Readers of this blog will know that I love sharing the work of great tattoo artists and that I run a monthly tattoo artist spotlight in the form of my Tattoo Tuesday blog posts. I actually don’t have that many tattoos myself, I think people always assume that I’m heavily tattooed but I’m not. I only have 6 tattoos but I have a real passion for tattoo art (especially traditional styles) and I plan on getting many more.
When I first got into tattoos I didn’t really understand what went into a good tattoo. What makes a good tattoo artist and what makes a good tattoo?
Unfortunately for me, I learnt the hard way of what DOESN’T make a good tattoo.
I was 16 years old when I first stepped foot into a tattoo shop. 2 years under the legal age. I didn’t do any research for myself and just went off the recommendation of a friend.
The shop was the kind that give the tattoo industry a bad name. Not particularly clean, rude owners, children running around the place causing a lot of noise and even more mess, and even motorbikes parked in the waiting room next to a pool table. Despite all of the signs, I didn’t know any better and went ahead and got tattooed there. Not once, not twice, not three times, or even four times. Within the space of 2 years I went back to that place more than once and got a total of 5, yes FIVE tattoos there. I was stupid, and because I hadn’t done my research I thought this was “normal” for a tattoo shop. Ignorance is ugly, and leads to even uglier tattoos!
Not all of them are bad. The first one I got, I will keep purely for it’s sentimental meaning, and the cherry blossoms on my left foot aren’t too disastrous and can easily be touched up to be improved but the other 3 are horrible.
The two on my right foot are going to have to be lazered off (I’ll tell you more about that later) and the floral design on my wrist has since been covered up.
I hated the one on my foot almost as soon as I saw the finished product. That feeling of dread that you get whilst you’re waking out of the door knowing that no matter how hard you scrub, this is definitely not going to come off is horrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Hopefully this post will keep you from making the same mistakes that I did.
We’ll start with my wrist tattoo. I’ll point out all the things that are wrong with it ( all of which the tattoo artist should have pointed our before they refused to do this tattoo by the way – that’s what any reputable artist would have done)
I won’t go into the tastefulness (or lack of) of this design as that’s a personal taste aspect and everyone likes different things but there are so many things that are technically wrong with this tattoo.
Firstly, it’s too small and too crammed. You can’t cram that much crap into one small tattoo. It was too detailed and the lines started to blur (bleed is apparently the correct term) together after only a few months.
Adding that much detail into a small tattoo is a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t translate well and ends up looking really bad in a really short space of time.
The second main thing that is really wrong with this tattoo is the placement. Not only is it a weird size for the area that it’s on (my wrist) but it was also put so close to my hand. This was SO painful when I was getting it done as it goes right over my tendons. When I was getting it covered up by my new artist, they said that a wrist tattoo should never be put that close to your hand, as it’s painful to do, and also because of the movement of your wrist and your hand it fades very quickly and is generally just a rubbish place for a tattoo.
I had the same problem with the ones on my feet which is why I can’t get them covered up and I have to get them removed. They’ve been put in such a ridiculous place that they will be really hard to cover up. Make sure the placement of your tattoo is correct, because if it does go wrong sometimes if not as easy as a simple coverup job.
Thirdly, the way in which the tattoo was done is just appalling. The line work is so wonky, that I’m pretty sure my dogs could have drawn straighter lines. The artist also stopped about 6 times during the process to take phone calls as they didn’t have a shop receptionist. Very annoying, rude and also made the whole process a lot longer than it needed to be.
Also, I’m not sure how she did it, but it’s almost as if this woman had no tattooing technique what so ever. Some lines were paper thin and really light and then half way through the line it would turn thicker and darker. It just looked very uneven, unfinished and generally just awful. People often asked me if this tattoo along with the ones of my right foot are real, as they look like they have been drawn on with a Biro.
Luckily for me, I got my wrist tattoo covered up by the lovely Mark Ford from Evil from The Needle last year. Look how much better it is! I love the new design and it’s something simple and neutral that I could easily add too if I decided to get a sleeve or extend it in any way. Perfect!
I’m still working on fixing the other uglies that I got from that god awful shop in Berkshire but I’ll get there soon
Hopefully this post will highlight exactly what you SHOULDN’T get from a tattoo or a so called “artist” and why you shouldn’t get tattooed as an uneducated 16 year old. Make sure you pick a great artist from a well known, establish shop. If you beed some inspiration why not check out the artists I have featured in my Tattoo Tuesday posts? After all, things are permanent, people!
Anyone else had any tattoo nightmares? Let me know in the comments and we can share horror stories Xo