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We'll leave this up for people who are interested in tattoos on Revscene. If you have anything to add, reply below and I'll add it to this post!
QUESTION 1) Who are some good artists in Vancouver?
We'll get to that in a second, first, let's address question 2.
QUESTION 2) What should I look for in a portfolio?
Judging a portfolio on your own is an important part of tattooing. You should never simply take someone's recommendation without considering it for yourself. The question is, what do you look for in a tattoo artist? For that, we'll simply direct you to this article, which explains everything in great detail.
OK back to question 1:
QUESTION 1) Who are some good artists in Vancouver?
Everyone has their own favourites, and each artist excels in different styles. Here are some recommendations:
QUESTION 3) How should I take care of my new tattoo?
The easiest way to answer is ASK YOUR ARTIST. Everyone has their own preferences. But this is what works for a lot of people:
FIRST THREE DAYS:
The idea of washing the tattoo with cold water is comforting, but horseshit. When you take of the initial bandage (after at LEAST 4 or 5 hours, longer [up to 24 hours] is better), you MUST MUST MUST wash the tattoo thoroughly in water as hot as you can stand it, then a little bit hotter. You want any dried lymph and blood to be able to loosen up a bit. Showers are great, but for gently caress's sake, do NOT soak it in a bathtub, swimming pool, hot tub, or a loving lake or ocean.
Although you do NOT want to use a washcloth or sponge on your healing tattoo at all, you DO want to thoroughly and somewhat aggressively wash the living hell out of your tattoo with your fingertips and soapy water to make sure that you get ALL of the coagulated blood and lymph off of the tattoo. Leaving any of this on the tattoo will lead to a scab, which means a rough healing process that can leave you with a lovely, busted tattoo. After washing, pat the tattoo dry with a paper towel and then apply a TINY amount of either Vitamin A&D ointment (found in the diaper section of your market), Aquaphor, or Oronine (a Japanese ointment - highly recommended if you can get it!). TINY AMOUNT is the key. You do not want to smother your tattoo in a slather of goo, just put enough onto the tattoo to absorb.
Don't cover your tattoo with another bandage, but you DO want to wash your tattoo off every couple of hours, dry it, and apply the ointment again. Keeping the tattoo clean is imperative to the healing. It absolutely doesn't matter if the soap is anti-bacterial or not; any mild soap will be fine. Just make sure that when you wash your tattoo that your hands are clean before you touch it, so wash your hands thoroughly first (how can you tell if you have washed your hands well enough? When washing, get all the nooks and crannies while singing the "ABC" song. By the time you finish the childhood melody, your hands should be well clean enough to now wash your tattoo.
Remember to do the above steps for THREE DAYS ONLY. Using any kind of ointment for longer than that can lead to complications. You can use neosporin or bacitracin, but I don't recommend it as some people can get toxic reactions from using medications so much. I know around a dozen or so tattooists who had to go to the hospital because suddenly their bodies reacted near fatally to having neosporin on their new tattoos for days. Not good. Keeping the tattoo clean will be fine.
AFTER THREE DAYS:
After the initial three days of washing the tattoo like an obsessive-compulsive ape, just wash the tattoo 2-3 times a day and start applying a tiny, tiny dab of mild, unscented skin lotion to the tattoo on a limited basis. Cetaphil LOTION (not the cleanser) is a good mild brand. (I have used unscented Nivea and St Ives) Don't use the lotion too much though. Obsessing on it and applying the lotion too often can lead to clogged pours and pimples on and around the tattoo.
A few days after all this, your tattoo shouldn't scab, but it will peel like a sunburn. If this is the case, congratulations, you followed the above instructions well. These peelings will be the colors of the tattoo though, and that looks like loving hell. Don't worry though, it's not the tattoo falling out, but rather the epidermis exfoliating and carrying with it any excess pigment. Your tattoo is healing beneath that in the dermis, so don't freak out if it looks like your arm is excreting some kind of fruity children's breakfast cereal flakes.
After the tattoo is done peeling, it will look slightly shiny and waxy. At this point you can still use lotion whenever it feels too dry, but it's pretty much going to be doing fine on it's own. If the skin feels tight, you can use something like Aquaphore, coacoa butter, etc at this point because the skin is no longer open or abraded. The tattoo will take around 1-2 weeks of really babying it and then an additional 2-4 weeks of going completely back to normal. Tattooed skin actually takes around 6 weeks to absolutely, 100% heal if cared for properly. During that time, please, please, please keep it out of too much sun exposure. ESPECIALLY during the initial 2 weeks of healing. Your new skin has no real protection against UV rays, and going to get a tan on a healing tattoo will gently caress it royally. Also, once your tattoo is healed, start putting a heavy sunblock on it whenever you go out for a day in the sun. What SPF? I honestly advise a SPF 50 or above. Consider your tattoo a long-term investment. Keeping the UV off of it will keep it looking good for years to come.
