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  1. 24 likes
    Fifth (final) session on my back, the long story. Photo Link to my other post in this thread. And here's picture from and what I wrote after the lining session ------ Last session - booked for Sunday, March 29:th, at the Scottish Convention On the friday I was supposed to take the night bus from London to Edinburgh where Iain Mullen and Rudy Fritsch were working the Scottish Convention and ready to finish my back on the Sunday. To make a long story short, I ended up not going on the bus due to having booked the wrong month (Second time this happens to me, damn you Victoria Coach Station!) and instead I found myself after a sleepless night (spent in a night open café in Soho) on the first train to Edinburgh in the morning. Finally I can sleep I thought. Wrong. Turns out scottish people likes to talk a lot and there is no silent compartment. After a few hours of trying, I get perhaps 20 minutes of sleep. When I wake up I have a text from Iain saying "Let's do the session today instead!" (Other clients could only get tattooed tomorrow) This makes sleeping again very difficult due to being severely excited and also scared/psychologically unprepared of a brutal session that I thought I'd get tomorrow. Stupid as I am, I convince myself that it's going to be all right. I sleep maybe 20 more minutes before I arrive to Edinburgh, where the wind is blowing so hard people almost fall of the streets. I've all ready been practically awake for more than 24 hours. By text, me and Iain try to arrange someplace where I can at least get some sleeping hours before the session. His hotel room turns out not to be a good idea. But there is a emergency room at the venue where I could get some peace and quiet. Great. I make my way over to the convention, after having bought pre- and post-tattoo food stuff. Choosing carefully to get a lot of nutrition and powerful stuff that will fend of the tattoo sickness I can all ready feel breathing down my neck. I've now been on a trip for 6 days, from Barcelona to Toulouse (where I got my lower belly/pubic area tattooed by Guy Le Tatooer, another wonderful horrible experience), a 32 hour bus ride from Toulouse to London, one much needed night in a proper bed, staying awake the night before in the café and now I am here. Last destination of the tattoo pilgrimage. Iain tells me to go to the big stage and look for a guy in a short mohawk named Tom/Tim and say "I'm the guy who's been travelling". This code phrase opens up the gate to my quiet sanctuary. Actually, it turns out to be a very small, cold, brightly lit, room where a big scottish man (emergency crew) is hanging out waiting for the emergencies to happen. There is neither a shower, as I had thought, or a proper bed. There is just sort of a portable emergency bed, barely wide enough for one person. I explain who I am and he lets me lie on the bed. I am too tired to fall asleep. This whole situation seems absurd. I pull my jacket and a hoodie from my backpack over my body and turn my face towards the wall. I try to relax, to breath calmly and slow down everything. The anticipation of the last session, and the pain that goes along, is very distracting. Over the com-radio there are sparse messages, barely intelligible in scottish. After a while two giggling girls come in. One of them has fainted ("This happened last year too!") and they are giving a routine check up and some good advice to eat and drink water. Meanwhile I'm this strange traveling, greasy haired, bum sleeping under jackets in the emergency room. After two hours or so I give up on trying to sleep and decide to go out, eat something and have a look around. Everything is like in a haze. I can not be bothered with all these people. I do not want to see the burlesque dancers doing whatever it is that they're doing. I sit outside and eat the big, ready chopped, stir fry with kale and edamame beans that I bought from the store. I eat some nuts, I drink some superberry juice. Must not get sick. I hang out in the both with Iain and Rudy. Rudy is tattooing both of Joe Ellis' feet in some strange tribal architectural freehand style and we talk about him doing something similar on my left elbow since Iain did the right one. After a while I go to the handicap bathroom to have what few people would have called a shower. After cleaning myself up with the water from the sink and slipping into clean clothes I feel a bit more civilized again. It is time for finishing the back piece. I would have much rather liked if the circumstances would have been different but after being awake for now nearly 34 hours I am lying face down at the Scottish convention, with my half covered ass pointing towards the small crowd that is starting to form, and one tattoo machine being tuned on either side of me. Memory of a lifetime moment, right there. Considering probably being in the worst shape ever before getting tattooed, it was not as bad as I had braced myself for. It was certainly bad. Somewhere between terrible and outright nasty, if I had to specify. In the start they