The simple answer is, yes it does. However, not as much as some people might like you to believe, as after a short period of time your body’s natural painkillers (endorphins), kick in and make things much more manageable. How long these endorphins last usually define your natural ‘limit’ as to how long a tattoo session you can handle (usually between 2-3 hours), after this time you will tend to become very uncomfortable.
The pain of a tattoo is often likened to a mild burning sensation or a cat scratch. However, the real factor as to how much a tattoo hurts is down to where you intend to get it. Any area directly over bone will be particularly sensitive; this includes ribs, feet, hands, head, and pelvis to name a few. Add to this the number of nerve endings in an area and this defines the most painful places. If you are looking for a less painful spot, then you should consider a less sensitive area protected by a large muscle; such as the forearm, upper-arm, shoulder, calf and thigh. Everyone’s pain threshold varies, so there are no hard and fast answers to this question.
Tattooing is not a quick process, nor should it be rushed as you will be living with the results permanently. An averagely complex piece of work about the size of the back of your hand, usually takes about two hours to complete. Larger or more complex pieces can take tens of hours and will require several sittings to complete. Usually appointments are made in multiples of hours, but some smaller pieces may only require a thirty-minute appointment. Each of our artists charge by the hour. Each artist has a different hourly rate due to their speed, experience and capability. We do our best to ensure you and your new tattoo is matched to the best suited artist.
When it comes to tattooing, you get what you pay for. Do not expect a good artist to come cheap, and if that’s the way you go, you could end up spending a great deal further down the line, when you must pay for a large cover-up or laser tattoo removal. Save your money until you can afford what you really want! Don’t settle, just because you are impatient to get some ink, this decision will be with you for a long time.
This is a less frequently asked question than you might expect. You can use numbing cream, but very few tattoo studios will recommend it for several reasons. Firstly, it needs to be applied several hours before you sit for your tattoo and can only last for around thirty to forty-five minutes. Tattooing being an art-form and therefore not an exact science, means that sometimes there could be a period of waiting past your appointment time, while the tattooist finishes off a piece of work that took longer than expected. This makes it very difficult to time the application of the cream. Secondly, even if you manage to time its application correctly, the potential short working period of the cream makes it a very limiting to anything but the simplest and smallest of tattoos. Lastly, if your tattoo is not finished before the cream wears off, then the pain will come back with a vengeance! Your body has been fooled and will not be producing those handy pain-killing endorphins, so will be hit with the force of the returning pain with no protection.
From the tattooist’s perspective, the creams can cause the skin to become a little puffy in some customers. This means that the tattooist needs to work harder to get the ink into the skin, which can cause additional trauma. This will obviously have some repercussions during the healing process and can create an undesirable amount of scabbing during that time.
Some tablet pain killers can also cause a problem. Aspirin is the biggest problem as it thins the blood and reduces clotting, this will cause excessive bleeding during your tattoo, which will affect the quality of the finished tattoo. Aspirin will also extend the healing time that your tattoo needs, so it is best avoided. Paracetamol will have little effect (positive or negative), other than a placebo. Ibuprofen based painkillers can give minor pain relief during the process, by reducing localised swelling, and will not hinder the tattoo in any way.
There are several options available to you if you have ink that you want rid of. The first, and by far most common way is the cover-up. This involves working with your tattoo artist to come up with a design that will go over and ‘cover-up’ the old one. There are a few misconceptions regarding cover-ups, it is not as easy as just doing another tattoo over the top. The new tattoo will sit in the same layer of skin (the dermis), as the old one, so the cover-up needs to be darker than the existing tattoo in order to over-power it. This makes very old or faded tattoos easier to cover up than new bright ones. The black panther was a big cover-up favourite with the ‘Old School’ tattooists, for obvious reasons. This also means that the new tattoo generally must be a great deal bigger than the one to be covered up, so that the old design can be lost in the new one. Obviously, this very much depends on the tattoo to be covered and the skill of your artist.
The second option available to you is laser removal. This can be very effective, again depending on age and colour of the tattoo, but can also be time consuming. However, this will provide you with a more successful coverup and allow for freer reign of a new design. The laser removal can be used to reduce the density of the offending tattoo, so that a much more desirable tattoo can be used to cover up the old design. This takes much less laser treatment than removal and gives much better cover-up results on the new tattoo.
