Getting a sleeve tattoo is a huge commitment that requires more planning and time than a typical piece of body art. You cannot impulsively choose an image from a binder or the Internet and stick it on your arm. If you want a decent-looking design that doesn't suck and makes you rethink your life choices, then you need to do ample research about the process, think about a theme and style, shop around for reputable artists, and then sit down with the artist of your choice to design the tattoo.
For more than 5,000 years, people have been subjecting themselves to ink-stained needles in an attempt to turn their bodies into art. The 25th-anniversary edition of Taschen’s 1000 Tattoos explores the history of body art around the world, from Maori facial engravings to skinhead markings to ’20s circus ladies to awful drunken mistakes (hello, ankle dolphin tattoo). Edited by art historian Burkhard Riemschneider and inker of the stars Henk Schiffmacher (who’s also head of the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum), the book offers 1,000 images of people who have permanently altered their bodies with ink in ways shocking (a butt turned into a giant face), beautiful (the work of contemporary tattoo art stars), and unfortunate (so many exes’ names).
Yup, you found it. This is the famous “Tattoo Sleeves” 140 greatest of all time” page with the most amazing sleeve tattoos ever. Congrats. You found it!There’s no particular meaning behind tattoo sleeves, they are just awesome and demand a huge amount of creativity to make one that stands out from the rest. They also take a lot of time and effort to make, and quite a lot of endurance for the one who gets it done.
The most painful parts are those where skin is the thinnest and needle is close to the bone. Don’t forget that alcohol is not the best way to release stress, because it widens the vessels and may lead to high blood pressure. As a result, you can start bleeding when the needle is inside. So, if you decided to put a sketch on your body, be a little bit patient. To answer the question, whether a tattoo hurts, the answer is yes and no. The feeling of a needle crashing your skin is not the most pleasant thing you ever felt, but if you definitely decided you want a tattoo, it won’t be an excuse.

"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.


These sleeves are awesome. They are a bit tight and took some work getting them up my arm and I was pulling them back up most of the night. And I have skinny arms. One of the sleeves got a snag and now has a run in it. However, they look great and totally pulled the costume together. I got lots of comments and was compared to Howard from the big bang theory all night.
A lot of us have imagined ourselves with those same kinds of full-arm sleeves. For some, it could work well with our no-fucks-to-give persona. For others, it's an aesthetic decision, or an emotional one. If you’re serious about it though, then it’s worth knowing what planning is involved—from inception, to execution, to maintenance. So we spoke with Nicolas Gualteros, tattoo artist at Senaspace in NYC, to plot it all out.
One of the most popular choices among full tattoo sleeve ideas and designs is the original Maori tattoo designs, which feature common tribal elements like – spirals. These tattoos are gaining importance because of simple design and use of free space. The design of the tattoo looks amazing and eye-catchy because when the shapes interact they complement each other.
The most painful parts are those where skin is the thinnest and needle is close to the bone. Don’t forget that alcohol is not the best way to release stress, because it widens the vessels and may lead to high blood pressure. As a result, you can start bleeding when the needle is inside. So, if you decided to put a sketch on your body, be a little bit patient. To answer the question, whether a tattoo hurts, the answer is yes and no. The feeling of a needle crashing your skin is not the most pleasant thing you ever felt, but if you definitely decided you want a tattoo, it won’t be an excuse.
"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.
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.
Laser removal is an option, says Jared Jagdeo, a dermatologist at University of California, Davis. Tuned to a wavelength specific to a tattoo's colors, "lasers are able to break apart tattoo particles," he says. The bursts of energy bust ink "from larger boulders into smaller rocks, and then into fine pebbles which then can be swept away by the lymphatic system."
Another great place for ideas – especially if you’re already in love with one of our artists’ styles – is to look through their tattoo portfolios. Our team has done some really amazing work over the years, and their books alone are inspiring! They’re the best for a reason! Not only can our team design for you an amazing, personalized tattoo, they love working with clients that come in with a clear concept and then let them run with the idea, designing something 100% unique!
In the Maori culture of New Zealand, the head was considered the most important part of the body, with the face embellished by incredibly elaborate tattoos or ‘moko,’ which were regarded as marks of high status. Each tattoo design was unique to that individual and since it conveyed specific information about their status, rank, ancestry and abilities, it has accurately been described as a form of id card or passport, a kind of aesthetic bar code for the face. After sharp bone chisels were used to cut the designs into the skin, a soot-based pigment would be tapped into the open wounds, which then healed over to seal in the design. With the tattoos of warriors given at various stages in their lives as a kind of rite of passage, the decorations were regarded as enhancing their features and making them more attractive to the opposite sex.
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!
The answers to those questions will determine whether you’re looking for a design or a specific image. A lot of guys are going for floral, geometric, or tribal designs just for the artistry. They add some flair to your skin. Other men choose images of religious figures, verses of Scriptures, or popular quotes to remind themselves and others what they believe in. Others feature tattoos of tigers, warriors, and dragons to show their strength. Still others get tattoos of skulls, an hourglass, or death faces to say, “I know it’s coming and I’m not afraid.” Finally, many men get tattoos of their favorite superheroes, movie characters, video games, or sports team logos as a sign of where their interests lie.
Humans have marked their bodies with tattoos for thousands of years. These permanent designs—sometimes plain, sometimes elaborate, always personal—have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment. Joann Fletcher, research fellow in the department of archaeology at the University of York in Britain, describes the history of tattoos and their cultural significance to people around the world, from the famous " Iceman," a 5,200-year-old frozen mummy, to today’s Maori.
Sleeves are not easily covered unless you have a long sleeved shirt on. Some people choose to stop their sleeve before their watch so that people in the workforce can’t see it, even when they shake someone’s hand. Other people choose to extend the work past their wrists and onto their hands. It’s a personal preference and different for every individual.
Yet amongst the Greeks and Romans, the use of tattoos or "stigmata" as they were then called, seems to have been largely used as a means to mark someone as "belonging" either to a religious sect or to an owner in the case of slaves or even as a punitive measure to mark them as criminals. It is therefore quite intriguing that during Ptolemaic times when a dynasty of Macedonian Greek monarchs ruled Egypt, the pharaoh himself, Ptolemy IV (221-205 B.C.), was said to have been tattooed with ivy leaves to symbolize his devotion to Dionysus, Greek god of wine and the patron deity of the royal house at that time. The fashion was also adopted by Roman soldiers and spread across the Roman Empire until the emergence of Christianity, when tattoos were felt to "disfigure that made in God's image" and so were banned by the Emperor Constantine (A.D. 306-373).
Sleeves are not easily covered unless you have a long sleeved shirt on. Some people choose to stop their sleeve before their watch so that people in the workforce can’t see it, even when they shake someone’s hand. Other people choose to extend the work past their wrists and onto their hands. It’s a personal preference and different for every individual.

