Updated: Jan 31
So folks, today we are talking tattoos! Before I get started, I just want to pop a little 'disclaimer' out to hopefully avoid any negativity.
Tattoo's are not for everyone; this I understand. They are permanent and surprisingly they do not come off unless you want to physically burn them off your skin (I am referring to tattoo removal here; please, please do not try and burn your tattoo's off yourself). Just like every other thing ever in the whole wide world, some people do not like them. Just like I don't like tomatoes. I do like tomato sauce, but that is a different story all together. It still baffles me that even in 2016 I get the classic, "You do know they will be with you forever" or even "They will look shit when you're old and wrinkly". It MAY shock you guys, but I did consider the fact that my tattoo's won't just 'rub off' and that maybe when I'm 97 years old sitting in an elderly home with my homie Doris trying to remember what I had for tea, they won't look as 'fresh' as they did when I was 18. Regardless to all the 'cons', tattoo's are my thing and I have no regrets getting any of mine. They are what make me, me. They are my own and I love them. I see tattoo's as an investment. I am getting beautiful artwork permanently inked on my skin, and I love it. So if you do not like tattoo's, that's cool; I respect that. Just please, please just don't hound me with silly statements, questions or insults - believe me when I say I have heard them all before.
It is my body.
It is my decisions.
It is my life.
Peace out, one love, mother nature, vegans are ace.
So lets get down to the dirty. All in all, I have 7 tats. Hopefully this number will be growing shortly (sorry mum, sorry dad). Not a word of a lie; I love all of my little artworks and like I said before, I seriously have no regrets. In this post I am going to walk you through each tattoo, starting with my oldest and working my way to the most recent. I will talk about why I got it, who did them, a rough cost, how painful I thought they were (one a scale of 1-10, the lower the number indicates the less pain felt) and some pretty photos of the finished pieces. So lets do this!
* Prices may not be completely accurate as my memory sucks*
Tattoo 1. Alf the Elephant
A few weeks after turning 18 I got this little beaut inked onto my left forearm and immediately fell in love. I am a little... okay, extremely obsessed with elephants; beautiful, wise and wild. First things first, other than my slightly disturbing obsession with elephants, this tattoo has no specific meaning. Personally, it really grinds my gears when people say 'a tattoo has to have a meaning'. Sure, if you have a meaning for your tattoo, that's great. But if you don't, who cares?
Before even considering booking an appointment, I did a lot of research into what I wanted, looking into specific styles that would suit a monochrome colour scheme. Dotwork and linework were the two key styles I thought suited what I was after.
Studio: K.Brothers Studios, Glasgow - (@kbrothersstudio) / (Cleanliness 10 / 10)
At the time he was working in a small studio in Glasgow with some other artists. The studio was small, but clean with a relaxed vibe and friendly staff.
A few searches on google and I found the artist of my dreams, and when I saw he was located in Glasgow I felt it was too good to be true. It was an easy decision, Tomtom's work captivated me and showed both meticulous detail and insane artistic talent. We discussed what I was after over Facebook, and he kindly sent me some intial sketches to ensure I was happy with the design. After that it was showtime!
I was only newly 18, and quite nervous (but excited of course!) about the whole thing. Tomtom made me feel very relaxed and at home. The tattoo took around 2-3 hrs but the pain did not bother me - I was totally absorbed watching him do his thang. The end result left me all most in tears with happiness. I really couldn't have asked for a better first experience. TomTom was friendly, welcoming and did an amazingly detailed job.
Pain: 3 / 10
Price: £150 (incl. deposit)
Tattoo 2. Pheasant in flight
After such a great first experience I was itching to pay another visit to Glasgow for some more ink. This design was a little less thought out, but for me contained much more sentimental value. Out of all my tattoos, this is the only was that truly has a meaning behind it. My grandad was a wonderful man, and even though I was fairly young when he sadly passed it did not hurt any less. One of the things that will always remind me of him is (oddly perhaps) pheasants as he would regularly go out shooting and bring them back to the house. For this reason I settled on my second design and nestled it in a hidden spot on my ribs, close to my heart. Again Tomtom's precision and talent blew me away. He recreated what can only be described as a very precious memory for myself to keep with me wherever I go in life. Even though the tattoo was in a rather risque place, Tomtom ensured I felt comfortable and happy as well as ensuring my shirt did not move to places I wouldn't want to be seen - nobody wants a nip slip now do they!
