From Idea To Ink

I've been a bit MIA at the moment and I'm sorry for that! Aria has been teething and very refluxy which all adds up to sleepless nights and a lot of coffee! Anyway, if you guys follow me on any form of social media you will know that I recently got a new tattoo in honour of my daughter. Since posting the photo of it a lot of people sent me beautiful messages and compliments but the thing I noticed was many people messaging on how they aren't 'usually a fan' of children name tattoos (couldn't agree more with that) but that this one was different (again, couldn't agree more). Now I don't know if that was just because they were talking to me so couldn't say 'that's ugly' but I'd like to think my pretty little ink changed their view on the matter.

It is fun planning tattoos, especially if they have a sentimental meaning behind them but sometimes you can find yourself getting carried away, or at least I can, trying include every tiny thing that is related to the subject of your tattoo. Then suddenly you've gone from a sweet small name to an entire sleeve or thigh piece. I personally think there's a fine line between love and hate, and this applies to ink being permanently pierced into your skin. So I wrote this post to kind of highlight ways to think of tattoos to mark special meanings to you and your life, that don't cross that boarder and prevent that 'oh shit' feeling that would come with a bad tattoo.

First things first, you need your basic idea. For me that was her name in a pretty font and date in roman numerals. I liked the contrast of the bold straight roman numerals to the elegant curls and flicks of a handwritten font. Then from your basic idea you can start to play around with it (which is the fun bit) trying different fonts, sizes, placements, arrangements etc. When you have a design you like there's certain checks you should do to make sure it's definitely what you want and that you wont get tired of it after a while.

I always mess around with the fonts. I spend so much time looking at other peoples tattoos that are similar to the one I want, then looking for fonts that I like, then checking it looks right with the words I want. That's a really important check to do. Does it look right with your words? Does it look like a different word? Can you clearly read it if you don't know what it says? Show it to your friends, get them to be honest if they can read it clearly. Then make sure you think about it practically, can it be tattooed at the size you want and still look good or is it too detailed to be small, or even too plain to be big? Then I checked my date. Obviously I checked if the date was correct, obsessively, (which I don't recommend) to the point where I was sure it was wrong even though it wasn't. Next I found a nice font I liked my numerals in. And I know I sound bizarre saying that because to most people roman numerals are just that, but when you're being a detail snob you notice some are more spaced out, narrower, thinner, thicker, taller, smaller, and so on. Check, compare and check again until you find one that is a nice contrast to your first font. Make sure it's the right format and layout, my date was nice because it was VII.IX.XVI which is three characters, two then three which is incredibly satisfying and symmetrical. When I had my fonts and sorted out the spacing it looked like this:
Which I liked but I felt something was missing. I didn't look at it and think 'that's the one!'. I had a look at some ideas on Pinterest and decided a line through the middle would tie it together and make it look like a whole tattoo not two separate ones. I fiddled round and made a few different templates and asked opinions of my friends. The important thing to remember when asking opinions is to ask someone honest and to take their words into account, but don't take it too personally if you have your heart set on a design and someone says they don't like it, it might just not be for them. My friends have tattoos that look incredible on them, but no way in hell would I ever get them. 
So off I popped with my fabulous design, that everyone agreed was nice, to book in my appointment. I could be fitted in within a week - YAY! Excitement started now! Within that week I stared at my beautifully simple design so much. Too much. Something wasn't right in it. Something was still missing to make it really special to me and stand out from everyone else's tattoo's for their children - I'm all about being unique. I wanted something to show how strong she is and to represent the struggle we'd both been through to get here. 

When adding in a meaningful detail you really need to think 'does the meaning really relate? Or is it a big stretch to relate the two? Will you end up being embarrassed describing the meaning behind it, be honest with yourself! You don't want to have a crocodile tattooed on you because it's their favourite toy (by the way, his name is Dave and hes brilliant but I don't want a tattoo of him). I thought of rather than a line to break it up, an arrow. The meaning behind an arrow tattoo is lovely: an arrow has to be pulled back in order for it to shoot forward. How beautifully perfect is that meaning for everything Aria has accomplished so far?! 

I didn't design my arrow, I found a few I liked and in the end I just put my trust into my tattooist that he'd be a good judge of what would look right for me. Which leads me to another important tip of getting a tattoo: Trust your tattooist. If you don't go to someone you trust, then you'll be 100x more nervous, panic the whole time, potentially over analyse the end product and begin to hate it. Whilst my tattooist was doing mine, he said that he was using such a small needle because the design I wanted was delicate and thin, but also because I didn't have lots of tattoos, it'd look odd if he did it really big and thick. He also put his own spin on the fonts which I loved (obviously with my permission) making the hand writing like a signature and the roman numerals thinner than the stencil so they didn't look odd and random next to such delicate curvy lines. He doodled the arrow head and tail on for me first then added the dots because it looked too plain. Then he went ahead and changed my boring line into a perfect, stunning arrow, shooting forward after being pulled back by so much. 

And thus my favourite tattoo was complete! Perfect, incredibly special and full of meaning, something I'm proud to show off (and have been doing) and it makes me happy whenever I look at it. 



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