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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

I have always wanted a tattoo. I’ve had Pinterest boards, notes app lists and sketchbook drawings obsessing over tattoos. When I turned 18, I decided to wait a bit before making that commitment. I have friends who’ve gotten tattoos and each of them had different advice for me.

I got my tattoo at Delicious Ink Tattoo and Piercing Parlour, in Rockford, IL. It came highly recommended by many people in my hometown. I felt very welcomed from the first time I contacted the shop. I was completely up front about how clueless I was regarding the whole process, and they still made sure to validate me and answered any questions I had. Due to my unfamiliarity, I explained the kind of tattoo I wanted, and they were more than happy to recommend the artist best for the job. From there, I set up a consultation appointment to discuss the design and further steps.

There are many things that sets Delicious Ink apart from other shops. As opposed to other shops, Delicious Ink charges based on the amount of time rather than the size. The artists only count the time that the machine is running. So, if you need to take a break for any reason, the time stops until you’re ready to continue. So, rather than you paying for size, you pay for quality and time. They charge a security deposit fee, to ensure you actually show up for your appointment. The fee will then be taken off your total. For instance, my total was $150, and my deposit was $100. It was nice because I only had to pay $50 the day of.

A big draw-back for me when deciding to get a tattoo was the potential pain. Every spot on your body will result in a different amount of pain. The other factor in pain is amount/kind of detail going into the piece. My tattoo was all line work. The shorter lines didn’t really hurt; they felt like a faint tingling sensation. However, the longer lines caused a bit more discomfort. It wasn’t that they were excruciatingly painful, but there were moments that were a little “toe-curling.”

Tim Atwell, owner of Delicious Ink, was the artist who did my tattoo. There was never a point in the process that he didn’t make sure I felt 100% comfortable. The placement of my tattoo is on my right ribcage under my breast. Tim made sure to let me know they had pasties to cover me if it would make me more comfortable. When placing the tattoo stencil, he let me look in the mirror and then made sure I was completely in love with the placement. He was constantly checking in with me during the actual tattooing.

Afterwards, Tim gave me a pamphlet of all the post-op care instructions. He gave me his number and let me know I could text him anytime with any questions, no matter how silly I thought they were. Regardless of all the advice he gave me, I feel it wouldn’t be fair to ignore his biggest piece of advice. He made sure it was very clear that, no matter what anyone else claims to know, I should always ask him before taking anyone else’s advice. Considering he did the piece and knows more about it than anyone else.

I was obsessed with my tattoo from the moment I got it! It took WEEKS for my brain to normalize the fact that I now had a tattoo. Even though my brain has normalized it, I sure as hell still have my moments of obsession.

Josie Smith

Bradley U '25

I'm a junior, journalism major at Bradley University! I love serving as this chapter's editor-in-chief.