Ink Allergy?

Tuesday May 1st, 2012 @ 12:55 PM

Filed under: Tattoos


My boyfriend was tattooed 4 days ago and has been chugging along with his aftercare as one does. I was applying ointment to it last night (a cream that tattooists in France always recommend, and that I and my boyfriend have used ourselves on previous tattoos without any problems whatsoever) when I noticed some small, blister-like bumps on parts of his tattoo.

They are more pronounced on the small spots of blue that he has in his tattoo but I also noticed a few of these little blisters on a shaded black area so I don’t think it’s a question of how much pressure was used while tattooing. They range from small circular spots of about 1-2mm in diameter to small smear-shaped raised, dry areas of about 6-8mm in length. There is not an over abundance of them but they seem to be more concentrated (although sparsely) around the inner forearm. There is also a slight redness and raised skin on other shaded areas of the tattoo. However there is no globalized redness or burning/itching.

He does have a tendency to swell up during the tattooing and up to a day after, but from what he tells me he hasn’t ever seen any of these small, raised, blister like patches on any of his other tattoos (he has both coloured and plain black ones).

I have a feeling you will tell me this is an allergy of some sort and to contact the tattoo artist, which I plan on doing, but I just wanted your opinion on this subject and how to possibly treat it. Should he really be panicking about it or is it something easily taken care of and should he seek a doctor’s opinion? Also how badly could it possibly affect the tattoo?

Thank you for any response you can give to put his mind at rest, or push to take action.

The small ‘blisters’ can often be caused from over use of the aftercare product, causing saturation of the scab and often blocking of the skin pours (just like a pimple). I would suggest to try using a little less aftercare cream, you only need enough to make the tattoo ’shiny’ and never want to over saturate it. You could also try another product, I personally have found some aftercare products encourage pimples and ingrown hairs.

It is doubtful that the artist has applied ‘too much pressure’ or over-worked the area, as this normally results in chewed up skin and thick scabbing – not blisters.

Its also very unlikely that he is having a reaction to the ink as this would be over a large area, not just small spots. As always, I would suggest to consult with the artist and get their opinion also as its much easier to tell in person what is going on.

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | 1 Comment

New Tattoo

Tuesday May 1st, 2012 @ 12:32 AM

Filed under: Tattoos

I am a newbie to tattoos. I would like to get two small tattoos, one each on my lower inner wrist. I would like these tattoos to be quite small, one a little smaller then 3/4″, the other about 3/4″. Ideally I was thinking of having them done as a straight black icon, sort of a stamp look. From what I am hearing, solid tattoos of that size will not age well, as they will over time begin to look like a blob. Any thoughts or suggestions? Any artists in NYC that would be recommended for fine detail on a small tattoo? Thanks.

Your best bet is to ask around local studios and get their opinion on it, often a good artist will suggest to go larger or simpler with small designs to stop ‘bleeding’ of lines together (causing the blob effect).

I would suggest to check out 411BME, specifically the NYC listing. You can simply call around a couple shops and ask for a consult (usually its free) and that way you can bring in your designs and show them in person and see if they think it may need to be bigger or simpler.

Good luck on your journey!

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

White ink tattoo

Monday April 30th, 2012 @ 5:10 AM

Filed under: Tattoos

I am interested in getting a tattoo in only white ink. The design would consist of a simple drawing of a pig with a five word sentence. In terms of location, the pig would go on the lower part of one of my calves while the sentence would be in the same place on the other leg. Neither design would be very large at all. I’ve done my research on the pros/cons of white ink, why some artists choose not to use it, how it’s easy to overwork the skin, etc.

That said, I need help finding an artist who not only uses white ink but who does well with font. I live in Nashville and am not sold on the local shops. (One is pretty good but doesn’t do white ink.) I’m open to driving out of state. Are there any artists you could recommend?

Thanks in advance for your help!

From someone who has a white half sleeve, I would suggest against it. White is meant for a high-light pigment and just simply doesn’t work as you would hope for small designs or lettering.

I would suggest to do it, instead of slightly lighter, slightly darker than your skin tone. Like a very light brown or a very watered down grey instead. It will give you the sort of subtle result, but will hold 100x better and wont need constant touch-ups (like my arm does).

If you are still wanting white ink, I would suggest to check out (our local studio listing) and simply call around your surrounding suburbs asking for artists with experience in white work. Make sure (as with any artist) to check their portfolio for HEALED work similar to what you are after, especially with white as it is difficult to do.

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | 1 Comment

Where to get a tattoo

Monday April 30th, 2012 @ 5:07 AM

Filed under: Tattoos

I’d like this as my first tattoo, problem is I’m quite an active person and I get quite a lot of bumps and scrapes and I don’t want it to mess up a tattoo over the years.

My favorite place at the moment would be the back of my left calf. Can any of you guys recommend what you think would be a good place for this tattoo?

