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Thunderstorm Tattoo - Done at Last!

It hadn't been quite a month since the second session was completed on my thunderstorm tattoo. At this stage in the game, the design had been outlined and then color added to the clouds and the sky beneath them. Now it was time to finish this tattoo. This would be the third and perhaps not final session. Perhaps not final because there's some touch-up work to do and also some additional highlighting with white ink.

I booked the appointment for November 18. As usual, it was a Friday and the time slot was also no surprise - Noon. For this session, Keith would be inking color into the raindrops, lightning bolts and the sun. I knew this session would take nowhere near as long to finish because there was less area to fill in. I was thankful for that, since I really don't long sessions.

The day arrives and I made sure to eat more than I did on the previous session. I could feel the excitement start to build as I did my Friday ritual which consisted of going to work to get my check and then going to the bank to cash it. Then I was off to the studio. For November standards, it wasn't too bad of a day.

Upon getting to the studio, Keith and I chat as we discuss the upcoming session as well as other topics. I had gotten him a coffee and had gotten two bottles of OJ for myself. He had a look at my arm, determining that it was healed enough to go forward with additional colors. For colors, I picked out monthly red, agent orange, goldenrod yellow and a light shade of blue. White was also thrown in for highlighting purposes.

Keith cleaned my arm with Green Soap. I had already shaved the area, saving a few minutes. Then I sat in the chair as he poured the inks and assembled the machine. He would be using a Mag. I'm not really fond of Mags - but they accomplish a lot more in less time.

The machine was tested and after asking if I was ready - something Keith does to all his customers before he begins - he started with the sun first. He wanted to get that out of the way. He started with red. The area the sun is located on is about an inch below my elbow. It's not a fun area to get tattooed. Overall, the feeling wasn't too horrible and I wasn't about the leap from the chair but that's not saying I was enjoying it. Then he used the orange, blending it with the red and working his way up. Yellow was the last color which was used to fill in the remaining area of the sun and it was also done with a blending technique.

Once that was finished, he moved on to the four lightning bolts. They would be done in the yellow and the orange. Starting at the top, two would go from orange into yellow and the remaining two would go from yellow into orange. There was a striking contrast in areas where the lightning bolts passed through the blue background.

We took a break after the lightning bolts were finished. My skin was welting nicely but I wasn't bleeding too much by that point. All that was left was the raindrops - seven total - that were scattered throughout the tattoo. They were done in the light blue and white was added as a highlight effect. It turned out pretty amazing.

Keith then made a suggestion. He asked me how I felt if he added white highlights to portions of the clouds' undersides. I told him it sounded like a good idea and to test it out. The effect, even with white ink, is noticeable yet subtle at the same time. He only did that one and wanted to see what it looked like once the tattoo was healed.

After two hours, the session was complete. I got out of the chair and had a look in the mirror and was floored. Honestly, I loved it. It tuned out better than I imagined - which is always a good thing.

Once I got home - to a new apartment - I gave it a good cleaning. Some areas healed up rather quickly and some took a bit longer. The red ink in the sun scabbed up a bit and the raindrops healed slower as well. Keith said for some reason, that color tended to take longer to heal. Overall, the tattoo looked awesome. Keith took some pics of it to hang at the tattoo shop. I can tell that Keith is proud of the piece. From the beginning, his enthusiasm for tattooing this piece was amazing.

Even though the date this tattoo was started - Oct. 3, 2005 - will always be remembered as the sad day my house caught fire, the day the tattoo was finished will always be remembered as a day that made me happy.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 Dec. 2005
in Tattoos

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Artist: Keith+M.
Studio: Peter+Tat-2
Location: Pittsfield%2C+Mass.

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