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grmo

Mistake in first tattoo - Advice / Opinion

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Hey, I'd like advice from the community about a... situation with my first tattoo. I'll talk through the whole story and then share my thoughts and where I want advice.

For well over a year I've had this tattoo idea. It's gone through many iterations in my head (and on various pieces of paper) but broadly focuses around a mountain landscape in a place special to me and my wife. I'd roughly decided on a design and started looking for artists by a combination of Googling and Instagram. Eventually I found one guy whose work really blew me away. Everything he posted on Instagram was incredible. He mainly does sketch style black tattoos which fitted perfectly. I did my research and it seemed like he was pretty respected where I live and came up on some lists of "best tattoo artists" in the area. Furthermore he was a resident at a very respected tattoo studio. I then noticed a colleague in my work had a beautiful tattoo that looked like his style and she also vouched for the guy. What could possibly go wrong?

So I reached out to the guy. He didn't answer my first email... so I went into the shop. The receptionist kind of rolled his eyes and said "he might not have seen it. Just keep sending emails and don't go elsewhere, it's worth waiting for the right artist". So eventually he answered my (third) email and asked me to send through my idea. I told him about the mountain landscape and sent some pictures, but really wanted him to get creative with his style and see what he could come up with. He then said "Where do you want the tattoo and what size? Could you send me some photo you like of your idea?" -  and clearly hadn't seen my previous emails (first alarm bell). So I sent him some ideas, including a picture of the landscape and an example of an ink-blotch representing a reflection in the water to give it some slight symmetry.

So he gives me a quote, explains about deposits etc and also explains that "All designs will be shown at day your appointment, i dont send anything before" (second alarm bell). I thought this was a little odd, but what do I know, I've never gotten a tattoo. Furthermore, everything of his online is amazing so he must me really good and it'll all be fine!

Fast forward to the day. I arrive, everything seems fine... then he shows me his sketches. He's got the mountains totally totally how I wanted them... but no reflection. So I asked about what he thought of the reflection photos I sent through. He answered "I didn't see those pictures, I only got these two". So he'd used the images from my previous email but not the images from the follow-up email I sent after he asked me to send photos (third alarm bell)! After showing him those photos he said that the ink-blotch style I wanted for the reflection would look "dirty" (despite the fact he'd done it before in other designs albeit not for reflections) and said a mirror type reflection would look better. So I followed the advice I'd received online that you should follow the advice of a decent tattoo artist. So this is where things went wrong:

He said to me "If you want it to look like a reflection in water, you should make the reflection longer than the image." I don't really do drawing at all let alone as good as this guy, so I took his word for it and didn't think much of it. I'll admit that, when I first saw it, I did quite like what I saw. So I went with it and got the tattoo done. He told me all the usual stuff about how to treat a tattoo and that I should contact him if there's any questions and then I should could back in after 6 weeks for a checkup.

When I was showing people a few days later, someone said "The reflection looks a bit odd". Quite blunt of them, but I then started looking at it and wondering the same. So I went on Google and found several images of mountains reflected on lakes as well as this wikipedia page explaining the physics of reflections.

I couldn't believe it... he was wrong. There is literally no way that a real life image would ever look like this. Since then, I've had my wife and a friend (the only one I could bring myself to share my worry to) tell me that I should try and learn to love it and take my own interpretation... but I just can't help thinking that this guy basically fucked up and that I had his fuck-up permanently on my arm.

So that's the story... here is the tattoo (fresh after getting it done thus the red) and the questions / advice I'd like.

Is this totally my fault? Maybe I should have thought more about it, but I felt slightly under pressure (it's the way I am) and just went with it. Furthermore, this could be seen as a product of his "I show you on the day" plus his lack of homework or checking his emails properly.

Should I explain my frustration to him? Either immediately or at the 6 week check-up. I doubt there's anything he could do to rectify it, and I doubt I would get a refund, but at least he would know him mistake for the future if he tried to do another reflection.

Should I get a cover up / get it removed / accept the imperfection and try and learn to love it anyway? My worry is that even if it still looks good, I'll never be able to forget that he kinda messed up the drawing of this place that's special to me.

Am I overreacting? Does it still look good? (see below) Please be nice. Honest... but nice.

Thanks in advance.