added on some liner details that I was not expecting. Then they added some very thick dots that felt like evil torture to my ribs. Then they went on with the shading and I could settle in to the groove of it somewhat. Knowing how bad the first two machine session was, when we did the lines in June, this was almost bearable. It never got worse than the lining session. When it's your back being worked on and two machines are moving from spot to spot, you have no way of anticipating where the pain is going to be and for how long. You just have to take it, so I did. About 30 minutes before we were done I had to go to the bathroom. I was totally in my zone, something like what I imagine marathon runners go into to keep pushing, and was not ready to face a bunch of people watching me. Somebody said "hero" as I passed. I felt weird. The whole non-privacy of the event was strange. Both mind and body was in turmoil. As with the pain I can be amazed by states like this, the things you can experience when pushing hard. How it makes your head feel from the inside. I returned, back on the table, and we did the last bit. When I sat up in the end to have some more straight lines just below my neck I was trembling from exhaustion and emotionally shaken. It had been a profound journey. /// After the tattoo I hung around while the guys packed their stuff, we went with some other people by taxi to a pub but realized they had just stopped serving food at ten in the evening. We split up and I went with Iain and Rudy to have fish and chips at some hole in the wall. Veggie burger in dry bun for me. Finally the couchsurfer I was supposed to stay with showed up and we walked back to his apartment. We had a really good conversation on the way there. I chucked half of the burger in a trash bin. The apartment he shared with three other people felt very much like Trainspotting, except no visible drug related objects scattered around. I feel asleep in a windowless room and had no dreams, just blacked out for 12 hours. Two days later I flew home to Stockholm, had take away-dinner with my girlfriend and took the night train towards the very north end of Sweden. I felt it really bad all ready and for the coming four days I was bedridden with a massive fever and accompanying headaches and cold. At least I could watch the whole second season of The Wire from start to finish. /// I had planned to start my backpiece when I had turned 30. Now I am 28 and it's all ready finished. It's been a fantastic experience and left very warm memories. I am so happy that I asked them both to collaborate, that it worked out, and that I trusted them completely with the design. Since we started in June my personal life, a big portion of the things that happened, have been so good, enriching and developing that that whole time in my life feels very beautiful. Turns out that the biggest part of my body carries a piece of which I didn't even see the design until the hour when we started, yet now it holds so much significance and meaning. I really like the thought of tattoos like amulets imbued with qualities and forces. I'll always have power on my back. That's how I see it.
  2. 22 likes
    Done at Mondial du Tatouage (Paris) by Valerie Vargas.
  3. 19 likes
    I got my first tattoo about 5 years ago when my wife decided it was time for her to get a new tattoo after a long break. We decided to get matching tattoos of a terrible drawing I had done on a Mother's Day card of the two of us and our daughter all holding hands. Think of those stickers people put on their mini vans except drawn by someone who can't even print his own name legible most of the time. It is by far my worst tattoo and one of my favorites. I never thought that it would lead to all these other tattoos.
  4. 17 likes
    The missus (@TrixieFaux) & I got tattooed today for our tenth wedding anniversary. Peonies by Horisuzu at Unbreakable in beautiful Studio City, CA Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    Oh how my leg has changed in just a few short months. I think my next move will be to cap my other knee. Then I need to work on the back sides. I'm too front-heavy. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    The Edmonton tattoo convention was this weekend. Popped in on Sunday afternoon and won the "neo traditional" contest for my OllieXXX tiger head LOL #maketattoofunagain
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    I too was in SF but missed @gingerninja but failed to link up. I did however I did stop in to see Kahlil at tattoo city. First and foremost what a great dude and great experience. The shop has so much energy. Kahlil's booth has seen some great tattooers adding to the mojo. I left with this bad larry. On another note I can say that I stand behind tegaderm as a healing method. Ill go into it more in the tegaderm thread.
  9. 14 likes
    I have a new little friend! Snake and cherry blossoms by Chris Garver. My homage to spring. She fits the space so perfectly. He drew it on, made the stencil and we were tattooing in less than 40 minutes. Boom. (I'm swollen AF but whatever).
