Tattoo inspiration: illustrations on skin

Who is the best tattoo artist in the whole wide world? I wonder why people don’t put more illustration styles into tattoos? Should I get one? 

Miriam Frank as a tattoo iPad illustration painting

Miriam Frank as a tattoo. Laura Lloyd 2016

Catastrophe: askin for trouble

It’s so easy to get it so wrong

I live in Berlin, so tattoos are everywhere. Not very nice ones, frequently. I’m a bit “urgh” about tattoos so not-nice for me is basically almost everything.

Anything with text I shrug and say “next”, though I love lettering.

Anything on the calf I find too much by ‘alf.

Anything with a standard trope, nope: a devil, a toadstool, a rose.

Anyone’s name: lame.

Anything mystic: a mistake.

I’m not actually sure what I’m looking for.

How about abstract?

I used to like these spirographs and lines, but over time I’ve come to view them as a bit too computer-generated. Plus, a friend waited a year for an appointment only to find that they artist has become so enamoured with his own fame that he essentially just expects his clients to allow him to tattoo whatever he fancies on them without any compromise or discussion.

And in my book, it doesn’t matter who your tattooist is, you’re gonna have a pretty intimate experience with them, and you’ll probably think of them all your life when you look at yourself, so you really want them to bring good vibes to the encounter.

How about illustration?

No. Ultimately, it’s this woman whose work I look back at repeatedly. I find her drawings wonderful. They have a human touch. They are unlike most other tattoos I’ve seen. She makes me want to have a little studio somewhere with a port and make my drawings better so I can put them on art students’ arms.

Canvassing your opinions

Maybe I’ll write to her and ask her what kind of overbeaver tattoo she can draw to cover my cesarean scar. Not that it needs covering, it’s pretty neat!

Should it be a city, a garden, a lotus flower growing from a pond, a construction site with cranes, a mandala, a whale. Wait, maybe a giant fish on your tush is a bad idea.

You see? It’s deciding what to have that keeps you unmarked. Probably for the better.

When do you know when you’re ready?

A friends said she made herself wait a year, and if she still wanted the same tattoo, then she’d got the design right. I think that’s a good rule!

Can I have a go?

If you have any suggestions of tattoo images you’d like me to try to draw, by the way, just for fun (obviously you won’t be pinned down and branded with my designs), I’ll be happy to give one away for free 🙂

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And anyway, tell me: whose tattoos make you smile?