From idea to tattoo.
1. The Consultation & Design Process
Most people prefer to book a consultation before they take the big step of booking a tattoo. This gives you a chance to meet your tattooist, chat through what you want in detail and to see if you are comfortable at Vellum. If you are not sure which tattooist you would like a consultation with you can look at our artists here or check out our Facebook or Instagram pages. You can also speak to us by ringing +44 (0)1159 824555
During your consultation you will be asked a few questions about the style of tattoo you prefer and the placement and size you want. When we design work for our clients we take into account both the subject matter that you want and the style of tattoo work that you like. We come to an understanding of this through our consultation process so the consultation is useful for both you and your tattooist. If it is difficult for you to get to a consultation please let us know and we can arrange a phone consultation.
It is often easier to describe the sort of tattoo that you want using pictures, both pictures of other tattoos as well as from other sources. As such, we encourage you to bring as many references as possible to your consultation. If it is easier, you can send them through to us before you arrive via email, Facebook Messenger. or direct message us on Instagram @vellumtattoo.
Once your consultation is complete and the artist has gained a full understanding of what you are looking for the design process will begin. Depending on the type of work that you are wanting your artist may send designs over to you before your appointment to ensure they are working along the right lines. This also gives you the opportunity to ensure everything is as you pictured in your head whilst allowing the artist time to amend anything before your appointment.
Occasionally, if a tattoo is very simple or if a client has worked with one of our tattooists previously you may be given the option to skip the consultation.
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2. The Tattoo Appointment - what to expect.
Whether it is your first tattoo or just your first one at Vellum here is a quick example of what you can expect.
When you first come in you will be greeted with a big hello and a tea or coffee. Your artist will generally be arranging the final preparations as we will not set up any machines until you have arrived for hygiene reasons.
Once the paperwork has been completed - don't forget to bring your ID - your artist will start the process of preparing you for the tattoo. This will involve washing and shaving the area to be tattooed and then making sure the design is positioned correctly.
Tattoo designs are generally transferred to the skin in two ways, by either using a stencil paper or by drawing them on by hand. The type of tattoo you are getting will determine which of these two processes will be used though most tattoos are actually a combination of both. If you are getting a cover-up or rework of an old tattoo it is most likely that you will have most or all of your tattoo drawn on by hand. Examples of these two processes are given in the pictures below.
Once your tattoo is transferred we are ready to go! You will need to be able to sit (or lie) for an extended period of time so feel free to bring along some headphones and some music or a film to watch if you think that will help you pass the time. If you need to take a break or to go to the toilet just let your artist know, for longer sessions your artist will also need to take a break every hour or so.
Hand Drawn Preparation
This tattoo involved a small amount of cover-work and was to be a half sleeve based upon Japanese watercolour prints. The finished tattoo is shown on the right partly healed and partly fresh as it took three sessions to complete.
- BRING YOUR ID! Environmental health now requires us to check Identification documents for all of our clients, not just those under 25.
- Ensure you have eaten a good meal within an hour of your appointment time. Tattooing can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar levels and so it is always a good idea to make sure your sugars are up and stable. You are welcome to bring snacks and food with you.
- Wear WARM and CLEAN comfortable clothing that can be removed and allows access to the tattoo area. A zip or button-up cardigan is a good idea especially if you are having your arm tattooed as you can still wear most of it to keep you warm whilst leaving the tattooed arm exposed.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water the day before and the day of your appointment, this will help the healing process.
- Being distracted helps! You are welcome to bring along headphones and music or a film to watch - something to keep yourself occupied as being tattooed can be very very boring!
- Give yourself enough time for your appointment. Feeling rushed tends to add to the anxiety.
- Make sure you have enough parking, you will need at least 2 hours longer than your predicted tattoo time.
- Wear white or new clothing - tattooing is messy and we cannot guarantee that your clothing will remain clean and new looking!
- Do not drink alcohol or take asprin in the 24hours before your tattoo, these thin your blood and will make you bleed more possibly causing loss of ink and slowing down healing rates.
- Sugar-load! Don't eat nothing but sugary food and drinks before your tattoo, this will de-stabilise your sugar levels and can lead to fainting and light-headedness, please eat a balanced meal with carbs and proteins at least two hours before your tattoo appointment. You are welcome to bring snacks and food with you.
3. After Your Tattoo
Once your tattoo is completed it will be dressed and sealed from the environment. Please leave this dressing on until the next morning to give your tattoo a chance to heal a little before being exposed to the outside world and all it's bacteria. Your tattooist will go through our aftercare instructions with you and give you them in writing but if you have any questions or you are not 100% sure if something is normal just drop your artist a message and they will be happy to help. You can also find a copy of our aftercare instructions here