Studio: K.Brothers Studios, Glasgow - (@kbrothersstudio) / (Cleanliness 10 / 10)
Artist: TomTom - (@tomtomtatts)
Pain: 4 / 10 - Although ribs are meant to be a sore placement for a tattoo, the pain again did not phase me. It was nippy but not unbearable and I actually found it hard to keep my eyes open (imma take a nap right here)
Price: £160 (incl. deposit)
Tattoo 3. - Wrist cuff
Although I do not like to pick favourites with my tattoos (that'd be like picking your favourite child, I mean, c'mon) this one is definitely the one I find myself admiring the most. When I was researching dot work artists I found TomTom, but I also found Ema. I adored both artists work. The precision and perfectionism shown in Ema's work was super appealing, especially for a OCD person like me. Unlike my previous experience, I was shown the design on the day. This was a little daunting however, I totally understand why busier studios have to do this. The design Ema drew was stunning. It was very different from what I was expecting, but in a very good way. She put her own spin on things and I loved it. Every detail was done to perfection, and Ema ensured that the cuff itself would be straight and inline from all angles (something that is much harder than you may think, as your skin on the wrist moves when you move, if that makes sense?!).
Studio: Bath Street Tattoo Collective, Glasgow - (@bathstreettattoo) / (Cleanliness 10 / 10)
The studio Ema is based in is much closer to the centre of Glasgow and oh my god it is beautiful. It is located on the top floor of a traditional town house like building and has be designed and decorated with an awesome quirky vibe. The open plan studio was airy and bright with great music, so it really was the perfect atmosphere for getting a tattoo.
Throughout the whole experience Ema was so lovely, friendly, chatty and helpful. She told me about her travel experiences at a time I was only considering mine so this was definitely a huge push for me to book my own. She is a beautiful person and my whole experience here was perfect. I hope to be back!
Pain: 5 / 10
Price: £140 (incl. deposit)
Tattoo 4. Native American Girl
(Hard to get a good photo of this gal as she wraps round my arm)
My biggest and most complimented piece is my beautiful native american girl who I named Katy - she's a stunner! My gorgeous pal Lucinda is a fab fashion student in none other than London, so of course I was going to sneak in a cheeky tattoo while visiting her in the big city. London is what I would describe as the UK's hub for tattoo studios, it is full of awesome artists and hip tattoo obsessives like myself. I found Matt's work while checking out my fav blogger, Samantha Maria's, newest ink on Instagram. His style was different from what I usually went for but I couldn't say no when I saw this awesome portrait. Again I received the drawing on the day, and thankfully again I totally loved it. It was exactly what I'd asked for and I couldn't have been happier with the sketch.
Studio: The Family Business Tattoo, London - (@thefamilybusinesstattoo) / (Cleanliness 10 / 10)
The studio was on an awesome little pedestrianised street that had so many quaint little gift shops full of beautiful niknaks and jewellery, hip hairdressers, florists and coffee parlours (and a random dog wearing a cute jumper which really did it for me). Inside there were several different rooms which were all fairly small but super chilled and covered in awesome artwork.
As beautiful as London is, I find it a bit scary and stressful. I am simply not used to the crazy city life and getting anywhere makes me feel anxious. So travelling alone to the parlour was a bit of a terrifying thought. After a peaceful walk there I was greeted by so many friendly faces and I immediately felt at ease. Matt was a gem, bubbly and a great laugh. He made what could have been a scary experience a very happy and relaxed one. Throughout the whole six odd hours of tattooing we chatted away and he often checked if I was comfortable, even grabbing me a tasty coffee halfway. Even when I had a slip up with my banking while paying (some thieving off-license cash machine stole £30 from me) I was treated with helpful and reassuring advice from both Matt and the other staff. Overall the experience was amazing and the tattoo I walked away with even more so!
