Getting a tattoo is exciting, but getting a back tattoo is even more so. Since back tattoos cover a large surface area and require a great deal of detail, artists spend a lot of time and effort on them. Even though any tattoo requires time, cost, and aftercare considerations, back tattoos are expensive, require multiple sessions, and may be difficult to heal.
Discover the most important things to consider before getting a back tattoo, as well as advice from tattoo artists on how to make it as easy as possible.
Choose an Artist
When it comes to tattooing your back, choosing an artist is one of the most important decisions you will make. Simpler pieces can expose you to a broader range of artists, but not everyone will achieve what you're looking for. It's best to find an artist you like ahead of time if your backboard has a particular aesthetic or is particularly large. It is also important to look at artists who are experienced with the scale of the work, but style is more important.
To make sure you're all on the same page with how you want your tattoo to look, you should schedule a consultation once you've found work by an artist you like. Every client is personally consulted by the tattoo artist before setting up an appointment. I hope all clients are well informed before making a permanent decision. Consultations allow tattooists to ensure that their clients are fully informed and educated about the tattooing process and how their choices may affect it.
Choose a Design
Because the back offers so much space for tattoos, almost any design can be applied - from small to large, minimal to multi-element. You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to what you can do in this space.
The most important decision is whether you want a one-off design that can be added slowly or a full-back "leotard" that includes one large design. Make sure you do what you want and not what tradition dictates - for example, Japanese traditional back pieces tend to cover the entire back - as that's where your tattoo originates.
Make a Decision About the Size and Location
In light of how much space you have, it can be overwhelming to decide where to put your new back. Consider how each part of your back will be used on a daily basis as well as how the tattoo will move with your body. Additionally, you should consider how your design placement will work with other tattoos you may already have. Consider how the back might relate to existing tattoos or potential future tattoos. Generally, if a wearer is considering a bodysuit for the long run, they will want to be consistent. This also includes floral and seasonal patterns.
You may also be influenced by pain when choosing a placement. Although the back is an open canvas, certain areas are more prone to injury than others. Choosing which areas are off-limits and narrowing down your placement options will depend on how much pain you're willing to endure. You're working out large muscles and working on a skin that is not desensitized, like the skin on your arms, which is getting softer. There is always astonishment at how severe hip and hamstring injuries can be.
If you choose a back tattoo, such as a traditional Japanese tattoo, you should expect to train multiple times. Depending on size and level of detail, doing a full back takes about 60 hours, but this is broken down into hourly billed sessions divided by treatment time.
Because the back requires a lot of time and effort from your artist, your design will most likely be broken into multiple stages to ensure your tattoo doesn't feel rushed and quality isn't compromised. It makes sense to expect multiple sessions as you contact your artist about the back piece you want and understand that stopping the process before it's done could leave you with a tattoo you don't like. Be prepared for multiple sessions and make sure this is something you are fully prepared to accept and accomplish.
There are many factors that influence the cost of a back tattoo, including the artist, the design, and your region. Don't expect it to be a small cost, despite the large price range: back tattoos are usually very expensive due to the size of the area and depending on the design. Style, detailing, color, and size all affect the cost of spare parts, which is a huge investment. Spending thousands of dollars is not unreasonable.
When choosing a designer or artist, avoid letting cost factor into your decision. A back tattoo requires a lot of time and effort from the artist, so the price reflects that. You have a lot of surface area to cover, so find an artist you're willing to invest in, otherwise, you might wind up paying double or triple to fix something you don't like.
Aftercare for back areas can be challenging—they are hard to reach, vary in size, and their healing process can be affected by the body's natural movements. You may want to seek help if you have someone who can wash and moisturize your tattoo twice a day. The aftercare of tattoos, however, is the same as with any tattoo—wash with fragrance-free, hypoallergenic soap and moisturize with a fragrance-free, mild moisturizer.
Avoid rough shower accessories, such as loofahs, that can be traumatic to your new tattoo, while the designs are hard to reach. It is possible that they may assist in achieving the design, but they may also create problems during the healing process. Be prepared to stretch and twist your body slightly to reach every part of your tattoo if necessary, and use a mirror if necessary. The aftercare process may not be easy, but knowing what needs to be done before getting a tattoo will make things easier. The artist can also provide you with aftercare advice during the consultation.