Tattoo Process

Paper Work

Chair of Honour
After your paperwork is filled out, you will be seated in the tattoo chair. Sometimes this is in an open work area, and sometimes a private room depending on the location of your tattoo.



Clean Shave
The area of your body you have chosen for your tattoo will be cleaned, usually with rubbing alcohol. Then, any hair will be removed from the area by shaving it with a new disposable razor which will be discarded after being used. Even the finest of hairs can get in the way and cause problems, so this is a crucial step, even if you can't see any hairs. Then, the area will be cleaned again to make sure it is smooth and ready for the transfer.



Stencil Transfer
Most studios today use a wonderful machine called a thermal-fax to make their stencils. This saves on literally hours of tracing time by simply inserting your tattoo design into the machine, and it transfers it onto a special thermal paper in seconds. Once your stencil is ready, it's time to create the transfer onto your skin. Some artists will use soap or water to moisten the skin, and some will use stick deodorant. These aid in making the design transfer better and darker onto your skin. When the paper is pulled away from your skin, it will leave you with a purple-ish blue likeness of your future tattoo!



Preparing Equipments
Most studios today use a wonderful machine called a thermal-fax to make their stencils. This saves on literally hours of tracing time by simply inserting your tattoo design into the machine, and it transfers it onto a special thermal paper in seconds. Once your stencil is ready, it's time to create the transfer onto your skin. Some artists will use soap or water to moisten the skin, and some will use stick deodorant. These aid in making the design transfer better and darker onto your skin. When the paper is pulled away from your skin, it will leave you with a purple-ish blue likeness of your future tattoo!



Linework
Now it is time to get down to serious business! A little ointment will be placed over your transfer design for a few reasons. One is that it helps keep the transfer on longer without accidentally rubbing it off, and it also helps the needle to slide along the skin more smoothly, which is certainly going to be more comfortable to you! After the ointment is applied, it is time for the first line. If you're nervous, don't hold your breath. Some people have passed out during a tattoo, and trust me - it wasn't the pain, it was the panic! Take a nice, slow, deep breath and try to relax. The first minute or so will the be roughest. After that, your skin will kind of get used to it and the pain will begin to subside.



Shading & Coloring
Once all the linework is done, your artist can breathe a little bit easier knowing that they won't have to worry about the transfer anymore. Now it's time to get creative with a little shading and possibly color. Depending on the size of your tattoo, your artist may switch to a different set of needles called magnums (or mags) which are designed for coloring and shading. They may even switch tattoo machines altogether. The shading and coloring can go along quite quickly, and before you know it...you've got a complete tattoo..



Finished Tattoo
Your artist may like a picture of your tattoo for their portfolio. They'll clean it up real good, and sometimes even apply a hot towel to it first. Then they'll take a picture, and this is a good time for you to get a shot, too, if you brought a camera along. Taking a photo after the protective ointment is applied causes a glare, so it is best to do it now. If for any reason you do not want the artist to take a photo, just say so. You are not under obligation to let them.



Dressing & Bandaging
Now that your tattoo is finished and clean, it needs to be treated just like a wound. A protective layer of ointment will be applied to the tattoo to prevent invasion of airborne bacteria that can cause infection. Then a bandage will be applied, and it will be taped up to make sure it is secure. It is important that you keep this bandage on for the amount of time your artist instructs, which brings us to our last step: aftercare.



Aftercare Instructions
Your artist will now give you aftercare instructions. These should be given both verbally, and on a piece of paper for you to take home with you. It is important that you listen and follow the instructions you are given. From this point on, it is your responsibility to make sure your tattoo is well taken care of. The artist cannot be blamed if you get an infection because you didn't follow directions.