Hopefully after everything is lined, we can return to a saner schedule. I think mostly he wants to avoid trying to have to line everything up again if we don't finish. I am just guessing, though.

Different person and different body section, obviously, but to give you an idea, my s/o had his chest done by Greg (the Kali riding a lion chest piece) and Greg lined it in around 4.5 hours (!). If there is one blessing it is that that man is a speed demon, like you said. He also is pretty heavy handed in my experience, but there's the trade off! :) I remember at struggle points he was always very encouraging. Eat lots of lollipops.

Best of luck, stoked to see what you get!

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Different person and different body section, obviously, but to give you an idea, my s/o had his chest done by Greg (the Kali riding a lion chest piece) and Greg lined it in around 4.5 hours (!). If there is one blessing it is that that man is a speed demon, like you said. He also is pretty heavy handed in my experience, but there's the trade off! :) I remember at struggle points he was always very encouraging. Eat lots of lollipops.

Best of luck, stoked to see what you get!

Thanks for this! That's crazy fast and somewhat reassuring. I went to his IG to see if I could find that piece, and I can't, which makes me sad, because it sounds awesome! 4.5 hours on a chest sounds murderous.

Perhaps fortunately for me, I have few other people to compare his handedness with, so if he's heavy handed, I suppose I don't really have any way to tell. Haha. But he's a nice dude and the lollipops are definitely clutch!

- - - Updated - - -

Different person and different body section, obviously, but to give you an idea, my s/o had his chest done by Greg (the Kali riding a lion chest piece) and Greg lined it in around 4.5 hours (!). If there is one blessing it is that that man is a speed demon, like you said. He also is pretty heavy handed in my experience, but there's the trade off! :) I remember at struggle points he was always very encouraging. Eat lots of lollipops.

Best of luck, stoked to see what you get!

Thanks for this! That's crazy fast and somewhat reassuring. I went to his IG to see if I could find that piece, and I can't, which makes me sad, because it sounds awesome! 4.5 hours on a chest sounds murderous.

Perhaps fortunately for me, I have few other people to compare his handedness with, so if he's heavy handed, I suppose I don't really have any way to tell. Haha. But he's a nice dude and the lollipops are definitely clutch!

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Thanks for this! That's crazy fast and somewhat reassuring. I went to his IG to see if I could find that piece, and I can't, which makes me sad, because it sounds awesome! 4.5 hours on a chest sounds murderous.

Perhaps fortunately for me, I have few other people to compare his handedness with, so if he's heavy handed, I suppose I don't really have any way to tell. Haha. But he's a nice dude and the lollipops are definitely clutch!

It is way in the bowels of his instagram.

That is a good thing to not have comparisons! I have mad respect for anyone with large work from Greg for that reason, haha.

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It is way in the bowels of his instagram.

OH YEAH, I remember this! I especially remember that crazy lion. That's huge!

BAM 25923639366_ae89b03c5f_c.jpg

I remember when this got started I think. Or...maybe I just remember seeing the post about when it started, in the archives..? Either way, so cool to see it finished. :O

- - - Updated - - -

It is way in the bowels of his instagram.

OH YEAH, I remember this! I especially remember that crazy lion. That's huge!

BAM 25923639366_ae89b03c5f_c.jpg

I remember when this got started I think. Or...maybe I just remember seeing the post about when it started, in the archives..? Either way, so cool to see it finished. :O

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Well, I'm in process of finishing my full back tattoo piece, but I kind of guess I'm ready to give my experience after two sessions (4 hours each one).

The process was kind of super fast because I had clear ideas and decided very quickly who I wanted as my tattoo artist for this piece, so I went for a consultation day 14 of March, had the first session day 25 and I had my second session yesterday, day 8th of April! My next session is day 28th and then my tattoo is going to be finished :D I'm super excited. So, how much it takes the process? It depends on you and your tattoo artist's availability. In just 1 month I had started and will have finished mine!

About the pain and how it drains you... Wow, man, I can't even describe it with words. I'm a small girl (I'm just 21), but I have a high tolerance to pain. I had two tattoos done before this one: one in my shoulder and the other one in my leg, and they didn't hurt. I mean, obciously they hurt, they are tattoos, but I can't call it "real pain" because I endured it super easily, even forgot about it during the whole session because I was entertained.

So, believe me when I say that back tattoos hurts like hell.

The first session, the outlines, was the most painful one, as it has a lot of detail. 4 hours of outlines killed me. The first 3 hours hurt, but I could even stand it. But the last hour.... The most painful experience I will ever have.

I even cried the last 5 minutes. I didn't move during the whole session and I was trying so hard to not bother the tattoo artist (and I made it, I didn't move at any moment) but it was super difficult and I suffer a lot. Psychologically it was like I was about to die all the time during the last hour.

30 minutes later after finishing the session, back home, I had 3 collapses (I don't know if this is the correct english word: that's when you loose your muscular tone, you fall to the ground... I lost my hearing for about 5 minutes, blurried sight, a lot of sweating, you can't even breath correctly. It's horrible. You feel like you're going to pass out, but you don't, and you stay like this at least 5 minutes). I guess that's because I'm so thin and small.

