10 body parts to avoid for a less painful tattoo!!!

Ouch, wait, I’m not ready, whew, ok, go ahead (holds breath)…..that’s it? That is not what I was expecting. That used to be the first sentence/ question I would hear the seconds before I put ink to anyone’s skin that was new to tattoos. Now before I even run my machine I let tattoo virgins know, this is a tattoo, it is uncomfortable and annoying, you are not being licked by kittens and riding unicorns you are getting a tattoo. The more you sit still the better your tattoo will look, if you wiggle and squirm while I am tattooing you then your tattoo will also be wiggly and squirmy. The tattoo will not hurt as bad as you are imagining right now, more than likely it feels like nothing else you have experienced before. It does not feel like a cat scratch, it does not feel like a hundred bees stinging you at once, and it does not feel like the old sissy tests we used to do to ourselves and friends with the eraser of a pencil back in school. This is a tattoo, it will be more annoying than anything else. This is usually where I explain taking breaks and so forth and this is something your artist should go over with you too, if you are unsure about which artist or shop to choose check out my post You are ready for your first tattoo!!…..NOW WHAT? For some tips when choosing. So I know I know, get on with it, what spots should you avoid? Here is the disclaimer before I unveil the list, NOT ALL BODIES ARE THE SAME AND EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, I say this before anyone says that an area that I have elected to add to the list did not hurt them when they got theirs done. The information that I have collected for this list comes from twenty years of experience observing the everyday operations of a tattoo shop and the clients it has. So with no further a-dew the top 10 most painful spots to get a tattoo are as follows:
  • The ditch- this is the spot that everyone will agree is very painful, the ante cubitol fossa, the inside bend of your elbow.
  • Ribs- Kind of self explanatory, the skin above your ribs is sensitive and it is above the bone.
  • Sternum- Ladies I know this is a sexy spot to get a tattoo but please do not pick this spot for your first tattoo, you and the artist will not have a good experience.
  • Inside of the lip- not only does it suck to get this spot tattooed but it will, if your lucky, hang around for six months or less and if your shop does free touch ups, this area is usually not included in the touch up policy. So make sure you do your research and ask questions.
  • Armpit- This is not a spot that is tattooed often but it does get more sensitive the closer you get to it, so the people who say the inside of the bicep hurts are really feeling it because the armpit and the ditch are on either end of that area.
  • Behind the knee/lower back of thigh/ upper back of calf- that general area, anytime there is a bend or a hinge joint you can bet that spot is gonna be uncomfortable, the area right above and right below are also uncomfortable. Also with lower limb tattoos be careful with swelling, Ibuprofen and elevation helps.
  • Eyelids- So this one is not for everyone, at one point in time I would only be mentioning this to women who get cosmetic tattoos but now people are getting eyelid tattoos, shit some are even having their eyeballs tattooed. I would hope that I wouldn’t have to explain the importance of researching your artist if this is something you want to have done, cosmetic or regular eyelid tattoos along with the eyeball dying.
  • The ear-I am not talking about behind the ear because if done correctly that area is pretty painless, I am talking about the inside of your ear or on your lobe. There is skin and cartridge on your ear not much else besides your nerve endings lol, when I had my cartridge tattooed it felt like I was being cut with a hot scalpel however I have heard other people say that it didn’t hurt at all.
  • Inner thigh- I am not sure if anyone has caught onto this yet but if your skin is in a sensitive area and is not conditioned by the sun like the inner bicep, back of thighs, stomach, inner thighs, etc, those areas will be more intense feeling than spots that regularly get a tan
  • Palms of the hands and the soles of the feet- This is another one that is like the inside of the lip, what is the point in doing this when it probably wont last more than six months and it is not a tickle and a cup of tea it is a tattoo. The skin on the palms and soles are different than the rest of your body and is made to be thicker and more protective in those two areas, so logically speaking it will heal and hold tattoos different than the rest of your body too.

So that is it guys and dolls, the most painful areas to get a tattoo, again this is not just my personal point of view, this comes from twenty years of observing and hearing clients complain and squirm when getting these spots tattooed.

