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.

Decal temporary tattoos, when legally sold in the United States, have had their color additives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as cosmetics --- the FDA has determined these colorants are safe for “direct dermal contact.” While the FDA has received some accounts of minor skin irritation, including redness and swelling, from this type of temporary tattoo, the agency has found these symptoms to be “child specific” and not significant enough to support warnings to the public. Unapproved pigments, however, which are sometimes used by non-US manufacturers, can provoke allergic reactions in anyone. Understanding the types of temporary tattoos available to consumers, knowing where they are manufactured, and ensuring they come from a reliable source are keys to determining whether temporary tattoos are safe.
My neighbour says, “There’s a lot of it about. So many teenagers are doing it.” I stare at pictures of David Beckham with his flowery sleeves, Angelina Jolie all veins and scrawls. Tattoos are everywhere. They seem no more alternative than piercings these days. But I still don’t understand. Sam Cam with her smudgy dolphin, the heavily tattooed at Royal Ascot – these people are role models?

The elaborate tattoos of the Polynesian cultures are thought to have developed over millennia, featuring highly elaborate geometric designs, which in many cases can cover the whole body. Following James Cook's British expedition to Tahiti in 1769, the islanders' term "tatatau" or "tattau," meaning to hit or strike, gave the west our modern term "tattoo." The marks then became fashionable among Europeans, particularly so in the case of men such as sailors and coal-miners, with both professions which carried serious risks and presumably explaining the almost amulet-like use of anchors or miner's lamp tattoos on the men's forearms.
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]
From a contrail heartbeat to exact coordinates of a place that touched your soul forever, these designs were created for hardcore backpack fans, and they will definitely inspire you to pack your bags. Scroll down to check out the awe-inkspiring pictures below and if you don't want to limit yourself to land and sea, we've gathered an awesome cosmic tattoo list too!
I meet a colleague for lunch. “He knew how much it would hurt me,” I say, tears running down my face. “For years I’ve said, don’t do it. It’s there for ever, even after you’ve changed your mind about who you are and what you want to look like. You’re branded, like meat. It can damage your work prospects. It can turn people against you before you’ve even opened your mouth.”
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.
Tattoo sleeves are badass and totally eye-catching -- no one can deny that. Turning an entire arm or leg into a work of art requires some serious commitment and love for ink. In fact, we'd go so far as to argue that our arms or legs are the perfect canvas to be transformed into a piece of art. Our limbs are incredibly easy to hide, but also super easy to show off, arguably making tattoo sleeves the best spot to get inked. 
24. The eye here has a reflection in it that is impossibly hard to do. The statue looks real and the contrast the artist was able to convey is just unreal. This piece is one of our favorites because it evokes such emotion to the observer. The eye makes your heart ache as the candles represent some sort of vigil or homage to someone or something in the past.
The most common method of tattooing in modern times is the electric tattoo machine, which inserts ink into the skin via a single needle or a group of needles that are soldered onto a bar, which is attached to an oscillating unit. The unit rapidly and repeatedly drives the needles in and out of the skin, usually 80 to 150 times a second. The needles are single-use needles that come packaged individually.

The most common method of tattooing in modern times is the electric tattoo machine, which inserts ink into the skin via a single needle or a group of needles that are soldered onto a bar, which is attached to an oscillating unit. The unit rapidly and repeatedly drives the needles in and out of the skin, usually 80 to 150 times a second. The needles are single-use needles that come packaged individually.


The Scythian Pazyryk of the Altai Mountain region were another ancient culture which employed tattoos. In 1948, the 2,400 year old body of a Scythian male was discovered preserved in ice in Siberia, his limbs and torso covered in ornate tattoos of mythical animals. Then, in 1993, a woman with tattoos, again of mythical creatures on her shoulders, wrists and thumb and of similar date, was found in a tomb in Altai. The practice is also confirmed by the Greek writer Herodotus c. 450 B.C., who stated that amongst the Scythians and Thracians "tattoos were a mark of nobility, and not to have them was testimony of low birth.”

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).
Although Maori women were also tattooed on their faces, the markings tended to be concentrated around the nose and lips. Although Christian missionaries tried to stop the procedure, the women maintained that tattoos around their mouths and chins prevented the skin becoming wrinkled and kept them young; the practice was apparently continued as recently as the 1970s.

For those peeps who freak out at the commitment or thought of getting so inked, then check out this research: A small study at the University of Alabama found that those with multiple tattoos showed a better immune response to new ink than those who were going under the tattoo gun for the first time. This suggests that tattooing might stimulate the immune system, like how a vaccine does. 

The first thing you will notice about the above designs is that the color looks amazing and really pops off the skin. This can mean a few things. Firstly that the tattoos are relatively recent or otherwise that the tattooist used good quality ink and the person has taken good measures for after care on their tattoos which is very important, especially given that you can spend upwards of $1000 on a tattoo nowadays.


Tattoos are beautiful representations and expressions of how we feel and it’s a great way to tell others through the imagery of art. That being said, like all art, tattoos are expensive. They take time and skill and if you want it to look good, it’ll definitely cost you. A single image is going to be a lot cheaper than a whole sleeve of art so as you contemplate whether or not you’d like to invest in a whole sleeve, make sure you allot space in your budget to make it happen. Typically you go into your shop several times in order to complete the sleeve so you may be able to work something out with your artist and do a payment plan if you plan in advance. Who knows, maybe they’ll give you a discount since you’re committing to a whole sleeve. It never hurts to ask. Once you’ve researched how much you’ll have to invest, enjoy the process and get ready to be amazed by the finished results.

The Government of Meiji Japan had outlawed tattoos in the 19th century, a prohibition that stood for 70 years before being repealed in 1948.[68] As of 6 June 2012, all new tattoos are forbidden for employees of the city of Osaka. Existing tattoos are required to be covered with proper clothing. The regulations were added to Osaka's ethical codes, and employees with tattoos were encouraged to have them removed. This was done because of the strong connection of tattoos with the yakuza, or Japanese organized crime, after an Osaka official in February 2012 threatened a schoolchild by showing his tattoo.


The word tattoo, or tattow in the 18th century, is a loanword from the Samoan word tatau, meaning "to strike".[1][2] The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymology of tattoo as "In 18th c. tattaow, tattow. From Polynesian (Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan, etc.) tatau. In Marquesan, tatu." Before the importation of the Polynesian word, the practice of tattooing had been described in the West as painting, scarring or staining.[3]
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