Sleeve tattoos are one of the most popular tattoo designs in the world over, as they look both beautiful and prominent. Like the sleeve of a garment, they cover the area from the shoulder to the wrist, though some designs may be half sleeved or quarter sleeved. These designs combine a large number of smaller designs, which make creating them a difficult and time-consuming task, but the effort is truly worth the while.
In the Maori culture of New Zealand, the head was considered the most important part of the body, with the face embellished by incredibly elaborate tattoos or ‘moko,’ which were regarded as marks of high status. Each tattoo design was unique to that individual and since it conveyed specific information about their status, rank, ancestry and abilities, it has accurately been described as a form of id card or passport, a kind of aesthetic bar code for the face. After sharp bone chisels were used to cut the designs into the skin, a soot-based pigment would be tapped into the open wounds, which then healed over to seal in the design. With the tattoos of warriors given at various stages in their lives as a kind of rite of passage, the decorations were regarded as enhancing their features and making them more attractive to the opposite sex.
Today's the day, you're ready to commit, and you just know in your heart — it's tattoo time! Now you need help figuring out how to pick a full tattoo sleeve theme. I've been on a mission for Bustle, interviewing tattoo artists all over the Bay Area. My goal has been to learn more about tattoo sleeves so I can help ladies who are ready to go under the gun, but still need more information. I've covered what part of a tattoo sleeve hurts the most and facts to know before getting started. I wrote a piece answering how long does a full sleeve tattoo take and how to deal with aftercare. But I honestly think picking the theme is the most exciting part.

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.
Getting a sleeve tattoo is a huge commitment that requires more planning and time than a typical piece of body art. You cannot impulsively choose an image from a binder or the Internet and stick it on your arm. If you want a decent-looking design that doesn't suck and makes you rethink your life choices, then you need to do ample research about the process, think about a theme and style, shop around for reputable artists, and then sit down with the artist of your choice to design the tattoo.
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.
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.

Although it’s hard to read in the photo, the wider shot shows you how script can work really well to join different tattoos. It sits below a cross themed tattoo, so is potentially a passage out of the bible that inspires or holds a dear meaning to the person. Script can work great on the leg and backs and also wraps around nicely. When opting for a script tattoo be sure to get someone that’s experience in doing nice lettering.
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.
Remember how we said society is more accepting of sleeve tattoos now? While it is true, that doesn’t mean everyone is fine with them. For example, the United States Marines Corp. changed their policy in April 2007 to ban tattoo sleeves unless you got them before enlisting. There are also still plenty of employers who have a “no visible tattoo” policy but require a short-sleeve shirt uniform, which means you’re out of luck.
Tattoo sleeves often look their best colorful. Whether you opt for traditional old school tattoos, mermaid or pin-updesigns, or an armful of colorful flowers , adding vibrant details to your tattoo sleeves can really really make them pop. When you select your designs, analyze the colors as well. There's nothing worse than despising orange on your skin only to sport a huge Tiger Lily later. Often overlooked, this step is important so pay attention. Your artist isn't going to analyze or know these things about you so think about them first and speak up.

Perhaps even then this was a fashion statement, a badge of belonging. Or just what you did after too much rum. Later, the aristocracy flirted with body art. According to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (they know a lot about tattoos), Edward VII had a Jerusalem cross on his arm while both his sons, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York (later George V), had dragon tattoos. Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston’s mum, had a snake on her wrist.
The ultimate peak of rugged style has captured in the tribal sleeve tattoo. The comprehensive designs are connected to our ancestors’ rites involving scarification rituals, and they were already around way before tattoos were even accepted by society. Plenty of historians are certain that tribal tattoos were the first form of ink-based body art ever created. A lot of aboriginal and tribal groups have glorified the use of tribal tattoos, to symbolize a boy’s maturity. These designs have often been associated to the state of reaching full adulthood. This type of symbolism is still being used up to this day.

Perhaps even then this was a fashion statement, a badge of belonging. Or just what you did after too much rum. Later, the aristocracy flirted with body art. According to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (they know a lot about tattoos), Edward VII had a Jerusalem cross on his arm while both his sons, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York (later George V), had dragon tattoos. Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston’s mum, had a snake on her wrist.