Everyone is different and everyone feels pain differently, some people have a high threshold for pain and others have none at all, woman can take pain better than men can, and this is not a bias statement it is just truth and this is because our bodies have to go through childbirth. It does not matter how big or small you are, what color your skin is or how old you are, tattoos hurt, that’s why you sometimes hear people say that so and so earned that tattoo, that means it was very painful or it was painful for that person. Anyway darlings, I leave you with one thing to think about before your next tattoo, is you are going to endure the pain, make sure the artist who is inflicting the pain is worth it in the long run!! (So stay away from kitchen magicians and basement butchers!!!)

Yours In Ink,

KC DeVille

7 THINGS TV DOESN’T SHOW YOU ABOUT BECOMING A TATTOOIST

So you have seen every TV show they make about tattooing and your BFF says you are the best artist she knows and she wants you to draw her first tattoo, you are pretty confident you have what it takes to become one of those tattooist you see on those TV shows. Guess what sweetie, most people can’t make it through the apprenticeship. I am sure you think you can attend some sort of tattoo school, yeah sure if you have the money for it and then are they gonna set you up with a job when you are done and give you your start up equipment….nope I don’t think so. Below please read 7 things you should know before becoming a tattooist that they won’t show you on TV!!!

1. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DRAW DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN TATTOO

Let me get this first myth out of the way and I am saying this because this is usually how people start the conversation of how to become a tattoo artist. Just because you are an amazing artist on paper does not mean you will be one on skin. It is a completely different medium and another world altogether when talking about techniques. Now I am not saying that if you can draw you won’t be able to tattoo I am just saying don’t think it will be easier for you.

2.THE APPRENTICESHIP

This is the start of your journey into the tattoo world so again do your research and not just online, get up go out, walk in the shops that you have thought about, go see how the artist you want to mentor you works, get a tattoo by them, ask them if they are looking for an apprentice and if they aren’t is there anyone they recommend. Then do your research on that person, I cannot stress this enough. Then once the arduous task of finding the right mentor is complete, the next thing that will scare you away is..

3. THE PRICE OF AN APPRENTICESHIP

If you are still reading this then you may be one of the few people who believe that tattooing and body modification are real careers and just like many other careers, you either have to pay tuition to go to college to get to the career you want or pay to go to a trade school so that is what you will be doing when paying for your apprenticeship. The amount and stipulations vary from artist to artist so if you are not happy with the amount of one particular apprenticeship or the terms of it, go to the next artist on your radar.Remember the better the artist the more it will probably cost which is not a bad thing. “You get what you pay for” and “good isn’t sheep and cheap isn’t good” These are two quotes you will hear often in this industry.

If you don’t listen to anything else, please take this piece of advice, get everything in writing! I don’t care how well you know the person or what the deal is, get it in writing, this not only binds them to their part of the apprenticeship but it also binds you to a contract. And guarantees what the expectations of both parties are and what will happen an what is forfeited f said expectations are not met, you dig?

4. DID I MENTION YOU DON’T GET PAID AS AN APPRENTICE

Yeah if you didn’t figure that part out yet, you are paying the artist to teach you a skill, a trade a whole lifestyle if you are lucky, you are not getting paid to be a grunt. So on top of not getting paid you are also the shop bitch, which is a term of endearment really, lol, no it’s not, it is exactly what it sounds like, you are the gopher, the janitor, the chauffeur, the girl Friday, the delivery boy, the errand person, etc. and that is just the first few months. Once you know how to set up a station and a machine, your life will be- set up / break down, set up / break down- until you can do it in your sleep. A lot of what you are made to do honestly only prepares you for things that will happen in the future at some point and once your apprenticeship is over that treatment is over too. If your mentor is the type of person you should be learning from then they went through the same thing probably way worse, this generation gets disposable tubes and grips, I scrubbed those things for years. OK, so you think you can still handle this industry? There will be many days where you feel like saying fuck this, I don’t need this shit, they can’t treat me like this but if you decide to walk away, remember you will more than likely forfeit your tuition.