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    I got tatt-toad by Scott Rusnak / Lucky Strike Tattoo Edmonton a few days ago. Coins are the size of an actual coin for reference ;)
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    Started my back yesterday by Steve Byrne at rock of ages Austin picture from his IG stories
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    I am by no stretch of the imagination even half as tattooed as most of the people here, but even my personal experience has taught me that all of these things are really individual and there just aren't any rules about it. Examples: The tops of my thighs didn't hurt, really, but the outside, over the IT band, hurt like a sonofabitch. All of them healed REALLY well, though -- no scabbing, not really any pain, and they barely even peeled. Contrarily, most people's complaints about where they've been tattooed on their backs, the worst spots, were not the worst spot for me; mine was in a weird spot between my shoulderblades -- not even the bit in the crease of my butt/thigh could compare with it, and that was no picnic either! My back has also taken a shockingly long time to get to a 'settled' heal state, where the lines aren't super raised, too...it's all just depends on the person. Trying to predict what anybody else is gonna feel seems like a fool's game to me. Plus, some people just do not feel pain like other people do, and that is science fact. Anyway, this thread is about thigh tattoos, so here are mine! I'm including a healed pic of the one that @cltattooing did on me, too, since I don't think I ever sent her one! It's very difficult to take pictures of your own thigh tattoos without warping them.
  14. 13 likes
    At the gym getting ready after my workout. I'm putting on my makeup in my jeans and bra. This lady rolls in with her 6 year old daughter. This little girl looks at my tattoos and says directly to me "Mommy says tattoos are stupid and so are the people who get them." I gently kneel in front of her and say "Your Mommy is closed minded and judgmental. You should always try to be kind to people and not jump to conclusions about people you don't know." Lady is horrified. Grabs child and leaves. Kid loved it..she smiled and waved goodbye to me.
  15. 13 likes
    So I have been away for over a week on vacation, no internet. Logged on today, saw that there was a bunch of posts in this thread, and started to catch up. Got halfway through @mmikaoj 's post and decided to leave it until tonight after my son's soccer practice. While there I was talking to my buddy's wife, who apparently hasn't seen me in shorts since December. So I proceeded to answer just about every single question on here - pain, cost, meaning, where, why, etc., etc. Started out like this: Her- "Whoa, when did you get that?!? Me - "December" Her- "What's the meaning??" Me - "It means I have an awesome panther on my leg. With a sword. And some roses." Her - "Oh, three roses! For your wife and two kids. Me - "Uh....OK" I felt like the conversation was happening because of this thread.
  16. 12 likes
    I grabbed this just before my flight home on Monday morning, Steve was great and came in early to get it done
  17. 12 likes
    Scored a walkin and got my knees framed by Jay Watkins at Spider Murphy's. Stole the photo from his Instagram
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    Since it's Tattoo Tuesday, here's a sneak peek at a WIP by Grez. The outline is done for the entire piece but only got to finish the dragon kite. In June, we'll finish the rabbit, her kimono, the moon and the background. I know that everyone thinks that their tattoos are cool but I really do think this is super amazing! Grez took my random concept and executed it to perfection. The kite is so freakin' awesome. Love this guy!
  19. 11 likes
    I also picked up these two from Steve Byrne and my girlfriend got the rose
  20. 11 likes
    the heart with the key and banner was my first tattoo,I got it in 1985,(I was 26)it was for an ex-wife with her name in the banner.it was flash off the wall,that's the way it was back then. and a couple other stupid choices from a while ago. .but now it's all nicely covered up ! :)
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    To me, I look for clean solid lines, clean shading that transitions well (as opposed to looking scratchy and uneven). Shakey and uneven linework and poor shading are usually the first thing I notice when I see a bad tattoo. As for personal preference, I see way too many artists not using enough black in their work, and to me it makes it appear flat. I cringe every time I see a tattoo with no black in it at all, which is far too often. EDIT: Also, as far as lines go, from what I've seen some artists just have a looser style and so their lines may not be flawless, but these artists usually have a recognizable style that often relies on a certain looseness, so it's not as important. At least not in my eyes.
