Tattoo Advice and History > Tattoo Advice > Sitting for Long Tattoo Sessions: Part 2


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Awhile back, I wrote this article for the Tattoo Corner about how to sit through long tattoo sessions. It offers tips and tricks to staying comfortable and reducing anxiety and pain for sittings that last for hours at a time.

My friend Timm, who is a rad tattoo artist and also a well-inked collector, was kind enough to send me some additional tips that he has learned from sitting on both sides of the tattoo machine.

Here are Timm's excellent pointers below. You can read more about Timm and see his tattoo work and collection here. He's an incredibly talented guy and one of the nicest people you will meet in the ink biz.

No, this isn't what Timm looks like while getting tattooed - only when being attacked by sharks.

**From Timm:

So while I was getting tattooed recently, I was reflecting on what your article had noted and came up with some other things that work for me.

Here are some additional ideas tips that I thought I would share.

1. Stay hydrated. You had mentioned this, but something I wanted to add is to stay hydrated while flying, if you are traveling to get tattooed. I fly all over the country getting tattooed and you lose nearly a liter of fluid in an hour of flight, just because of the cabin pressure! So if you can manage to, drink water while you’re flying. Also, if at all possible, get there the day/night before so you can get a little more acclimated before beginning the tattoo. If you can't get there a day before I really recommend getting in a good walk to get your system back up to snuff.

I actually picked up some of these tips by reading about what athletes do while traveling constantly, and needing to be in top form. I’m not going to fly overnight and then go play a basketball game, but I am going to get my butt kicked by a giant tattoo session, so I figured it would be just as applicable.

2. Wear warm socks, gloves, and a hat. Chances are if your getting in a big sitting you won’t be wearing a lot of clothes. With all of the endorphins running rampant, you typically get chilly a few hours in. Add to that lack of clothing and chances are you are going to end up laying there shivering. I always notice my feet going frigid; and while getting my back worked on I even noticed my hands getting cold. My head never gets cold but you do lose a lot of heat there, so you may as well do what you can to stay warm. And let’s face it, if you’re half-naked, getting tattooed, you’re not going to look any funnier wearing just socks, gloves, and a hat.

3. Bring a movie, or even better, a funny television series on DVD. Music helps to distract, but nothing really seems to have the brain-drain effect quite like TV. A funny movie will put you in a better mood and it’s easy to get sucked into it and not concentrate on the tattoo as much. It works even better with TV on DVD because you can watch for one hour, or five hours, and it really doesn’t seem like much time has gone by. Most of tattoo "pain" is just nerve-triggered anxiety, so being able to not only ignore it, but to do it while giggling is really more effective then you’d think. I had a client wait almost a full year before getting his ribs worked on for the second sitting because he hated it so much the first time. He finally came in and set up a laptop with The Office television show on it, and he laughed through nearly five hours, with no more then two or three moments of wincing. If smiling makes you feel good, then it can’t hurt while getting tattooed. :)

4. Communicate. You noted this already, but I thought that I would reiterate. Everyone is wired a bit differently and thus, everyone feels things differently. So if you’re being tattooed and you notice that longer lines feel better than little start-and-stop short ones; or sitting in a different position (for example, laying on your stomach compared to sitting upright in chair); or even the hand pressure of the artist feels better one way or another, say something! Your artist is never going to know if you don’t say something. Everyone is so different that you can’t expect him/her to know what’s going to work specifically for you.

That’s all I can remember right now, other than the fact that chocolate bars always make me feel better (haha). Hope this was of some help :)


**You can also refer to my original article and put our tips together to arrive prepared and ready to take on your next long session of inky-ness.

Last updated on January 16, 2012 by Jinxi Boo