ANY advice would be welcome as I know nothing about getting tattoos and I want it done properly. :)

Bumps and scrapes wont really affect a tattoo too much over the years, although a placement like the calf would help to reduce the risk of it doing anything bad.

The main thing to do would limit your activities during the healing process (give it a good 2-3 weeks to be safe) so you don’t rip off any scab before its fully healed, resulting in a bit of missing ink.

I have had motorcycle accidents, cuts, abrasions and burns over many of my tattooing throughout the years - the most extreme cases all I have needed has been a quick touch-up of the affected area.

I also have around 8 kitty tattoos on me, so I really like this design. :)

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

Need advice please! First big tattoo

Sunday April 29th, 2012 @ 8:38 AM

Filed under: Tattoos

Hey everybody,

I’m new here. My name is Monicka and i have 2 tattoos and 10 piercings… nothing crazy. I am about to get my back done and that’s where I need advice.

I have picked my tattoo out and my artist has drawn it up, I love the tattoo and can’t wait to get started. The artist is an amazing artist and highly recommended as the only artist to go to in my area.

He charges $150 an hour or $600 for a full day which he says saves $300 (6 hours) He is estimating that the outline of the tattoo itself will take a full day to complete. I was originally going to go in for 3 hours to make sure I could handle the pain. The pain was very minimal with my last two tattoos (one on my right shoulder blade and one on my thigh) but I know that’s because they are on meatier areas.

My first question is, does it sound like a bad idea to go in getting my first spine tattoo and paying for the full day? My reasoning is it will save money and we will only have to lay that carbon once…

Second question is, do I tip him after every session or just at the very end?

If an artist suggests to do a full day sitting, its usually for a reason. Most artists will want to get ALL the outline in one session (and some shading, if you have time left). If you have had previous pieces done and were okay, I would say go for it! If you were talking about a more painful spot (like ribs or feet), I would say test the waters first.

In regards to tipping, I think little presents are much nicer and more meaningful than money. Bring your artist some home-made cookies or find out their favorite snack is and bring it just for them to each session.  Not only will it be more memorable for them, it also shows a bit of personalization to the experience. You can always feel free to tip too (trust me, they will not mind).

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

Am I Being Jerked Around?

Sunday April 29th, 2012 @ 12:04 AM

Filed under: Tattoos

Three years ago I went into a local tattoo shop for a consultation on a medium sized custom piece, a memorial tattoo. I brought in pictures of elements I wanted in the design (colourful pigeons, blooming catmint, etc.) and sat with the artist and we created a design that I was satisfied with. We discussed having the name, date of birth and date of death left untattooed within the sky/clouds, for a subtle but tasteful memorialization element.

I was told at the time of the consult that the artist’s waitlist was a year long, which I was happy to wait — it would give me time to get money together for the piece. She quoted me $1000-$1200 for a roughly 5″x7″ (perhaps larger, it’s been three years since I saw the initial sketch) and I expressed that that was going to hurt my wallet but I was willing to pay and not go ahead with the first session until there was enough cash to sit for a good amount of time.

I paid the deposit and waited the year. I had heard nothing from the shop, so I called in and asked where I was on the waitlist? “Soon” was what I was quoted.

This started the next two years of “soon”. I asked if the artist would give me a call to let me know where she might be on the piece and those calls were never made.

I basically never heard a thing from the shop. I would go down on a regular basis to pay down money in the first year and I’ve now paid around $750 but I stopped putting down money after I stopped getting any communication from them.

Two months ago, they left a message on a messaging service I requested they not call a year and a half ago — I left an alternate number, since I don’t get to check the messages there often. I just got the messages a few days ago. My artwork was finally ready for review.

I stopped into the shop and the piece was quite a bit larger than the initial sketch (although that could be my memory), wasn’t really drawn like the initial sketch (lots of extra stylistic elements like vines and the like that I didn’t request), the birds which I had spen

Your question got cut off so I’m going to assume that you had more to say about the design. If you’re not happy with the design, you’re well within your rights to request that the artist draw the design more to your liking. If you decide not to go through with it, I can’t say how they will handle refunding your deposit.

I would give the artist the opportunity to correct the drawing so that it’s what you want. Don’t go through with a tattoo that you don’t want just because you’ve already had to wait this long. If you think it’s tough waiting a year and a half, try being stuck with a tattoo that you’re not happy with for the rest of your life. If the artist can’t make the drawing something that you want, then I would ask for a refund because it sounds like you weren’t exactly leaving a deposit but you were making payments towards the tattoo so that you didn’t have to pay the $1000-$1200 at one time. Depending on the “deposit policy” for the shop, they may only give you a partial refund, if they give you one at all.

The issue with artists with incredibly long wait lists is that it’s unpredictable as to when you’ll be able to finally get in with them. The reason that artists have wait lists is because if they have too many clients that they’re tattooing at one time, it would make it impossible to get the current clients appointments to have the work completed in a timely manner. Shops and artists tend to have a high turn over rate when it comes to “counter staff” who generally handle their appointments and wait lists. It could have been a new person who had the incorrect information so I wouldn’t judge them too harshly for calling the wrong number.

