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All things tatts

Community Member

Hi guys,

Totally unrelated to anything mental health related but I have nobody else to really ask. I am going to be getting a medium size tattoo done on my back coming friday but i wanted to find out if the price they were asking was way extreme or normal.

I have had small tats done before but they all fit into the base tattoo price of $120 at the place i go too.

This time i'm getting a roughly 5" by 5" piece put on me and they are asking $500. I figured it would cost me a bit given it involves shading and all that jazz. But the design has no colour to it and its not exactly a massive shoulder to shoulder piece so I'm a bit suprised at the piece. I wasn't really sure how to convey that to the tattooist given that for 1) i have mad anxiety 2) i don't even know what standard prices are and 3) shes putting stuff into my skin so if i make her angry she could cause me a bit of trouble.

Any help or tips guys?

Also let me know what tattoos you have or want to get done. I currently have a semi colon on my wrist - for the obvious symbolic meaning and also because i needed something to cover up the scar tissue a bit. The piece im getting done on friday is a rose morphing into a clock with the quote "by the time the last petal falls" circling around it. As for the ones to come in the future i have lots of ideas. But its probably not worth discussing until i have actually made the appointment to get it done like i have with the rose-clock.

What do you guys have/want?

17 Replies 17

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Ive got one tattoo. I had it done in 2010 is sbout 5"x5" and has colouring. Its of an eagle landing.

It cost $200 then. I suggest you get another quote. Seems expensive to me

Tony WK

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Loca_SHJ

I have Picasso's Dove of Peace just below my left shoulder.

It's just a black outline. I got it five years ago and think it was about $100. Can't comment on the price of colour though.

Mine marked my first year of sobriety. I'm now coming up to six years and reckon I'm due for another one. 😀 Can't decide what though, but I have thought of incorporating the semi-colon into a design. Maybe a butterfly (very girly haha).

Your rose design sounds great! Let us know how you get on. Oh, and I agree with Tony - maybe get another quote or do some Googling re prices.

Nice to meet you


Community Member

Hi Tony

Wow that Eagle idea sounds beautiful. Where on you is it positioned?

Compared to that it does sound very over priced. And i would imagine an eagle would be pretty detailed too aye.

I'll ask around but i dont want to spend too much time asking. I'm sick of waiting for things to happen. I just want to do it asap. I need something to cheer me and and look forward to anyway so i don't mind it being a bit steep. but the difference between 200 and 500 is way too much.

Hi Kazzl

Wow thats such a beautiful idea and for such a meaningful purpose too. Congratulations on the 6 years of sobriety. You definitely need to treat yourself to something even if its not a tattoo.

Yup I will shop around for pricings.

Thanks for the tips guys.

Also I have a fair bit of scare tissue on my other arm from the semi colon and its spaced out from my wrist to my elbow even going from the inside of my arm to the outside of my arm in some placed. I find that even people who know what i've been through do a double take of it and a little cringe. I get that it can be confronting. So if even in a social context its a lot to handle then im worried about future employment. Do you guys have any tattoo ideas to cover it or would you think it best to just get cosmetic skin grafting. I'd rather that tattoo idea in my opinion.


Hi Smeetha,

I've always thought that price shopping for tatts is never gonna end well. The saying "You get what you pay for" has far more significance/importance when it comes to something you have to look at and live with forever? So not only artist ability, but quality& type of inks and sterility etc to consider. And amount of detail, so time (isn't an hourly rate used for pricing?)

Also remember as a general rule with inflation, prices for most things double every ten years and that's not considering the increase in popularity that tatts have had over that time...tattoo shops were few & far between back then.

Other good advice I have heard is to book in to a tattooist who has a long waiting list, as it is only the excellent artists who get booked up well in advance. I've always considered this a gem, so would always steer clear of anyone who can get you in straight away.

You seem happy with the previous ones, if so would it be worth discussing your future plans with him/her, then you might get a discount as a regular client. Or bring it up in a joking manner and see what they say. "Discount for bulk" or something Haha.

Regarding covering scar tissue, I believe it is tricky, but an experienced expert can do it. There was an episode on tattoo nightmares where this guy had a whole lower leg scar, they did a wicked 'coverup'. I just googled tattoo coverup scar...couldn't find the episode, sorry, but there were a few images of scars- surgical and others- that had been covered up. I'd try different search terms too, eg tattoo over scar etc and check out images to give you an idea if it'd work for yours. Sounds like a great solution to me, even if it's not perfect it will still be better for you to see everyday. And probably a quick and cheap way to get it fixed, considering the hospital system these days. Once again, I'd definitely want to trust the artist...you could ask for an opinion at your next sitting.

Great thread. I'm enjoying hearing about everyone's tatts. Surprised too!

I have a 'flypoo' on my wrist, a remnant of rebellious school days when tatts on girls was definitely not on. I wouldn't mind a full back job (I never seem to do anything by half measures) but never have the money to spare. When I win lotto!!

Tattoodo is a good oz website worth a look. Fantastic work. Has lists of artists and their work that might be a help to you too.


