It’s amazing how I actually pushed through with my plans on all my tattoos. From my first wrist tattoo to my foot (and finger) tattoo and finally, to my last tattoo on my thigh (and finger again). I was initially planning on getting Sarah Gaugler again for my thigh tattoo, after her wonderful job on my foot tat, but since she already went (migrated?) to New York and is currently doing her craft there, I needed to find another female tattoo artist. Yes, I wanted a female artist because my tat placement would be on my upper thigh.
There aren’t that much women tattoo artists so I was glad I found Frances Arbie. Bonus that her shop is just in Robinson’s Galleria. I sent her a Facebook message and she was quick to respond. Visited her in Galleria where we discussed my design – a simple black mandala with red watercolor. She needed a few weeks to finish my design and though it got delayed, I was thankful for that since I actually had to postpone our initial session due to my sudden KL work trip. When she sent me the first design, I requested that she revise it. We then rescheduled our session, she sent me her revised draft design, I requested for some more minor changes and finally the day of tattooing came. I wanted my tat to have enough time to heal before the upcoming holidays since I’ll be going to the beach so second week of March was perfect.
I forgot to take a photo of her shop but it’s small as tat shops usually are. A TV is outside the receiving area but I was so grateful that they had awesome songs playing in the background. Frances is very nice and talkative, her way I guess of distracting me from the pain. She would share about her life and answer all my questions. She is very open and easy to talk to, which made my tat experience bearable. I came prepared and actually brought two Archie comic books because I wanted something easy to read (and I missed reading Archie). They also showed me the new needles to be used beforehand. I requested for the thinnest needle that they had because I wanted my tat to be very fine.
I don’t know if it was the needle, the sensitivity of my thigh or the fact that I was a few days away from my period but the tat hurt like hell. I couldn’t remember any of my other tats hurting this much – even the one on my foot tat which they said is the most painful. For some reason, it really hurt. I could feel every line that was being tattooed. This was the first time that I wished it was over already only after a few minutes. This is also the only tat that I had which I would constantly check if we were nearing finishing the design. It hurt that much.
Since this was a bigger tat than my other two, it took 2.5 hours to finish it. I had the mandala done in black ink then had some red watercolor done over it. She actually had a special metal pen with red ink to show me how the watercolor would look like before tattooing it (the pen is only for my use of course since it came into contact on my wound). So imagine, after doing the mandala which already hurt, another needle was going to go on top of that wounded mandala to tattoo more ink. Yes, it really, really, really hurt. Note: that red color is just ink, not blood.
I took the opportunity to have another finger tattoo, this time on my right ring finger as a black asterisk, which is often considered to be a star. You can even see my ‘ring mark.’ If needed, I can easily cover my tattoo with my ring.
Finally, the moment Frances said it was done, I was so happy. I gave her one of the Archie books I had finished reading and she gave me the antibacterial ointment (P200) for free. Talk about a great exchange! After care was the same as my other tats. Here’s another angle taken immediately after the session, posted on her facebook page: