How to get a great tattoo

Vital knowledge to have before this weekend’s Maritime Tattoo Festival.

Courtesy of Deuce Tattoos

Carmin A knows what makes a tattoo work. The artist from Deuce Tattoos in Bancroft, Ontario, is one of over 70 artists who'll be at this weekend's 10th anniversary edition of the Maritime Tattoo Festival. Because a little pre-planning can save you from a rash ink decision, we asked Carmin to walk us through the process behind one of her gorgeous pieces. And we've got a second guided tattoo tour online at —Adria Young

1 If you don't have a design in mind, it's standard to ask your tattoo artist to create one, but Carmin says it's helpful to have a solid idea or reference."The woman wanted a tattoo that would represent her love for music, as well as vintage furniture and antiques," Carmin explains about this gramophone she designed and tattooed last year in Toronto. "She was very open with the layout of my design. The flowers give the design a finishing look. It's an added touch of traditional style."

2 How long will your tattoo take? "This piece took three sittings of approximately four hours each. The first for the outline, and two more for the colour," says Carmin, who has seven years' experience. "Size, placement and detail determine time. A name on a wrist can take 15 minutes, whereas a whole back piece can take 50 or more hours. It's all about the amount of detail."

3 Using colour versus going classic black-and-white is a tough choice, and this vibrant piece required shading and blending of many tones. "Different skin colours certainly make a difference regarding colour, and the way they will heal," Carmin says. "Fair skin takes colour the best, but as long as you've got an experienced tattoo artist, and you as the customer are informed, colour is always a great option for your tattoo."

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