'90% of my body is covered with tattoos – I saved $96k by inking most myself'

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Brittney Draper has inked 90% of her body (Image: Brittney Draper / SWNS)
Brittney Draper has inked 90% of her body (Image: Brittney Draper / SWNS)

A mum whose body is almost entirely covered in tattoos has revealed she saved £56,600 ($96,000) by inking herself – and spent 600 hours under the needle.

Brittney Draper, 33, got her first tattoo – of the character Kenny from South Park – on her wrist when she was 18. Then, 12 years later she decided to get some more, and in a matter of years, she added around 500 tattoos, with 90% of her body now covered.

She said she was inspired when she discovered she had connections to indigenous people in British Columbia, adding that her tattoos allowed her to "fall in love" with her body again after years of "hating it". Now the mum-of-four has tribal-style designs, animals, flowers and guns, as well as large blackouts on her left leg and arm.

'90% of my body is covered with tattoos – I saved $96k by inking most myself' eideziqkeiqhhinvBrittney before getting 90% of her body tattooed (Brittney Draper / SWNS)
'90% of my body is covered with tattoos – I saved $96k by inking most myself'She saved $96,000 inking herself over 600 hours (Brittney Draper / SWNS)

Brittney has almost entirely covered her body in ink - including her head, face, armpits, palms, toes, and soles of her feet. Only her lower middle back is untouched - as she can't reach the areas easily by herself. She has only spent around £2,060 ($3,500) on tattoos - saving (£56,600) $96,000 by doing 80 per cent of the tattoos herself.

Brittney, a tattoo business owner, from Terrace, British Columbia, Canada, said: "For me, the process doesn't hurt and I've had everywhere needled multiple times. The only part that hurt was the top of my feet - that's it. It's afterwards when they swell and throb. The healing process is what hurts."

Customer fumes as tattoo artist selfishly hid their initials in designCustomer fumes as tattoo artist selfishly hid their initials in design

She says her favourite tattoo is a cancer symbol on her left wrist significant because she was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago. She also likes her Nisga'a artwork - dedicated to the indigenous people of BC - including two eagles on her back. Her husband, Israel Draper, 50, has family in the Nigsa'a Tribe.

Brittney was adopted as a baby, and didn't find out until later in life she had links too. She learned to tattoo herself because she says she was fed up with artists not inking exactly what she asked for. She said: "I got smaller pieces done by artists but there were all these stipulations.

'90% of my body is covered with tattoos – I saved $96k by inking most myself'Brittney has almost entirely covered her body in ink (Brittney Draper / SWNS)
'90% of my body is covered with tattoos – I saved $96k by inking most myself'Brittney said her tattoos allowed her to 'fall in love' with her body (Brittney Draper / SWNS)

"They didn't want to do it, or they didn't like the style, or it wasn't their thing. I thought this is ridiculous'. It also started getting expensive, so I said to myself I'm going to take a year out and I'm going to teach myself."

She enrolled in an online course and trained in 2021, and opened Queen of Ink Tattoos in February 2022. "My area is dominated by male tattooists - I didn't enjoy sitting in the shop half naked whilst I am getting certain parts of my body tattooed - it wasn't particularly private," she said. "I wanted to open a private tattoo business where I go around and tattoo people in the comfort of their homes."

Brittney claims "it's harder than it looks" when tattooing herself. "It really is tough tattooing yourself," she said. "Tattooing others is so much easier - you have two hands then, but doing it with one takes 10 times longer, plus you are doing them upside down.

"Some of my tattoos are backwards as well because for me to see I had to perform them in the mirror. I guess a nice thing about doing them yourself though is that you have the time and the space to do it in your own time. You are not in during weird shop hours or paying deposits, fees, or commissions for drawing stencils. It can get messy and expensive after a while."

'90% of my body is covered with tattoos – I saved $96k by inking most myself'She says her favourite tattoo is a cancer symbol on her left wrist (Brittney Draper / SWNS)
'90% of my body is covered with tattoos – I saved $96k by inking most myself'Brittney opened Queen of Ink Tattoos in February 2022 (Brittney Draper / SWNS)

The tattoo artist said her kids - aged, 6, 8, 10, and 12 - "love" her tattoos. Brittney said: "The kids at the school I work are fascinated by them too." She said once her kids are 16 she would allow them to get inked if they want, and added: "It's their body - they can choose to do what they like." Israel, an industrial roofer also "loves" her tattoos. "He has a couple of tattoos himself - he would have a lot more if her could stand the pain," she added. She said she is used to people staring at her.

She said: "I either get two responses from people - that I look awesome, or others pulling faces or staring at me. I'm used to it. I've always been an artsy outgoing person. After having all four of my kids and watching them go up, I got to the point where I said I want to be me and feel like me."

Her goal is to "have no skin colour left" and she has no regrets. She also has "no regrets" after inking herself from head to toe. "I love all my tattoos," she said. "I am proud of myself for getting them and of my image."

Charlie Fenton

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