This past Friday, I went to the best shop in my town and had a consultation with the owner, who is also the artist I wanted to do my tattoo. He is, in my opinion, the best tattoo artist in town, and his art is very realistic and similar to what I am looking for, which is why I chose him.
I went down there and showed him the design I am thinking of. We discussed pricing, design options, where I want the tattoo, etc. He explained that he would have to make a few changes to it in order to get it all to fit on the back of my right calf without overlapping to the sides or the front too much. I explained that was fine. He said that the type of design that I want is right up his alley, and definitely something that he would love to do, which I figured he would, after seeing his portfolio.
The only issue I have is my pain tolerance. It’s basically zero. I mentioned this to him, and asked what his recommendations were. He asked if I had any tattoos right now, I said, “No, this would be my first.” He then explained that because I am coming into this as my first time, with such a big piece, that I am obviously committed to it, and that alone will help me get through the pain. He said he often sees people who come into the shop wanting smaller pieces, and they aren’t sure about it, and they’re in a lot of pain. But he helped me to believe I can get through the pain, just because of how badly I want the tattoo. He also explained that they do the best they can to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during the tattoo process. Based on my conversation with him, I felt reassured and confident that I had chosen the right shop and the right artist to do the piece that I want, and I know that while it will hurt, it won’t be as bad as I imagined. Plus, he is kind, caring, and professional, which is what I want from a tattoo artist, especially given that this is such a big piece, and since it is my first one. I want it to be perfect, and I know he will be able to get it just right.
Due to how good this particular artist is, he literally has people coming from all over wanting to be tattooed by him. As a result, he is booked farther out than most tattoo artists. He explained that he is booked out for about a year-and-a-half, but will still do my tattoo if I want him to. If I wanted it done sooner, I could get an appointment with another artist who does a similar style of work. I said that waiting is fine, because it gives me time to save up, and because I really want him to do it, as I like his style. He reiterated, too, that this is a piece he would love to do, based on the style and the elements in it. While he and I both agreed that we want to get the whole tattoo done in one sitting (he estimates it will take about four hours), he said that if I wanted to, he could make me two appointments spaced two weeks apart, so I could do the outline one day, then the rest of the tattoo the next day. I agreed to this, and he booked me two appointments. They are both in October 2018. Yes, it’s an 18-month wait, but I don’t care. With how good he is, it’s worth the wait.
I asked the person who actually scheduled the appointment what happens if I do decide to do the whole thing in one day and don’t need the second appointment. He said, “nothing, at that point, it would just become an open day in the artist’s schedule.” Which made me feel good, because I wouldn’t be expected to pay any sort of a cancellation fee if I didn’t need the second appointment. I am going to try to be brave and get the whole thing done in one sitting, if possible, as I am not a patient person, but we shall see how I am feeling pain-wise when the time comes.
After scheduling the appointments, I was told to send in reference photos, along with a description of what I wanted. The artist had told me to send them after making my appointment, but the scheduler said I didn’t have to until the Sunday before my appointment. The next day, I contacted the shop, and they said I could send the email whenever I wanted, as the artist would get it, print it and all the photos out, and put it in my file, then just hold onto it until it came time to draw the design for my tattoo, which would be a few days before the appointment, or even the day of the appointment. So, I happily sent in my idea for the main design, as well as reference photos for ideas on how the rest of it should look (or rather, should look similar to), along with a description of what I want and where.
Originally, I wanted the tattoo to be as close to the original design I had found as possible, but after I thought about it, and after remembering that the artist had mentioned needing to change a few things or at least move them around to get everything to fit the way I want it to, I decided that I don’t want to copy someone else’s design. I want it to look similar, but I want it to be unique, designed just for me. So, I mentioned that in the email. I told the artist that I wanted the tattoo to have a similar style to the main design I sent him, but that he could add or remove components as he saw fit. I told him I wanted him to make me a unique, one-of-a-kind, awesome tattoo! I mentioned that the only parts of the design that I am picky about are the compass as a main focal point, along with the quote that I want. Other than that, he can use the reference photos I sent in just as ideas for inspiration, but beyond that, he can feel free to be as creative as he wants to be with it. I think that was the right call. Now I know for sure that I will have something awesome, and I won’t feel like I’m copying something that someone else has. It will be even more personal, because it will be designed just for me. I’m so excited! I can’t wait!
So, that’s where I’m at right now. My credit card should be paid off this September or October, and once it is, I’m going to start saving up as much cash as possible so that I can pay for this. The tattoo itself will probably cost around $500 or so, and I want to tip him at least $100, as I know the work will be absolutely amazing. I’m thinking of saving up about $1200, just in case it takes longer than expected, or in case I need to use both appointments, and so that I have enough to tip him with. That’ll be what I work on doing once the card is paid off, which shouldn’t be too difficult.
That’s all the updates I have on this adventure for now. My next tattoo-related update won’t be until late 2018, as that’s when my appointment is, but keep reading my blog, as I will have more interesting, non-tattoo-related things to share with you in the coming days!