Martin came in last Fall for a cover-up. We had the usual consult and it seemed like "another day at the office", but by the night before his first session I was barely able to sleep. I know this is going to sound melodramatic, but it's all true. I think a lot about each piece, occasionally agonize over some, and generally don't put anything on paper until I have it figured out. By the morning of Martin's appointment, I was feeling unsure of whether what I'd drawn would properly cover the existing tattoo. When he came in excited about his tattoo and I saw the existing Flaming Basketball that I was supposed to cover, I realized that it just wasn't going to look the way I knew it could.
I stared for a while. I'm sure I made some unattractive, worried faces and groans. Finally, I swallowed my tattoo artist pride, told him I would be unable to tattoo him that day, and explained that I felt the black was simply too dark to allow for a successful cover up. I was worried that no matter how well I did the tattoo it would just ruin his entire upper arm. I refunded his deposit, suggested getting just a few sessions of laser removal to lighten the area, and told him I would love to do the cover up when the lightening was done if he was still interested in having me do the work. Then Martin left, understandably bummed. I was completely upset with myself. I felt like a failure. I left early and cried on a friend's shoulder. (Yeah, I'm serious.)
Months passed. I kept my file on Martin, as I do with pretty much all "in progress" projects. Then, in the beginning of this year, I received an email from Martin saying he'd had some laser lightening done and would like to work on the cover up again. He came back in for another consultation. The black was much lighter and I felt confident that we could kick this basketball's flaming ass! We've worked on it the last few months and after four long sessions we finally finished it this past Wednesday. Phew! Haha.
Here's a shot of it after our first session:
And how's this for a happy ending:
Honestly, I couldn't be happier. We had a great time doing the work and we managed to get just about every flower he wanted into that piece! Lesson? Don't count out laser removal because you think you have to go until the old tattoo is gone. There are a lot of laser removal technicians/artists that will happily work with you to get the result you are looking for. Go check them out as you would when searching for a tattoo artist.