Pain: 7 / 10 - This bad boy was quite painful mostly due to the time it took.
Price: £350 (incl. deposit)
Tattoo 5. Red Deer Stag
Guess who?! Yep, that's right I couldn't stay away from Tomtoms lovely self for long. This time after seeing some of his previous deer sketches I decided to get one for my very own. Back in the day I was a bit of a nature nerd. My father and I would go out at night in his car and shine torches in the nearby country fields, trying to spot deer and other wildlife. Although this tattoo doesn't really have a meaning, I suppose this small memory contributed to my decision making. To make things a little different I asked if it would be possible to place the deer within a diamond shape. Of course, again Tomtom excelled himself.
Studio: Black Dot Tattoo, Glasgow - (@blackdottattoo) / (Cleanliness 10 / 10)
This time I was excited to be heading to Tomtom's very own new studio. Beforehand he shared a space in a small studio with other artists, so having his own studio was an exciting prospect for me; particularly considering I had followed him from the early stages of his tattooing career in Glasgow. His new studio Black Dot Tattoo, is quaint and lovely and covered in his awesome illustrations. There are also a small number of other cool artist of similar styles that work here.
There are also a small number of other cool artist of similar styles that work here. Without a doubt one of my favourite things about Tomtom is his dedication. Upon opening his new studio he informed me that he only took one client per day, and does not normally do walk ins, purely so he can take his time on each customer and enjoy and take his time over every piece. I understand this may not work for all artists but I really admire this visible sign of passion for his work.
There is not much else to say; every time I visit Tomtom I come away happier than ever with an amazing piece of art on my skin. As always he was friendly, relaxed and even had my favourite coffee and some biscuits for us to munch on.
Pain: 2 / 10 - Just a little nippy, nothing bad at all.
Price: £160 (incl. deposit)
Tattoo 6. Script
Experience: Done during the same appointment as my stag.
This one was a bit of an impulse but I totally love it. After a bit of a Pinterest and chill night I decided I was set on getting a small tat in this awesome and subtle placement. I wanted something with some significance so chose a short quote that really spoke to me in all sense. An important thing to remember in life is the enjoy the journey no matter what it is. The hard times will make the grow and strive and the good times will stay with you forever.
Studio: Black Dot Tattoo, Glasgow - (@blackdottattoo) (Cleanliness 10 / 10)
Pain: 6 / 10 - Short but a bit of a killer in comparison to the rest due to the placement. Not unbearable though!
Tattoo 7. Bamboo Moon
Again this baby was very unplanned and spontanious. While we were travelling around the islands of Thailand a few of our travel pals went for tattoos. James and I were both trying to save our money, but after seeing their awesome tats for such good prices we could not resist. We are so weak. Unlike my other experiences this one was pretty basic, but still very enjoyable.
Studio: Lotus Art Tattoo, Koh Tao, Thailand
For Thailand standards this parlour was super clean and professional. I have heard horror stories, and seen some pretty rank studios in the same area, so finding somewhere that looked vaguely like the ones in Britian put me at ease.
I am so gutted that I cannot find a link to this parlour or even the lovely staff who welcomed us with such kind hearts and big smiles. The brother and sister duo made sure we were comfortable and were constantly smiling and making conversation. While the sister helped hold the skin tight (sounds weird soz) the brother carefully tattooed me with a bamboo needle. They were so chuffed and took photos with us afterwards. Overall a great day!
Pain: 9 / 10 - The placement of this one KILLED me. I have never found a tattoo completely unbearable, but boy did this hurt. The placement is a boney area between my chest which was the main reasonable behind the pain.
So there you have it, my wee tattoo collection....so far! Hopefully this list will be getting somewhat lengthier in the very near future.
Until then I would love to see and hear all about your tattoo experiences; comment below or get in touch.
Catch ya later!
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