5. ATTN LADIES: THE TATTOO INDUSTRY IS NOT MALE DOMINATED ANYMORE

I feel the need to put this out there for any young or older women looking to enter this industry, this used to be a male dominated industry but has slowly become a pretty equal one. When I started in the industry, not tattooing, there were not many female tattooists but now there are thirty times as many. I never want to hear that you didn’t get a job because you are a girl, well guess what, that kind of girl wont get hired at my shop either, because I am gonna hire the best person for the job no matter who or what they are and that is how any real business person is gonna make their decision. There is no crying in tattooing unless its a client. So please don’t offend those of us who have busted our asses to make the path for the ladies, now and in the future, to be taken seriously as artists by acting like a spoiled little brat who got their feelings hurt.Which leads me into number six…….

6. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THICK SKIN (NOT LITERALLY) YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT

If you cant handle getting your feelings hurt, having someone tell you your work sucks, having someone tell you that you only got your job becasuse of some sexual favor you did, if you cannot handle dick and fart jokes or people with drug habits or people with real face tattoos or other people’s bad body odor. If you can’t swallow your pride and admit that you made a mistake and then correct and learn from it. If you or your significant other are not mature enough or secure enough in your relationship to be able to handle the fact that your hands (gloved hands) will be on different parts of other peoples bodies. If you can not budget money or deal with making cash everyday, if you can’t work independently, if you call out or miss days from work often, if you are doing this because you think someone in the shop is cute or because you are rebelling against mom and dad, then in no way shape or form is this industry for you.

7. TATTOOING IS NOT A CAREER, IT IS A LIFESTYLE

The tattoo and body modification industry is also not a job, its not a career, its a lifestyle. You will eat, sleep, poop, talk tattoos, every one that talks to you will want to talk about tattoos, so if this is not your passion, you will be sick of tattoos in the first five years. This is all or nothing, there is not a middle ground, you have to be able to sell yourself and your art to every client/person you meet and some of them are not going to choose you and some will straight out reject you You will never be perfect you will never really be the master at anything, you will always have something new to learn, there will always be haters. It doesn’t matter how well or how bad you do, you will have haters [people who are so mad that you had the balls to do some crazy shit and be successful at it and they did’t]. Your first few years of tattooing will be about getting your name out there, you have it a lot easier now with social media but don’t filter your pictures. People are gonna show up expecting to get what is on your media posts and pics and when their tattoo heals, it will not look like the filtered pics, don’t rip people off. It’s not about getting a bunch of money from one person once, it’s about creating a relationship with your client so you have them for a lifetime. People turn 18 everyday so there is plenty of skin for all of us to tattoo, but don’t scar someone for life because you thought it looked cool when you saw someone on TV do it, Remember it is called TV magic for a reason.

Now after reading this, which is pretty mild, you still think you want to become a respected person in this industry, then may the tattoo gods shine on you. However if you think that you can’t handle or deal with one part of any of this then don’t waste your time or money and don’t waste the mentor’s time, you will not make it and quite possibly may go insane.

As I leave you to contemplate your future, please remember research research research. You have a guide to the world at your fingertips, use it!!!! If you have a question about this industry either as a client or an artist fell free to email me through my contact page. Happy Holidays!!!

Yours In Ink,

KC

You are ready for your first tattoo!!…..NOW WHAT?

So you have decided to get your first tattoo…..where do you start? Your design? Your budget? Your artist? Your tattoo studio? The placement? There are so many decisions to make and this is something that will be on your body for the rest of your life; so what are the correct steps to getting not just your first tattoo but any tattoo if you aren’t already a loyal client of an artist? The info I am about to give to you is what I have been telling people for the last decade when they ask any of the previous questions and any that were similar.

Ok so you have decided….it is final….You are ready for your first tattoo!!! “How bad is this gonna hurt??!!” This is usually everyone’s first question. Well I am here to tell you that first, it is different for everyone, second, different parts of the body feel different when being tattooed, third, if your skin is hydrated and moisturized it makes our job easier. Although this is the most popular question it is not the first thing you should be worried about, I will let you know when it is time to worry about pain threshold.

