~* Creative Tattoo *~ | Tattoo Designs & Ideas

Ink Info

Creative Tattoos For You – A Brief Overview…

What Is A Tattoo?

Tattoos are body adornments, artwork that has used inks either pushed into the skin with needle-like tools, or with cuts made to the skin surface & various dyes rubbed into the wound.  Ancient tribal people all over the world inked their skin with different patterns, denoting their various skills, status, achievements & religious devotions.  Many of these traditional tattoo forms still exist today & can be found in peoples throughout Polynesia, New Zealand, Africa, Mesoamerica, North & South America, Europe & parts of Asia, including Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia & the Philippines.

Tribal Tattoo Border

Tribal Tattoo Design

A brief history – Taboo Tattoo?

While tattoos have been prominent in many areas of the world for thousands of years, there has been an ebb & flow in popularity.   Tattoos are viewed as taboo, or forbidden, in some religions & the practice of tattooing slowed down through the middle ages.  The English word “tattoo” comes from the Polynesian “tatau”.

Over the past few centuries, sailors & explorers such as Captain James Cook were voyaging around the world & came across many different island cultures, bringing back with them examples of cultural tribal tattoos.  Sometimes the tribal people themselves were taken back to Europe, where European society became fascinated with these living artworks of the skin.  It became quite popular & fashionable for the nobility to have their own private tattoos done, as they were the only ones who could afford such an exclusive, time consuming, hand-crafted work of art.

However, as the world opened up through the 20th century & more people travelled to “exotic” locations around the world, it came to be viewed as vulgar to have tattoos, especially since the invention of the modern tattoo machine allowed mass tattooing of the common person!..

There has been another popular resurgence in tattoo culture in recent years, with more designs to choose from than ever, mass production or unique “tattoo flash” images are available to everyone.

Not everyone may be allowed to have a tattoo done though.. Anyone who is impaired mentally, intoxicated, pregnant or nursing, or have severe skin conditions are usually not permitted to be tattooed. The legal tattoo age is generally 18, though it may vary. In some countries & states it is illegal for a minor to be tattooed, even with consent from their parents – the one exception may be for a medical tattoo.

Tattoo Designs & Flourishes

Tattoo Designs & Flourishes

The Creative Tattoo Process

For the skin to retain the ink, it must be inserted at the correct depth into the middle layers (dermis) of the skin, otherwise the design may not last.  The advantage we have now with modern tattoo machines, over the ancient ways of tattooing by hand with a sharp instrument, is that the ink can be accurately placed by a skilled tattoo artist, about 1/8th inch down into the skin holds well.  It helps prevent the tattoo design from fading due to scabbing & flaking off too much ink as it heals out (if ink is too shallow) or from being absorbed quickly by the body in deeper layers of skin.

An electric tattoo machine has various groups of needles, for single-use only, that are individually packaged.  Less needles in the group for fine lines & detail, more needles grouped together for large areas of shading.  The needles are attached to a small bar as part of an oscillating unit, that drives the needles in & out of the skin repeatedly – usually around 80-150 times per second!

Before they “sink the ink”: after you choose the design, your artist will draw up a tattoo stencil & apply it to the area you desire to have tattooed, for you to approve the final positioning.   In my case, it’s hard to see my own lower back, so I had two mirrors to check the position of the purple design outline, before giving the go-ahead!  When you’re ready, a new package of sterile (single-use) needles will be opened by your tattooist, along with preparing other instruments & separating fresh tattoo inks into tiny ink caps, that are disposed of after the session.

Forearm Tattoo

Forearm Tattoo

Although the skin is broken during the tattooing procedure, generally there is minimal risk of infections or allergic reactions. Hygiene is of the highest importance – modern tattoo studios follow strict precautions, sterilizing all equipment after each use & working with single-use needles, gloves, wipes, etc.   The tattoo artist washes their hands anytime there may be a risk of contamination, & disposible gloves must be worn at all times during the tattooing process.   The area of skin to be tattooed is wiped clean with a disinfectant solution & disposible towels are used to wipe the fresh tattoo wound constantly during the procedure.

Biohazard & sharps containers are used as part of the cleanup process, as well as an autoclave (high pressure steam machine) to sterilize the tools used.

Tattoo Price?..

Tattoo costs vary considerably!  There is the overall size of the artwork, how detailed it may be, coloured or not, etc.   If it’s large it will be done in separate sessions & may be priced based on the number of hours it takes each session.  Each tattoo artist may have their own criteria too – if they are well known, they may charge you more for the privilege!

Some tattoo studios may have a base rate, an artist rate & an hourly rate combined – for instance at High Voltage Tattoo” (Kat Von D’s “LA Ink” studio) they have a minimum in-store spend of US$200.   Then the design & artists costs are added from there.  When Nate did my floral Gemini lower back tattoo, it took just over 2 hours from him drawing the final tattoo stencil through to inking the finished product & cost me US$350.  I was pretty happy with that, especially from such a well known studio! :-)

You can check out some of their work in the video below:

Hannah at LA INK tattoos a beautiful peacock for Kathryn, as a symbol of her mother’s ten week coma and her amazing recovery to move on with her life.


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