Mistakes People Make When Getting Big Tattoos, According To Artists

  • Insider spoke to two tattoo artists about the mistakes people make when they get big tattoos.
  • Stu Hepcat from the UK and Claudio Caminero from New York have experience with major projects.
  • They said it was important to do some research and avoid numbing cream for longer sessions.

Anyone who has gotten a tattoo knows that it is an exciting, but also risky adventure.

This is especially the case when it comes to large tattoos, as they can be expensive and difficult to cover up. A great tattoo can be defined as a tattoo that takes more than one session, according to Stu Hepcat, owner of Hepcat Tattoos in Glasgow, Scotland. Hepcat told Insider that these include arm sleeves, back tattoos or leg sleeves, which have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Insider spoke to Hepcat and Claudio Caminero, a New York-based tattoo artist named Cloud Walker, about the mistakes people make when getting big tattoos.

Lack of research could lead to regret

Hepcat said customers should be thorough when researching a great tattoo design to ensure they won’t need a cover-up later. Large tattoos can be particularly difficult to cover, as the cover should be at least double the size of the original design, according to Hepcat.

tattooed man

An image of a tattooed man.

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“There’s a great tattoo that says, ‘You’ll get the tattoo you deserve.’ And you do it. You do your research and you put some money aside, and you get a great tattoo,” Hepcat said.

“There’s no excuse now – the internet will tell you everything you need to know,” he said, adding that you should use Instagram to research tattoo artists who specialize in the type of design you want beforehand. to commit to getting a tattoo.

Not planning properly can lead to an unfinished tattoo

Getting a big tattoo is a big commitment, Caminero told Insider.

“The commitment involves how much it’s going to cost, how long is it going to take, am I even able to handle the pain?” he said, adding that customers should also consider whether their schedule will allow them the time to get it.

“You may have bitten off more than you can chew and are just embarking on a project for a $5,000, $10,000, $3,000 pouch that you may not be able to afford right now” , said Caminero.

sleeve tattoos

An image of a man wearing a shirt and tie with tattoos on his sleeves.

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Embarking on a project that you don’t fully commit to or can’t afford would be a big mistake, as it could lead you to walk around with an unfinished piece of art on your body. So to avoid this, Caminero said it’s imperative to have a clear understanding of what’s in store for you on every level.

Hepcat added that some large tattoos, such as a back tattoo, can take up to a year if the client attends one session per month. He said they should allow at least two weeks of healing time between sessions for large models.

You should avoid numbing cream when getting a big tattoo

Hepcat said that while the numbing cream isn’t bad to use overall, he wouldn’t recommend using it for large conceptions where you sit for an extended period of time because it will likely wear off.

“One of the reasons you shouldn’t use it is that it only lasts about an hour and a half, and if you sit for a four hour session it will hit you like a train,” said said Hepcat.

He said clients are more likely to get used to the feeling of being inked if they don’t use numbing cream at the start of the session.

Don’t micromanage your tattoo artist

Designing a great tattoo can be complex, and Hepcat said you shouldn’t come to the session hoping to control the artist’s creative process. Instead, he said you should give a general idea of ​​what you want and allow them to work their magic.

sleeve tattoo

An image of a woman with a tattoo on her sleeve.

iStock/Getty Images

“Give them an idea, but don’t quibble. Give them freedom. If you quibble, you’ll get resistance from the artist. Give them a rough idea,” he said.

Take Tracking Seriously

Caminero said sometimes people get a big tattoo and then head out for a sunny vacation or a day at the beach just a day or two later.

Getting into water or sunbathing are activities that directly affect tattoo healing, Caminero said. He described a fresh tattoo as an open wound and said that during the healing process you should avoid submerging it in anything that could cause infection, which he says includes swimming pools and other bodies of water. .

Because it’s an open wound, the skin may burn faster than usual, which Byrdie says could lead to your tattoo fading, cracking, blistering or peeling.

“You invest a lot of money in these tattoos,” he said, so you have to be careful not to mess it up or damage your skin in the aftercare process.