Try to work with the artist. See if you can come up with something that you’re happy with and in the end if you’re still not happy with the design, then perhaps it’s time to walk away. Ask them politely, but firmly, for a refund. As I said, depending on their policy and since they have spent time drawing a design for you, you may have to forfeit your deposit but it wouldn’t be ethical for them to keep the entire $750 as that’s almost the entire cost of the tattoo.

Good luck!

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Posted by Rachel | Permalink | Comments

Could new piercings or tattoo be causing this?

Sunday December 4th, 2011 @ 11:56 AM

Filed under: Tattoos

I got my nipples pierced in September without issue. Recently, one on the left started aching a little bit so I’ve just been paying some extra attention to it and it feels better now. I got a tattoo almost three weeks ago, a kind of large piece on my right ribs. The piece was done beautifully without issue and I’d write the artist and ask this myself but I don’t want to offend him.

Starting yesterday, I’ve had a very sharp pain in my right arm. It’s a few different kinds of pain; it started as sensitivity to cold and touch on my forearm. Now, it’s a dull pain towards my armpit. The pain tends to randomly shoot sharply up the arm from time to time.

My question is, could this be a reaction to the tattoo? It seems to have healed just fine. Or, is it the nipple piercing? My right one has had no issue, and the left one just seemed a little irritated more than infected.

thank u

I know this isn’t the answer that you’re looking for but my first suggestion would be to get this checked out by a doctor. At first I thought you were going to say that your nipple piercing started to hurt after getting tattooed and I was going to say that it sounds like a nipple piercing to me. They can be fine for years and then suddenly flare up. Breast tissue, on both men and women, is constantly “changing” in the sense that it changes depending on the hormones going through your body.

From your question it sounds like your tattoo is already healed so it shouldn’t be related to the tattoo. Obviously when you’re healing from a tattoo or piercing, your immune system is working double time but, again, if the tattoo is already healed and the pain just started, it is most likely not related. Only a doctor can determine the cause and seriousness of this pain.

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Posted by Rachel | Permalink | 3 Comments

Offered discount due to reaction–etiquette?

Saturday December 4th, 2010 @ 10:40 AM

Filed under: Tattoos

I got a tattoo in maroon ink (back of hand/inside of wrist) a bit less than a year ago from a shop/artist that I respect. Unfortunately, I had a reaction which pushed out some of the ink leaving hollow lines, thickened some lines, and left pock marks on the back of my hand. The artists at the shop were exceedingly helpful in providing advice for how to help it heal over the next 5 months. Although I told them I knew it wasn’t the artist’s fault and that I expected nothing from them, the owner told me that if I wanted something done in the future they would gladly do it discounted/for free. I have a new design (in black!) I would like to add on to the original tattoo; would it be rude to remind them about the offer? Or would it be seen as just that–a reminder?

Thanks! Katie

I think it was excellent service for the shop owner to look after you so well and offer you a discount/free tattoo in the future due to an issue that was in no way the artist’s fault - ink reactions are VERY common! I can’t see why it would at all be considered rude to remind them of that when you organise your appointment for new work.

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Posted by Lori St.Leone | Permalink | Comments

Getting tattooed abroad?

Saturday December 4th, 2010 @ 10:34 AM

Filed under: Tattoos


I hope you can give me some advice, me and my boyfriend are planning on taking a holiday in Thailand next year, and part of that is because we want to get some proper traditional hand-poked tattoos while we are there. But how do we go about it? We haven’t booked it yet because we don’t know if there is certain areas of Thailand that are more prominent for the tattooing scene, or if its an all round thing. And I’m guessing we can’t really research studios… how do we know where is a good place? Do people normally choose a place before they go or do they find something when they get there? Do they actually work out of studios or will it be a little man in a hut? We just don’t know where to start!!

Any help or advice would be brilliant!

Love Hetty

Most of the studios I’ve seen in Thailand use modern tattoo machines, but the temples do the sak yant hand-tapped tattoos. I’m not at all an expert on getting tattooed in Thailand, the person to ask is probably Ron Garza orJohn Durante. I did find about forty billion relevant links from Googling “Thailand tattooing monks”, heh.

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Posted by Lori St.Leone | Permalink | 3 Comments

searching owner of a tattoo

Saturday December 4th, 2010 @ 10:33 AM

Filed under: Tattoos

I’m quite sure this is not the right place to post my question, but I don’t know where else to try…

I’m going mad trying to find the rest of this tattoo; the watermark quotes, maybe you know it. I’ve already writtent to Shannon Larratt on Facebook, but he doesn’t answer…



I don’t know who the owner of this tattoo is, but maybe a reader will recognise her and comment. Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Beuller?

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Posted by Lori St.Leone | Permalink | 4 Comments

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