As a tattooist I believe the relationship between myself and my client is extremely important. It is from that relationship that good art and truly unique tattoos can be developed. All of my work is designed specifically for each client and though I enjoy working in a number of different styles and techniques I always try to ensure that my client's tattoos are as unique and individual as they are.
We generally recommend booking a consultation before getting your tattoo. This allows you to meet Jai to discuss your ideas in detail and get a feel for Vellum's environment. All of our tattoos that I create are individually drawn for each of my clients and while I won't replicate someone else's tattoo exactly, I do use your images and ideas as inspiration to create a unique and custom design tailored to your body and that tells the story you want it to. In the event that attending a consultation in-person is inconvenient for you, I offer phone consultations as an alternative.
During your initial consultation, we aim to break down your tattoo ideas into two main categories: subject matter and style. Subject matter refers to what the tattoo depicts, while style refers to how the tattoo is drawn. Some tattoos may not have a specific subject matter, such as geometric dotwork tattoos or tribal blackwork, but all tattoos have a distinct style, whether it's a blend of multiple styles or something completely unique. It's helpful to consider why you want to get the tattoo in the first place. Perhaps you want to cover up or redo an old tattoo, commemorate a certain event or person, or symbolise a particular virtue or idea that holds personal significance. It's perfectly fine if your tattoo doesn't have a specific meaning, as you may simply appreciate the beauty of a flower or pattern, or want to enhance your body's aesthetic. While tattoos don't have to hold meaning, they always carry intent. You don't have to share your goals with anyone else, but it's beneficial to have thought about them and discuss them with your tattoo artist as it can improve the overall process for you.
Creating your tattoo design is a process that is as unique as your story. We begin with a design consultation where we discuss subject matter, size, placement, and style. Based on this, we create an interactive mood board to use as inspiration for your design. From this point I offer various design packages that allow for different levels of choice and control. Some clients prefer the freedom of freehand design, where I draw directly onto the body on the day of the tattoo. Others prefer an option where they can choose from a range of sketches that are then developed into fully realised mock-ups before the tattoo is booked. The decision is yours. Before beginning any design work, I provide an outline of what process is best suited to your tattoo style and the associated costs for both the design and tattoo implementation.
Upon arrival on the day of your tattoo I will greet you, offer you a drink and bring you into my workspace to go through any necessary paperwork and set up for your tattoo. After a brief chat to ensure there are no new changes, the area to be tattooed will be washed and shaved, and the design will be positioned correctly or drawn on. Tattoo designs can either be free-handed (drawn by hand) or transferred to the skin using stencil paper. The process used depends on the type of tattoo, but most tattoos are a combination of both. For cover-ups or reworks of old tattoos and for large moving tattoos, the design will likely need to be free-handed at least in part to ensure the new design fits perfectly.
Once the design is finalised on your skin and we are both happy with it, the tattooing process begins. Be prepared to sit or lie down for an extended period and bring headphones or entertainment to pass the time. Let me know if you need a break, to use the restroom or have a drink and for longer sessions, we will both need a lunch break where you can eat a packed lunch here or grab a quick bite in one of West Bridgford’s many cafés.
To ensure proper healing, please follow the aftercare instructions I provide as your tattoo is an open wound and vulnerable to bacteria. Your tattoo will be dressed and sealed after completion to protect it from the environment. Typically, I recommend leaving this dressing on overnight for initial healing, but this may vary based on your individual situation. Written aftercare instructions will be provided and can be found here if needed. Initial healing of tattoos usually takes between five to 10 days, during which you should avoid swimming, direct sun exposure, and sand or dirty environments for a two-week period. For more information on the healing process and what to expect, please check out my blog article here.
Tattoos are both an art form and shamanic ritual. The combination of pain, art, blood and focus make all tattoos a transformative process and I try to ensure that the transformation is always a positive and joyous one. Every skin tells a story and I am there to help your skin tell the story you want it to. You will take your tattoo to the grave, so it is important to get them right.