Well I confess, yes, it hurt like hell. Since this is my first and only tat I have no idea if it hurt more or less than other places with a little more meat but I suspect it might have. I definitely felt a difference as he went over bone.
As a matter of fact it was a full time job trying to keep on top of the pain and I don't know if I should even call it pain when it was more of a burning feeling, at least to me. I tried distractions like squeezing a stress ball, my ipod on HIGH volume, talking to my daughter, breathing through it and visualizations and grabbing my ankle to stop my foot from jerking involuntarily. They all worked but not for a long time and so I had to switch it up frequently. But everyone who told me, "If you want it bad enough you find a way to get through it" was right. It hurts but its doable and endurable, especially as you watch it come alive.
I went in with a small sketch my friend made for me. It looked like this:
See how tiny and feminine it is? I loved it although the starfish was the only truly recognizable shell in it. But I had serious doubts about the practicality of not only the size of the shells but the sea grass was too fussy and ephemeral and sketchy. I'd never seen a tattoo with that kind of effect. But I loved the idea of the sea grass being anchored by the star fish.
So I went to the artist with real shells plucked off my beach and explained that I wanted my tat looking more real and less outliney and I wanted real shells found up north (conch and nautilus shells are beautiful but not found on my beach) with natural beach colors accentuated a bit so they aren't all just brown and eggshell white.
The general idea was that it would frame a flip flop by resting just above the natural outline of your average 5 dollar flip flop. Here is how it came out with a flip flop:
And here is how it looks straight on (I had no idea my feet looked so boxy but maybe this will make it prettier)
It's difficult to get a good look as it wraps around my arch so here is an inside left handed view of a very recognizable and typical scallop shell, found anywhere around here.
And here's an outside right handed view. He took some liberty with the snail shell. It's bigger than the usual snail around here but I love it and you don't need a magnifying glass to see what it is.
So he talked me into a much larger version with bigger shells and less sea grass but I love it. The scallop shell is in a very sensitive part of my foot and it almost feels like snake skin as all the little points from the needle raised up and they need to heal and lay flatter over the next week.
The sea grass itself could have looked more realistic and I may go back in a year and get some fine tuning done with shadow and color but I must say that over all I am very pleased with this tattoo and I think it really represents an important part of me.
I also like that I can see it. My daughter has a back tattoo and she needs a mirror to see it and often forgets that she even has one. I like that I can enjoy it too and it even looks good in heels. I'll be crossing my legs to show off that foot, for sure. But do I envison a matching tat on the other arch? Nope. It really did hurt and I think sometimes less is more and this one very prominent tat is just right.
This one can go with me right into the nursing home and then into the grave. It's the only work of art you really can take with you when you go .. hehe.
Just in case you're wondering it was 180 dollars. I was there 3 hours start to finish. The drawing took about 30 minutes of his time. The tat itself was a little over an hour and the rest was transfers of art to foot, discussion and waiting. It turns out that you tip them (didn't know it until I got there) and I tipped him 40 bucks. It was expensive and permanent but I love it and it was worth it to me.