My Latest Tattoo

I know that my mom finds it funny that I can handle getting a tattoo since I have a hard time getting shots or sitting in a dentist chair. But I had been planning on getting a new tattoo after last summers Viking Swim that never happened and during the fall I decided to get something else. So last Monday (the 1st of March) I got my 10th and 11th tattoo. Only ten are still visible since my nineth tattoo covered up my third.

Inspired by Kevin Costner in the movie “Water World” as well as all the other sci-fi movies I have watched in the last 46 years, I decided that I wanted to have gills. I figured that I swim enough, that it would make sense to my friends that know how much I swim and it would be something that I find interesting. If nothing else, it would be a conversation starter. After alot of searching on the internet for images of gills and people with tattoos of gills I decided on shark gills. Then it was a question of where to put them. I am personally not fond of having visible tattoos when I am at work, so behind the ears or on the neck were not going to be an option for me. So under my arms or on my ribs seemed like the most logical location close to the lungs and a large area to work with.

After I knew where I wanted them and when I would be able to afford getting it done, not only finacially, but also physically because I would not be able to workout for 7-10 days afterwards I was able to booked a time with I didn’t say much about what I wanted other than I was looking to get shark gills on my sides. I didn’t want to put any pre-conceived ideas into his head. When I get to his place, we site down, I tell him I wish them to be life-like. Not with a lot of colors, but that they should seem like they are apart of me. He starts up his computer and we find images like these.

We both agreed that the ones behind the ears seemed most life-like, but the orientation of the others were about what I was looking for. And the last picture above was the most life-like of them. Then we found this image of two gills and then we had somehting he could work with.

He pulled the image into an adobe program and started to isolate certain colors and get to the basics of the tattoo. Then we played with the sizes, we added a third, we talked about adding a 4th, then we played with the order of them, small to large or large to small. Once we got the general shape, size and arrangment of the gills to something I like, he made various minor deviations in each of the gills to make them all unique. So at the end none of them looked exactly like the photo above. Once the right side was finished, we could then mirror the image for the left side and then he made a few more minor deviations to each of the ones on the left so they would not be a 100% mirrored image, but more life-like. At this point in the process it was just a matter of finding the right amout of shadowing to make it look like they are a part of me.

After they were printed out on paper and we could see how they would look on me, we decided to mark up the locations of both sides before we started to save time, but also to be sure that we were both happy with the locations and symmetry of them. My right side took just over an hour. I have to be honest. It was not fun. I knew that the skin on the sides was more sensitive, I knew that getting a tattoo over a bone was going to hurt more than the others I have done. But to be honest it hurt more than I expected. I had a hard time relaxing and breathing because I didn’t want to move my chest while he was working. So between each of his movements I would breathe and then I would take a deep breathe and try to not think about the pain…

I was really happy with the way the right side looked, and after a quick adjustment of the table and a drink pause, we started the other side. The left side took just under an hour, but was not any less painful for that. Right now there is lots of red and swelling around the tattoo, but in a few days I think it will have healed enough to get a better idea of what it will look like.

Here is a preview.

Once they have healed I will add a new photo or video to this post. But for now after nearly 260km swimming in 2021 my shoulders will get a much needed rest.

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