And this is when I realise that all my endless self-examination was completely pointless. What I think, or don’t think, about tattoos is irrelevant. Because this is the point. Tattoos are fashionable. They may even be beautiful. (Just because I hate them doesn’t mean I’m right.) But by deciding to have a tattoo, my son took a meat cleaver to my apron strings. He may not have wanted to hurt me. I hope he didn’t. But my feelings, as he made his decision, were completely unimportant.
A lot of us have imagined ourselves with those same kinds of full-arm sleeves. For some, it could work well with our no-fucks-to-give persona. For others, it's an aesthetic decision, or an emotional one. If you’re serious about it though, then it’s worth knowing what planning is involved—from inception, to execution, to maintenance. So we spoke with Nicolas Gualteros, tattoo artist at Senaspace in NYC, to plot it all out.

Card symbols have long been popular symbols to get inked. The ace of spades is usually the most popular one to get but not far behind are the Queens. The queen of clubs symbolises a strong willed and positive person. Tattoos in between the fingers usually need to get redone every few years as they do fade due to the amount of rubbing that occurs there.
I look at him, sitting there, my 21-year-old son. I feel I’m being interviewed for a job I don’t even want. I say, “But you’re not. You’re different. I will never look at you in the same way again. It’s a visceral feeling. Maybe because I’m your mother. All those years of looking after your body – taking you to the dentist and making you drink milk and worrying about green leafy vegetables and sunscreen and cancer from mobile phones. And then you let some stranger inject ink under your skin. To me, it seems like self-mutilation. If you’d lost your arm in a car accident, I would have understood. I would have done everything to make you feel better. But this – this is desecration. And I hate it.”

If you know that eventually you want a full sleeve, then Gualteros advises coming up with the full-arm design ahead of time, instead of starting off with just a few sporadic tattoo ideas. This is true for both tribal-style tattoos as well as a series of more random, disconnected ones. “When you’re working with a blank canvas, you can really think through the entire composition to make it cohesive,” he says. “If you’re working with existing tattoos, you just have to try to make it as seamless as possible.”
The ultimate peak of rugged style has captured in the tribal sleeve tattoo. The comprehensive designs are connected to our ancestors’ rites involving scarification rituals, and they were already around way before tattoos were even accepted by society. Plenty of historians are certain that tribal tattoos were the first form of ink-based body art ever created. A lot of aboriginal and tribal groups have glorified the use of tribal tattoos, to symbolize a boy’s maturity. These designs have often been associated to the state of reaching full adulthood. This type of symbolism is still being used up to this day.
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.
Getting a sleeve tattoo is a huge commitment that requires more planning and time than a typical piece of body art. You cannot impulsively choose an image from a binder or the Internet and stick it on your arm. If you want a decent-looking design that doesn't suck and makes you rethink your life choices, then you need to do ample research about the process, think about a theme and style, shop around for reputable artists, and then sit down with the artist of your choice to design the tattoo.
The first documented professional tattooist in Britain was Sutherland Macdonald, who operated out of a salon in London beginning in 1894.[50] In Britain, tattooing was still largely associated with sailors[51] and the lower or even criminal class,[52] but by the 1870s had become fashionable among some members of the upper classes, including royalty,[3][53] and in its upmarket form it could be an expensive[54] and sometimes painful[55] process. A marked class division on the acceptability of the practice continued for some time in Britain.[56] Recently, a trend has arisen marketed as 'Stick and Poke' tattooing; primitive figures are permanently inscribed by the user himself after he obtains a 'DIY' kit containing needles, ink and a collection of suggestions.[57]
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