Category Archives: Tattooisms

My Tattoo Evolution: My Left Sock, so far…

This post is more a “historical document” for me more than anything else. I wanted to get it written down in electrons before I forget. I was actually going to mark it Private, but I figured I’d bore y’all with it, especially since Karen asked. Because I’m nice like that. Just because. And I like to end my sentences with prepositions.

The sock-in-progress on my left leg is composed of a random assortment of mostly “unplanned” tattoos, all of which I have tattooed upon myself up to this point. I have a general idea in my head of what that area represents as a whole and what I want to do with it, but that’s about it. No real forethought or pre-drawn design. Because I can be random like that.

All the pictures will embiggen if you click on them. Not that you’ll want to.

2006.03.23 – It all started with the first tattoo that I did on myself: a kuma. I did this as part of the practical portion of my tattoo license exam. I know, I know. Kanji. How original, right? Especially from a tattooist.

(blog post)

2006.07.26 – A few months later I attempted to modify the kuma and give it a more “carved” look.

2006.10.27 – Then came my DNA strand. My original intent with the DNA was to have helices exploding up and around my leg, across my thigh, then onto my back. I’m not sure If I’m still doing that, but there’s definitely room if I choose to.

2007.04.22 – Six months later I added some background behind my DNA. After I did it, I always felt it was too dark and it totally ruined the piece for me. Which I guess it’s better it happened on me than on a client! But still. Ugh. It just goes to show it happens to even the best of us. 😉

(blog post)

2007.05.05 – I later attempted to adjust the light explosion by adding a little more color variation in the rays. But I still didn’t like how it looked. *grrr*

2008.07.12 – Fourteen months later, I was bored and decided to see if I could change the color of the kuma from black to red.

2010.03.31 – And then nothing for about 20 months. Because sometimes it’s so busy there’s not time to tattoo one’s self. Which I’m totally okay with. Until I got the idea for my Rubrduck. (Get it?) It’s a caricature of me as a rubber ducky. Here he is before I did the color work.

(blog post)

2010.05.11 – About six weeks later I was able to do the color work.

2010.10.07 – Along came GIR wearing the Fourth Doctor‘s scarf.

I even recorded a video for that tattoo session!

2011.01.07 – Under which I added the Doctor’s TARDIS. Part of the TARDIS covered up that horrible background around the DNA that I hate so much.

2011.02.22 – My Decepticons: Soundwave, Lazerbeak and Ravage. I was more an Autobot-guy growing up, but Soundwave and his tapes were always my favorite toys. They also covered up part of that background I hate! Right over my shin.

(blog post)

2011.04.13 – A Dalek, which is being chased by the aforementioned TARDIS and GIR.

(blog post)

2011.04.17 – Calvin and Hobbes. Riding in their time machine. I was seriously considering doing my right sock entirely of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips. I have that much love for what Bill Watterson did with them.

(blog post)

2011.05.05 – I finally made a change to the background on the DNA. Since I was never happy with how dark the background was, I went and “white’d it out”. I’m much more happy with how the background is now actually in the background.

I’ve decided I’m going to “white it out” again one more time and white out the light rays as well. It won’t make the piece go away, but it will lighten it enough that I can redo the background to something a little brighter and more subtle.

I still have to tattoo the top of my foot and a couple other small spaces that I want to fit some little things into, then filler background for the whole thing.

One of these centuries. One of these centuries.

And there you have it.

I’ll post my other body parts soon.

Until next time...

Dear Tattooist: Location, location, location?

It’s been a while since I had one of these, although I do have 2 more in the queue to answer.

Jake asked:

I’ve heard conflicting reports:

I am currently tattoo-less, but have wanted one for years. I have a couple ideas of what I want, but the big question is location. My question is: “Which areas of the body do you think tattoos look the freshest/best for the longest amount of time? That is, will a tattoo on the middle of my back, for example, look better when I’m 70 than a tattoo on my forearm or ankle?”

Just like with a brick-and-mortar business, location is important for a tattoo. Up to a point.

