First, a little background:
If you have a tattoo, then more than likely, you probably have more than one, as they are quite addictive. . .
I got my first tattoo [the cover of Brian Lumley's Necroscope IV: Deadspeak novel, drawn by Bob Eggleton, when I was 19. I would then say that, over the next few weeks, I got three more [the cover of Dan Simmons' novel Carrion Comfort, a Christian Rock Band's - called Fear Not - symbol - this was previously my only "spur of the moment" tattoo, and the Violator cover of the Spawn #4 comic book]
I would then say that about 7 years went by [by this time I had realized that tattoos are addictive and I wouldn't even go into a tattoo parlor - there is just something about that sterile smell, mixed with the ink, that awakens the craving]
Alas, a friend of a friend arrived in town one weekend and wanted to go to a tattoo parlor - this just happened to coincide with the grand opening of a new shop in town, and I was curious to check it out - needless to say that, the next day, I went in and got a Smiley the Psychotic Button, from the Evil Ernie comics, tattoo - and the week after that, I got Metallica's flaming yin/yang skulls logo - the one drawn by Pushead [what can I say, I have eclectic tastes] Both of these were at the time that I was dating my wife.
Time went by - we were married, we started having children, and I figured that my tattoo days were done and gone, yet here we are, today, with this post. [roughly ten years since my last tattoo]
If you have been reading my blog for the past couple of months or so, then you know that I have recently befriended my neighbor - a fellow horror aficionado. I do not believe that I ever mentioned that he is also a tattoo artist [you know where this is going now]
My neighbor is currently working on some flash designs, which will soon be in thousands of tattoo parlors across the U.S. He was wanting to show me his portfolio, and one day I was driving by his shop and I noticed that his truck was there - I had the entire family with me and our youngest was sound asleep, so I told my wife that I wanted to run in for just a few minutes. . . [again, you know where this is going]
About 15 minutes later, I came back out to the truck, with a huge grin on my face, and my wife immediately knew that something was up. You see, all of my tattoos are 'custom' [not flash] and I still have quite a few drawn up [including an entire back piece] Something that I was missing in my personal collection of drawings was a Chinese Dragon - I love dragons, yet I have never found the perfect picture/dragon, until that day - my neighbor had just finished such a dragon, which he was going to include in his flash portfolio. I immediately told him that I wanted the picture, to not include it in his flash, and since we have become close over the last few months, he agreed.
The problem was that I now had this picture with me - staring at it each day - I innocently inquired as to how long he thought it would take to tattoo on me - he guessed around 4 hours [keep in mind that the family and I are currently traveling, so I only have limited funds] He charges $100.00 an hour, so I immediately thought, oh well, I don't really need another tattoo anyway.
He then floored my by saying that if I really wanted the tattoo, he would do it for only a double-digit amount! [How could I pass this opportunity by?!?]
It is a relatively large piece and my neighbor figured my that back would probably be best - problem there is that I didn't want it on my back - I get my tattoos for me, and I would never see it on my back [hence my never getting the back piece that I have drawn up - the cover of Evil Ernie: Youth Gone Wild] So, I asked him, "what about over my ribcage?" He immediately grimaced and told me that the two worst places to get a tattoo are the ribs and the stomach [stubborn me said, "I can handle it, no problem, let's do it" completely forgetting that I am not as young and full of fire as I once was]
Again, he tried to talk me out of getting it over my ribs, but I didn't listen. . .
To make this long story a little bit shorter, as I feel that I am being long-winded, this approximately 4-hour long tattoo project turned into 10 1/2 hours! [and it's still not done, though it is done enough for me!] The day that I went in to get it, I lasted about 2 1/2 hours [got the main body/outline done]
The following week, I again lasted 2 1/2 hours - getting the top half all colored, shaded, etc. The 3rd week, another 2 1/2 hours, getting the lower half colored/shaded, etc. Last week, I told him - get as much done as you can, because I am not sure that I will be coming back - so, 3 hours later, he finished coloring, shading, adding the scales - everything that needed to get done, to finish the main body - problem being that there is really more to the picture - a whole other tail segment and more fire - at this point [I did not go back today] though, I, personally, am done! It looks good enough for me, and I am happy with it!
The morale of this story and the whole reason for this post - DO NOT - I repeat, DO NOT, EVER, EVER, NEVER, EVER GET A TATTOO OVER YOUR RIBCAGE! IT IS MORE PAINFUL THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE!!!
Well, here are some pictures of the tattoo:
My neighbor initially drew the dragon holding the traditional sphere - in the original's case, it was a flaming fireball, however my wife's job is doing ultrasounds of the heart, so I thought it would be cool if the dragon were holding an anatomically correct heart - it was my neighbor's idea to have the dragon having taken a bite of it, which I loved! I then, of course, told him that there had to be blood dripping from off the heart :-)
Did I mention that 90% of this tattoo was done free-hand?
Here are a couple closer shots [thanks to my 15-year-old for taking the pictures!]
Keep in mind that there are still some touch-up parts needed [as well as the remaining portions] but as of today, I am done with the pain! We are still in WI, through the remainder of the month, so if I change my mind, I will let you know, but don't count on it] The cool thing is that my neighbor and I have become great friends, and no matter where the family and I decide to settle back down, I can always visit and get the rest of the tattoo finished at a later date down the road, but as I have already hinted at - I think that I have found the cure to tattoo addiction! :-)