Day In The Life: What It's Like Getting A Tattoo

Are you thinking about getting a tattoo, but have questions (aka slightly freaking out) about the process? Carley’s got you covered! Join our Tatstat Product Officer as she travels to San Luis Obispo to get tattooed by one of her favorite artists, Danny Derrick. From finding the right artist to prepping for your appointment, learn her tips to having the best tattoo experience:

I followed Danny for a handful of years before getting my first tattoo from him in 2021. Not only is his art great, but he seemed like such a great guy! The quality of what he's always putting out is so incredible. From his Instagram to his YouTube channel, it's just all so beautiful.

At my last appointment with Danny, I got my cat, Waffle, on my upper arm. I asked him what I should do with the rest of my arm, and he suggested framing the cat so that it fills the space yet still fits in with my other tattoos. That's where the floral design came into play. I went in blind to the appointment as to what it’d specifically look like, but that's the fun of it! I trust Danny — I trust his creativity and skills to create something that’s going to look amazing at the end of the appointment.

I try to drink a lot of water before getting tattooed, and I make sure I have a snack. Drinking water helps your skin to be a better canvas because you're well-hydrated. Being dehydrated is no good. If you don't drink water, it can cause more bleeding, though bleeding will naturally occur.

Carley's lunch before her tattoo appointment

Not pictured: plenty of H20

Danny's Tattoo Studio

Love Danny’s setup

It took about an hour and 45 mins from walking in to walking out. Because the tattoo was on the top of my arm, I ended up rotating positions throughout the appointment from being on my back, on my stomach and sitting straight up in a chair.

The pain was super minimal. I thought the top of my shoulder would be a little tender, but it was totally fine! Of all the tattoos that I have, the top of my feet still hurt the most. I eventually want to get my elbow tattooed in the future and I've heard that's gnarly. Bring it.

Healing tattoo

The healing process begins

I was super happy to hear that my aftercare process is right on track with what Danny would recommend. He actually said, "whatever you've done so far, just keep doing it!" I kept the tattoo covered for my whole drive home from San Luis Obispo to Fresno, took the bandage off, gave it a very gentle wash and patted it dry with a paper towel. Then I put a very light layer of Aquaphor on it for protection.

I repeated this every day for the first few days. It's important to keep it out of the sun — sunscreen is a must to keep the color aging well — and I don’t submerge it under water while it's healing. Once it's done peeling, you can put unscented lotion on to keep it from drying out and then you're good to go!

Getting a tattoo is always an exciting experience. It's something I look forward to for months, and with Danny, it's always the best. Our conversation was great. We talked about everything — music, tattoo conventions, amazing female traditional tattooers, home ownership, flash sheets and tattoo apprenticeships. Danny has a deep history of being in the tattoo industry and working with some of the greats. I cannot recommend Danny enough if you're looking to get some classic traditional artwork done. 

I have a goal to get at least 1 tattoo per year. So far in 2022, I'm at 2, so I’m doing well on that goal so far! I don’t have a specific idea yet for my next one, but I definitely want to get some tattoos by some amazing women in the industry who do classic American traditional work. So many talented artists are out there, and I can’t wait to connect with them on my future tattoos!

Healed Tattoo

Sweet Waffle surrounded by flowers

Carley Feil

Tatstat Product Officer

Carley Tatstat Product Officer
woman tattooing a arm


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