a little bird told me


A little bird told me rogues+brogues got his first tattoo last week...

Last Wednesday I took the plunge and got something I've been thinking about and talking myself out of for about 18 years (do the maths; I'm that old); I got my first tattoo!

passer domesticus

Back in the late 90's/early 00's when I was a dumb, impressionable teenager, I toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo (or several) but never went through with it. The furthest I went in my teenage rebellion stage was a couple of body piercings and they didn't work out too well.
(My nipple ring was split open when I was pushing against a protruding corner in a nightclub!)
Looking back, I'm glad I didn't follow the trends and peer pressure of the time. Tribal bicep bands, Kanji characters and millennium cyber-punk barcodes were very de riguer...

I wanted my tattoo to be unusual but I didn't have the elaborate and heart-wrenching back story to explain my choice. As shallow as it sounds, I chose my tattoo design simply because I liked it. 
I opted to take my own design in rather than choosing a flash piece meaning it was that bit rarer too.

the initial sketch inspiration

The design I went for was the simple, common house sparrow (that's passer domesticus if you want to be fancy)
While I do have a love of wildlife and bird in particular, it wasn't a huge driving factor in my choice. However, I did want my tattoo to have a distinct style, in this case, as if it had been torn from the pages of a field journal. A quick sketch of a little bird, captured forever. I found the image on Pinterest of all places. 
I had been a little inspired by the better half's cousin Maria. We had recently went to her Masters of Architecture graduation show. Her design for a wildlife researcher's hide in the remote Isle of Skye came with intricate sketches of the local coastal birds but I knew a hedgerow bird would be more me than a shorebird. I'm a bit of a country boy at heart.
After I had finished, I looked into the symbolism of the sparrow and I couldn't be happier I chose this common wee chap to perch on my arm.

Sitting down in A Sailor's Grave, it was crunch time. I knew I wanted it but I wouldn't be me if I didn't run through 100's of scenarios of what might go wrong or what if I changed my mind as to where I wanted it on me etc etc. 
Fiona was a star, she talked me through the process, allowed me to position the stencil myself, confirmed the size (I had initially envisioned it smaller but it would have lost the "pencil" marks and details at that scale) and talked me through the process.

stencilled and ready to ink

i'm in awe at the intricate and delicate skill great tattooists have

taking a break allowed me to get an in-progress shot

Yes, getting a tattoo is not without pain. However, it wasn't anywhere near as sore as I had thought. People have asked me since and I liken it to the sting of getting pinged with an elastic band, but for about an hour. After about 10mins, you adjust to the sensation and it's not really noticeable, just the odd nip and scratch here and there as the design progresses. 
However, getting it on bony places is a different story apparently...

Choosing your tattooist is as important as choosing your tattoo and I am glad I did some research beforehand and I'm more than pleased I chose the studio I did.

wrapped and ready for home

a little red but the finished look

(I'm currently at the less-attractive healing stage, and while my tattoo is peeling a little, I'm using Hustle Butter tattoo cream to keep it moisturised and help it heal)


While I was having my tattoo done. Caelan was also going under the needle for his stunning half-sleeve night in the forest inspired piece. He had an idea in mind but Naytan, his tattooist, customised it, drawing it freehand on him and tailored the design with intricate dot work and shading. Caelan has plans to fully extend his piece around his arm but that's for another day and another pay day!


Will I get another tattoo? At this stage, I think it's a probability rather than a possibility but I'm in no rush. I want to enjoy my little bird, my own piece of commissioned art.

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