My New Friend

I wanted to introduce you all to my new friend!  

Custom Stencil Artist ~ Phil Kwan

Custom Stencil
Artist ~ Phil Kwan

Last month, after years of procrastinating, I finally got a new tattoo.

From the moment that I got my first tattoo I knew that I wanted to get a second one.  It took me over a decade to decide what I wanted as my second tattoo, where I wanted it located on my body and who would be the tattoo artist.

Let me tell you, finding the right artist was probably the hardest part.  I knew that I wanted to get some sort of watercolour type design and after years of researching I found the perfect artist!  

Watercolour tattoo's are tricky.  They look great to start with, but over the years, as the colours fade they can really begin to look dingy and not very nice.  If I was going to be putting something on my body that I would have for the rest of my life, I wanted it to look good.  I knew that if this was the tattoo route I was going to take, I needed to find the right artist to take on the challenge.

Close Up ~ 1.5 months healed Artist ~ Phil Kwan

Close Up ~ 1.5 months healed
Artist ~ Phil Kwan

I don't remember how I found Phil Kwan, random internet search maybe?, but when I did find him, I started following him on social media and I loved all of the work he had posted on his Instagram account.  

About 4 years ago, I got up the courage to book a consultation appointment with Phil, but due to a lack of funds and some pretty high nerves, I chickened out and cancelled the consultation.

That was a decision I would regret for years because once I was ready to re-book, Phil wasn't taking on any new clients.  I lost my chance. Thankfully this turned out to be a good thing.  You see, the only thing that happens with artists over time is that they tend to get better, and Phil was no exception.

I continued to follow Phil on Instagram and was blown away by his art.  It seemed to me that every tattoo he posted was just more beautiful than the previous one.

After a few years of waiting, I decided that it was finally the right time to take the plunge and get my new tattoo.  Since Phil wasn't accepting new clients, I let if be know to a friend of mine that I was ready to take the plunge and if they knew of any other watercolour tattoo artists, to let me know.

I ended up booking a consultation appointment with a lovely lady, whose work I also enjoyed.  Her work was different than what Phil had, but she had some really nice steady lines (a sign of a good artist) and some great colour work.  I scheduled a consultation appointment with her to discuss what she could put together and see if it would fit with the image that I had in my head, that I was unable to fully articulate to anyone, including myself.

Close Up ~ 1.5 months healed Artist ~ Phil Kwan

Close Up ~ 1.5 months healed
Artist ~ Phil Kwan

This is one of those moments in life where "it is just meant to be".  Shortly after I booked the consultation appointment with the lady artist, Phil opened up his books to new clients!  This didn't mean he would take me on as a client, it only meant that I had a chance he would.  

I filled out his form explaining as best I could what I was looking for, thankfully, the design I wanted wasn't on his "I'm not interested in doing the following at this time" list.

I got in!  I was so excited.  Phil wanted to book a consult/tattoo appointment all in one.  I had so much confidence in his work, that I accepted on the spot, not wanting to pass up the opportunity a second time to have him do the tattoo I had been waiting over a decade for.

I was a nervous ball of nerves in the months leading up to my appointment.  I kept questioning my decision to actually get this tattoo done.  Why are brains like that?  This was something I've been thinking about for years and yet I was second guessing the decision.

Close Up ~ 1.5 months healed Artist ~ Phil Kwan

Close Up ~ 1.5 months healed
Artist ~ Phil Kwan

The tattooing day finally arrived!  With only a little bit of instructions from me on what I would like (a swimming penguin on my arm), Phil came up with some lovely artwork.  

My first tattoo from start to finish took maybe, at the most, 30 minuets, and most of that was set-up. It was quite small and very simple, black ink.  My new friend took just shy of two hours to tattoo onto my arm, although I was at the studio for a lot longer between the consultation and setup.  

I'm not going to lie, getting a tattoo hurts, however, surprisingly, it didn't hurt as bad as I was expecting.  I'm not sure if that was because I had built of the pain so much in my head, the location I was getting it done is less sensitive then my previous tattoo or I was just too nervous to feel the full pain.  In any case, it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting.  Near the end of the tattoo however, my arm sure was getting sensitive and I couldn't wait until it was over.

As with any tattoo, you can see from the initial photo, taken moments after the tattoo was completed, to the 1.5 months later photo, that some fading has occurred.  This is a natural effect of tattoos.  The reason I love Phil's work is because of the extensive black-line work that he puts into his art.  When the colour's do fade somewhat over time, the black still holds everything together and keeps it beautifully cohesive.  

For a few days after getting the tattoo, dealing with the healing discomfort and itchiness, I kept asking myself, why I was putting myself through this pain and discomfort.  As the itchiness went away, and the healing progressed I remember why I did it and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful or more "me" tattoo than my new penguin friend.  

Brand New Tattoo ~ I LOVE it!
Artist ~ Phil Kwan

1.5 months healed ~ I still LOVE it!
Artist ~ Phil Kwan