getting tattooed with scars from self-harm-answers to common questions.

I’m not going to include many photos in this post, to provide my clients with some privacy.

side note: this information applies to most any kind of scar, not just self injury.

 

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I’ve got some scars from self harm. I know a lot of people do. it can be really embarrassing, or feel shameful to have them seen. if they’re in really visible areas, it’s even worse.

I’ve had mine covered with tattoos (I stopped cutting years ago, when I was still fairly young). I’ve gotten images that remind me of what I’ve been through and of what I’d like my future to look like. I want you to know you’re not alone with this, first of all. I also want you to know that not only are you not alone, I have seen and tattooed worse scars than yours- burn wounds, surgical scars, all of it. yes, you may have done serious damage to yourself, but no- it’s not impossible to tattoo over it.

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If you want to do this, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • you have to stop cutting in that area and adjoining areas for at least a few months before we can start working on it. the skin can only heal so much at once, so nearby open wounds will mess up the healing process of the tattoo. if you can’t entirely stop SH/SI, try to go lighter and in a completely different area for a while before you come for a tattoo.
  • make a consultation time with me first. that way we can figure out the pattern and texture of your scars and skin, what areas are “ripe” for tattooing and which may need more time. scars should be a little bit settled in before we tattoo on them, so the ink will hold properly. a consultation gives us a chance to also meet up and discuss what your goal is with the tattoo itself.
  • it’s OK if your goal is ‘hide these’, it’s OK if your goal is ’emphasize these’, it’s OK if your goal is to stop SH/SI and it’s OK if your goal has nothing to do with stopping. I won’t judge. I won’t look down on you. I know that you have your own reasons, and you don’t have to explain that to me or go into detail. you don’t have to relive your troubles just so that I will tattoo you. my goal is to make you happy with your tattoo- that’s all. I’m just here to make something positive happen for you.
  • minimal, crisp, geometric, thin-lined, pale, wispy art doesn’t cover or hide scars. if your goal is to camouflage the scars, we will likely end up doing painterly, saturated, textured organic shapes of some kind. branches, trees, flowers, plants, animals. things that have volume and texture. if your goal is NOT to hide or cover the scars, let me know, so that we can work out what you do want to do.
  • scars that are fresh, still healing, or very livid usually don’t take ink very well. usually, moisturizing often with vitamin e and/or a good scar reducing lotion for a few months will fix this. this is yet another reason to stop harming the skin in the area you want tattooed and the surrounding area. we need to give your cell walls a chance to regenerate, to hold the ink in.
  • don’t be afraid to email me or contact me EVEN IF you aren’t coming to me for the tattoo. I’ve been through some shit and I know how intimidating it can be to walk in to strangers and talk about this stuff. I can always answer questions, possibly suggest understanding artists in your area, or even just listen. I think everyone deserves a good experience when getting tattooed, and I’m here for that if you need it.
  • you’re likely to get an endorphin high during or after the tattoo, similar to what you’d get from shallow cuts or abrasions. getting heavily tattooed was part of how I broke my cycle of self harm- I realized I could get that sensation in other ways. it’s almost the same chemicals released as a “runner’s high”- so just speaking from personal experience, running and getting tattooed are both good ways to get that little kick, without doing more damage.
  • come prepared to comfort yourself. your favorite blanket, pillow, headphones, dress in comfy clothes. self-soothing is totally welcomed in my space, I will never mock you for making sure you’re comfortable and feeling safe. bring a snack as well, or something you like to munch or drink (no booze!) you can bring a friend or come alone- whatever makes you feel safer.

 

yes, that's me

me getting my upper arms worked on.

 

if you need further information, email me, or, preferably, comment below. I’ll try to answer any comments I get here as quickly as I can.

"don't cover them"

“don’t cover them”

it goes without saying that SH/SI is dangerous and you shouldn’t do it. we all know that. but I know, and you know, that sometimes it’s a thing we do to cope, and we can’t just stop until you find better ways to cope with all the bullshit life throws at us. I hope we all find better ways to cope, I hope everyone reading this is able to find things that help. I did-and if I can do a thing I am damn sure that you can do the thing.

I understand that it takes time and work so again-don’t feel ashamed. It’s just a thing some of us do. Be as safe as you can be.

