At work with Alison: Tattoo Artist

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) - Patricia Loy-Colebank, known simply as Patty, says her love for tattoos started as a child.

"My parents say even when I was a toddler I would point at tattoos and ooh and ahh," said Patty.

But it wasn't until college that Patty first got serious about ink.

"I started getting tattooed and hanging out in tattoo studios. You do that long enough and the owner will eventually say, 'Hey, would you like to tattoo?'"

While Patty has a bachelor's degree in sculpture, she says a college degree isn't a requirement for her job.

"However, artistic talent is a requirement for being a tattoo artist because we're basically just drawing and painting on the skin," she said.

Now, Patty is the co-owner of a tattoo parlor and is so in-demand, she's booked until 2019.

"My favorite thing about tattoos is that they become a part of you. It's not just painting on you, and it's not like putting on clothes or jewelry, it is a part of you. It makes evident on the outside what people are feeling on the inside," she said.

Besides the needle gun and ink, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a great tattoo.

"We put many, many hours in behind the scenes drawing patters, answering questions, checking e-mails, going back and forth with people to figure out exactly what it is they want," she said.

In addition to tattoos, Patty paints and sews, and has artwork at Tamarack.

For those who are interested in committing to ink, Patty has some advice: "Tattoos are forever and forever is a really long time, so make sure you think good and hard about it before you do it."