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The inevitable tattoo cover-up: meet fellow ink geek, Rob

I’m always on the lookout for new tattoo voices (it’s not always about me, me, me, you know).

So that’s why I was intrigued when I got an email from fellow tattoo blogger Rob Davies, who is going to be sharing some cool tattoo stories on our site in the future.

Tattoo writing doesn’t have to be about the shocking stories or even the ground-breaking work. Sometimes, it’s about the seemingly small tales, un-edited and un-judged.

For many bloggers, these websites act as a forum for our personal ramblings, our own honest journeys. As tattoo writers, we all have different motivations for talking about tattoos, and I was interested to hear Rob’s own lessons and experiences. So when he asked me what he should write about, I said: “yourself“.

Like me, and many other tattoo-lovers out there, as Rob has got more and more geeky about tattoos, he’s begun to cover-over old work. Reading his experiences made me wonder, is the cover-up inevitable for those of us who make early tattoo decisions but then go on to obsess about the art-form?

This is a little tale about a guy named Rob.


Tattoo writer

Bert Grimm Sun Dance tattoo by Dan Williams, North Sea Tattoo

Brief awkward introduction. My name is Rob and I’m a 23 year old freelance writer (“freelance” being a fancy word for unemployed procrastinator). I’m also a huge tattoo enthusiast and have spent the past two years writing about this artform for the tattoo blog Tattoodo. What you’re about to read is my mildly interesting tattoo story.

My first exposure to tattooing was through my dad and his own collection of tattoos, mostly old school eagles, birds, Native American-inspired pieces and a big ass tiger on his back! I followed his example when I turned 18 – I went and got my first tattoo.

Tattoo writer

Tattoo writer, Rob Davies

Of course at the time I knew a fraction of what I know no, so my first tattoos were nothing to brag about – some script, roman numerals and a rosary. All black ink, all rather small, all pretty terrible.

Tattoo number four is what I see as my first serious tattoo – a black and grey Japanese dragon on my upper right arm, tattooed by veteran artist Shane Somers in his old shop in Whitby (Britain’s greatest seaside town). This tattoo fuelled my interest in tattooing and desire to get more of my own.

Tattoo writer

Christian Warlich Indian by Dan Williams, North Sea Tattoo

I did have to wait two years to get my next tattoo, however. Being a student at the time I figured my mum would be mad if I chose getting tattooed over buying food. Ironically the tattoos I waited two years to get (two swallows on my chest) are now in the process of being covered by an awesome old school eagle. FYI, getting your chest tattooed sucks!

It was also around this time that I actually started writing for the tattoo blog Tattoodo – yep, a 21 year old student who knew very little about tattooing started writing for a major tattoo website. I have smartly avoided reading any of my early articles. I came across the site on Facebook and figured writing a few articles for them may look good on a CV after I finished university. I’d seen Miami Ink, I knew some stuff.

Tattoo writer

Percy Waters lady tattoo by Dan Williams, North Sea Tattoo

I sent them an email and wound up writing a few design-based pieces. Little did I know all the ‘stuff’ I thought I knew was wrong! Thankfully it has now been replaced with an actual understanding of tattoos and a passion for writing about them. If you love writing and love tattoos why not combine the two.

Writing about tattoos has taught me so much. The most important thing being to research your artist! Maybe if I’d done better research I wouldn’t have to sit through a big old cover-up.

Thankfully after looking up some local tattoo shops I actually found that just down the coast from me in Scarborough is an awesome shop called North Sea Tattoo, home to Dan Williams, Nick Mayes, Chris Newport and Tom Arnison – all incredible tattooers.

Namakubi tattoo by Dan Williams, North Sea Tattoo

Namakubi tattoo by Dan Williams, North Sea Tattoo

A year and a half on and Dan Williams has inflicted ungodly amounts of pain on me, though he has given me some awesome tattoos in the process! He completed my traditional black-work sleeve and covered my lower right leg in bold Japanese designs.

We recently started my front with a Christian Warlich Native American, a Bert Grimm Sun Dance on my ribs and of course the eagle cover-up began earlier this month. Final note: ribs – worst tattoo pain ever!

Cover-up tattoo

Eagle cover-up tattoo in progress by Dan Williams

So, that pretty much covers my tattoo life to date. 23 years old with 23 tattoos and many more planned. Why do I get tattooed? Because tattoos are awesome as fuck and all the cool kids have them!

Explore more of tattooist Dan Williams‘ work on his Instagram.

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