Tattoo cover-up #1, phase 1

Originally published on my other blog,

So, I have 3 old, stupid pin up boy tattoos on my upper arms. I’ve told the story on Under My Skin a few times before; long story short: used to do a lot of fetish art, never thought I’d get sick of it or embarrassed by the relics of such etched into my upper arms.

The most recent of the three is from October 2001; by 2005-ish I was starting to find them an annoying burden that always had to be considered in my clothing choices. IE: covered up with long sleeves no matter how hot the summer, etc.

By 2009 I really hated them, but figured I couldn’t afford to get them removed. In 2011, my mother died, and with the bit of money I inherited, I could now afford to zap them off, but I got spooked by wussed out because of tales of how horrific the pain was.

Well, fast forward a bit. 2012 was one of the shittier years of my life and by Christmas of 2012 I was fed up with a multitude of things in my life and determined to start un-fucking up my life.

In 2013 I lost over 50 pounds. I was healthier, I was happier, I was back in touch with my old blues/sleaze rock roots and learning to play guitar, things were much better by Christmas 2013.

Except for one thing. Well, three.

So, I set to ordering myself to DEAL WITH THEM.

Pain be damned. Suck it up.

So, somewhere around the first week of February 2014 I went in for my first laser tattoo removal session. It sucked, but not as much as I’d feared for years. And after the second session, which was Hell, the pain got less and less every time.

I was told it could take anywhere from six to 14 laser sessions in total.

And I’ve had good fading results since, thanks to the seven times I’ve gotten them zapped.

For example, this was the tattoo on my right bicep in February 2014, the night before my first laser session:

right arm before

And here he was last night, two months after the seventh laser session:


It’s a dramatic difference, but I’m an impatient bitch. Despite all the fading, I had kinda hoped by now, two years into the project, that these tattoos would be nearly invisible.

And so a couple weeks ago I gave into the nagging thought at the back of my mind: just get ’em covered up.

Ed, who had been in charge of zapping my tattoos at Gastown Tattoo, had told me even after the fourth session that he felt my tattoos were faded enough to be successfully covered up. At the time, I wasn’t interested. Or I figured, we’ll go til the black’s all gone and if the green wouldn’t budge, maybe I’d get something simple and floral to work around it.

Anyway, facing a possible seven more laser treatments, and, worse, another two years to space them out, I snapped. I wanted these goddamn tattoos obliterated. If that meant sucking it up and getting cover-ups, fine.

So, around Halloween I started looking at floral tattoos online and researching cover-ups, and looking at before and after pics to try to guess how mine would fare.

And then I emailed Ed to tell him I was ready to get cover-ups and some rough ideas for the cover-ups. He passed me along to his colleague Stephen Shaw and we set up a consultation, decided to start with that right bicep tattoo, and decided to go with a hibiscus motif (two or three hibiscuses swooping up from the front and around the side), figured it would take two or three four- to five- hour sessions to get that one done.

First session was today. We decided to go in chunks, so one hibiscus at a time, fully finished, instead of outlining the whole piece, then shading the whole piece (first session), then coloring it over a couple more sessions.

So, here’s the same guy as above covered in the purple tattoo stencil:


And, 45 minutes later, after the outline was done:


Another 45 minutes in and the shading was done:


After the leaves were coloured in:


And, finally, with all the colour done:


There’s a few lines outside of the hibiscus still, but those will be hidden with a misty swirly grey background that we’ll add once the other hibiscus(es) are done. Next session is the end of December when we’ll get another hibiscus added. Whole thing should be done if not in that session, then a third short session in mid-January, then it’s on to the other two pin up boys on my left arm.

So, bye-bye Mr. Masochist. Finally.

And I love the new tattoo. It’s gorgeous. I would have been happy with blank skin if the tattoo had fully submitted to the laser within my impatient timeline, but I’m really glad I went for the cover-up.

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