Your next consideration should be where you want your tattoo. Is it something you want to show off, easily conceal or reveal, or a more personal project that only you will see? Your body will be your canvas, so it’s important to choose a portion of your anatomy appropriate to your art. Back pieces are exceptionally well suited to larger concepts, which you may want to expand at some future date. If you just want to start small, the bicep or the forearm are ideal for more contained show pieces, discrete emblems that can be worked into “sleeves”—either half or full—at a later time.
It is possible that an implement best described as a sharp point set in a wooden handle, dated to c. 3000 B.C. and discovered by archaeologist W.M.F. Petrie at the site of Abydos may have been used to create tattoos. Petrie also found the aforementioned set of small bronze instruments c. 1450 B.C.—resembling wide, flattened needles—at the ancient town site of Gurob. If tied together in a bunch, they would provide repeated patterns of multiple dots.
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.
Jump up ^ The Times (London), 3 April 1879, p. 9: "Crime has a ragged regiment in its pay so far as the outward ... qualities are concerned ... they tattoo themselves indelibly ... asserting the man's identity with the aid of needles and gunpowder. This may be the explanation of the Mermaids, the Cupid's arrows, the name of MARY, the tragic inscription to the memory of parents, the unintended pathos of the appeal to liberty."
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.
If you talk to a tattoo artist about it, they'll likely be able to advise you on what will and won't look good, based on experience. Unfortunately, some of the trendiest tattoos are the most difficult to keep up over time. "There are two main reasons some tattoos age better than others: the size of the tattoo and long-term sun damage," Jordanne Le Fae, of Jordanne Le Tattoos, tells Bustle. But other little variables, like line-thickness and tattoo color, also end up making a difference.
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.
Over time, tattoos have served purposes as varied as camouflaging hunters, marking victory in battle, memorializing the dead, telling the wearer’s life story, and symbolizing just how goddamn tough you are. “The tattoo is a form of non-verbal communication,” writes Schiffmacher, who has tattooed the likes of Kurt Cobain and Anthony Kiedis. “This is just as true for the so-called primitive cultures as it is for the supposedly civilized world.”
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.