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Creating A Work Of Art

Deciding on getting a tattoo itself involves several steps and a personís reason for getting a tattoo is as varied as the people who want them. About 34% of Americans with tattoos say they feel sexier and more attractive. When getting a tattoo, the client can work with the tattoo artist to create a custom tattoo design or they can choose the image they want from ready made flash pictures. These are standard designs that are displayed in the tattoo shop for your perusal. Most tattoo shops display a large collection of flash.

Once you are ready, the artist stencils the design onto the personís skin and then, using the inking gun, the artist begins to apply the ink outline. The artist must also know how deeply the needles need to pierce the skin while the ink is being applied. Punctures that are too deep cause excessive pain and bleeding and those that are too shallow cause uneven lines and the ink to not set into the skin well enough for the ink to ďtakeĒ.

The actual process of getting a tattoo works like this. First comes the outlining or "black work". By using a single-tipped needle and thin ink, usually black, the artist creates a line over the stencil outline. Most tattooists start at the bottom of the right side and work up so they donít smear the stencil outline when cleaning the excess ink from the newly laid line.

Next comes the shading. After cleaning the area with soap and water, the tattoo artist uses a thicker ink of the color of choice, also usually black, and a variety of needles to create an even, solid line. Improper shading technique during this part of the tattoo process can cause shadowed lines, excessive pain and delayed healing.

Then comes the "laying in" of the color or colors. The artist cleans the tattoo and then overlaps each line of color to ensure solid even hues. They will fix uneven areas where color has lifted out during the healing process to keep the tattoo from looking spotty.

Then finally comes the cleaning and bandaging process. There are several antibiotic creams that can be safely used on a new tattoo to promote healing and decrease the chance of infection. After using a disposable paper towel to remove any blood the artist covers the tattoo with a sterile bandage. These will have a more plastic-like inner surface to prevent the ink from being pulled out of the new tattoo.


Nick Papanotas

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