A sleeve tattoo comes from the cooperation between the tattooist and the customer, in order to show a theme that they have both liked and agreed on. Occasionally, the sleeve is made when someone has plenty of small, individual tattoos found on their leg or arm. This person eventually has them linked to each other with a background tattooing, to be able to create a complete sleeve tattoo. A full sleeve tattoo can take endless hours of non-stop tattooing, sometimes taking days, weeks, months, and even years to finish. Tattoo sleeves have become so popular that plenty of clothing companies have created apparel that simulates the look and feel of a tattoo sleeve with the help of a transparent mesh, that’s printed with tattoo designs. If a person gets both of their arms tattooed as a part of a full-body tattoo, this is also referred to as a sleeve tattoo.
A lot of us have imagined ourselves with those same kinds of full-arm sleeves. For some, it could work well with our no-fucks-to-give persona. For others, it's an aesthetic decision, or an emotional one. If you’re serious about it though, then it’s worth knowing what planning is involved—from inception, to execution, to maintenance. So we spoke with Nicolas Gualteros, tattoo artist at Senaspace in NYC, to plot it all out.
A blacked out sleeve tattoo is done by an artist to either cover up an unwanted previous design, or throw in a bold statement to this prominent area of a person’s body. The entire arm is tattooed in black, or white can be added to make a delicate design as a part of the tattoo’s look. If it’s not covered up, a negative space can be left to create a rather unique design. Blackout sleeves won’t happen overnight. Plenty of sittings are involved in this painstakingly slow process, as well as the obvious pain that comes before and during healing. Getting a blacked out sleeve tattoo isn’t a quick fix, but rather, a tattoo decision that requires 100% of the artist and the client’s commitment.
Some organizations have proposed rules banning sleeves among their members; the United States Marine Corps prohibited Marines from getting arm- or leg-sleeve tattoos after April 1, 2007. Those with sleeves already are protected under a grandfather clause.[2] Nevertheless, tattoo sleeves have become so popular that several clothing companies have produced apparel that simulates the look of tattoo sleeves using transparent mesh fabric printed with tattoo designs.

82. A sleeve like this is timeless. It’s incredible. There are so many levels and different variations. It was probably done in installments and it’s a fascinating piece. You can see on the top of the shoulder how that was probably one piece and then he continued to add on throughout his arm. The artist did a rather stellar job in making the entire piece flow so well. That’s not an easy accomplishment and this artist makes it look simple!
Finding a tattoo design that you want inked on your skin forever is a process. Searching the photos on our site will help you get inspiration, or even better, a tattoo artist near you that can help bring your ideas to life. Tattoo.com helps you narrow down results to art created by tattoo artists near you. Learn about tattoos, discover their symbolic meaning, find inspiration, collect the ones you like and easily contact the artists who created them to find out how you too can get an amazing design you won’t end up regretting.

Bleeding is normal and will continue for the first two nights after a fresh tattoo. Some redness and swelling is also normal in the first week. You should become concerned when there is pus, a foul odor, and extreme swelling and inflammation that continues for more than a week. If you feel discomfort and suspect an infection, call your doctor or tattoo parlor immediately.

In Britain, there is evidence of women with tattoos, concealed by their clothing, throughout the 20th century, and records of women tattooists such as Jessie Knight from the 1920s.[79] A study of "at-risk" (as defined by school absenteeism and truancy) adolescent girls showed a positive correlation between body modification and negative feelings towards the body and low self-esteem; however, the study also demonstrated that a strong motive for body modification is the search for "self and attempts to attain mastery and control over the body in an age of increasing alienation".[80] The prevalence of women in the tattoo industry in the 21st century, along with larger numbers of women bearing tattoos, appears to be changing negative perceptions.


Ancient tattooing was most widely practiced among the Austronesian people. It was one of the early technologies developed by the Proto-Austronesians in Taiwan and coastal South China prior to at least 1500 BCE, before the Austronesian expansion into the islands of the Indo-Pacific.[36][37] It may have originally been associated with headhunting.[38] Tattooing traditions, including facial tattooing, can be found among all Austronesian subgroups, including Taiwanese Aborigines, Islander Southeast Asians, Micronesians, Polynesians, and the Malagasy people. Austronesians used the characteristic hafted skin-puncturing technique, using a small mallet and a piercing implement made from Citrus thorns, fish bone, bone, and oyster shells.[37][1][39]

The word tattoo, or tattow in the 18th century, is a loanword from the Samoan word tatau, meaning "to strike".[1][2] The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymology of tattoo as "In 18th c. tattaow, tattow. From Polynesian (Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan, etc.) tatau. In Marquesan, tatu." Before the importation of the Polynesian word, the practice of tattooing had been described in the West as painting, scarring or staining.[3]
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