Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tattoo Time

Last night, I got my second tattoo.

I got three stars on my chest about 6 years or so ago, and I had always wanted to get something else, but tattoo decisions are not to be taken lightly.  What image would I want?  And where?

I've always loved the book, "The Little Prince", about a boy from asteroid B-612 who flies off to see the rest of the universe.  It's a beautifully told story, and the illustrations - simple and meaningful - have always been among my favorites.  I'd always thought one of the illustrations would make a great tattoo.

It just so happens that the lead singer of Wakaba - Niioka, or Nini, as he likes to be called - is not only a great bagpipe player, but also a tattoo artist.  I've been talking to him about how I've been wanting to get another tattoo, and I showed him what I wanted.  However, Nini does tattoos the traditional way - as in, no machine.  It's basically a stick with a needle on the end.  I was a little nervous about this, but decided that getting a tattoo done this would make for a great story.  And yes, maybe even make me seem a little tough.

As I layed down to prepare for my tattoo, I kept trying to remember what it had felt like, so I could some what prepare myself.  When the first prick happened, it all came back to me.  Some parts hardly hurt at all - it felt like plucking your eyebrows for the first time.  Others parts definitely felt like I was being poked by a needle repeatedly.  I thought the traditional style would hurt way more, and take forever, but Nini was really fast.

Lots of deep breathing helped through the more painful parts, and as Nini worked on me, I would focus on an object in the room and try not think about the pain.  Nathan and my friend Adrienne came along for support, and although I didn't feel like talking while I was in the laying position, It really helped me to listen to their conversations.

After he finished the outline, we took a little break, which I think we both needed.  I was covered in sweat, and as he smoke a cigarette we talked about work and zombie movies.

Next up, was the color and any other touch-ups.  This again included lots of deep breathing while I listened to Nathan watch "Dawn of the Dead", haha.  My friends who don't have tattoos often ask what it feels like.  It's hard to describe - a pricking sensation that doesn't make you wanna cry, just clench your fists.  Don't get me wrong, it hurts, but in an annoying way.

In the above picture, you can see the tattoo instrument.  He would basically dip the needle part into the ink, then prick my skin.  Much less jarring than the tattoo gun, and I feel like the artist has more control over the ink and design.  See how happy I am that he's almost finished?  Haha!

And the finished product....

Here's the original illustration:

I was so impressed with how beautiful Nini made the tattoo look.  It'll take a few days for the swelling to go down, and probably a few weeks for it to completely heal, and I can't wait to see what it will look like then!

And because I know someone will ask, "Why did you choose this picture to tattoo on you forever?"

Well, this illustration shows the Little Prince tying up a flock of birds, so he can fly away from his tiny home and go off and experience the world.  This has certainly been me these past few years.  Who would've thought I would ever leave little Canyon, Texas and live in Japan?!

Plus, the picture's pretty :)

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