When Getting Tattoos, Placement Is a Key Consideration

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by Kala Godin |

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I previously wrote a column about body modifications and how my favorite kind is tattoos. When I think about it, I’ve been in to get tattooed every year since graduating high school. Well, every year except for this one — so far. There’s still time.

On my left arm, I have a sleeve of a mermaid and some ocean-themed miscellany; I also have some jewelry on my left thumb. That entire arm was finished in a single session, six hours from start to finish. My other arm is a sleeve of doves and some space/magic objects. That one took a few sessions because it was actually my first complete tattoo, so I was experimenting to see how long I could actually sit. Across my upper chest are the moon, the sun, and some sprigs of lavender, and on my right leg near my ankle are a cluster of crystals and a flower.

My tattoo artist jokes that I’ll probably be covered by the time I’m 30. She’s likely not wrong, though I won’t be completely covered. There are a few places I wouldn’t be able to get tattooed at all: my back because I can’t lean forward or lie on my stomach; my rib cage, as my chair is in the way; and the backs of my legs because they’re flush with my chair as well.

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This doesn’t complicate things. I’ve never had any massive plans for those areas. But a good understanding of tattoo placement and tattoo sizing can really help when it comes to setting expectations.

Some tattoo designs will only work on certain body parts. Large pieces of art need large expanses of skin. In order to get the detail required to render a proper picture, sizing is key. Too small and you can’t tell what it is; in a couple of years, it could bleed. Too large, however, and the tattoo may not fit on that body part.

My arms are the size of twigs, so my artist was careful with sizing. She also had to play a little bit of Tetris, taking the larger parts of a tattoo and putting them on the larger part of my arms. From there she took other parts of the drawing and placed them in spots they would fit.

So, what I’m telling you is to get yourself a damn good tattoo artist!


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