Tattoo perils

For about 6 months in 2013 – if not more – I have been orientating about what new tattoo I want. Ever since I did the tattoo around my left breast, I knew I would have another cover-up done. I have a very small butterfly on my right shoulder, and for years now I wanted that covered. In 2012 Master T and I started talking about what I would get. At first I thought a big butterfly to cover the small one would do it. But then again, I wanted flowers to go with it. That meant that the tattoo would be bigger, which I did not really mind.

For a couple of months I saved different pictures of tattoos. I loved all of them and I wanted all of them, but of course that wasn’t possible. I decided not to make a choice until something really struck me, no matter how long it would take. There was also something else that I had in the back of my mind. I love the tattoo on my leg, but somehow it was a ‘lonely’ tattoo. An idea started to form. What if the new tattoo could ‘incorporate’ the tattoo on my leg? I had no idea if this would even be possible, and if not, I was willing to accept it like this, but the idea just did not go out of my head.

Then the day come that I saw a drawing of a tattoo and I knew that would be the basis of my new tattoo.


Actually, at that moment I also knew exactly where my tattoo would be. I bounced it off Master T, as I wanted Him to approve it, and He did. My idea was to have my tattoo run from my right shoulder, down my shoulder blade toward my middle, then a bit towards my right hip and down towards the tattoo on my leg. I definitely wanted the tattoo on my leg to be part of the bigger picture.

My idea was to have three beautiful colored lilies in the tattoo and to combine that with cherry blossom, since the tattoo on my leg has cherry blossom in it. Do you see the leaves in the picture above? The stringy things? I wanted those in there too and then I want a subtle “T” in the tattoo. But, I wanted the “T” to be done the way I always do my “T”. And then I want a subtle lock hanging from the ‘curl’ in the “T”. It would more or less look like this:


At first I was planning to draw the tattoo myself, as said on my 101 things in 1001 days list. But watching Miami Ink, LA Ink and NY Ink and reading about tattoos (yes, I did my homework) I realized I should not restrict an artist to my design, but allow the artist to put some of himself (or herself) into it. Apparently when you restrict the artist, the design can turn out totally different from what you had in mind. I wanted the artist to have some freedom, but to use the elements I have given them.

And then the day came that we went to the city for the first time. I fully expected to discuss the design with the artist right there and then,but that’s not how it works over here. You see, they give you a lot of time to think carefully whether you really want the tattoo. The first time I went to the tattoos shop it was only to give them the pictures above, tell them more or less what I want, make an appointment with the artist (whom I did not see the first time I went there) and to pay a deposit of 50 euros. The first time I was there they decided who the artist would be, based on what I explained that I wanted.

A couple of days later, I met the artist…

By then I had already seen the first design he had drawn and I had suggested some changes. I missed some symbols that should have been in it. When I met him in person, I was overwhelmed. The man talked and talked and talked and actually at that moment I was very happy with what he suggested. He was going to use the same design, but turn it upside down. At first I felt a twinge of disappointment, but his enthusiasm pulled me in. More double feelings followed when the artist did not really make an effort to fit the symbol I wanted into the tattoo. Yes, he was going to add it, but he was not going to change the design or draw a new one. And, since I wanted the tattoo on my leg to be part of the new tattoo, I wanted cherry blossoms in the new tattoo too, but he did not like the idea. Once again his enthusiastic talking pulled me in, convinced me. For the moment.

Love, Submission & Commitment

I asked the artist what it was going to cost to have the tattoo done. He came to a price of 1350 euros. I knew it was not going to be cheap, but in a way this shocked me. Once it settled in, I was okay with it. At the moment I made the appointment, he explained, I had to pay 500 euros and this was to make sure that I keep my appointment for the tattoo as many times people just never appeared for their appointments. This of course only cost them money.

I am not the kind of person to just give out that much money. I always want Master T’s permission for it, so I told the artist that I would come back the next week to make the appointment. Once the excitement of the appointment with the artist settled down, I started having my doubts. And the more days passed, the more doubts I had. I did not like the fact that he did not redraw the design. I did not like the fact that he was going to use the design upside down. But what I doubted the most was when I followed the link on the business card he gave me: he was into old school tattoos and that just isn’t what I want. About a week after my appointment I knew for sure: this man was not going to lay a finger on my body.

Left: upside up
Right: upside down
(click to enlarge)


I was back to square one regarding this tattoo, but I was happy about that. Back to the drawing board, back to searching for a tattoo artist that can do what I really want… something feminine, something beautiful, something colorful and with the symbols I want in it.

The search continues… as this coming Saturday I will be visiting a new tattoo shop.

© Rebel’s Notes

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