So I've been bitching a lot lately about how much I want a digital SLR. About how much better my pictures would look if I had one. About how good other people's blogs look because of the great pictures they took with their nice big cameras. I even found some extra money I'd been saving that I'd actually forgotten about that would have easily paid for one. I carefully prepared a sales pitch for Supreme Leader backed with weeks of subtle hints (she's shaking her head as she reads this) and "hey, look at this!" Feeling cocky and infallible I went in for the kill. "Maybe we should pay down some debt first. Besides, we're still paying for for your dragon."
And she's right, as much as I hate to admit it. The dragon in question is a full back tattoo I started working on last September and finished back in May. It took almost 24 hours of work and stretched over 5 sessions. Two hours of driving each way and pain in the ass border line-ups every single time. All the work was done by Aaron Bell of Slave to the Needle in Seattle, Washington.
Supreme Leader and I went down in July of 2007 for a consultation and then we started work the next month after the drawing was done. This was taken on September 7th, a few days after my first session. This is five straight hours of work.
The whole family went down for the first session. Supreme Leader took the boys to the zoo while I hit the needle. We didn't realize just how long the first one was going to be. I think Bern was ready to let me walk back to Canada before I told Aaron we'd have to quit. (If you read about the trip, I don't mention the tattoo because I was planning on surprising my family with it)
Ok, second session, October 2007. Six hours under the needle. SIX HOURS of being stabbed with tiny needles, yee ha! This session was all filling in scales and shading.
Session three, December 2007, 16 hours in. Finally got some colour after two sessions of black. Aaron still hadn't decided what colour the head was going to be at this point.
February 2008, session 4. Lots of colour. This was another five hour session and Aaron actually wanted to push through and finish it off. He thought he only had about two hours of work left to finish off the eyes, teeth, claws and spikes, but I couldn't do it. I was in agony.
This is my fourth tattoo so the pain wasn't anything new. The size and amount of work required was though. Even though I was going a month between sessions and the surface skin would be totally healed it was still very sensitive. The first session was long and hurt, but no more than I'd expected. In fact I was a little surprised by what did hurt. Bony areas like the spine and shoulder blades hurt like I figured they would, but the fatty bits like my love handles? Holy shit! I have an old tattoo on my right hip which is only about... 3 inches below where the dragon ends. The difference in pain, even at such a short distance, was day and night. And the ribs? I don't know how people get their ribs done. I could not do it, not a chance. The areas where the dragon's claws and legs wrap around the sides was hell.
Anyway, every time we started new work it hurt more than the time before and it did it right from the start. You don't realize how much blood you lose either. Every time I'd get up off the table my legs would be shaking and I felt dizzy. Then I'd jump into my car and onto the I-5 for my two hour ride back home. That was safe.
Last session was back at the end of May and was only about two hours. This picture was taken about two weeks ago. The skin on my back decided to let me know just how unhappy it was with the rough treatment and wasn't in shape for photos for a long time. If I can get a better shot today I'll replace it.
And that's why I'm stuck with my old camera.