So what is the first step? This is where most people would think they should have their entire design planned out before they should find their artist, which is close to what this step is but what I call the first step is Research. What should you research? Well I am assuming you have an idea of what you want on your body and the rule of thumb is, if you have had a tattoo design in your mind for one year without changing it, then get it tattooed. I think for people who have trouble making decisions this is a good rule to follow, however, this is a general rule not a law, spontaneous tattoos are perfectly fine too. Some people can only get tattooed if it is a spontaneous idea because if they try to plan it out they “Think about it too much and psych themselves out.” So that is your first bit of “research”, what type of person are you (spontaneous or a planner)? Are you already 100% sure what your design is or are you unsure? This is where the second part of your research comes in. What style of tattoo do you want? Now you may be thinking, “Oh my tattoo is small it doesn’t matter what style it’s in.” This statement could not be further from the truth, You still need to go through this step in order to do the next step. Here is a list of tattoo styles for you to research:

  1. Traditional (Sailor Jerry\Ed Hardy style}
  2. Neo traditional
  3. New School
  4. Fine line
  5. Abstract
  6. Full Color
  7. Black and grey
  8. Watercolor
  9. Japanese
  10. Minimalistic
  11. Micro tattoos
  12. Black work
  13. Cosmetic
  14. Trash Polka
  15. Pastel Gore

Once you have decided on your tattoo style the next step is to find your person and place. Meaning your artist and the shop.

Each of these categories have subcategories but that is what you can discuss with your artist during your consultation. So once you have decided on what style you would like then you research the tattoo shops and the tattoo artists that interest you. ( Keep an eye out for future post “What you should look for in a tattoo shop and artist”) Here are the most helpful tips when looking for a tattoo shop and/or artist. If you have been recommended to a shop or artist by someone you know, then obviously look at their work and ask questions to that person. Look the shop and artist up online, read reviews, not just the reviews from the clients but read how the shop or artist responds to the review, see if they tried to resolve the bad reviews or of they responded at all. Physically walk into the shop, the first time you walk into the studio should not be the day you get your tattoo, you should feel comfortable in the shop and with the employees. You should feel welcome when you walk in the door. Getting a tattoo, especially your first tattoo, is a very intimate experience, not to mention some tattoos take hours or multiple sessions, so you should be sure you are comfortable with your artist and the shop, so just pop in and check out the spot. Look for cleanliness, organization, pay attention to the way they talk to everyone that comes in and the number one thing to do is ask to use the restroom. If the bathroom is clean then that is a good sign that they clean the rest of the shop on the regular, look in corners, look at trash cans, look for sharps containers and always look for the license or like in my state, look for their certification from the health department. Ask to see the artists portfolio, these days and times you can usually look at an artist’s portfolio on their social media sites but some shops still keep real life tangible portfolios that clients can pick up and look at in the waiting area or somewhere in there shop. Pick the artist and the shop that you will be most comfortable with, this is the last tip for this section but is one that is very important an one that gets pushed to the side the quickest. DO NOT CHOOSE YOUR ARTIST BECAUSE THEY LOOK “CUTE”!!!! I have seen so many jacked up tattoos that needed to be fixed because someone’s significant other made them get a tattoo by an artist of the same sex or because they let someone tattoo them so they could get a phone number or because “I know he messed my tattoo up but he was hot!!” And so on, I will go more in-depth with this in another post but I am sure you understand what I mean.

