Woohoo!!! After months of searching, finding inspiration & drawing up some rough ideas for my first tattoo – IT’S DONE & I’M THRILLED!!! 😀
I’ll cut straight to the chase, then fill you in on the rest of the story behind my Gemini tat!… Since I’d never been tattooed & I have very sensitive skin & nerve endings, I was worried it might hurt like hell, but I was so surprised – it only felt like someone was scratching me hard repeatedly with their fingernail across my lower back!
And here is the finished product I’m so happy with, thanks to the artistic skills of Nate at the LA Ink Studio – “High Voltage Tattoo”! My simple, creative tattoo of my Gemini zodiac star sign, with flourished tribal design stems, leading out to purple flowers & my Gemini “II” symbol in the middle, surrounded by stars! (colour doesn’t stand out in photo though)
As a first-timer, I think it was a good choice to only have a smaller tat done & I really recommend that for anyone who’s not sure about their pain tolerance. Start small, you can always add more to a little design later!
I’ve written about it in my earlier posts, after talking to several friends who are ink addicts – obviously how painful it is depends where on your body the tattoo is done – the closer to bone it is the worse it will be. And of course, the larger or more intricate the tat design, the more time you’ve got to sit & endure! Overall I’d rate getting a lower back tattoo as just a 2 out of 10 for pain & only because it felt a bit more irritating, stinging when Nate was doing the colour & shadowing, since the needles of the tattoo machine were really focussed in one spot, but I have to say it wasn’t really painful!!
Taking a step back from actually getting tattooed – here’s the semi-short version of my new tattoo experience, from concept to finished artwork!.. I had been looking for months to find my dream tattoo, but wanted to personalize it. I searched the net for ideas & did several rough sketches of unique tattoo ideas. Here’s a pic of the final rushed sketch I did, scrawled in pen, on a scrap of paper…
This was done while my brother Ray & I were on holiday, heading to Los Angeles, where we wanted to visit “LA Ink” & get tattoos done. This was the idea I had in mind for me & shows that you don’t have to be an artist to come up with a basic design! This is good enough to hand to your tattooist & give them an idea of what you want.
…And so, we FINALLY made it to “High Voltage Tattoo” studio, home of Kat Von D & LA Ink!..
Soaking wet, after walking from Graumann’s Chinese Theatre to La Brea Ave in the pouring rain of sunny LA!..
But this is where my wanna-be tattoo drawing became a cool tattoo design, thanks to the talent of one of their awesome tattooists, Nate! He took my drawing, disappeared for 20 minutes & came back with his final outline for me to approve. I really wanted the tiny stars dotted around the outer circle area, like in my rough design, to show the Gemini constellation as seen in the sky. When Nate checked the design & drew up the outline for the tattoo stencil, he recommended the larger stars that I now have, as the idea I had they would’ve looked like dirt specks or freckles, not stars!.. Here’s the stencil after being applied – ready to go!
So my advice is that while it’s fantastic to develop & customise your own creative tattoo, it still pays to listen to your tattooist if they recommend changing something, since they know what works & will look the best on your skin!
With my tattoo design approved, next step was getting it inked! At this point I was wishing I wore some sweats or shorts instead of jeans – I highly recommend loose pants of some kind for any lower back tattoo work!.. It’s easier to slip them down your hip line, without almost having to bare-all. 😉
And when the tatt is finished, loose fitting pants won’t rub & irritate the fresh tattoo under the gauze patch that is applied.
Nate was a true tattoo artist – so quick, but not rushing or digging in. All up, it only took a couple of hours – we walked in the door after midday as LA Ink opened, had my design drawn up, tat completed & we walked out at 2:30pm! Besides having my own creative tattoo that I’m so proud of (& surprising my boyfriend!) I loved the whole experience – from finding different ideas to design my unique tattoo, through to the final tattooing process!! Maybe I’ll have to do it again sometime!?..
(See the “New Tattoo Care” page for full after-care tattoo details)