Hummingbird Tattoo

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Hummingbird Tattoo

This is a bit different to my usual posts, but I just had a tattoo done, and I wanted to blog about it!

I had my first tattoo about 7 years ago, and I’ve been planning to have another one ever since. 

As I’ve been on a weight loss journey lately, I decided I would reward myself when I hit target with a tattoo (better than a bucket load of chocolate!). As it happens my decree nisi also came through on Friday, so it kind of turned into having extra significance!

I wanted something that reminds me of my little girl, and I decided on a humming bird. Not an obvious choice, but my daughter hums all of the time when she runs around, and I think of her as a little hummingbird. They are also stunningly beautiful. 

I did a lot of research using Pinterest, and found the following photos for inspiration: 

   
    
   
I particularly liked the shape of this last one, but preferred the colours of the others. 

My last tattoo was done at Tony’s Tattoos in Reigate, so I decided to go back there. I took in my pictures and asked them to do something custom for me. 

They now have a couple of tattoo artists working from the studio, and I spoke to Pete, who agreed to do my tattoo the following weekend. 

Now I’m sure lots of people research extensively who is going to do your tattoo, and maybe even travel long distances to get inked by their chosen artist. 

I didn’t! I checked out some of his work on the Tony’s Tattoos Facebook Page, decided I liked what I saw (he is a great artist) and decided to go for it. Since then I have checked out his Instagram page, and it’s really amazing. 

We agreed on the phone that he would simply trace the outline of my chosen shape, and then freehand colour the rest, using the other designs for inspiration. 

Some might think I’m crazy, but I trust my instincts (something I’m trying to do more, as they are usually right), and I liked him. My gut told me he would do a good job, so I said ‘OK’. 

The day of the tattoo arrived, and I was a bit nervous. Partly because I couldn’t  remember how much it hurt, and partly because I was about to put something permanent on my skin. 

But I was also excited. Tattoos have definitely become mainstream, even in the 7 years since I had my first one. But there is something about doing something that most middle class professional women of my age probably don’t do, that makes me feel just a little bit rebellious. And I like that!

Unlike going to the doctors or dentist, everyone is friendly in a tattoo studio! Or certainly everyone was at Tony’s. I had a nice chat to a young man whose girlfriend was having a crap tattoo removed, and also spoke to the woman who was having a tattoo in the cubicle next to me. She was having a dragon to celebrate the end of chemotherapy. Good on her. 

I got Pete to take photos throughout the process. So if your thinking of getting a tattoo, this is what happens!

First he created an outline of the tattoo (a stencil) that gets put onto your skin. No needles at this point, this is something that is printed, and they just apply it from a piece of paper. It helps them with the design, and it means you can see how it will look in situ. 

  

 Then you get to sit on a chair. I had to straddle the chair as I was having this on my back. You could be sitting for a while, so wear comfy clothes!

Then the fun begins. These are all of the colours he used. We had looked at my inspiration photos and agreed a general overall plan, and he checked after choosing the colours to make sure I was happy. In fact he added in a few more after this, so it wasn’t even the full set! Looks like something my daughter would have a field day with. 

  
Next is the outline. Some people say this hurts the most. I have to say, I don’t find any parts more painful than others. It all hurts, but it’s a bearable hurt. Particularly if you have a nice chatty tattoo artist like Pete, who distracts you with interesting conversation about bands and strange phobias. 

Pete do mine in a light grey shade this is because we wanted a realistic look, and a black outline wouldn’t have been right. 

  
Now the colouring in (I suspect there may be a more technical term for this!). This is where I had to completely trust Pete. And gave him free rein to colour as he wished. Here are  a couple of progress photos. 

  
  
All in, it took about 2.5 – 3 hours. And by the end I was feeling quite cold and shivery. I understand this is a quite normal reaction, and is something to do with the adrenalin leaving your body. 

I would definitely recommend eating well on your tattooing day, and taking a snack to keep your blood sugar levels up. I ate a snickers (which I hadn’t done in years!) afterwards, and had a big pasta bolognese. After a bath (keeping the shoulder out of the water) I felt right as rain, and it was barely stinging at all. 

The next day(today!), it feels tender if I press it, but not sore otherwise. 

So here is the finished article….

   
Immediately afterwards (hence the red skin)

 
And later that evening. 

Here it is today (it’s not easy to photograph your own shoulder and I’m home alone today)! The wings look shorter than they are because of the angle I used to take the picture. And of course I took it in a mirror, so it looks back to front!

  

  
Totally thrilled with it, and can’t believe the intricacy of the detail and the colours he has used. 

Already thinking about what to do next!

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