Oddly enough, as I was finalizing this post I read an article yesterday about scientists developing a mathematical model on how tattoos age. Finally. I like seeing scientists actually taking an interest in the field of tattooing. I need to go buy the journal so I can see what he says, but I’m betting it will mirror observations tattooists have seen firsthand over the years.

How quickly a tattoo will change depends on many factors such as the size of the tattoo, the amount and type of detail, it’s location and exposure to the sun. Skin type, age, and tattoo pigment type will also influence how a tattoo looks over time.

The answer somewhat mirrors some items in two posts I did previously: here and here.

UV exposure, or the lack thereof, is a large factor. Like most forms of radiation exposure, the effect is cumulative on the body. Keeping your tattoos away from UV light will keep them looking better longer.

Also know that not all tattoo pigment is created equally. Some pigments are not of the best quality materials, some being down-right horrible. And the insertion of any tattoo pigment itself also has a lot to do with what happens to the tattoo: too deep is bad; too shallow is bad. The ink has to be at just the right level. Which is why you should definitely research the tattooist you’re going to have tattoo you.

Changes in the shape of our skin also is a factor. Our skin is in a constant state of flux. And some places “flux” more than others. Tattoos will expand and contract when the skin stretches and shrinks. So that nice firm skin you have today may not stay that way. And with it also goes your tattoo. As we age, our skin typically looses that freshness and thins out. This also has an effect on tattoos. A good skin care regimen will help keep your skin healthy, and as a side-effect your tattoos will look healthy too.

All that said, the best place for a tattoo is exactly where you want it.


If you have questions about tattoos: tattoos in general, about getting a tattoo, about giving a tattoo, or anything else related to tattoos, just send me the question via e-mail from my contact page. I will then (attempt to) dedicate an entire post to answering your question.

You can see other questions I’ve answered by viewing the tag “Dear Tattooist“.

Until next time...

A different definition for a Tory party

This Saturday, I spent 12 hours tattooing my friend Tory.

Yes, you read that correctly: 12 hours!

Tory lives on the other side of Arkansas. Almost 6 hours away from where we live. So we needed to knock the tattoo out in one sitting. Or at least as much of it that he was physically able to take.

Which he was. And we completed his tattoo.

And this is his only his second tattoo! And on his birthday no less.

Here’s Tory’s tattoo:

(click to embiggen)

12 hours is now my record for the longest I’ve tattooed one individual in one sitting. (The previous record was almost 11 hours.)

Happy Birthday Tory! Thank you for letting me poke you! And enjoy that tattoo!

Until next time...

People to Never Make Mad at You

There are some people on this planet that you should never make mad at you:

  • Your hair stylist/barber;
  • Your waiter/waitress/server-person/cook;
  • The IRS;
  • The Judge;
  • The Police.

To that list you should add your tattooist.


I can understand if you unknowingly said something that maybe your tattooist didn’t agree with. The FSM knows I’ve tattooed my share of racist, bigoted, and narrow-minded people. Some things we let slide. We’re human. We all have different ideologies. (At least until the aliens land.)

But to PURPOSELY INSULT your tattooist and ATTACK our entire profession? Are you even thinking?

We had a customer walk into the studio last night with his buddy to price a tattoo. He thought the price was too high, even though another studio in the area quoted him a higher price. He then said:

How hard can it be to tattoo words on people? It can’t take any skill at all.

Excuse me???

Why would make your tattooist mad—at you—before they are going to do something PERMANENT to your skin? WTF?

You might just end up with a large penis tattooed on you.

Actually, [She Who Shall Not Be Named, At Her Request] and I attempt to follow the Golden Rule at the studio. There are some things we just won’t do. Tattooing something other than what you asked for is one of them. But pissing us off might mean that your tattoo process could possibly hurt a wee bit more than it normally would. If we even do your tattoo at all.

We put up with a lot before we’ll toss your ass out the door. That was pushing it. The next person who does that won’t be so lucky.

Update 2012.04.02

Until next time...