Regardless, if you are going to start with a single tattoo, in any location, be sure to tell your artist that your eventual end goal is a full sleeve. “She or he can leave the piece in a way that it can be added to in time,” Gualteros says. “Basically, to get the best result for this, you should ask for flow.” (That’s tattoo-artist speak for “something that will flow nicely with other designs”.)
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.
Some people know the subject matter that they’d like to have done, but haven’t figured out what they want it to look like. Use the internet to search for ideas, taking full advantage of great inspiration sites like Google Image or Pinterest to see art others have had done. If you find something you like, but want your own take on it, print it out and save it for your appointment with one of our tattoo artists; they can take a look at your pulled images and design a tattoo that is absolutely unique to you!
But other than that possible health benefit, tattoos are just downright awesome, especially ones that cover a lot of skin like a sleeve does. It provides the most personal and artistic expression, just due to its massive size. Plus, a tattoo sleeve takes multiple tattoo sessions, so there is plenty of time to get used to and fall in love with a new design.