If you know you eventually want a sleeve, or if you’re going full-sleeve right out the gate, then Gualteros recommends starting at the shoulder. From there, you’ll work your way down the arm. “If someone came to me and let me do whatever I wanted, I’d start from the top with something that fits the body,” he says. “Something that doesn’t look like a sticker on the arm, then bring it down and fill it in.” Alternatively, he notes that some of his customers and fellow artists prefer to start at the wrist and work their way up, but on the same principle: By starting on one end, you aren’t guessing where to place everything else. Instead, you’re moving up or down the sleeve and filling it in with some kind of order.
But that’s how it is! Sure, from a distance the sleeves make them look tough, but these guys know better than anyone how to ink up their arm in a strategic, meaningful way. Think of all the factors they've got to juggle: Choosing an artist can realize their vision, putting together the cash, sitting for all those hours, and then caring for the new tats so they don't need any touch ups—all over the course of weeks, months or years!
I am 6'3 and 205 with larger arms. These fit me OK. They run about 2/3 of the way up my arm and the top can be hidden by a shirt sleeve. They are 92% nylon and 8% spandex. They have a bit of ruuberband around the upper arm piece to hold it in place. The material feels like a women's nylon sock and I would guess holds up well to being stretched but not to snags or sharp objects.
Sleeve tattoos have been definitively transformed in the last decade, and now they regularly feature a conglomerate of art styles that border on the edge of optic illusions and meta curiosities. Extensive art pieces can be executed with a direct focus on sublime stimulation. Highly detailed tribal symbols often mesh with futuristic machinery and pop culture icons. Flesh and sinew can be replicated to make it seem like the skin is practically non-existent.
To help you, at least a little, we got some design suggestions from Sean Dowdell, co-owner of Club Tattoo, which has locations in Las Vegas, as well as Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale, AZ. Dowdell's team has inked celebs like Slash, Miley Cyrus, Amar’e Stoudemire, Blake Shelton, Steve Aoki, and Keith Sweat. We asked him for suggestions on the most popular types of tattoos today—and ones that will look good with time, instead of feeling dated to a certain decade.
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.