  22. 10 likes
    Here is a Fudo/Dragon sleeve I started on April first with Scott Sylvia. Still need to line the scales on the dragon and line the inside of the arm. This took roughly two and a half hours. I go back in early June. Biggest project I've started so far (my right arm I pieced together).
  23. 10 likes
    So for April Fools Day I made a facebook post "looking for laser removal recommendations. I have enough business to put somebody's kid through college. I'm tired of looking like Walt Disney threw up on me. Time to grow up and look more professional." My father texts me 10 minutes later saying if you are looking for a laser removal specialist to get in touch with him asap and he will connect me with someone who does that. LIKE, TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL DAD LOL ...aaand the next day I win a contest at the tattoo convention. oh geez
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    Probably my favorite right now is Steve Byrne, I'm always amazed at his creativity, crazy colors, and super bold lines. I have nothing by him...yet. And I guess I can post this here too. I got this Cap Coleman dragon design last night by Wes Garvick in York, PA. I've wanted a dragon for a while now and Cap does some of my favorites.
  26. 10 likes
    One of the most interesting threads i have read! Here is my input:
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    i remember the feeling i had on my first session of my back when the machine started up and then cut into me for the first couple of lines. i thought, this is completely retarded. i'm never even going to see this thing..
  28. 10 likes
    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.
  29. 9 likes
    Well, it's still a bit shiny, but I heal so slowly in my old age that it'll likely be another month of more before it finally settles down. Very pleased to have had Henry Lewis fill in a very weirdly shaped knee gap with this deconstructed, decomposing alligator skeleton -
  30. 9 likes
    I think I found my wall at about 2 hours on the ribs. Thanks Ashley @senslessadornments
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    So, I got to spend a few hours yesterday with Jack freakin Rudy at Shanghai Kate's shop. Such a wonderful experience. Jack's a very cool guy and we talked throughout most of the tattoo. At the end we all agreed that it looks like an old-school Jack Rudy tattoo.
  32. 9 likes
    Just got to his done today by Chris O'Donnell. Pumped with how it came out so far
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    Howdy. First post here! Just got a blackwork floral shoulder cap yesterday that I'm thrilled with (my third tattoo). It's flowers from my wedding bouquet (dahlia, roses, calla lilies, succulent, ginkgo leaves, and more), done with dotwork and whip shading (which I'm obsessed with rn). Done by Jacob Kearney at Metamorph Tattoo in Chicago, in about four hours. He was a total pro and I'm in love with this piece!
  35. 9 likes
    Hello all. New to the forum. Figured I would add my two cents. I have three quarter sleeves on both arms. My first tattoo ever was a half sleeve Kintaro done by Jason Lambert of Black Cat Tattoo in Pittsburgh. The sleeve was finished on the one side and the other side was done by Robert Atkinson here in LA. Robert is an overall awesome guy and a great artist. I consider him a friend and am glad to know him. Granted I just have an n of 2, but Robert IMHO is one the best tattoo artists around. I decided to bite the bullet and Robert just started lining my back. I'm doing one of the Horiyoshi 108 heroes, Kaosho Roshishin. Compared to my arms the discomfort at times was more intense, particularly around the love handles, shoulder blades, and top of the buttock. But nothing too bad. To be honestly I thought my elbows were the worst, so the flank wasn't as bad as that for me. Robert is pretty fast, we lined this in about 3 hours. Will go back to add a snake and some peonies to finish the lines and then move to shading. I'm stoked so far. Robert's sleeve is on the right, and Jason's is on the left. Once we do the background we'll even those out and I'll ask Robert to shade the negative space under my pit on the left
  36. 8 likes
    I recently traveled 5,000 miles to get my first tattoo– a full sleeve done in just 5 days. I made a blog to chronicle my journey and share some real first-hand advice. Everything you need to know about my experience, my artists, as well as some gnarly pics of what its really like to tattoo for 24 hours. Click here to read my story! Xo Claudia
  37. 8 likes
