Autodidact: self-taught


Strategy for Extended Tattoo Sessions

by V. L. Craven

Unlike all of the others?


I’m getting my longest tattoo yet tomorrow, and I’d like to do as much as I can during the first sitting. My current limit has been 2.5 hours, where I only use distraction techniques like reading and breathing. I want to go like a pro tomorrow, though, so I consulted the internet.

This is an excellent post about coping with the pain of a long tattoo.

Short version:

  1. Beforehand eat a large and balanced meal and take some ibuprofen.
  2. Have snacks and drink (and more ibuprofen for swelling) during the tattoo to sustain blood sugar levels.
  3. Take things with which to distract yourself–books, iPod, laptops, etc.
  4. The biggie: breathing and meditation techniques:

 The simplest way to reach this relaxed state is to focus all thought upon one’s breathing, literally one single breath at a time, if needed. The brief pauses in the tattoo process, when the tattooer is dipping into his ink caps or cleaning her needle tips, provide frequent opportunities for taking a deep breath, releasing tension, and resetting one’s mental focus.

Imagine as you exhale air, that you’re releasing the uncomfortable sensation felt in that moment.  Over and over again, in each passing moment, this technique can help remind you of your own strength and endurance.

He also mentions topical anaesthesia like Bactine products. I’ll ask my artist about it, though.

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