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The tattoo goes tech-savvy!

Article on tech-savvy tattoos…published in the April 2010 issue of Live IT


Getting a tattoo need not be an unnerving experience…technology is here to assist!

It’s the sign of the times…tattooing is the in thing these days. Everyone from your favourite celebrity to the neighbourhood aunty is getting it done. Yes, yes…we know you would like to get one too…it looks incredibly cool. But you, madame, are scared. Doubts abound….But it’s permanent, you know. I have heard removal is painful. What if it doesn’t look good on me? And so on and so forth the questions go every time you look at the tattoo parlour enroute to your office. Oh well, technology is here to help you (when is it not, by the way?) Yes, with your tattoos. Don’t believe us? Read on…

Tattooing or “body art” as it is more romantically known is an art that goes back hundreds of years. From the temporary tattoos made using henna, to the simple black ink tattoos, to the complicated, vibrantly coloured designs, tattooing as an art form has come a long long way. The right tattoo can look really chic and make a statement. Technological innovations and the internet are helping us overcome two of the biggest dilemmas facing a potential tattoo wearer – “What if it doesn’t look good on me?” and “What if I don’t want it anymore?”

Get your information right: Even before you step into a tattoo parlour for finally getting inked, there’s lots of background work that you can and should do online. Tattooing is quite an art form and is hugely popular. So, obviously, there are several websites that offer a world of information about tattooing. From the history of tattooing, to the types of tattoos, the do’s and don’ts of tattooing, the technique involved in tattooing, making the temporary tattoo last longer and hundreds and hundreds of designs, it’s a virtual goldmine out there. Check out these websites to really get a heads up on what this body art is all about…

http://www.tattooingtips.com/

http://www.squidoo.com/the-tattoo-parlor

http://tattoopitstop.com/

http://www.tattooinfo.net/

http://www.tattoosinformation.com/

Choosing a tattoo?

Right, armed with all the information, all doubts solved, the fear of getting a tattoo is gone. The next obvious step is to choose a design. This is where the internet really offers a mind-boggling array of options. There are websites that offer designs categorised by theme. So you can go from the relatively cute looking flowers and butterflies to funky celtic and elvish symbols to hard rock and death metal skulls to even tattoos that are funny (a lawn mower on top of a balding man’s head?) What’s better is that you can customise the design (for size, colour and layout), take a print or save it as a jpeg and show it to your tattoo artist. Typically, the design generated would have a colour reference, a black and white reference and a stencil reference. The artist would typically use the stencil reference to ink the design onto your skin. Of course, most of the sites that offer really good designs and customisation options are paid sites. We list some for your convenience…

http://www.createatattoo.com/

http://www.tattoofinder.com/

http://www.tattoodesign.com/

http://www.tattoospot.com/

http://www.printmytattoo.com/pages/print-ink

But how will it look?

Whether you choose a tattoo design online or pick one from the tattoo artist’s repertoire, it is obviously very important to know how it will look. Suppose you want to get it done on the neck. You can’t really see your neck, unless you are some sort of acrobat. Says Sameer Patange, celebrity tattoo artist, “Mostly, people rely on the tattoo artist’s judgement. But, for obvious reasons, some people would want to really judge how a tattoo looks on them. For them, there is software like Corel Draw and Photoshop. We have a collection of images of various body parts. What we do is reconstruct and superimpose the design on the body part and show it to the client. Some serious customisation can be carried out with these software – size, colours, positioning.”
Besides this, with the rising popularity of tattooing and advances in technology, being able to look at what a tattoo looks like, before you get it done is going to get easier.

Computer graphics artist Loic Zimmerman created a program in 2008 that allows 3D simulation of a tattoo on the body. (http://www.askmen.com/tech_info/2007_nov/nov22.html )Though the program is not freely available yet, it does show the direction for the future of tattoo technology.

What if I want to remove it in the future…

A permanent tattoo is, well, permanent. So, removal is painful. And light outlines still remain. Besides, you may like the idea of a tattoo, but don’t want to have it lifelong, even if it’s a really good design. So, the best option for those who are not sure about getting a permanent one is a temporary tattoo. Besides giving you the freedom to sport various tattoos at various times depending on the occasion (you wouldn’t want a skull and crossbones for your sister-in-law’s wedding) and your mood (feeling light and fresh? How about a flower tattoo?), it also helps you experiment with various designs and body locations, until you decide on a permanent design.

For temporary tattoos too, online is the way to go. From websites that give you loads of designs to choose from, to websites from which you can order temporary tattoos of your choice and of course websites that give you information on getting the best out of your temporary tattoo, it’s all on the internet. You can create your own temporary tattoo online and print it out on paper. After that, take the stencil to a professional artist. The adventurous can even try airbrushing (spray painting) it themselves. Tattoo making kits can be ordered online. These kits typically have sheets of tattoo paper on which the design of your choice can be printed using an inkjet or laser printer, and cosmetic grade liquid adhesive or tattoo glue paper used to paste the tattoo on the skin. There’s information on how to create temporary tattoos from tattoo kits. Websites from where you can order temporary tattoos typically have a gallery of images that you can use. There is also the option of creating a tattoo from scratch or using your own image. The design can be customised for size, text, colour and other editing can be carried out.

Here’s some sites for ordering readymade temporary tattoos…

http://www.straytats.com/

http://www.tattoojohnny.com/test_drive

http://www.tattoofashion.com/

http://www.funtoos.com/

http://www.tattoosales.com/customtattoo.aspx

Of course good ol’ henna is also a great way to get a tattoo, right? Again, the internet offers you henna designs which you can print out. A stencil can be prepared and placed on the skin. Apply mehendi over the stencil and remove the stencil carefully, without disturbing the henna application…and voila! Your henna tattoo is ready!

Permanent or temporary, coloured or black and white, there is no denying the fact that a tattoo can really spice up your look and make a statement like no other body adornment can. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead…make a choice and get that funky, cool tattoo that you have been wanting for ages…


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  1. April 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Have you seen those glow-in-the-dark tattoos that use UV ink?

  2. June 14, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    dear lovely article and patterns of mehndi loving it

  3. Vinita Bhatia
    January 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Pretty comprehensive and well researched article.

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