Tuesday, July 27, 2004
First shading session
Saturday 7/24/4, I had my first taste of the tebori technique. The instrument itself looked like a paint brush; a small wooden handle but at the end were a row of tiny needles instead of a brush. There seemed to be tape or something similar wrapped around it where the handle met the needles. At one point someone in the studio asked what size needles Shinji was using on me, I believe he replied "40". The person asking seemed a bit shocked at the size, so perhaps that is large? I searched around on the web and the largest tattoo needles I could find were .40 mm. Anyway, the procedure went like this: Shinji would chose an area of the skin to work on, use one hand to stretch the skin and hold it taunt, and then begin shading in rapid and rhythmic bursts. Every time the needles penetrated my skin, I could hear a popping/tearing sound; imagine the sound of a fork piercing a grape or something similar. The pain was bearable since the work was done in short bursts as opposed to the long stretches with the tattoo gun when we were doing the outline. I've heard that generally the hand-poke technique is less painful, although in some sensitive areas it can be worse. I was surprised at the speed with which Shinji was able to shade. Of course, it was significantly slower than an mechanized tattoo gun; yet I was happy with the progress he made during my 2 hour session. I'll post a picture as soon as it's healed a bit more. Although the size of the affected area is much more manageable, my skin seemed quite a bit more traumatized from the shading than it had been from the outlining process. The skin bleed and wept ink for most of the evening after my session, it wasn't until the next day that it had calmed down a bit. There seems to be some scabbing but it's hard to tell what is ink residue and what is dried blood at this point.