• Carmen Milligan


I got my third tattoo last week.

Yes. It hurt. But only if a number of needles going into your skin, through the epidermis down to the dermis, repeatedly piercing you with a motorized machine sounds painful.

This was a fairly large one, for me. It goes from my elbow to my shoulder, and halfway across my chest. The outlining was pretty breezy, but as the needles changed, the pain level changed. Plus, I was in the chair for about five hours.

And it's only 1/2 done.

And I LOVE it. I have been thinking for a long time about getting another tattoo. I got my first one by a real asshat who charged me $100 for three words on my foot. The foot is not a great place to get one because that area is in constant use and lots of friction. So, mine pretty much looks like crap now. No matter. It's easy to cover.

My second one was done by Caroline W at Blue Rose Tattoo, and I still love, love, love it. It is an open book on my forearm. So much symbolism, and it speaks to me every time I study it. I am very careful about care, using sunblock, and all of that, so it still looks great years and years later. I determined that Caroline would do my next one.

Then she retired.


So, I put my plans on hold because I am very sure that the tattoo artist is 95% of the success of the tattoo. And I love Caroline's artwork. She is whimsical, uses childlike fantasy elements, and ties it all into realness. She is like the magical realism of tattoo artists.

Then, she decided that tattooing is like breathing, and she had to have it in her life. Huzzah! Not only that, but she opened her own shop. Even better. I contacted her and described what I had in mind. Caroline won't take just any 'ole commission. She has to vibe with it, and you KNOW that I love that.

She said that she would do it, and she started to send me sketches based on a few initial questions like where it would go, how large I wanted it, and whether or not it would be in color.

And then she made it unique, fantastical, and brilliant. It is a cluster of dandelions, each at a different stage of growth. The largest one has its seeds, which are books, blowing off of the plant and over to my chest. Each dandelion is watching as the books fly and swirl, traveling away from the stems and out into the world. Much like a book does as more and more readers delve into its pages, stories, information, knowledge, and all of the wonderful things that come from being a reader.

Cool, huh?

I am going in a few weeks to get the rest done, which is mostly coloring in the outline that will be well into healing by then. And I can't wait! The swirling books on my chest are surrounded by blue stippled swirls. It is very cool, and Caroline said that she had never used that technique before, and was very happy with how it turned out. It's one of my favorite parts of the tattoo. Well, beside the eyes on the dandelions. I have come to love that aspect.

I'll keep you posted on my newest original art!

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