 

(sterile saline wound wash, steri-strips, and clean hands help a lot)

 

xox

using a scar as a design element

using a scar as a design element

after. the indentation and raised areas become an asset to the design

after. the indentation and raised areas become an asset to the design

 

 

 

 

you just found the perfect tattoo idea online.

listen to me.

if you see tattoos and artwork online that you really like and would like to have tattooed on you, that’s totally a good thing. the next step is not to copy that thing exactly, but to find a tattoo artist whose work you like, bring them that thing, and say “I want something like this, and I like this piece because (reason you really like that idea)”

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the tattoo artist will tell you they can’t copy it, and will draw you your very own tattoo using your taste and that idea as a starting point. that’s what good tattoo artists do.

it’s OK if you printed it out, traced it, or saved it to your phone for us to look at. don’t panic. it’s OK. just tell us that you found it online and want something like it because (reasons you like it so much). seriously, it’s OK, bring it along and tell us why you like it.

it’s good when you find things you’d love to wear. showing us that stuff helps us figure out what your taste is, what qualities you want in the finished piece. it’s totally fine to want similar ideas to other people’s tattoos. it’s just not OK to try to copy exactly.

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find a good tattoo artist, then talk to them. show them things you like. show them that perfect tattoo and tell them why it’s perfect. they can make it fit YOU.

we get into tattooing because we like to draw. part of our job is to figure out how to draw a thing that fits you and nobody else.

the other part of our job is to be able to reproduce a thing exactly. so if you find tattoo flash, (it’ll be labeled “tattoo flash” and have the artist’s name attached) let us know!

because usually you, or we, can buy the rights to do that. cheaply. plenty of artists draw works that are designed to be sold as tattoos. if we know the source, we can often get permission. you can also ask us what we have drawn- most of us have flash, prepared art, ideas and sketches of things we’d like to do.

 

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keep in mind you don’t HAVE to find exactly what you want. find your tattoo artist first, then show them the things related to the tattoo you want. we can work from stick figures and bad explanations! it’s part of the job.

(also, if you lie and say you drew it, we know you’re lying. although the internet is big, the tattoo industry is small and we all know each other.)

 

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December! the Inlander, and a few ideas.

I had an interview in the inlander, which was great. They were very easy to talk with and they quoted me correctly!

 

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also, a reminder; I’d like to do more works like the following images.

painterly flowers, solid black heavy rough edges, and high contrast works. winter is a good time to get a tattoo, mainly because it’s easy to heal this time of year. I’ll be at mom’s in Spokane (and in Eugene for the evergreen convention in March)

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some recent works, since Halloween

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Seminar: Passive income and social media use for tattoo artists

13912592_10153856265657712_6602799035210498873_nSeminar: Passive income and social media use for tattooers.

Even though we all make our daily bread tattooing, we all are also human beings, living inside bodies that can get broken or worn. When you’ve got slow times or an injury or illness, passive income is a good backup, and if done properly it will complement and improve your work on skin.

If you’re using social media at all- to share your tattoo work – or if you would like to start selling your other artwork online to reach a wider audience- this class is for you.

If you see the internet ad social media as a chore, hate pinterest, and fear theft- this class is for you.

Learn to use social media properly — without compromising your copyright.

This class relates to the sale of secondary mediums beyond tattooing, and will go over the relationship between your existing client base and the collectors who will buy your work on paper rather than skin.

We’ll cover print-on-demand services, pros and cons of social media use, networking as a strategy to find collectors, consolidating your media management, and getting more reach with your work online.

Seminar text and cheatsheet handout packet, aftercare instructions, and legal consent form templates included.

next year’s agenda

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So far, my plans for next year are sparse. I’ll be wintering in Spokane until March, when I’ll be working at the evergreen convention, then a week or so at high priestess right after. 

I’m hoping to work the Portland convention in the fall- depending on dates. I’ll likely work at the eye candy convention in NY state next fall again, too. I have not yet made any other plans!

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I’ll definitely be back in Seattle for at least a week or two, here and there, and I’ll try to make it to az/lv as well. I’ll be on the east coast in September/October if all goes well, too.

 

do you live somewhere I haven’t been? do you want a bunch of tattoos? drop a comment and let me know, I’ve got time for at least one distant drive (within the US) that I haven’t planned yet.

 

Northern California is possible, as is the Southeast.

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side note: I hate driving through Texas, so if I’ll have to do that, you better be ready to make me some dinner.

pennsylvania, on to NY state after this!

 

the most frightening sign

the most frightening sign

 

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Pennsylvania: Heritage tattoo in Easton, Abaddon tattoo in Pine Grove, and some family time.

female tattoo artist at shop

walk-in sign at abaddon

 

Photo-heavy post after the jump!

I’ll be at Abaddon until the 8th. I’m booked full except for an hour or two on this saturday.
After that I go on to Frankfort NY, to the electric eye candy convention. I’m teaching the seminar there on sunday at noon- if you want in on that, you can pre-register HERE (preregistration gets you a little extra swag.)

I think I have an hour or two open friday and saturday at that convention. Sunday is solidly booked though! Again…get a hold of me. You can use the form HERE if you’re not sure how to reach me.

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