Tattoos, especially sleeves, are quite a commitment. When creating your sleeve look, decide if you want them to all tell one story or if you want them to each be separate. Take into consideration if you want there to be space in between the images or words or if you’d prefer there to be no empty space. Creating your look is fun but it can be time consuming so don’t be discouraged if it takes more than a couple days to decide on your pieces. Take some time to evaluate how much this sleeve will cost and take into consideration that it will take time to heal your pieces before you can draw over something. This could be a months long or even years long process. Patience will breed a beautiful result.
This sort of tattoo is quite a commitment. They involve hours of work in the chair, concentrated effort by the artist and lots of money on the part of the canvas. Sleeves have come and gone in popularity but have gained more popularity in recent years as tattoos have gained traction over the years. Once someone chooses to get a sleeve, they often opt to get another sleeve and often continue by getting chest pieces and their backs done.
Many people start their tattoo sleeves without intent and that's just fine. If you take the organic approach and let one small tattoo turn into another and somehow tie it all together with a background of some sort later, you'll likely have an armful of meaningful body art. Others go full on with a sleeve from the get-go and that works too. Of course, with this approach, you'll be investing a larger sum of money upfront, and you'll need to dedicate the time in the chair to complete the work. Most likely you'll be going back to the same artist which means their schedule will need to be considered as well. If you have the time and the money to complete the job, get it done. Otherwise start a slower and more balanced approach. Never compromise quality for quantity.
Getting a tattoo, although a permanent decision regardless, can yield all sorts of different results as the years go by. Some of the tattoos that look coolest in the short-term may end up changing drastically over time. And this can be really frustrating if you weren't prepared. Luckily, there are some tattoos that look better with age, and tattoo artists know exactly what they are.
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. 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". 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.
In terms of tattoos on actual bodies, the earliest known examples were for a long time Egyptian and were present on several female mummies dated to c. 2000 B.C. But following the more recent discovery of the Iceman from the area of the Italian-Austrian border in 1991 and his tattoo patterns, this date has been pushed back a further thousand years when he was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old.
Half-sleeves or quarter-sleeves are tattoos that cover only part of an arm, usually above the elbow, but can also be found below the elbow. A sleeve implies complete tattoo coverage of a particular area, so a half sleeve is a tattoo that covers the entire upper or lower arm. A "quarter sleeve" usually covers the area of skin from the shoulder midway to the elbow.
Tattooing involves the placement of pigment into the skin's dermis, the layer of dermal tissue underlying the epidermis. After initial injection, pigment is dispersed throughout a homogenized damaged layer down through the epidermis and upper dermis, in both of which the presence of foreign material activates the immune system's phagocytes to engulf the pigment particles. As healing proceeds, the damaged epidermis flakes away (eliminating surface pigment) while deeper in the skin granulation tissue forms, which is later converted to connective tissue by collagen growth. This mends the upper dermis, where pigment remains trapped within successive generations of macrophages, ultimately concentrating in a layer just below the dermis/epidermis boundary. Its presence there is stable, but in the long term (decades) the pigment tends to migrate deeper into the dermis, accounting for the degraded detail of old tattoos.
"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.
Mainstream art galleries hold exhibitions of both conventional and custom tattoo designs, such as Beyond Skin, at the Museum of Croydon. Copyrighted tattoo designs that are mass-produced and sent to tattoo artists are known as "flash", a notable instance of industrial design. Flash sheets are prominently displayed in many tattoo parlors for the purpose of providing both inspiration and ready-made tattoo images to customers.