The Process of Getting my First Tattoo

Art comes in many forms and our generation has shown a growing appreciation for body art, namely tattoos. The phrase, “That’s going to be on your body forever,” is heard less and less and the stigma is held against people has become less about tattoos themselves and more about their content. I’ve always had an appreciation for tattoos and for my twentieth birthday I got my first tattoo.

The Concept

Like I said before, I’ve always had an appreciation for tattooing; I’ve come up with a bunch of different tattoo ideas from the time I was fourteen and on. I’ve had my share of emotional hardships in my life and relied heavily on music to help get me through it. I wanted to get something that represented this aspect of my life and soon found the idea that I felt represented me. I picked this out when I was seventeen years old and its image and meaning held strong within me throughout the years. When I walked into the tattoo parlor, I already knew what I wanted so setting up an appointment was a breeze.




The Stencil
When I arrived at my appointment my artist had everything set up already. He redrew the concept to make it his (and my) own and we sized it for my arm. Having chicken wings for limbs we had to scale the bird down and rotate some of its features. Then we put the actual stencil on my arm and checked placement and whatnot. It took fifteen minutes for the stencil to dry and then it was ready to get inking.

The Line Work

Before we started I had the usual, first tattoo jitters. My artist described the pain as being similar to having a kitten knead its claws into your skin. That description is pretty spot on; the sensation also vaguely reminds me of dragging a fork against your skin. As a person with low pain tolerance it was something I found easy to ignore which initially surprised me. A friend of mine who had also recently gotten her first tattoo almost fell asleep during her session. All in all, the entire process took about forty-five minutes and left me with a shell of a tattoo. (I had to keep it wrapped up while it oozed a weird blood and puss combination).


The Shading

My artist insisted that most people find the shading process more tolerable than the line work but I disagree. My skin was very tender and repeatedly going over the same spot over and over to get the color right was more irritating. During the line work I was on my phone and it was easy to ignore; during the shading I stared the entire time processing the pain. By the end of the process my artist had to pry my hand open from a fist I didn’t realize I had balled. Again this took about forty-five minutes.

The Finished Product

Over all I was happy with how my tattoo came out. He did an excellent job at making the bird more unique with simple lines and carefully thought-out shading. I also had a few worries about placement at first but ultimately the placement of the bird turned out just right for the shape of my arm. I love my new tattoo and I see many more in my future. (This picture is few hours later, after I washed and moisturized the tattoo).

I’d like to thank Aaron of Black Cloud Tattoo for doing my tattoo.


About the Author

Sierra Beeler is a Senior at UNCC, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Film and Women and Gender studies. Forever a daydreamer, Sierra aspires to one day monopolize an entire weeknight with her own slew of TV shows, more popular than anything Shonda Rhimes could make. On the rare occasions when Sierra is not somewhere being obnoxious, you can find her doing one of her many passions: writing, drawing, filming, screeching (also known as singing), etc.