5aa86acedd749_IMG_5479(1).jpg.6a7c66e5494e01cdf40c2d7d6790c7d3.jpg

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Whew! Well, I  feel a bit older after reading that in its entirety ;)  But, it does have the appearance of not-quite-right perspective.  If you can't live with it, layering the bottom off and redoing it's an option  -  but expensive.  Finding something to cover the reflection with wouldn't be difficult.  The inkblot effect sounds like it would work. 

How to interact with the tattooer's an awkward situation.   I'd tell him the reflection's off and ask him if he could fix it or cover it.  Might happen. 

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In my opinion I think your artist got a bit confused between ‘reflection’ and ‘shadow’ , the later would be longer  where the former should be approx the same/ mirror image ?

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15 hours ago, mac_1au said:

In my opinion I think your artist got a bit confused between ‘reflection’ and ‘shadow’ , the later would be longer  where the former should be approx the same/ mirror image ?

It would depend on the time of day for shadows and reflections aswell 

However ...

did they say look at it in the mirror when he applied the stencil and you say ok?

never be afraid of saying you dont like something you are paying a lot of money for this and you have to wear it forever

 

 

General comment coming up so not aimed at you

for god sake people use some common sense a proper tattooist will understand if its not how you imagined it and re design it until you are happy

if they dont go somewhere else they dont deserve your money

 

 

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19 minutes ago, mark101 said:

It would depend on the time of day for shadows and reflections aswell 

However ...

did they say look at it in the mirror when he applied the stencil and you say ok?

never be afraid of saying you dont like something you are paying a lot of money for this and you have to wear it forever

 

 

General comment coming up so not aimed at you

for god sake people use some common sense a proper tattooist will understand if its not how you imagined it and re design it until you are happy

if they dont go somewhere else they dont deserve your money

 

 

That’s all very well but, as I said in the original post, I’m not an expert at drawing. He is. I didn’t immediately notice the weirdness. Other people did. We’re not all the same which is why we pay other people to do things for us with the expectation that they know what they’re doing. The single most common piece of advice I’ve heard is “trust your tattoo artist when they say something won’t work”. Which is why I took his word for it when he “tweaked” the reflection idea.

I appreciate you’re just being honest, but I’m asking for advice on what I should do now. I’ve been round and round in my head thinking about all the things I should have done but there’s nothing I can do about them now. Telling me what I should have done back then serves no purpose than to make me feel even shitter about something I’m already mortified about. So thank you for that.

I don’t know much about this stuff, despite reading about all the (often conflicting) suggestions online well before and after, which is why I’m asking for help and advice. If you feel like answering any of the advice questions about what to do now I’d be very grateful. Thanks. ?

 

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Ultimately, it's an easy cover up if you just want to start over.   Get this tattoo done exactly the way you want it elsewhere, and cover this one with something different.  Or, just leave it be. You'll be amazed how easy it is to get used to an imperfect tattoo (especially when you get more)

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Or, put a tree line reflection at the shoreline.  Center it on the tattoo - not on the shoreline - and it'll even out the proportions of the mountain and its reflection.  After that, if anyone's examining the mountain/reflection line for line, well then they're standing too fucking close.

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That'll be $25, thank you.  I take Paypal.... or you could just give all of your credit card info ..... and your SS#. 

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2 hours ago, grmo said:

That’s all very well but, as I said in the original post, I’m not an expert at drawing. He is. I didn’t immediately notice the weirdness. Other people did. We’re not all the same which is why we pay other people to do things for us with the expectation that they know what they’re doing. The single most common piece of advice I’ve heard is “trust your tattoo artist when they say something won’t work”. Which is why I took his word for it when he “tweaked” the reflection idea.

I appreciate you’re just being honest, but I’m asking for advice on what I should do now. I’ve been round and round in my head thinking about all the things I should have done but there’s nothing I can do about them now. Telling me what I should have done back then serves no purpose than to make me feel even shitter about something I’m already mortified about. So thank you for that.

I don’t know much about this stuff, despite reading about all the (often conflicting) suggestions online well before and after, which is why I’m asking for help and advice. If you feel like answering any of the advice questions about what to do now I’d be very grateful. Thanks. ?

 

As in my post i did say it was a general comment not aimed at you 

you have options 

 leave it as it is 

 go somewhere else and get something done

 cover the whole lot 

 spend a fortune and get the bottom bit lasered off 

 go back to the same artist and get him to do something this would be my choice 

no answer is going to be perfect, its your tattoo and you have to wear it so your choice but you do need to shoulder some of the responsibility for it as you didnt say its not what you wanted

 so maybe offer to split the costs with him 

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