Remember that you will need touch ups. “Anything with a bold composition is usually easy to touch up and bring back to life, as is black and gray blending,” Dowdell says. “If you had a tattoo of a lion in black and gray—let's assume that the composition is solid but the application not so much—then it’s easier for us to go back into it and re-sculpt it into a legitimate piece of art and make it look better.”
More important than ever is finding an artist who specializes in the kind of tattoo you want. Gualteros, for example, specializes in realism tattoos, as well deep black designs, and that’s what most of his customers want from him. He says to shop around with this as your biggest requirement, instead of shopping for prices. After all, you’ll be wearing this thing prominently for all your days, so it’s not worth bargaining. “Set up a design consultation to talk through your ideas with the artist,” Gualteros says. “Play around with a sketch, and if everything goes well—if artist and client are on the same page—set up the appointment and get it going.”
If you want an animal-based tattoo, the most obvious choices include lion tattoos, tiger tattoos, and wolf tattoos. The bigger the design, the better. Eagle tattoos are also excellent choices, especially when done on the upper back with the wings extending all the way to the shoulders. If you want badass animal-based tattoos inspired by different mythologies and religions, Hinduism is an excellent place to look into. There’s Ganesha (elephant), Narasimha (lion), and Garuda (eagle).
Since the Disney movie The Little Mermaid, the mermaid form has been a popular style for both costumes and tattoos alike. Above you can see a cool example of an under the sea style theme on the forearm. Silhouetted styles are generally safe choices as the thicker line work makes them last longer and less intricate line work that can potentially be messed up or fade over time.
Compasses were traditionally tattooed on sailors and boating enthusiasts. They symbolise not only been at sea but also finding direction in your life or a particular journey you embarked on. Nowadays they are popular for aesthetic value as well as for people such as backpackers who have done a lot of traveling and want a compass design. Some will even have the compass face the direction of their home from where they have moved to so as to have a reminder of where they came from.
Not everyone in society will appreciate a good tattoo and sometimes you might be forced to attend functions where showing off your tattoo might not be appropriate. For the neck, head, face or finger tattoos this can pose a challenge when it comes to concealment, but the sleeve tattoo will enable you to conceal your tattoo if you have to attend gatherings where the crowd is not very tattoo-friendly. The sleeve tattoo in this case becomes an advantage and underneath the shirt, you still get to maintain that symbol that means something to you.
Another tattoo alternative is henna-based tattoos, which generally contain no additives. Henna is a plant-derived substance which is painted on the skin, staining it a reddish-orange-to-brown color. Because of the semi-permanent nature of henna, they lack the realistic colors typical of decal temporary tattoos. Due to the time-consuming application process, it is a relatively poor option for children. Dermatological publications report that allergic reactions to natural henna are very rare and the product is generally considered safe for skin application. Serious problems can occur, however, from the use of henna with certain additives. The FDA and medical journals report that painted black henna temporary tattoos are especially dangerous. Black Henna or Pre-Mixed Henna Temporary Tattoos May Be Harmful - see below for safety information.
You can also go for portraits of fictional characters considered by many as a badass. Examples of which include Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) from Game of Thrones, Darth Maul (Ray Park) from Star Wars, the T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from the Terminator films, and Blade (Wesley Snipes) from the Blade films. Be sure that the tattoo artist is well-experienced in the portrait department, though.
The American Academy of Dermatology distinguishes five types of tattoos: traumatic tattoos, also called "natural tattoos", that result from injuries, especially asphalt from road injuries or pencil lead; amateur tattoos; professional tattoos, both via traditional methods and modern tattoo machines; cosmetic tattoos, also known as "permanent makeup"; and medical tattoos.