Knuckle Deep

Its been awhile since my last post but mainly because I’ve been boring! However the boredom ended on Tuesday the 30th of November with 2 new tattoos! The first being the end of my 8 year old long desire for knuckle tattoos, and the second being the Cherry Bomb Movember fundraiser. I figured I would describe in detail the goings-on of that day as people love to ask how much tattoos hurt and knuckles seem to prompt more interest in pain that the standard tramp stamp. So pour yourself a mulled mead and take a knee as I regale you with my tale of bravery, suspense and action.

I was about half an hour early in Mt. Lawley so I killed time looking at books in Planet, namely this one:

in case anyone wants to buy me a present "just because"....

When I was unable to bear it any longer, I went to Holdfast 10 minutes early and was confronted with hipsters listening to Vampire Weekend, looking cool. Being not a fashionable cool-looking hipster myself, they totally ignored me until I saw Daniel and went to speak to him. He was looking at the script type that I had chosen and went away to set up his station. I had dropped a $200 deposit at the Vic Park studio and was told I wouldn’t need to pay “much more than $250” but in the end it was $350, so I’d been underquoted 40%. Having said that, as Aranda is a guest artist he probably makes his own prices and the Holdfast receptionist might not have realised that he would charge more. Luckily I had enough cash on me, but I was a bit less than thrilled, as it meant waiting until payday to get other stuff I was going to buy that day. Anyway, as I covered in an earlier blog, good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good. And in reality I would have gone higher than $350 to have such a wonderful tattoo artist do my knuckles – its just unlucky to be told an extra hundred unexpectedly. Never mind. Daniel Aranda is from Melbourne and has produced some really nice work, and also some cool paintings such as this one:


So I sat down and he drew the outline directly onto my knuckles, pretty much getting it spot on with only a little bit of editing. I had a look in the mirror, confirmed the awesomeness, and sat back down. We placed a ball of tissue paper under the first finger to raise it up so that he could work on it. This ball was to be moved along and placed under each finger as he got to it. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. bzzzzzzz. bzzzzzzzzzz. bzzzz. By the end of the outline on the first letter (right pinky), my palms were sweating like a motherfucker and I was in the realms of “distinctly uncomfortable”. I asked Dan if he had done many knuckle pieces, and he said he had, and confirmed that it was said to be one of the most painful spots to get done. He went on to do the rest of the right hand outlines, one by one, without mercy. I tried to maintain conversation without sounding like a little bitch, but when I drew the involuntary deep breath from time to time, he said he was sorry and genuinely looked it. Although I don’t know why he was apologizing, he was being as gentle as he could and it was not him who ordered the totally sore placement. It did not get any better until he hit the shading, which was only slightly more comfortable. Then he wiped down my right hand which felt nice and cool, and I was lulled into a false sense of security……… we were halfway there, and my endorphins had pissed right off to the pub without so much as a backward glance.


As Dan started on my left hand, I felt like a virgin. A pain virgin, that is. It hurt even worse than the first hand, and to top it off I had a swollen and stinging right hand in the back of my mind now, too. And as it were my hands being tattooed, I couldn’t grip anything tightly to deal with the pain. I was trying to keep my body relaxed and it was a mission. The absolute worst pain was when he got to the bottom of the “L” which was right on the middle knuckle on my index finger. It was like a car crash, I knew I shouldn’t be watching but I couldn’t look away. My hands were shaking involuntarily but it didn’t affect Dan as he was holding my hand down in place as he worked. The ball of tissue that was being used as a “pillow” for my fingers was a big wad of sweat by now. Luckily, it seemed that the shading on the left hand was shorter than the other hand, and of course I didn’t have another emerald to be shaded in. At the end, he would make like he was finished, and then touch up an outline here or there. I’m grateful of course that he is such a thorough tattoo artist, but I kept getting my hopes up for that cool wipedown, and then – bzzz. bzzzz. Finally it came, I got that sweet cool napkin on me and it was so soothing. I was given extra for bleeding, but I barely bled and didn’t bleed at all after it was finished. I was so impressed. Even with the small bit of dried blood, the swelling and the raw look, I knew that it was perfect. The receptionist had to dig my keys out of my bag as I didnt want to brush my knuckles against the insanitary kinds of things my bag hosts, and she pointed out how swollen my knuckles were. She had a small heart on one of her knuckles and said that it had hurt tons (oh good so it wasn’t just me being a little bitch!!). I left the studio, and when the sun hit, it stung, but at this stage, I barely noticed. As long as it wasn’t more buzzing, anything was good by me!.. And here is the finished piece (the picture quality is not great and the colour  is actually way brighter, but when its fully healed and not swollen, Ill post another pic –

Its a polite way of saying "holy shit!" in French.

All up, that tattoo had only taken about an hour and a half. To me of course, it felt like 2 and a half. Imagine my happiness then, when the second tattoo of the day took under 10 minutes. I was in an out within 15-20 minutes, and that included the station being set up. However, once I felt this tattoo, I wanted to go back to the knuckles! This was by far the most painful tattoo experience I have ever had. I dont know if it was due to placement, or the fact that my fingers were already swollen and stinging from the knuckles, but it was BAD. The whole thing was done with an outline needle too, as it was so small. OWIES! Thankfully it was over quickly. It seriously made my knuckles feel like a massage with happy ending. Anyhow, I did my bit for Movember and also the Pain Fairy got enough from me to last a few Christmases. Here is the Movember one:

Maybe now I'll fit in at Amps.....

And then after all of that, I went home and had a couple of beers because by gum, I deserved them. Or they deserved me. Either way, it was definitely fate. So the lesson I learnt that day is that if I can sit through the most painful tattooing I’ll probably ever have, then I can do anything. Also, I know its not right to base your feelings about yourself on your appearance, but every time I see my knuckles, I feel better about myself. They are just so damn pretty, I’m so pleased to have such nice work in such a visible place. Daniel Aranda is a wonderful tattoo artist, if anybody is interested in getting any work done by him, go to Holdfast and find out when he is guesting there next, or go to Melbourne. I hope this post has been enlightening to anybody that may have few or no tattoos, and helpful for anyone wanting to get knuckle tattoos. Don’t let the pain put you off, its obviously bearable, just more painful than most places. Its so worth it in the end. Also, to all the people that are worried about how I’ll get on in job interviews – I don’t want to work for people that don’t approve of tattoos. They are too much a passion and part of my life. Also, I don’t want to work in *customer service* (unless its tattoo-related) so of course I’m not going to apply for jobs that would want me covered up for customers. I’m not dumb – yes, I will get knocked back for some positions due to my lovely body art (because as a friend put it, “haters gonna hate”), but I’ll never have trouble getting a job because I’m intelligent, cheerful and have solid references at good companies. Also, I have a nice rack.

and, I'm computer-savvy. I can use MS Word, and I'm on the line.

So there you have it: My journey into knuckle tattoos and how I came out a winner. PS My mum doesn’t know I have these yet, so I would appreciate it if nobody tells her until I get around to it. Thanks guys.

Have a good weekend everybody!! Love, Chelle xoxoxoxoxoxoxo


2 thoughts on “Knuckle Deep

  1. bahahaha i hope so… would make for a good “That’s Life” story wouldn’t it!!! 😀
    nah shes pretty cool.. shes getting me a voucher for a tattoo studio for christmas, shes pretty trusting. Hope she doesnt reneg on the voucher when she sees my hands “they’re there for life, you know!!!”

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