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Old 30-03-2013, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default Chinese Koi - my first tattoo (PICTURE HEAVY)

Hi everyone,

I never thought about tattoos much and seriously never thought that I would ever have any. But I have always admired big pieces and specially Japanese/Chinese koi. My wife and I talked about tattoos a while back and then she goes and has one done on the top of her shoulders between her shoulder blades. It is nice, but she said she was crying all the way through the process as it hurt so much lol.
I have now moved to China, Shanghai and in a taxi one day drove past a tattoo studio which ignited my thoughts again. I started doing research about artists and tattooing here in China and found a very well respected and famous artist Zhuo Dan Ting (Ting) at Shanghaitattoo.com I called in to see her and I discussed my idea of what I might like and in a few minutes she was sketching away. I could see that she was a fantastic artist, so I decided to go for it.
My tattoo idea was a representation of my family. I love fish so it had to be Koi. Also in Chinese tradition, the koi is the most revered of fish as it shows strength and determination and in tradition if it can swim over a waterfall it transforms into a beautiful dragon. So my design comprises of 4 fish, one for me, one for my wife, my baby son and a tiny fish breaking from an egg (as my wife is pregnant right now.
After two weeks, Ting had done a coloured sketch and it was brilliant, this would be the template for the tattoo. The work would take 4 sessions in the studio, total time of about 10 to 12 hours. Below I have copied my posts from a bike forum I belong to where I described from start to finish my tattoo journey. I hope you enjoy and comments are welcome.
This weekend I went to see a tattoo artist here in Shanghai. From my earlier post, you will see I am after Koi, so seeing that they are part of Chinese tradition and folklaw, then I am lucky that being here in China I am in the best place to have this done. The artist's name is Ting (she is Chinese) and she is probably the best female tattoo artist in China, definately in Shanghai, I have done a lot of research about her. Even CNN (US news network) have done a story on her and called her the 'first lady of Chinese tattooing' so I think I am going to be in safe hands.
Anyway I explained to her about my idea and thoughts on the design and she was quite happy to work out exaclty what I was after. Within just ten minutes she had scratched on a piece of paper something like I wanted and she tried it for size on my back. We discussed colours and placement as I initially wanted it central on my back, but after discussion decided to move it to the right side in-case I wanted more work done later. (good idea). Her studio is a cool place to be, and clean and all equipment is single use and disposable so all to the highest standards.
After about an hour chatting and thinking I left and returned again on Sunday to finalise and leave a deposit. Ting will now do a proper sketch and drawing in colour so I can see what the finished tattoo will look like and so we can make changes to anything I feel is not to my liking. I am pretty excited. The drawings will be finished in two week's time and then if all ok, my first session (and there will be at least 4 sessions) will be on the 7th March.

Below is a photo of the sketch held up to my back (I will remove my shirt on the day) so you can see the very first stage of my journey. Also, if you are interested in her website, it is www.shanghaitattoo.com

I called my tattoo artist today and asked if she had finished the sketches of my tattoo. She said yes, all done and coloured. I went to go see this afternoon and this is the result. She said the colours will be deeper when she actually tattoos me, so it is going to look great by the end.



The second installment of my tattoo journey.

Last night I went for my first session with Ting. I have been quite anxious about it for weeks and I have been trying to imagine the senssation of being 'inked' Well... last night was a real eye opener. I arrived after work to the studio and Ting showed me to the chair. I removed my shirt and Ting showed me all the equipment, all sterile, in date and clean. She then shaved my back a little, I am not that hairy really, and then she cleaned me. This was nice. Ting then made my back wet with something and she placed the cut out images from our design on my back to give the outlines.
Next thing I know is this stinging pain like she is cutting my skin with a red hot knife. Ting started in the side of my back which I found quite painful, as she tattooed the outlines my toes were curling and my muscles were tensing with the pain. But I was able to carry on and she moved from the side to the top of my back to spread the pain a little.
After about and hour and a half the outlines were pretty much done and we had a break. I was relieved at this short recess, but to be honest after the needles have stopped, there is no pain at all, it is only when the needles are working you feel the pain.

