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Tattoo Talk - My Own Experience


Yes, they hurt. 
No, I don't care what they will look like when I'm old. I will look frickin' awesome. 
Yes, they do have meanings!

My first tattoo was my wedding date in dominos which I had hand poked. I think this is a great starter tattoo as it is SO much less painful. 

A few years ago my husband and I separated for a while, and people smugly asked me if I regretted getting this permanent reminder of my marriage. 
I honestly never regretted getting married, or getting tattooed. Even when we had our darkest moments. 
maximalist hair
My wedding tattoo on show at our vow renewal. 
It could have been because we clearly had so much love and affection still between us. (Although, believe me, it was hard to tell at times)  But I think it was more to do with the fact that getting married at 22, and spending years in partnership with someone, was all part of the person I had become. The fact I got married couldn't be erased or undone, so I was OK with having a tattoo as testament to that time we spent together. 
(Spoiler we got back together and had two kids, we haven't killed each other yet so I think it's going well)
If I was to get this tattoo again today I would design it differently, as my tastes have changed.
But I am OK with that. I still love it as it reminds me of who I was. I feel like my tattoos have been an evolution and part of my own life journey. 
hand poked tattoo
My hand poked tattoo healed very quickly
I have a funny story to tell about my first tattoo.
My husband decided we should get them done last minute, the day of our first anniversary. He found someone that was willing to fit us in that day. (alarm bells anyone?) 
When we got there I should have known from the start that this was a bad idea.
The guy had the worst tattoos all over his neck and face. I have nothing against prominent tattoos, but dear god, they have to be good. 
I was nervous and asked if I could watch the process of my husband being tattooed first, he said no. He wasn't particularly encouraging or friendly. 
So there I was, in the waiting area, very minute ticking by thinking I had made a mistake.
So, I ran. Pretty literally actually. 
I went and found a tattooists that had a good reputation and explained what had happened.
After laughing that I had left my husband to be sacrificed, they agreed to schedule me in for a tattoo in a few weeks, with a design I was happy with. 
I had to go back as my husband was still being mutilated by doodle face. 
I just explained I was chickening out and we left. 
My husbands tattoo turned out fine, but he's nowhere near as fussy as me. I am so glad that panicking saved me! 

For my next tattoo I was more prepared.
I got my red bird on my arm, holding a key, when I left an admin job I hated to go back to college and learn digital design.
I wanted to acknowledge the huge step I had taken. I had to convince the tattooist (the very lovely James Robinson) to leave it sparse.
I could tell he was itching to put some more detail in it, but that wasn't what I wanted for this piece.
I love the delicate lines and the fact my skin shows through the whole tattoo. With James's clever placement, it feels like part of my arm. 
alternative wedding
Here I am giving my husband a rare public snog. 
My last tattoo is by far my biggest, an Impala on my back. 
I took inspiration from my Impala wallpaper design. This was one of the first illustrations that I felt proud of. It also became my first Wilful Ink logo. It was a way to mark the next stage in my journey to living a creatively fulfilling life. 
This was done by the brilliant Saskia Chowles.
My impala tattoo halfway through 2 full day sessions, ouch!
I came up with the ideas behind all my tattoos but they were all designed by my accomplished tattoo artists. I trusted in their superior knowledge and expertise when it came to art on skin. People often ask me to design tattoos but I think it's always better to ask an experienced tattooist to design and tattoo you.
I am SUPER picky about who gets to permanently mark me. 
I am going to share with you some world class tattoo artists, starting with the gifted Eli Lucii next week. 



  • I think it just shows that great minds think alike!
    I am sending out an interview with an amazing tattoo artist this Sunday so keep your eyes peeled for that.
    It’s definitely worth waiting for the right artist.
    I am really aching to get a new tattoo now…


    Posted by Emma O'Brennan-Pizer | May 29, 2020
  • I absolutely had to post a comment. I’ve been following your page for a while because I adore your artwork. As a heavily tattooed woman myself, I’m always interested to see what others have and I’m also as picky as you are. The thing that flawed me, was the similarity between the ideas behind our neck tattoos. My husband and I got matching tattoos on the back of our neck to mark our first wedding anniversary. We wanted a clandestine date and thought we were being really individual by having dice and cards showing the date rather than straight numbers. I guess we’re not so original after all lol. My favourite piece is a Boris Karloff tattoo (scene from Frankenstein with the flower) on my back. I waited about 2 years to get in with the amazing David Corden as he’s the most amazing portrait artist I’ve seen. It was worth the wait. I’m super interested to see which artists you included in your upcoming series!

    Posted by Kellie Steed | May 29, 2020
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