Plenty of cultures from across the globe have used tattoos as a form of expression. Certain cultures have used tattoos as a part of many rites of passage, for beauty, or artistic purposes, as a type of warrior mark, to identify a tribe or a gang, and so on. But it’s pretty much clear that when it comes to cultures from across the globe, tattoos have always stood for both belonging and marginality.
A sleeve tattoo is the best if you want to go through the hours of pinpricking without the risk of inconveniencing sensitive parts of your body. The arm isn’t surrounded by any vital body organs that might be put to risk. As much as today’s methods of tattooing have improved with technology, still having a sleeve tattoo done is considered safer compared to having one done on the eyelids or navel area.
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.
Certain colours - red or similar colours such as purple, pink, and orange - tend to cause more problems and damage compared to other colours.[87] Red ink has even caused skin and flesh damages so severe that the amputation of a leg or an arm has been necessary. If part of a tattoo (especially if red) begins to cause even minor troubles, like becoming itchy or worse, lumpy, then Danish experts strongly suggest to remove the red parts.[88]
Leave the colors to the artist. Hamlet suggests not bringing in a fully rendered drawing of the image and colors you want. The more I interview tattoo artists, the more I am coming to understand that getting a tattoo is like commissioning an artist to paint a mural. You do own the building, but you don't hand the artist a photo of another artist's mural and tell them to replicate it for you. Instead, you say your building works for peace and you want a mural that conveys that message and that you especially love lily of the valley flowers and the image of the rising sun. Then you let the artist do what they do: Create some art!
82. A sleeve like this is timeless. It’s incredible. There are so many levels and different variations. It was probably done in installments and it’s a fascinating piece. You can see on the top of the shoulder how that was probably one piece and then he continued to add on throughout his arm. The artist did a rather stellar job in making the entire piece flow so well. That’s not an easy accomplishment and this artist makes it look simple!
Sleeve tattoos are a collaboration between a tattoo artist and customer to demonstrate a personal and unified artistic theme. Other times, a sleeve is created when a person has many smaller tattoos on their arm and later has them connected with background tattooing to form a sleeve. Planned sleeves generally require many long hours of tattooing and can take weeks, months or years to complete.
The variety is literally endless as they give the liberty to the designer to create something new at every stage of its completion, because of the fact that it is a combination of a large number of small-sized tattoos, rather than being one large and continuous one. The variation can be based not only on the elements of design, but also colors used in creating sleeve style tattoos. Some designers may make these designs in conventional colors such as black and grey, while others can go for more vibrant colors to make sure that the tattoo attracts every person who sees it and definitely demands a second look.

Many studies have been done of the tattooed population and society's view of tattoos. In June 2006, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published the results of a telephone survey of 2004. It found that 36% of Americans ages 18–29, 24% of those 30–40, and 15% of those 41–51 had a tattoo.[58] In September 2006, the Pew Research Center conducted a telephone survey that found that 36% of Americans ages 18–25, 40% of those 26–40 and 10% of those 41–64 had a tattoo. They concluded that Generation X and Generation Y express themselves through their appearance, and tattoos are the most popular form of self-expression.[59] In January 2008, a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive estimated that 14% of all adults in the United States have a tattoo, slightly down from 2003, when 16% had a tattoo. Among age groups, 9% of those ages 18–24, 32% of those 25–29, 25% of those 30–39 and 12% of those 40–49 have tattoos, as do 8% of those 50–64. Men are slightly more likely to have a tattoo than women.
Don’t expect to get a huge tattoo, or series of them, in just one sitting. They just take too long. Gualteros has some clients who fly in from overseas, and who then spend a few solid days getting big-scale tattoos completed. But that’s a special case. “Usually it’ll happen over more time,” he says. “It could take months, it could take years. Usually, you leave 3-4 weeks between appointments and a sleeve can require anywhere from 8-10 sessions.”

Although it’s hard to read in the photo, the wider shot shows you how script can work really well to join different tattoos. It sits below a cross themed tattoo, so is potentially a passage out of the bible that inspires or holds a dear meaning to the person. Script can work great on the leg and backs and also wraps around nicely. When opting for a script tattoo be sure to get someone that’s experience in doing nice lettering.


At first glance it looks like an actual tattoo gun tucked in to a garter, if you look a little closer though you can see it’s actually a very realistic looking 3d style tattoo. The detail and shadowing is exceptional on this design and would have definitely been done by a very talented artist. If you’re looking for a certain style of tattoo such as the one above a great place to find artists can be social media.


This tattoo design normally has smaller details that need to be given with serious attention by the tattoo artists. Perfecting these tiny details requires wide knowledge about sleeve style tattooing. This is the reason why it is very important for you to opt for a well-experienced and most reliable tattoo artist in town. Depending on the difficulty of the design, this may require days, weeks, and even months of engraving into the person’s arms. It even requires great creativity on the tattoo artist’s part. On the client’s part, on the other hand, a considerable amount of patience is needed. You need to patiently wait until the tattoo is completely done.
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.”
A growing trend in the US and UK is to place artistic titoos over the surgical scars of a mastectomy. "More women are choosing not to reconstruct after a mastectomy and tattoo over the scar tissue instead.... The mastectomy tattoo will become just another option for post cancer patients and a truly personal way of regaining control over post cancer bodies and proving once and for all that breast cancer is not just a pink ribbon."[27] The tattooing of nipples on reconstructed breasts remains in high demand, however.[28]
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