"Bold black text and American Traditional tattoos still look badass when they fade," Villani says. "It's kind of like how distressed jeans look cool [...] This may seem excessive for most people, but planning how a tattoo will look as it ages will be a fist bump to yourself in the future." If text or traditional tattoos aren't exactly up your alley, you can ask your tattoo artist if you can incorporate darker lines or more negative space into your design.
One of the most popular places for girls to get tattoos is around the feet and ankles. It seems less of a commitment to a life long piece of art on you because it’s less noticeable and easily concealable. The feet are also not generally considered the most beautiful part of the body, so it can be a great way of making them look prettier and adding some art to them.
However, not everyone digs deep when it comes to the reasons behind tattoos. There are men who simply get tattooed because they think it looks good on them. Men who think of tattoos this way often go for the most badass tattoo designs around instead of meaningful ones. Because if they want to look good with tattoos, they might as well go big and choose the most masculine and the most impressive.
Shop around for artists. The biggest mistake people make is designing their own tattoo before picking out an artist. That design is going to change because no two artists will draw the same object in the same way. Every artist has their own style and flair. Pick one you love based on their style, and work with them to visualize your ideas. If you want a shark tattoo, and the artist doesn't have a shark in his/her portfolio, it doesn't matter. Every artist can draw a shark. It's how they draw it that matters. Once you pick out an artist you like, do some research on what makes a good tattoo artist and see if they check off everything on the list. Aside from style, professionalism and personality are equally important factors.
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!
These sleeves are awesome. They are a bit tight and took some work getting them up my arm and I was pulling them back up most of the night. And I have skinny arms. One of the sleeves got a snag and now has a run in it. However, they look great and totally pulled the costume together. I got lots of comments and was compared to Howard from the big bang theory all night.
Yet amongst the Greeks and Romans, the use of tattoos or "stigmata" as they were then called, seems to have been largely used as a means to mark someone as "belonging" either to a religious sect or to an owner in the case of slaves or even as a punitive measure to mark them as criminals. It is therefore quite intriguing that during Ptolemaic times when a dynasty of Macedonian Greek monarchs ruled Egypt, the pharaoh himself, Ptolemy IV (221-205 B.C.), was said to have been tattooed with ivy leaves to symbolize his devotion to Dionysus, Greek god of wine and the patron deity of the royal house at that time. The fashion was also adopted by Roman soldiers and spread across the Roman Empire until the emergence of Christianity, when tattoos were felt to "disfigure that made in God's image" and so were banned by the Emperor Constantine (A.D. 306-373).
A recent study in the US surprising revealed that whilst 85% of people think that males are more likely to have tattoos, on the contrary, 59% of the tattooed population is made up of females. We now live in an age where tattoos are common place and it’s not longer considered a faux pas for a female to have tattoos showing. Tattoos are a great way of expressing yourself through body art and we have compiled 125 of our favourite tattoo ideas for girls.
A menacing skull peeks beneath a hooded cloak, a yellow and black snake lies coiled, ready to strike, and a trail of red roses litter a climbing vine. These make up just a few of the designs available in an instant with tattoo sleeves. Within minutes, the arms display unique and colorful body art without the pain and perpetuity of authentic tattoos. Creative shoppers looking for distinctive tattoo sleeves find a wide range sporting colorful objects, figures, and designs from reliable sellers on eBay. Consumers can choose pairs of sleeves or entire sets featuring artwork from light and delicate to bold and graphic. Try one sleeve or two paired with a chunky, leather and metal cuff for a look that says "tough and independent." Striking tribal tattoo sleeves in black, navy, or dark green make a statement worn under a white or black T-shirt, and a full tattoo sleeve shirt offers an amusing look for parties or clubbing. People looking for a more permanent solution find a variety of tattoo patterns for inspiration, and post-tattoo essentials like Tattoo Goo for successful after care.
In the period of early contact between the Māori and Europeans, the Maori people hunted and decapitated each other for their moko tattoos, which they traded for European items including axes and firearms.[21] Moko tattoos were facial designs worn to indicate lineage, social position, and status within the tribe. The tattoo art was a sacred marker of identity among the Maori and also referred to as a vehicle for storing one's tapu, or spiritual being, in the afterlife.[22]
×