My eagle is one my right bicep. It is of the eagle landing about to catch an animal or fish. Yes its volourful. The colours are browns with pumpkin coloured beak and claws/talons.

The story -. My cousin I'm close to broke his back when a bull kicked him. He was repaired with titanium rods placed along his spine. He was told to walk a lot. He'd walk in the bush. One day he stood on a cliff. He was really low and he saw an eagle soaring above. He decided not to jump.

A few days later he phoned me from the peak of a mountain.he told me how he felt. We talked. I wrote a poem and sent it to him.

A short time later I got that eagle tattoo. Several months later I visited him interstate. I rolled up my sleeve to show him my tatt I named "eaglefree". His laughed then rolled up his sleeve to reveal an even larger eagle..."and this bro is what I call eagledream"

An incredible connection bonded forever. He has recovered fully and now drives trucks.

Tony WK

Community Member

Hi Lee

Yeah i didn't want to risk price shopping for that reason. Because its a form of art and you pay for what you get in terms of quality. But on the flip side i don't really know how good they really are because all ive gotten done before is a basic semi colon which someone with a tattoo gun in their backyard could have done (not that i'd let them lol) I have gone with friends to get more complex pieces done at this place and they came out good. But these friends are for lack of better word , white. I'm brown. Specifically south Indian shade brown so relatively dark skinned. So not sure how it will work out on dark skin so i didn't want to pay heaps for something im not sure about in terms of outcome.

And thank for the tips re scar tissue fix up. I'll definitely go look it up and ask for tips.

Haha thanks for the feedback. But might i ask - why surprised?

oh wow. hahaha thats so cool. Love it! What would you get done on your back if you could afford it?

Hi Tony

That story is beautiful. Its lovely to hear of what a strong bond you share with your cousin. The way you could surprise each other with near identical tatts.I think its a beautiful notion.

I'm glad he's doing well now too. 😄


I agree TONY, that's a beautiful story about you and your cousin. A truly deep connection, very special. Perhaps a "turning negatives into a positive" or even "happy memory" story could evolve? Life's coincidences can be very thought provoking. As well as feeling warm & fuzzy, it made me think about ESP. You don't hear anything about that these days.

I'm surprised cos I perceive some of the posters as fine, upstanding, law-abiding etc etc members of the community. I guess the old attitude to tattoos are ingrained in my brain through conditioning. It was only rebels, bikies and sailors who had them. A tattoo could ruin your chance of getting a job. Even 10yrs ago, not so popular. It's amazing how quickly societies values can change. (although I've been closeted in a remote rural area for past 16yrs, so behind the times here). Now I see a lot of great-grannys with ink. I've always liked them, I like the TV shows and the stories behind them.

A back job can be a major art piece. My brother had King Neptune, with a trident, sailing ship and sea-serpent/dragon from neck to butt. Beautiful piece. (Another story for happy memories, perhaps.) My foster brother has Elephants above elephant graveyard. Fantastic artwork. He is a walking zoo, different "zones" of his body with different animal families ie right leg is Australian natives etc. He is going to donate body to science, we joke about what they should do with his skin...a bit like silence of the lambs. Oh my, too much info?? but it is funny, maybe you gotta be there.

I saw a huge peony design on a female back years ago that I loved. I've never really seriously thought about what I'd get. It is a shame that the best piece of human canvas is on our back where we can't look at it! I'd probably get something significant to me though, somewhere where I can enjoy looking at it. Like Tony, I'll know when it happens.

Ugggh, another long post. I'm long-winded anyway and feel chatty tonight. If you're still reading, Thanks for listening.

Hahah Fair call regarding your perception of posters. If its any consolation im getting mine on my back so that it wont be visible in anything that is work appropriate (I work in the legal field so we're very discriminant).

Both your brothers pieces sound beautiful in their own unique way though i personally identify with the king neptune idea. Quite the suggestion. and it sounds like it comes from a beautiful memory too which makes it all the better. 🙂

Fair enough. I wouldn't suggest the 'young and stupid' tatts. It has to be something meaningful and timeless to you in my opinion. So good on you for waiting till the right moment.

Don't worry. I enjoy long posts. For one it makes me feel listened too. And for another it gives me something to procrastinate with at work. lol

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi folks - I love this thread!

Hiya Jugglin. Yes, I'm a fine upstanding law-abiding tattooed old-enough-to-be-a-granny haha. People are often surprised when I reveal I have a tattoo. Love it. Keep 'em guessing I say.

Very sad news today my friends. The founder of The Semi-colon Project Amy Bleuel has died. There are tributes popping up on social media where people are posting images of their semi-colon tattoos to honour her. If anyone goes looking, please be aware that it could be triggering. I felt very very sad, and if you're fragile at the moment maybe think twice about getting immersed in them hey?

I believe she would want the movement to continue in hope and strength. Our tattoos, of any variety, have meaning to us and can remind us of the strength we have and the value and joy in life.

Yours in ink