It's true that some timeless designs can be mistaken as cliché, even though I personally wouldn't consider them to be basic. Roses, doves, and literary text tattoos are pretty common, but no two designs ever have to look exactly the same. Your ideas combined with your tattoo artist's vision will usually result in a unique piece of art, even if you're not the only one with an anchor etched onto your skin. Besides, a tattoo's meaning varies from one person to another. That alone will guarantee your tat to be an original.
Another great place for ideas – especially if you’re already in love with one of our artists’ styles – is to look through their tattoo portfolios. Our team has done some really amazing work over the years, and their books alone are inspiring! They’re the best for a reason! Not only can our team design for you an amazing, personalized tattoo, they love working with clients that come in with a clear concept and then let them run with the idea, designing something 100% unique!

The terms tattoo sleeve, full sleeve, half sleeve, etc. are generic terms given to tattoo designs covering the arm or leg in a close-knit pattern resembling that of a sleeve. The validity of this term is occasionally brought into question but has gained wider acceptance over the years, especially since the dawn of the internet age. “Full sleeve” is just a tad bit catcher and descriptive than searching the web for “full arm piece tattoos.” Most contemporary artists have accepted the term and regularly use it.
That’s only one part of the journey though, as you still need to know what to expect and how best to prepare. Fortunately, you can check these sites for everything you need to know before your first tattoo Before You Get a Tattoo, Check These 5 Sites and Apps Before You Get a Tattoo, Check These 5 Sites and Apps Thinking about getting a tattoo? Get answers to most of your concerns with these five tattoo design sites and app. Read More .
Card symbols have long been popular symbols to get inked. The ace of spades is usually the most popular one to get but not far behind are the Queens. The queen of clubs symbolises a strong willed and positive person. Tattoos in between the fingers usually need to get redone every few years as they do fade due to the amount of rubbing that occurs there.
"The sun definitely takes some years off your tattoo, and if you are a frequent sunbather or cannot commit to putting sunscreen on your tattoos, you should probably stick to areas of your body that don't typically see the sun," Villani says. "[...] Beyond the initial couple weeks, the sun can still dramatically fade tattoos over time. It is so important to keep sunscreen on tattoos that are exposed to the sun." So, while your artist may give you a time period where sunscreen is most important, try to be as vigilant as possible forever, regardless.

Dowdell says that Celtic and tribal tattoos are on the way out (and those similar in design). You might associate them with muscled celebrities and athletes, and recognize them for their ornate patterns or scenery. A Celtic tattoo uses black ink to background crosses, trees, or folkloric animals. A tribal tattoo uses black ink to fill in spiraling, zigzagging arrows and lines, often migrating from the pec onto the shoulder and arm. The tricky thing about tattoos is that you still see the ones that are “out of style”, because they’re permanently on the wearer. So, Dowdell’s point is that he’s doing far fewer of these types anymore, in favor of the aforementioned ones. As seen on: The Rock’s shoulder and arm. (His is technically a Polynesian tattoo, but stylistically in the same vein.)


Sleeves aren’t very easily hidden so make sure to check the policies at work to ensure you can’t get in trouble for new body art. You may be able to hide the pieces pretty well at first but as time goes by and more of your skin is covered, you’ll definitely not be able to cover up the sleeve forever. More than anything, have fun and enjoy the process of creating this masterpiece that will be part of your body forever.

These instruments are also remarkably similar to much later tattooing implements used in 19th-century Egypt. The English writer William Lane (1801-1876) observed, "the operation is performed with several needles (generally seven) tied together: with these the skin is pricked in a desired pattern: some smoke black (of wood or oil), mixed with milk from the breast of a woman, is then rubbed in.... It is generally performed at the age of about 5 or 6 years, and by gipsy-women.”
For more than 5,000 years, people have been subjecting themselves to ink-stained needles in an attempt to turn their bodies into art. The 25th-anniversary edition of Taschen’s 1000 Tattoos explores the history of body art around the world, from Maori facial engravings to skinhead markings to ’20s circus ladies to awful drunken mistakes (hello, ankle dolphin tattoo). Edited by art historian Burkhard Riemschneider and inker of the stars Henk Schiffmacher (who’s also head of the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum), the book offers 1,000 images of people who have permanently altered their bodies with ink in ways shocking (a butt turned into a giant face), beautiful (the work of contemporary tattoo art stars), and unfortunate (so many exes’ names).

Current cultural understandings of tattoos in Europe and North America have been greatly influenced by long-standing stereotypes based on deviant social groups in the 19th and 20th centuries. Particularly in North America, tattoos have been associated with stereotypes, folklore and racism.[22] Not until the 1960s and 1970s did people associate tattoos with such societal outcasts as bikers and prisoners.[76] Today, in the United States many prisoners and criminal gangs use distinctive tattoos to indicate facts about their criminal behavior, prison sentences and organizational affiliation.[77] A teardrop tattoo, for example, can be symbolic of murder, or each tear represents the death of a friend. At the same time, members of the U.S. military have an equally well-established and longstanding history of tattooing to indicate military units, battles, kills, etc., an association that remains widespread among older Americans. In Japan, tattoos are associated with yakuza criminal groups, but there are non-yakuza groups such as Fukushi Masaichi's tattoo association that sought to preserve the skins of dead Japanese who have extensive tattoos. Tattooing is also common in the British Armed Forces. Depending on vocation, tattoos are accepted in a number of professions in America. Companies across many fields are increasingly focused on diversity and inclusion.[78]


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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