Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bass Tattoo Gets Finished--with Color

Six weeks after the initial ink was laid down expertly by Doug Hansen of Everlasting Tattoo, I went in again to get the color added. It took three hours, but now the images are quite close to the real instruments, and even in this minutes-old photo, you can see that this is one seriously beautiful piece of art. To see it before the color was added, go to my December 17, 2010 post.

The process was the same as my first visit. I lay down on the nice padded table, extended my left arm, and Doug quickly cleaned and shaved the area. Then, he started with his amazing electric needles.

The first step was to clean up any uneven lines in the background swirls, which took more time than I expected. However, Doug is a real artist and he wanted to make sure everything was just right.

Then, he began to apply brown wood tones to the big upright bass that give it a three-dimensional look. The black fingerboard took some time, and time, with tattoos, means pain. The pain, as before, was significant but manageable, and the instant the needle stopped, so did the discomfort. It doesn't build or accumulate--it's on or off.
The main variable is how long the tattoo artist needs to sit in a single location to get the right look and the location he or she is working in. When Doug went near my wrist or the fold inside of my elbow, it stung like a pack of hungry hornets. But luckily, it wasn't long before he moved on. And the endorphins help too, although I felt less floaty and blissful this time. I just felt happy.

I got up once after a couple of hours to stretch and take a sip of water, but otherwise, I just lay there contentedly, listening to a mixture of uptempo music and occasionally chatting with Doug, one of the other tattoo artists, or my patient wife, who, once again, accompanied me. (Those are her four slim fingers in the very top of the photo.)

When we were done, I got up, and after we took a couple of quick photos, Doug wrapped my arm in plastic, just like that leftover piece of ham from dinner. We paid him, and off we went. I felt fine, and drove us home.

Now, for my next tattoo....
Note: New tattoos can look a little messy. The ink will smooth out, the swelling will go down, and that smudged look (bruising) on the top swirl will disappear.

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