Other things to remember while it's healing: Don't wear tight clothing on your tattoo while healing. It's especially important if you get a tattoo on your leg to wear shorts, culottes, a dress, or something that won't rub on the tattoo. Pants rubbing on tattoo = lovely heal. If you got a tattoo on your waistline, wear something that is not constricting as much as possible for the first week. Now is the time to convince your friends that mu-mus and togas are the height of fashion.
Other than the above advice: don't expose your healing tattoo to any belt sanders, brick dust, or cat poo poo and it should be fine.
QUESTION 4) I want to learn more about tattoos, should I go buy a subscription to TLC so I can watch all those "Ink" shows?
First of all, hang out in the tattoo thread. We could always use some more activity there.
Secondly, there are some shows worth recommending.
First, this should be a must for everyone remotely interested in tattoos - Hori Smoku, the Sailor Jerry documentary. You can get started with part 1 on Youtube here:
Secondly, the Gypsy Gentleman series is highly regarded and very entertaining.
The Tattoo Age series of interviews is also absolutely worth checking out.
QUESTION 5) What should I eat/do in preparation for a long tattoo session?
The night before, have a good sized meal high in carbs. This will ensure that your blood sugar is nice and high for the torture you're about to endure the next day. Try to make sure you get as much sleep as possible. We all have different thresholds, you should know yours. If you have to, take 0.5-1mg of melatonin, as this has the effect of letting you hit your 'sleep threshold' with less actual sleep.
Again, have a big high carb/high protein breakfast. Not something that will make you sluggish, like pancake, but a good sized meal like bacon and eggs with toast, something along those lines. If you aren't a big morning eater, don't sweat it. The meal you had last night will have jacked you full of blood glucose anyway.
Bring small snacks with you for the session. The first 2-3 hours will be cake, but after that your adrenals and blood sugar will be drained, and you'll be all swollen and inflamed from the pain. At this point, have a light snack here and there. Your artist will probably be taking breaks here and there, but nothing too long. This is fine, because a big meal at this point would be detrimental.
Things like Clif bars and gatorade would be perfect. For my sessions in Japan, I found onigiri, chocolate bars, and pocari sweat to be a killer combo Avoid caffeine, as it will dry you out.
After the session, you will probably not have much of an appetite. At this point, it is important to get as much protein in you and sugar to repair and replenish blood glucose. Have a protein shake or two before dinner (since you may not feel like having a full meal). From here, go about your normal routine, focusing on increased protein intake if you can. This will supply your body with the amino acids it needs to repair all the damage you foolishly did to yourself
That's it for now, if you have any additions, particularly artist recommendations, post below and I'll add them!
What's the difference between traditional vs non traditional?
For Japanese, traditional follows strict 'rules' that take years to study and master. Non tradition MAY also use these rules, but with more freedom. Other artists skip the rules all together, and are more 'Japanese Inspired"
Gakkin spoke about it a bit in this interview. He mentions that it would be "stupid" to put blossoms and maple leafs in the same piece, for instance. This is an example of a strict rule that even 'modern' Japanese artists will follow. If you ever see maple leafs and blossoms on the same piece, or even the same side of the body, you know the artist is not talented, and is not paying attention to the roots of his work.
For American, the traditional don't seem to be as 'rule' heavy, but follow basic guidelines of super thick lines, basic designs, high contrast shading (lots of black ink) and a limited color palette of bright colours (red, gold, green, brown).
The alternative to that is 'neo traditional' which tends to use more 'modern' or 'realistic' shading and highlights. Actually most of the artists listed under 'traditional' are pretty much 'neo traditional' artists, since pure 'traditional' is actually quite limited creatively. It's up to you how 'limited' you want to make it - sometimes more limited (or less complicated, if you prefer) looks a lot nicer, especially from far away. IMO the 'line' between traditional and 'neo' traditional is very blurry, and in a way it should probably all be called traditional anyway, unless it's completely out there.
Then you have 'new school' which is a complete departure from classic american style tattooing.
He mentions that it would be "stupid" to put blossoms and maple leafs in the same piece, for instance. This is an example of a strict rule that even 'modern' Japanese artists will follow. If you ever see maple leafs and blossoms on the same piece, or even the same side of the body, you know the artist is not talented, and is not paying attention to the roots of his work.
i remember my artist saying this , i have a "spring" side with the hanya and cherry blossoms and a "fall" side with the severed samurai head and japanese maples.
only dead fish swim with the stream.