    Got my first tattoo about a month ago, everything seems to be healing well, and of course I've got a million plans for future tattoos. I've been lurking at LST for a little over a month, and just wanted to say thanks for all the advice in the old threads. I'm the kind of person who needs to obsessively research things before I do them I order to feel comfortable in a new situation, and this forum is the best thing I found to get an idea of what I was going into. Story: showed up to my session, I'd sent the artist a couple of reference pics, but had no idea what he'd come up with. All I knew is that I wanted an ankh with an overlaid eye of Horus, and if he could also possibly work in some mandala design. So he showed me the outline he came up with, and while I absolutely loved it, the size was a little bigger than I expected, and I waffled a minute. But I remembered all threads at LST I'd read with experienced people saying "go big or go home" and "thou shalt trust thy tattoo artist if you want their best work" - so I let him pick the right size and placement, and two hours later I had my lovely tattoo! So anyway, that's me, looking forward to participating a bit more now that I know it's definitely a thing I want to do more of. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    Husband went back to get more work done Wednesday. His artist is now transitioning to doing mainly nipple tattoos in a medical center for breast cancer survivors. He will not be in the shop full time now, it will be more a part time (sounded *very* part time) side job, so my husband was frantic, wondering how he'd get his leg finished and what he would do for continued work in other areas and the artist was like Nah, now I just get to pick and choose what I want to do-and I want to do this, so you'll never have a problem getting in to see me! The dragon will go on the calf and he's going to run it over the front of his leg, like his knee and bottom of his thigh there...I burst out laughing when he came home and told me that.
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    Here are selection of my traditional tattoos. Some i've shared before, some new: Peacock by Luke Jinks (Cloak and Dagger) Elbow rose by Marcos Attwood (Broad Street Tattoo) Dietzel Girl by Tony Hundahl (Rock of Ages) Panther and snake by Valerie Vargas (Modern Classic Tattoo)
  41. 8 likes
    im going to be the grumpy old curmudgeon who offers nothing to the thread on topic save for mentioning my absolute hatred of the term plainskin. My friend Shannon tried to start that as a phrase years ago, not sure if this is the ripple from that, but its like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Sorry for interrupting.
  42. 7 likes
    Bob, I think most people here will counsel against having your first tattoo be on your hands, neck or face. You've hit on the fact that they will always be exposed - not that it's bad but that it is a commitment that is best saved for after one is more comfortable and confident in one's new body image and how it is perceived by others. Of course, with just 3 posts it's hard for us to gage your situation but you should think long and hard about the hand option. Some people opt for very small tattoos, but you've already noted the issue of size. Small can get lost - and the mantra of Go Big or Go Home rings loudly here. Taking the time to consider your options, to consult with an artist, to reflect on the potential options of design and placement seems the smartest thing to do. Having second thoughts about a design isn't necessarily bad or unusual...especially one's first few. I can tell you that I had great second thoughts on mine. The first because ....it was the first and there were so many unknowns despite taking a lot of time to research. The second one was because that one has a very specific meaning to me as well and I stressed about whether it would truly represent my intent. I finally just stopped worrying and let my artist take over - I was confident he knew my intent and let him express it through his talent. Although it is not totally the same as yours, my second tattoo is reflective of my experiences in the Pentagon on 9/11/01. I was in the area hit by the plane and helped with the evacuation. There are several times that, looking back, I know I was close to not getting out and things I saw and heard are seared in my memory. In fact, there is a period of time that is blanked out in my mind - when I think of it I can only conjure up thoughts of green grass, blue skies and hear birds chirping..surely not what I was looking at as I peered out one of the windows onto where the plane had slammed into the building minutes earlier. As I went through the tattoo design I had a good idea of the big picture and worked back and forth with the artist. I'm sure I drove him crazy. The final design has an eagle standing amid rubble. It stands on one large piece that is in the shape of a pentagon - I actually was given a piece of the destroyed Pentagon façade that is shaped in a Pentagon and has my name, rank and the date on it. In the final design, I had the date, 9-11-01, in the center of the shape where the eagle stands. In the weeks leading up to getting the work done, I talked back and forth with my wife about it. She knew my intent and didn't attempt to sway my thoughts because she knew how much it meant - it was to be done the day before the 15th anniversary of the attack. But, I also knew that she was impacted that day. She knew, ultimately, that I was in the area where the plane had hit and didn't hear from me for hours afterwards. Later, she