So you want a tattoo

All about the artist

I’ve been asked before if I can recommend a good artist, and my response is always that it is a bit more complicated than just a good artist. As with any artwork, it is also about finding an artist that specialise in your chosen style to get great work. You don’t ask Kandinsky to draw the next issue of Spider-man….

Of course, a really good tattoo artist might be flexible and able to do different styles but people do tend to have specialisms. It is better to work with these when choosing an artist. As always, talk to your artist and let them know the style you are looking for if they don’t feel they can handle that they should let you know so you can make an informed choice.

Stylin’ it out

In terms of finding the right artist for the style you are into, Instagram is a good source of research. Hashtags can help you find artists and there are also whole accounts dedicated to reposting images of tattoos of certain styles (with tags to the artist so you know who did it).

Styles include:

  • Traditional
  • Neo-traditional
  • Realism
  • Tribal
  • New school (nu skool)
  • Japanese
  • Dot work
  • Geometric
  • Script

You can find full beginners guide to tattoo styles on Tattoo Do.

Other useful resources for initial research are tattoo magazines (and their corresponding social media accounts). Some of my favourite tattoo magazines are; Skin Deep, Total Tattoo, and Things & Ink. Just a note that tattoo magazines tend to feature both partial and full nudity – they are often found in the ‘Men’s interest’ section for magazines. Things & Ink is slightly different as it is run by women and aimed at women (although men are welcome to read it), it’s just a little less gratuitously sexy posing women on the cover and a bit artier. Still, can have nudity (of varying degrees) but more for the sake of showing off body art.

Location, location, location

 …..Well actually, your new tattoo is likely to exist longer than you*! So it’s worth saving up to spend the extra money on a good artist and if required, travel. A great artist might not be cheap (generally speaking, you might be looking at £80 – £90 per hour for a great artist in a good location, although this can vary and might be more or less). Although this might sound like a lot it is going to be worth it for something you can love for the rest of your life! Especially as it is something that is going to be even more painful and expensive to remove (with lasers), so it’s best to get it right the first time if you can. It is also worth considering should you need to travel, what extra costs this will entail. If you are going a long way and having a longer session you might want to consider a hotel, as getting tattooed is exhausting!

*provided you don’t die in a particularly violent way, such as a nuclear blast, your body (and therefore tattoos) will still exist after you have died. So they are actually something that exists beyond the rest of your life, worth considering and spending wisely on.


My Love is For Sale

This week saw that most commercialised of holidays, one that tends to evoke some pretty passionate responses perhaps above and beyond other holidays. I’m talking of course about the love-fest, also known as Valentine’s Day.

I used to be pretty unenthusiastic by Valentine’s Day, let’s call it V Day for brevity’s sake. I saw how commercial it was, with its forced roses (not just any old flower will do), its chocolates in heart shaped boxes and its heart covered cards. In fact, its general overuse of hearts, the colour red, and the colour pink made me do the mandatory independent lady response and gag. I also hate the idea of a holiday making people feel bad, unloved or worthless.After all, that is not what a celebration of love should be about. Even in a relationship, I was secure. I didn’t need Hallmark to tell me when to express my love!  I didn’t want jewellery or a fancy dinner. I still don’t particularly want the fancy dinner, and jewellery shouldn’t be limited to February 14th.

Having said this, over the last couple of years my attitude has changed towards V Day. I’m not saying I’m into heart shaped chocolates, I’m just saying that I’ve started to get a bit more excited about the day. Now that my husband and I are a little bit older and have more disposable income, we can use it as an excuse to buy each other presents. With our birthdays in the spring and our anniversary in the autumn, V Day gives us a nice reason to share gifts at the start of the year. It’s probably something we’d do anyway, this just frames it for us. I love giving my husband presents, and for us, these don’t need to be themed or limited to heart shaped items. Valentine’s gift for each other have included; tickets to gigs, clothing, and books. It means we don’t have to save up leftover Christmas present ideas until spring!

So although I get why some people hate Valentine’s Day, I’ve begun to embrace the excuse to get dressed up and revel in the joy on my husband’s face when he opens his new Moana t-shirts* and Japanese language text book**.

*We both adore the movie Moana. Seriously we’ve had that soundtrack on loop since the movie’s release and saw the actual film together 3 times in the cinema (I then went a 4th time with my parents).

**My husband wants to learn to speak Japanese.

Tells us about you

I have recently started a new job, hoorah! It’s all going great, however I failed to prepare for an obvious situation, and now I’m kicking myself. Hopefully this post might help better prepare others for this situation, which can happen in any environment with new people, if not then at least this should remind me for next time.

It was Friday afternoon, I’d made it all the way to the end of the week, I’d even made it to the office beer o-clock and we were all having drinks and chatting. Then came the obvious and simple question I had forgotten to prepare for, ‘so, tell us something about you that we wouldn’t guess.’ Of course the question isn’t always worded exactly like this, but some sort of prompt for me to open up in a social situation was clearly going to happen. Having not prepared for this question, I froze. I stammered a little bit and then answered, ‘oh, I don’t know, hmmm…’ then racked my head for things to say that would be interesting enough to satisfy the question, but not so interesting as to taint my new colleagues view of me. I struggled for so long that the colleague eventually changed the subject and the conversation moved on. I was left feeling very embarrassed for not having been able to give an answer, let alone a satisfying one.

Me being me I have since spent some time reflecting on this situation, asking myself why does that question always throw me so much and also what might be some appropriate answers for next time. As for why it throws me, I have decided this is mainly because I don’t know what assumptions people are making when they look at me. Do I look like someone who is into heavy metal or pop music? Do I look like I’m into sitcoms or reality TV? How much of me can people see? Do I present as a regular adult, or is it obvious I’m a responsible person, but very much in-tune with my inner child. I realise this might be over thinking it a little, and of course that is also classic me, I’m an over thinker, maybe you didn’t know that about me but now you do. I also struggle with the question because I’m a people pleaser. Making others happy make me happy and I’d hate to disappoint others. Therefore I put more pressure on myself than is needed, I have to give that perfect answer, not just any old thing.

Having gone through the process of reflecting on why it threw me so much, I have decided that they only logical course of action is to prepare some answers for next time. If you are reading this and also struggle with these situations maybe my answers could help you come up with some responses of your own. So, what might people not guess about me:

  • I love BabyMetal (and a lot of J-Pop)
  • I love WWE (Smack down and NXT in particular)
  • I used to have snakebites (that’s a type of lip piercing)
  • I’ve had blue, purple, orange, black and blonde hair
  • I have tattoos (this only works if they haven’t seen them)
  • I am a massive Disney fan, and Moana is quickly becoming my favourite movie
  • I’m vegan (again, this only works if that hasn’t come up before)

Those are all answers that, having had time to prepare them, I think give people a little window into who I am, maybe surprised them a little but isn’t too embarrassing or likely to put them off of liking me.

Now I just have to make sure I get into a situation where someone will ask me the question again so that I can show off my new answers!