The Best Distractions for Big Tattoos

by in Misc

It’s one thing nipping into a tattoo shop to get a palm tree the size of a dime buzzed onto your ankle in memory of a friend’s holiday, it’s quite another to lay yourself out for an enormous back piece. Most of us can stomach a couple of hours under the needle, but what about six, seven, eight hours in a sitting? The number that can hack it certainly gets fewer. 

One of the best techniques for being able to stick out longer sessions is to distract yourself. Whilst we can’t promise it will take you from a one hour and done to a full day session, having good distractions can seriously stretch the time that you’re able to sit. These are the tried and tested selection of the most successful ways to distract yourself from the pain during a big tattoo session.


Most of us have some sort of gaming that we enjoy, whether it’s filling in the daily crossword, or settling in to a marathon game of Call of Duty. This hobby can be hugely distracting, which is exactly what you need when you get to the tough part of a tattoo session. These suggestions are some of the best we’ve found whilst you’re at the studio.

Browser Based Games

If you’ve left preparations until the very last minute then there’s nothing better than browser-based gaming. All you need to play these sorts of games is a device with internet capabilities. Most studios will be happy to let you use their wifi, but if not then a 3 or 4G connection is sufficient. 

There are all kinds of games that fit under this umbrella, from online to racers, shoot-em-ups to point and click adventures. This category of games is vast, which is great if you want to really take your mind off things. What’s even better is that tablets and phones are going to be a whole lot more portable than bringing in your gaming console or laptop, so you won’t be a distraction to the artist whilst you play.

Puzzle Books

The only downside to browser-based gaming in a studio setting is that there might not be a plug for you to use. This means that your device might run out of battery on some of the longer sessions which could leave you without a game to play. However, if you come prepared with a puzzle book, then you needn’t worry. Crosswords, sudoku, word searches and more are all games that don’t need internet or battery to play and really engage your brain. If you can concentrate on working out words then you should be able to divert your mind from the pain.

Talk To Your Artist

We’re only too aware that not every single artist wants to chat all the way through a tattoo, unless you’re getting something dainty done on your wrist, where you’ll be in and out in an hour. For the big pieces, it’s unlikely you’ll be chewing the fat from the moment that you step in until the moment that you leave. However, chatting a little can help to take your mind off things. 

You’re getting a piece of work from your artist, so getting to know them a little kind of makes sense. It’s great to have a connection with your artist, just be cognisant of the fact that they need to concentrate in order to get the work done!


Whilst the tattoo studio might not be the best place to begin your meditation journey, if you already practice meditating then it can be super helpful when you need to dig deep. Closing your eyes, emptying your mind and taking deep breaths will help to take your mind elsewhere. 

Some people also find that accepting the pain as a sensation and choosing to react to it neutrally rather than negatively is a worthwhile meditation technique.


A key part of any meditation practice is breathing, some encourage shallow sleepy breaths, others deep lung-filling breaths. You’ll know best the kind of breath work that works for you, but it’s also worth remembering that it can feel different on certain parts of your body. 

Pieces on the ribs and stomach can feel drastically different with deep breaths as opposed to shallow ones, so don’t make things more difficult for yourself than they need to be.


Finally, as publishers of Tattoomagz, we’ve obviously got a soft spot in our hearts for reading. Whether you choose to browse through the articles on our site, catch up with some news, or get stuck into a book, reading is a great way of transporting your mind. 

Some people use a long tattoo session as an excuse to read a whole novel that they’ve been meaning to crack on with. Others like to use it as an excuse for doom scrolling, whichever camp you fit into, don’t stress about it as long as you’re getting through those minutes, you’re winning.