The term "sleeve" is a reference to the tattoo's size similarity in coverage to a long shirt sleeve on an article of clothing. In this manner, the term is also used as a verb; for example, "getting sleeved" means to have one's entire arm tattooed. The term is also sometimes used in reference to a large leg tattoo that covers a person's leg in a similar manner.
Deciding to get a tattoo is a big deal, regardless of whether it's your first time under the needle or not. But for a tattoo virgin, the stakes are arguably even higher when it comes to picking a design and spot that won't be hated later. Classic wrist tattoo ideas are always a great place to start for inspiration, IMO, although what you choose to ink is entirely your decision.
When you opt for a sleeve tattoo, you have several considerations. Do you want your whole arm covered in tattoos, or just half or a quarter sleeve? Your tattoo artistcan help you best decide on the scale and placement of your sleeve tattoo. Some people start with just a few random placed tattoos and bridge them together later with a more significant piece. If you're just starting your sleeve idea, it's the right time to consider the final project and scale.
Tattoos used to be the preserve of criminals and toffs. And sailors. In the 1850s, the corpses of seamen washed up on the coast of north Cornwall were “strangely decorated” with blue, according to Robert Hawker, the vicar of Morwenstow – initials, or drawings of anchors, flowers or religious symbols (“Our blessed Saviour on His Cross, with on the one hand His mother, and on the other St John the Evangelist”). “It is their object and intent, when they assume these signs,” says Hawker, “to secure identity for their bodies if their lives are lost at sea.”
Perhaps the main difference between ancient and modern tattoos is that in the contemporary West, a given design’s message is often harder to decipher than those of tattoos rooted in specific cultural traditions. It was easy for fellow Maoris to read meaning in the markings on each other’s faces. But why, oh why, would you plaster your scalp with an picture of a continental breakfast, or ink a puking yellow mouse on your back, as certain bold souls showcased here did? (That’s not to suggest that tattoos have lost their tribal significance. Just look to the tattoos of prison gangs, skinheads, biker clubs, punk rockers, and other subcultures.)
Each militarybranch has their own restrictions pertaining to tattoos. As of April 2007, the United States Marines Corp. banned tattoo sleeves except for those already grandfathered in prior to the policy change. If you plan on enlisting you can forget tattoo sleeves for now. This consideration must also be made for employment. Potential employers may have regulations banning sleeve tattoos or any visible tattoos for that matter. If you must stay sheathed from shoulder to wrist, you'll be hot in the summer.