So once you have your artist and shop pinned down, set up an appointment for a consultation with the artist of your choice. When it is time for your appointment, come prepared, you do not have to have a reference of the identical tattoo that you want but some references of what you have in mind or even a sketch of what you have in your head helps more than you know. The hardest part of designing a tattoo is getting the info out of out client’s head and onto the paper in front of us. We all understand that not everyone can draw so don’t be intimidated by the artistic skills you have or don’t have and if you can’t find pictures of references to print out then sketch it and bring that with you. This just helps the artist understand what yo have in mind. Listen to what your artists tell you, if your artist says something is not gonna work or something will not transfer to a tattoo easily then you should ask the artist what will work. The biggest issue I have with clients when designing a tattoo for them is the handful of clients who for whatever reason think they know more about tattooing and what will work than the actual professionals. Don’t be that person, you will not be liked by your artist, you will end up getting exactly what you asked for, then more than likely you will not be happy with your tattoo once it’s done because that is when you will see that the artist was rightand now your stubborn ass is stuck with that forever. Anyway once the consult is over and the design has been explained to your artist, you can make your appointment for your tattoo. Some shops require a deposit to make an appointment, I can only speak for my shop when it comes to this part so this should be discussed with the shop of your choice. At our shop when you make an appointment, we require a hundred dollar deposit to hold the time slot and to cover drawing time, then when you pay for the tattoo on the day of your appointment we subtract your deposit from your total and you pay the balance, so basically your deposit comes off the price of your tattoo as long as you come to the appointment. There are no refunds on deposits because the artist has already spent the time to draw your tattoo and blocked time in their schedule to do your tattoo, so if you don’t come in for your appointment and don’t call to reschedule more than 24 hours before then the deposit goes to the artist for their time which was just wasted basically. SO long story short communication is key! Show up for your appointment. Below is the simplified list of what I just explained, steps an helpful hints for your first tattoo:

  1. Don’t sweat the pain, it’s not as bad as you think its gonna be.
  2. Decide what style of tattoo you want (do your research)
  3. Find the artist for you, research, read reviews, check out the shop
  4. Schedule a consult with the artist
  5. Go to the consult with your references and listen to what the artist tells you
  6. Make your appointment, if you change your mind on any part of your design contact your artist asap and let them know don’t wait for your appointment to do so.
  7. Show up for your appointment (I will make a future post on how to prepare for your first tattoo and what to do and what not to do at the shop)
  8. Listen to what your artist tells you, ask questions if you have them, make sure your artist explains how to take care of your tattoo after. Do not listen to google, do not listen to your friends and family, we are the professionals, Listen to us please!!!
  9. Take care of your tattoo the way your artist tells you, stop by the shop after your tattoo is healed so the artist can see it and decide if it needs a touch up or not and offer for them to take a pic of the healed tattoo.

So you now have all of this new info….get the process started now to get your tattoo! I have done over 200 clients first tattoo because of my “chair side manner” and patience. Always remember to trust your gut, if something doesn’t feel right when you walk in a shop then its probably not the shop for you, keep searching for the artist and the shop that make you feel comfortable. Good luck and congratulations on your first tattoo.

Yours In Ink,

KC DeVille

What I might write about…

Since I do wear many hats throughout my day, you never know what kind of mood I will be in when it’s time to write. So you all know what to expect when you visit, I have put together a list of the topics I may quite possibly rant about, just kidding I meant write about. So in no particular order here we go…..

  • Crazy or funny stories about a client or just someone in the shop
  • How to act and how not to act if you want to earn the right kind of respect from your peers in this industry, especially if you are a woman but not exclusively.
  • Exclusively telling young women what it is really like to work in this industry, not what they make it seem like on TV
  • Things that have worked and what has not worked for me balancing work and home life.
  • Keeping our marriage from going stale
  • Who to trust and who not to trust when running your own business
  • What has worked and hasn’t worked as a business owner
  • what it is like to work and run a family business while raising the family
  • What it was like for my kids growing up and how they turned out after growing up in a tattoo shop literally.
  • What it’s like or issues of a working homeschool mom
  • Trying to keep a business and household budget when you live off of commission.
  • Cosmetic tattoos vs Microblading POV of a professional cosmetic tattooist
  • anything having to do with being a tattooist, a mom, a wife, a boss and everything in between

So that was just a few of the topics I may write about or post videos about and there are about a thousand more so you are very likely to get something not on the list.