Choose a few symbols. Once you have the style, the theme, and the message in mind, you should pick out some symbols to add meaning to the overall design. For example, if you love the ocean and wanted to get a tribal style tattoo that represented heartbreak, you might think about incorporating symbols such as hearts, wilting roses, a shipwrecked boat, a broken anchor, waves crashing into a heart-shaped rock, etc.
Jump up ^ The Times (London), 18 April 1889, p. 12: "A Japanese Professional Tattooer". Article describes the activities of an unnamed Japanese tattooist based in Hong Kong. He charged £4 for a dragon, which would take 5 hours to do. The article ends "The Hong-Kong operator tattooed the arm of an English Prince, and, in Kioto, was engaged for a whole month reproducing on the trunk and limbs of an English peer a series of scenes from Japanese history. For this he was paid about £100. He has also tattooed ladies.... His income from tattooing in Hong Kong is about £1,200 per annum."
Sleeve tattoos look good on masculine arms, since they tend to catch attention from almost everyone. Plenty of nicely illustrated sleeve tattoos for men give them a rugged, manlier look, and bring out a appealing effect especially towards the ladies. You can brandish that sleeve tattoo of yours in plenty of casual events, through sporting a sleeveless jacket or shirt. This also attracts loads of looks from people, from artistic souls and admirers, to the more jealous ones. Always work out constantly to keep those leg or arm muscles looking toned, and your tattoo will surely look better even as you get older.

Samoan society has long been defined by rank and title, with chiefs (ali'i) and their assistants, known as talking chiefs (tulafale), descending from notable families in the proper birth order. The tattooing ceremonies for young chiefs, typically conducted at the onset of puberty, were elaborate affairs and were a key part of their ascendance to a leadership role. The permanent marks left by the tattoo artists would forever celebrate their endurance and dedication to cultural traditions. The pain was extreme and the risk of death by infection was a great concern. But to shy away from tattooing was to risk being labeled a pala'ai or coward and reviled by the clan. Those who could not endure the pain and abandoned their tattooing were left incomplete, wearing their mark of shame throughout their life.


Your next consideration should be where you want your tattoo. Is it something you want to show off, easily conceal or reveal, or a more personal project that only you will see? Your body will be your canvas, so it’s important to choose a portion of your anatomy appropriate to your art. Back pieces are exceptionally well suited to larger concepts, which you may want to expand at some future date. If you just want to start small, the bicep or the forearm are ideal for more contained show pieces, discrete emblems that can be worked into “sleeves”—either half or full—at a later time.
Leave the colors to the artist. Hamlet suggests not bringing in a fully rendered drawing of the image and colors you want. The more I interview tattoo artists, the more I am coming to understand that getting a tattoo is like commissioning an artist to paint a mural. You do own the building, but you don't hand the artist a photo of another artist's mural and tell them to replicate it for you. Instead, you say your building works for peace and you want a mural that conveys that message and that you especially love lily of the valley flowers and the image of the rising sun. Then you let the artist do what they do: Create some art!
Many tattoos serve as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, amulets and talismans, protection, and as punishment, like the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. The symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures. Tattoos may show how a person feels about a relative (commonly mother/father or daughter/son) or about an unrelated person.[13] Today, people choose to be tattooed for artistic, cosmetic, sentimental/memorial, religious, and magical reasons, and to symbolize their belonging to or identification with particular groups, including criminal gangs (see criminal tattoos) or a particular ethnic group or law-abiding subculture. Popular verses include John 3:16, Philippians 4:13, and Psalms 23.[14]
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