The second session was just okay (it was just colouring). The first 3 hours were so easy to handle, obviously way more painful than the other two tattoos I have, but compared with the first session it was like a piece of cake.

The last hour was horrible, because I was so tired of handling pain and all the fresh tattooed area (as this is a full back tattoo, is a huge super big area) was super irritated and hurt. So it hurted the already tattooed area plus the area that was actually tattooing at the moment. So crazy pain, but at least I could handle it and I didn't cry, hahahaha.

Anyway I had one collapse again. At least it was just one, not three... Hahaha. The worst about it was that it happened while I was still in the bus and that was super embarrasing.

The most painful areas were my lower back and the areas closer to the ribs. Also the spine, but not as much as the other ones I just said.

I'm even thinking about buying a numbing gel (hush gel) for the next session because I'm so tired of pain right now (it will be like 50 dollars because I'm from Spain and the shipping price is super expensive, but I think it's worth it if I can got rid of the pain...). It would be wise to make the tattoo done in 3 or even 4 months, but I wanted it done in one month because I'm super impatient.

Hope this information was useful!

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Today I learned that the posterior of my body is home to multiple portals to hell! Seriously, I kept expecting cenobites to show up and drag me off with hook chains.

Whoever said the butt crease is magical sure knew what they were talking about. But the most surprising thing for me (and for Greg, actually) is that there were a couple of spots near my shoulder blades that actually made me burst into tears instantly! It was the strangest thing...it wasn't like I just bottomed out and couldn't take it anymore, it was a huge surge of adrenaline and emotion that felt completely involuntary. And just in those spots! We tattooed well into armpit territory and it was honestly a relief after those other spots. So strange.

I would post the Instagram but I'm on my phone. :( it's on his page, though, butt crack towel and everything.

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Well, I'm in process of finishing my full back tattoo piece, but I kind of guess I'm ready to give my experience after two sessions (4 hours each one).

The process was kind of super fast because I had clear ideas and decided very quickly who I wanted as my tattoo artist for this piece, so I went for a consultation day 14 of March, had the first session day 25 and I had my second session yesterday, day 8th of April! My next session is day 28th and then my tattoo is going to be finished :D I'm super excited. So, how much it takes the process? It depends on you and your tattoo artist's availability. In just 1 month I had started and will have finished mine!

About the pain and how it drains you... Wow, man, I can't even describe it with words. I'm a small girl (I'm just 21), but I have a high tolerance to pain. I had two tattoos done before this one: one in my shoulder and the other one in my leg, and they didn't hurt. I mean, obciously they hurt, they are tattoos, but I can't call it "real pain" because I endured it super easily, even forgot about it during the whole session because I was entertained.

So, believe me when I say that back tattoos hurts like hell.

The first session, the outlines, was the most painful one, as it has a lot of detail. 4 hours of outlines killed me. The first 3 hours hurt, but I could even stand it. But the last hour.... The most painful experience I will ever have.

I even cried the last 5 minutes. I didn't move during the whole session and I was trying so hard to not bother the tattoo artist (and I made it, I didn't move at any moment) but it was super difficult and I suffer a lot. Psychologically it was like I was about to die all the time during the last hour.

30 minutes later after finishing the session, back home, I had 3 collapses (I don't know if this is the correct english word: that's when you loose your muscular tone, you fall to the ground... I lost my hearing for about 5 minutes, blurried sight, a lot of sweating, you can't even breath correctly. It's horrible. You feel like you're going to pass out, but you don't, and you stay like this at least 5 minutes). I guess that's because I'm so thin and small.

The second session was just okay (it was just colouring). The first 3 hours were so easy to handle, obviously way more painful than the other two tattoos I have, but compared with the first session it was like a piece of cake.

The last hour was horrible, because I was so tired of handling pain and all the fresh tattooed area (as this is a full back tattoo, is a huge super big area) was super irritated and hurt. So it hurted the already tattooed area plus the area that was actually tattooing at the moment. So crazy pain, but at least I could handle it and I didn't cry, hahahaha.

Anyway I had one collapse again. At least it was just one, not three... Hahaha. The worst about it was that it happened while I was still in the bus and that was super embarrasing.

The most painful areas were my lower back and the areas closer to the ribs. Also the spine, but not as much as the other ones I just said.

I'm even thinking about buying a numbing gel (hush gel) for the next session because I'm so tired of pain right now (it will be like 50 dollars because I'm from Spain and the shipping price is super expensive, but I think it's worth it if I can got rid of the pain...). It would be wise to make the tattoo done in 3 or even 4 months, but I wanted it done in one month because I'm super impatient.

Hope this information was useful!

Thanks for sharing your story. Completing the piece in a month is amazing - and to say you have a high pain tolerance is an understatement. I hope you'll post a picture when you are all finished and healed.

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