also realized that I beat Death several times that day so she, too, had an emotional tie to the day. I realized that she would be looking at that tattoo every day, like me, and that the prominent visualization of the date, 9-11-01, would be a stark reminder for her of what she calls the worst day of her life. At the last minute - I have a picture of me with the stencil on my arm with the date in the center of the piece of rubble just before my artist started the tattoo - I told the artist not to add the date. Instead, he shaded it. That was the very best decision I made - Lynn's feelings in this case transcended mine and I am glad that I let the art depict the emotions, not the date. I know what it means and the meaning is intensely personal. I don't have to explain it to others...or I can if I choose. So, I hope I haven't lost you so far...and I haven't offended you. I offer my story as an example of how your tattoo might affect a future relationship and how, sometimes, a less literal tribute can be even more powerful since, in the end, the meaning is yours. If you opt to avoid the signature idea, don't be so literal in your thoughts about symbology. Perhaps there was a place you liked to go together, an activity you enjoyed together, a book, a movie, a song,,,all of those things could be turned into a design that would be reflective of your time and your love. Time is the key. Don't rush it. Waiting 15 years to get my 9/11/01 tribute was the best thing I could have done and it took about a year in planning - I even got my first tattoo before that one. Anything this important deserves your best thoughts and the emotions, I am sure, are still very strong at this point. Find the artist you trust first. Talk with him/her and with others you respect about your ideas and your intent. I guarantee you will find the right design. No matter what you do, it is yours and should reflect your desires. Just don't move so quickly that the emotions of the moment cloud the possibility of a design that has a deeper, long-lasting impact. Mark
  43. 7 likes
    New one today. By Will Lollie at Hotstuff. Drawn on.
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    Got a few more pieces from Tato Toby at Thank You Tattoo in Copenhagen today. He did the rose and the butterfly-demon today, and the smoking heart and the small fly about a month ago. Lately I've been really drawn to these more loose, folk-ish styles of traditional tattooing. I'm not 100% sure what it is exactly, that does it for me, they just seem to possess some sort of hard-to-pinpoint naivety and sense of mystery and magic, that's really cool to me. For these, I really like the use of blank space in both the rose and the butterfly - although I do realise, that I'm probably gonna get asked "when are you gonna get those finished?" more than once... Photo borrowed from Toby's Instagram (@tatotoby).
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    Figure I'd hop in this thread at some point! A sweet goblin by Kirk Shandro outta Easy Tiger in Edmonton AB. We were originally set to do a Dietzel masquerade girl but decided against it due to the weird wrap on the placement--half in ditch, half around the top of the elbow kinda deal. From an Oliver Bach repaint in the shop, but neither of us could figure out the original flash or artist it came from. I've seen Koeplinger and Bert Krak do ones as well.
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    Went a bit realistic underneath my neotrad bird on Monday. Not finished as yet - quite a dark piece really but I'm coming round to that brown background. Inner bicep skull area a bit nippy with a few expletives muttered...
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    Guess who had a cancellation today? Lunch hour tattooing is happening now ...
  49. 6 likes
    Done last week by Gina at Studio 69 Tattoo on Long Island, NY. On my right shoulder.
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    @polliwog, if you're still a couple years out from starting, and you begin saving now, I think you'll have a good start financially. Discipline is key though. Skip a night out here or there, grand vacation ideas may become pleasant staycations, make food instead of eating out. All that junk. It's doable. Difficult at times, really difficult even, but doable. I had to change my mindset and ask myself what I really wanted. For years I wanted a tattoo but always lamented not having funds for anything. one day I realized I was actually wasting a lot of money on things that while entertaining or seemingly needed were non-essential. Also start mulling over a design now. You may find the perfect design tomorrow, or you may find yourself going through a few ideas. You may even think you found a great one, then change your mind a month or 2 later. Over time one will stick but you've plenty of time. Also some artists have long wait lists so depending on who you want to do it, you may actually have to wait a while anyway. Might as well get in with who you want rather than settle for second choices. Good luck! Back pieces are AWESOME!!!