Anyway, ten minutes later we were going again. Ting was now shading some of the tattoo which wasn't so bad as the outlines. I looked around to see what she was doing and now she was shading in with the first colour, red. The finished colour will be towards orange, (see last post I made with photos) so there is more colouring to be done yet. Another hour and a half later and my first session is over. I am relieved.

I go back again later this afternoon for session 2 to complete the outlines and some more shading.

Photos below are from last night.






Yes, it was a lot of work and specially for the first time I have ever experienced tattooing. But Ting is fast and a good job too as by the end I was feeling a little sore.

Tonight I had my second session.

I was a little bit aprehensive because of the night before, but I can't turn back now. As I walked in I was greeted by Dyaln, co-owner of www.shanghaitattoo.com who said I looked nervous (he was right too) but he made me feel at ease.

Ting showed me to the couch and prepared her tools and applied the sketch as before and when she was ready to go, I laid down and she started her craft.
For me, the most painful part are the outlines, and as they become closer to the sides of your back the pain increases. I found though that at the base of my spine I could have lasted all day. Funny how that happens, I guess not so many nerve endings, but on my sides, even when Ting was freehand drawing on me I was jumping.

Below are a a few photos showing Ting's work so far. I go for sessions 3 and 4 on the 21st and 22nd March so I will update then. I hope you are enjoying the posts so far. I am now excited about seeing the finished work of art.



Finally.. finally finally it is completed. Tonight I had my last session sitting in the chair. I had my third sitting last night which was painful but not so bad. Tonight however Ting took me to a point where I was ready to quit as she was working over some area she covered last night. But I made it.
I am so happy with the finished tattoo, it is a real work of art and I must thank Ting for giving me this wonderful tattoo. I must also thank Dylan co-owner of Shanghaitattoo for his great company and the beers, although next time I visit I will kick some ass on the pool table.

Anyway, here are some photos from the 3rd and last session. I hope you like them. My tattoo journey is finally over. Thanks for reading.

Added the names of my wife and son




I was in need of a break, but nearly finished


Now finished
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Old 30-03-2013, 01:39 PM   #2
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They're called Koi in China too? I didn't know that.

Nice tattoo by the way.
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Old 30-03-2013, 02:15 PM   #3
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Its pretty solid, the names absolutely ruin it though. Why did she go along with that terrible idea?
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Old 30-03-2013, 03:42 PM   #4
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My choice for the names. I will add another when my next baby is born. It is a family tattoo, so I like the names. Fine for me.
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Old 30-03-2013, 03:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idontlikemyusername View Post
They're called Koi in China too? I didn't know that.

Nice tattoo by the way.
Yes, also called Koi in China, and very traditional here too.
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Old 30-03-2013, 05:43 PM   #6
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Really nice mate, welcome to the world of addiction.

What have you got planned for your next ?
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Old 31-03-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpoose View Post
Really nice mate, welcome to the world of addiction.

What have you got planned for your next ?
Hi Peter,
Thanks for the kind words. I am really not sure what comes next apart from adding the name of my yet unborn son or daughter. But now I have a real appreciation for everyone with a tattoo, it's like I am in the 'club' I can imagine every stroke of the needle when I see other's tattoos. It could well be the first of many, but my work means I cannot have any in plain view, but I never say never. Right now I just love seeing others' tattoos.
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Old 31-03-2013, 08:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve.r View Post
Hi Peter,
Thanks for the kind words. I am really not sure what comes next apart from adding the name of my yet unborn son or daughter. But now I have a real appreciation for everyone with a tattoo, it's like I am in the 'club' I can imagine every stroke of the needle when I see other's tattoos. It could well be the first of many, but my work means I cannot have any in plain view, but I never say never. Right now I just love seeing others' tattoos.
Yep, this is what happens hehe

Plenty of canvas left that can be hidden away
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Old 31-03-2013, 08:36 PM   #9
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Damn, these kind of posts make me feel "oh, so sad..."
Why dafuq my firt tattoo wasn't a beautiful peace.. oh, yeah... i was an 18 y.o. dumbass!!!

Congrats on the pretty fish, mate!
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Old 31-03-2013, 10:29 PM   #10
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Well done on your first (i like the koi mid-drift to tail concept) although i do agree with Diezel, however that's a personal choice. ting herself is supposed quite a character, how did you find her?
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