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me, me, me – my shin tattoo, session 1

Having completed my calf tattoo in the summer of 2012, I knew it’d be just a question of time to start working on my shin. Since I don’t like different styles of tattoos juxtaposed on the same limb, I knew I’d like to follow my bio-mech idea and get something similar done on my shin.

Not being the best planner ever, I managed to do some research anyway and came up with this very realistic bio-mech idea with some slightly macabre elements involved. In the meantime I also decided to take it a bit further than planned and get the whole piece extended to my knee as a knee tattoo would be great on its own. That was my part of the deal; the rest was in my tattoo artist’s hands.

The appointment was scheduled for July 15. The shop was quiet and quite empty that day – there were only two people working instead of the usual three of them and there weren’t too many people coming in. I didn’t mind it – I wanted some peace, quiet and me-time.

Slawek showed me the pictures he also collected while working on my design – these were the realistic, bio-mech arm pieces but we knew he’d be free-handing my design, so it was just a prop for him, something to start with. I approved and we started.


The first part of the session was as painless as it could be – it was just drawing on my shin and I kept looking at my blank skin slowly being covered with wide strokes of markers, following the contour of my leg muscles and trying to fit my already done calf tattoo. Soon there were lots of purple, red and black lines that looked like a mess but I knew that Slawek’s excellent visual imagination and skills would make it an awesome outline and base for my future tattoo.


The outline part is never fun for me. The needles always seem sharper and more painful, the pain is more acute and focused. I braced myself for some big pain but it never came. It actually hurt way less than with my calf or ribs or some other tattoos. The problem, however, was that from time to time my leg involuntarily twitched which made the work so much harder for Slawek. As a result, there are a few places where the lines are somewhat uneven but it’s not anything that cannot be fixed later on.

I was scheduled for the whole day, so we managed to finish the outline. My leg wasn’t overly sore and when I woke up the next morning, I was quite happy to see that I didn’t have to hobble around, my shin wasn’t very swollen and didn’t hurt much. Sure, the skin was tender and sore to touch at times but overall it was so much better from what I remembered about my calf tattoo sessions.

I was told that I shouldn’t run during the first week of healing, so I focused on some weight training, core exercises and yoga instead; I took a break from rope jumping as well. Since the healing seemed to be going fine, I added some cycling a few days later, though. I made sure to wash the tattoo with lukewarm water three times a day, pat it dry and apply Bepanthen ointment. A week after the procedure I got back to running although made sure to cover my shin, so I was running in long pants (not that nice when it’s like 20C outside in the morning but it’s better to suck it up and protect a fresh tattoo than to ruin it so early in the healing!). At the end of the week 2 I switched to light body lotion to keep the tattoo well moisturized and it seems to have healed just fine. I’m going to cover it during my runs for another week and then just make sure to apply strong sunblock to protect it.


The tattoo looks very cool IMO and I can’t wait to add to it!

About Ania Reeds

fit, modified, open-minded, well-read, always eager to learn. Don't judge me by your standards!

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