I don’t suggest doing a three day tattoo sleeve, both the artist and the client can get wore the fuck out.
In this case my dear friend Nate Thompson (NHL Ottawa Senators) moved from Orange County, California to Ottawa, Canada and he was ready to get his sleeve done. After tattooing him multiple times, and talking about doing a full sleeve… the distance the moved created raised the question… can we do a sleeve in one trip, three of four consecutive days ? I said I could, although I have only done it one time before.
A couple reasons why it doesn’t normally work are, the tattoo starts its healing process quickly and by the next day going over freshly tattooed skin can create extra trauma to the skin messing with the healing process. Another reason is that it is just a lot of work, for the tattooer and for the client to sit through.
But alas we went for it. My plan was to pre draw all the main images that we previously agreed on, and to do all the background freehand so it fits and flows perfectly. The fact that we decided on black and grey was a big factor also, as I knew our three day timeline would be so much more obtainable. Also the stipple style shading was a perfect choice because its a little less dramatic during the process, and looks so good. The design was based on his childhood in Alaska and some of his travels.
Day 1. We started with breakfast. Then we set up the station and started lining up the main pre drawn images . After laying those out we realized we had a couple extra big spots open, so I drew in some nice roses. and worked on drawing the rest of the background. (Thank god for the Tim Hendricks Tattoo Pen) We tattooed the whole outline and the total work time this day was about 6 hours.
Day 2. We started with breakfast. Then we jumped right into the shading, starting at the top and working down the mountains, fly fisherman, down past the bear. We work for about 6 hours with minimal breaks to pick out movies on netflix, chat with teammates like Erik Karlsson who were popping by to chat and check on the progress and eat. We made it to about the 3/4 mark and called it a night very happy with our progress.
Day 3. Again breakfast of course. Nate had to go to practice, with his freshly tattooed arm we decided to wrap it and hope for the best. He handled practice without an issue came home without any issue. Hockey players are truly tough. We got into with excitement, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. By now Nate’s arm was noticeably sore and the top part was already starting to dry out and heal. After four hours we made it to the end. We did it, roughly 16 hours later, Nate now hows one of the nicest tattoos sleeves in the NHL.
Thanks Nate for trusting me with such an important job. Enjoy and tell em where you got it !