At Immortal Art Studio, we don’t carry ‘Flash’ art. All our tattoos are generated bespoke for the customer to ensure you only get the best in custom designs, unique to you. Because of this, we suggest that you begin with an initial free consultation with your artist to discuss your design. If you can bring your tattoo artist any reference material that you think is relevant, it will help both of you understand each other much easier. You don’t have to have exact images, even if your examples simply have the same ‘feel’ as what you are trying to convey it will help your tattoo artist understand your needs. They should advise you as to placement, and how the tattoo is likely to be viewed, for example; a small piece that would work well on the wrist, might not work as well placed on the thigh. They should also discuss how well your tattoo will stand the test of time. You can generate some amazingly complex and delicate tattoos, but tattoo ink spreads and thins under the skin over time, so your dainty tattoo might look great on the day but may look fuzzy and unrecognisable after just a couple of years. A slightly bolder design could look great for ten years or more. The choice is always the customer’s, but it should always be an informed choice.
Once you have had the initial conversation with your tattoo artist, you will usually then want to book in for some time at the studio. Your tattoo artist will usually have a good idea at this point as to how long your tattoo is going to take and will be able to advise you on cost. Booking your appointment requires a deposit, £30 per hour of booking in which is offset against the final appointment balance.
No. This is not advisable for several very real reasons, other than the obvious difficulties of tattooing a drunk person, and the fact that any good tattooist will refuse to tattoo you if you have. The main reason is that alcohol thins your blood considerably. In turn this causes excessive bleeding while you are having the tattoo, which not only makes it difficult for the tattoo artist, but will have the effect of ‘washing out’ ink as it is being put in. This makes the process much longer and can produce poor results.
Alcohol can have an effect for several days, so if possible, please avoid alcohol for 48 hours prior to your tattoo appointment and it is also not a good idea to have a tattoo after a night drinking, even if you have not consumed anything on the day.
There are several things you can do to make your experience easier and more enjoyable. Firstly, try and make sure you have had something to eat and drink about an hour before your tattoo. During the tattoo, your body behaves in a way very similar to going into shock, as it generates endorphins to deal with the attack on the skin. This can cause a drop-in blood sugar, resulting in light-headedness, and sometimes nausea or fainting. Having a meal and consuming natural sugars, such as orange juice can help to prevent this. If you feel faint during your tattoo, let your artist know immediately, and they will help you through it. Don’t be ashamed of telling them. We often have hard boiled sweets or a lolly to help keep your sugar up during the tattoo.
Secondly, think about what you are going to wear. You know where you are likely to get your tattoo, so make sure you dress so that you can expose this general area while at the same time maintaining your dignity.
Don’t wear your Sunday best. While tattoo ink will generally not stain clothes, and your artist will do everything they can to keep your clothing clean, there is always the possibility of getting ink on your clothes so dark clothing is favourable. Tattoo ink is very concentrated, and will go a very long way, so it’s always best to bear this in mind when choosing the day’s wardrobe. If you do need to remove tattoo ink from your clothing, you will need to do so on a very hot wash.
Thirdly, shave the area if possible. If you know where you are having your tattoo, shave the area (and surrounding area), the morning prior to getting inked. Even if you don’t think it needs doing, shave it anyway, as even the smallest, downiest hairs can have a detrimental effect on the tattoo process, but don’t worry, your tattoo artist will still shave you if you haven’t. It is a small thing, but your tattoo artist will really appreciate that you have taken the time to consider this.
Other things you may want to consider bringing might include an MP3 player, or other distraction like a book or smart phone etc. Some people like to chat to the tattooist, others like stony silence, others prefer a distraction like the things mentioned above.
It is our policy to collect a deposit when booking an appointment. We accept deposits via cash and the amount of the deposit required is dependent on how long the appointment is. We require £30 deposit per 1 hour booked so if a 3-hour appointment is booked we would require £90. Full day appointments we require a £180 deposit. If you have multiple appointments booked the deposit rolls over and will come off on the last sitting. Deposits are NON-REFUNDABLE and if you need to reschedule your appointment, we do require 3 days or more notice otherwise you will lose your deposit.
Unfortunately, we do not allow anyone else in the tattooing rooms other than the person getting tattooed. This is due to Insurance and hygiene reasons. However, your friend is welcome to wait in our waiting area in our friendly reception and café area whilst you are getting tattooed.