“Do you watch tattoo fixers?” is one of the most common questions we get asked by our clients. With the increase of tattoo-based TV shows being broadcast daily it can be hard to ignore the current trend.
Most tattoo artists will groan or roll their eyes when responding to this question. It’s not because they have been asked it 20 times already that day, but rather that these programmes do not do the industry justice and do not portray the real processes; they are made to pull the viewers in and provide some form of wow factor.
Cover ups are a real tricky area of the industry. As the industry has developed into what it is today (mainstream, socially acceptable and those without tattoos being rarer than those that do), techniques have changed. This means that cover ups are more in demand, with even your first tattoo (playboy bunnies, tribal & Tasmanian devils) being able to be transformed to suit your current style/trend.
A lot of consideration must be given when taking on this type of work; will it cover? Is it long term? Is the skin too damaged to re work? When a tattooist says no to your cover up ideas, it isn’t that they are being arrogant or awkward, it is that they want it to look as good in 10 years’ time as it does when you walk out the door.
In the studio we always say, "honesty is the best policy". If your design idea won’t work, we will tell you why and suggest some other options. If your skin is damaged and needs to repair, we will give you advice and aftercare. Corny though it may sound we do this job because we love it and we aren’t in the business of just taking a clients' money in exchange for a mediocre tattoo.
The key to a good cover up is not how it looks immediately but how it looks in 6 weeks once fully healed. It’s important to be aware that even a good cover up may need touch ups.
With a programme like tattoo fixers you never get to see the healed version, just the fresh. At this stage the skin has been really worked and therefore is bruised. Once healed you will see the original tattoo underneath. The two side by side will look entirely different, as we have said before, the healed is the true test of a successful cover up. The other thing we hear is “just put black over it, that’s what they do on TV”, this usually isn’t possible as the old design will come through. It’s also important to remember that an old tattoo can sometimes be re-worked and bought back to life.
Laser tattoo removal has seen a recent surge in popularity due to it being more readily available and competitively priced. It also provides more choice; you can have the existing tattoo entirely removed or lightened to a point that your ideal design can be tattooed over. We recommend a brilliant laser clinic that has been used personally. Get in touch with us and we can pass on the details. If the design you would ultimately like involves some laser sessions we will advise you of how light your tattoo will ideally need to be.
Remember, if in doubt ask. A good studio will answer all the questions you have and take the time to explain anything you are unsure of and recommend others for anything they cannot do. As always be sure to view the portfolio of your chosen artist, visit the studio and read reviews.
Please believe us, that we are giving you the advice that is best for you, your body and tattoo; even if it isn’t exactly what you would like to hear!