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Published March 30th 2017
Ink the Deal
Tattoos - personal, permanent expressions (by 2977540 / Public Domain)
As the Aussie tattoo industry becomes more and more sophisticated, with breathtaking full-body traditional and Japanese designs appearing beneath shirt collars, you can permanently ink your body with your favourite image, person or phrase.
Before the tattooist's needle starts buzzing, take note:
Tattoos are illegal for under 18s, even if you have parental consent
If you're close to the bone, getting a tattoo will be more painful. The spine, hip, feet, hands, clavicle, knee and elbow will rattle your nerves during the process. If you're brave, the neck, eyebrow and eyelid are also pain points.
Fallen in love with an artist's designs? Chat to her/him first. Like any professional relationship, a good rapport is more likely to keep both of you smiling. Just like the laundry instructions for expensive new clothes, follow their advice to ensure the tattoo heals well and looks perfect for a lifetime.
Scan the studio for cleanliness and confirm your favoured artist is registered. The work area should be sterile and new needles should be used on skin swabbed with alcohol by an artist wearing gloves.
Chat with your tatted friends (but only the ones with great tattoos) for word-of-mouth feedback on their favourite artists.
Take your time to choose the perfect design and bodypart, discussing with a tattooist after reviewing their portfolio. They'll help to finalise the design and sketch the outline on your skin to confirm you'll love it before it's 'locked in'.
After you've been tattooed, wait 2 hours before gently removing the bandage. Wash the skin gently with soapy water, rinse then pat dry with a towel. Afterwards, apply an antiseptic skin cream then re-apply twice daily until the skin is healed, i.e. not inflamed or peeling. During this period, avoid aggravating the skin by scratching or exposing to pool, spa or sea water. Once healed, enjoy it every time you see a mirror!
Ready for a tattoo? Choose from these top 5 studios in Brisbane.
Tradition Tattoo - Fortitude Valley
Tradition's trademark is the traditional tattoo style, with old school American and classic designs, from floral, skull and fingers crossed to sun and moon, butterfly and birds dominating their inking. Besides Japanese, greywork and cartoon tats, they've also partnered with MJD Laser to arrange advanced tattoo removal for those tats of a former lover or a mistaken Asian characters. The studio is open Tue to Sat, 11am - 6pm. Visit Tradition Tattoo for more info.
A striking half-torso tattoo (by Tradition Tattoo)
Westside Tattoo - West End
Since 1998, Westside's 11 artists have inked styles from abstract and portrait to photorealism and bubblegum. If you're hoping to forget your ex, they can assist with coverup tattoos too. Prices start at $100, with full-day sessions costing $850. The studio is open Tue to Sat 11am - 6pm. Visit Westside Tattoo for more info.
Sacred Skin's 7 artists cater for a range of styles but the biomechanical, giving the impression that metal pistons and gears are meshed with your muscle and bones, and the Japanese, with dragons and ocean waves, are highlights. You don't need to be Michelangelo to receive a great custom design. Simply draw a basic sketch or bring in a magazine or web image to start with and your artist will work with you to perfect it before sketching it on your skin. Once you're happy, the inking begins. The studio is open Tue - Sat 10am - 6pm. Visit Sacred Skin for more info.
A mythological demon (by Sacred Skin)
Seventh Circle - Woolloongabba
The Seventh Circle has continued growing since opening in 2009, now hosting 10 artists in the heritage-listed "Moreton Rubber Building". While appointments are preferred to allow time to discuss your design with your favourite artist, first-timers keen on a simple logo can walk in and will be accommodated as soon as possible. Pricing is based on the design and the studio is open 11am - 6pm Tue to Sat. Visit Seventh Circle for more info.
Medusa poised to strike (by Seventh Circle)
Wild at Heart - Brisbane CBD
In Queen St Mall, Wild at Heart has 7 full-time tattooists covering styles from American traditional, blackwork, lettering and realism to neo-traditional, Japanese, dotwork and tribal. Tattoos are quoted per design with larger sleeve and back pieces costing $180/hour. The studio is open 7 days a week, closing 6pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends. Visit Wild at Heart for more info.
Giant eagle (by Wild at Heart)
Where did you go to get your best tattoo? And which design did you pick? We'd love to hear your comments.