I had my second shading appointment last Thursday, and I’m so excited about the results I can’t even talk about it, I just want to jump around and do an “I love my tattoo!” dance! What started out as a shoulder tattoo last year is finally transformed into the three quarter sleeve that I’ve been dreaming of, and the results are so much more than what I imagined.  Want to meet new colour in my life?

tattoo by Rich Handford at Kapala Tattoo
dress + belt from Lune Vintage

The colour is uneven now because these pictures were taken the day after they were finished- but I love how hyper-colourful they are! I can’t wait to see how the blue ribbon looks when it’s healed. The pink from my shoulder tattoo (see the second photo) is how the new pink will look in time. I feel like I’m going to be part girl, part watercolour painting!

Everything is finished now except the great gray owl, and I’m so happy to finally know what my new chickadee and canary look like! Having the outline has just been making me more and more curious. The chickadee is far and away my favourite- it looks so soft that I feel like if I pet it I’ll feel its feathers. By the time my owl is finished I’ll have spent over 24 hours being tattooed for the finished piece, and knowing that I’m heading into my final sitting later this month feels amazing.

So far, it’s still cold enough in my prairie city that I’m covered up almost all the time I’m outside of my studio or house but I’m excited to get my summer clothes out and have fun playing dress up with my new permaccessory ;)

Having gone from having only one small experience being tattooed to having a large piece done was an incredible learning experience, and I wanted to share some of the things that really helped me through:

Bring food, not snacks- real food.

Long sessions are exhausting, there’s no two ways about it- but your experience will be so much easier if you give your body the fuel it needs to keep your energy up. For the first few sessions I brought candy and energy drinks with me but having real food for a pick me up with iron and protein made an incredible difference.

Don’t be afraid to go big!

I’m not good with pain, but everything in life is relative and after my first long sitting I started being able to sit a little longer each time. There were places that were really uncomfortable but I really wanted one big piece that tied together. While it was intimidating to see the size of the stencil, I’m glad I stuck it out.

It’s (mostly) all in your head.

Like any thing else, your attitude determines 90% of your experience. The times when I was nervous or worried made the sessions much harder. Because my outline is made up of so many large, long strokes the experience was very unpleasant – to put it mildly – I got really worried about my ability to sit through the shading. When I got myself really concerned the experience was twice as hard, and from now on I’m going to focus on my only job during a tattoo: sitting still!

Tip your artist!

Enough said :)

I really recommend Kaelah Bee’s Guide To Tattoo Etiquette post, it’s so fabulous! Though I have to say her tips to the virgin skin crowd make me totally intrigued about what to expect when I’m out and about. I don’t know what I’d do if someone I didn’t know tried to touch my tattoos! #strangerdanger

I’m excited to hear what you guys think of it- especially since so many of you have been reading
since I started planning it! Does it look like what you had originally imagined? :)

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