Permanent choices.

So the other day I was browsing ebay, and a suggestion came up for the same tattoo machine that my regular, local artist uses, at a very reasonable price.. Naturally, I placed the order.. The gun arrived yesterday, and I had a chance to open the box and see the wonders within before jumping in a friends car to go for my evening climbing session. Apon returning home, I went straight to the new toy and started playing with it, learning what each button and dial did. After about 20 minutes or so I decided I’d got the gist of how to function it. I did a few YouTube searches, to determine the basics, needle depth and hang etc. When I’ve worked it all out more I’ll post a more detailed description of my learning experience as I don’t want anyone to assume this is, in any way, a guide to tattooing.

I shaved the inside of my ankle, as I felt, if I do a bad job, socks usually cover this area, so the risk was low. Decided on a design, I wanted something simple, but something that I’d also be OK with having on me till death or amputation. I decided on a piston, I’m a massive petrol head, so this would be perfect.

I got a pigment pen, or fine liner, whichever you prefer, and drew a very simple line drawing of a piston from the side. Emptied a little black ink into one of the ink pots, opened a fresh, sealed needle cartridge and fitted it. Pushed the pedal, dipped the needle in the ink and started at the top of the piston. I quickly realised I had set the needle depth too deep, so adjusted it and carried on with the rest of the design. Wiped the excess ink away revealing a fairly wobbly, but not terrible first attempt at a self tattoo.


It will get a touch up later, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen. I told myself, “right, Bryan, wait till this one is healed before doing another, you have no idea how it’s going to actually turn out”

Alas, 10 minutes later my other ankle was bare of all hair, and had a stencil of Marvin, the paranoid android’s head on it. Away I went again, this time the results were far more accurate, and with the depth already set correctly, was far less painful and had a better result overall. I even added the green for his eyes.


Overall, a resounding success in my mind, but we will only really know in a few weeks once they have healed..

Create your website at
Get started