keepcalm

Your overall look as a tattooed person

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For those who are not necessarily going for full-body coverage, do you ever think about the overall look you have as a tattooed person?

Like I imagine many people here, I am an appreciator of aesthetics, and when I consider getting new work done, I think long and hard about where to put it and how it will change the way my body looks in clothes, out of clothes, in swim suits, etc. It might be slightly different for females since we tend to have more variety in the clothes we wear (different cuts, lengths, dresses, etc.), but I do wonder... Do you pay a lot of attention to keeping your work balanced on your body? Do you take into consideration places on your body where you don't plan to ever get work? I guess one approach would be to prioritize the design, and pick the place on your body where that design fits best. Another approach would be to think about where you'd like to have tattoos, and pick designs you like that would flow well in those spaces.

This post is partially inspired by this thread about negative space with tattoos.

I am a huge fan of negative space and have spent a lot of time thinking about the best way and location to place substantial tattoos on my body, with space in between them. Some people might say this is overthinking it, but I can't help it, ha. I've considered putting most of my work on my left arm and right leg, leaving the opposites mostly clear. I've also considered mainly tattooing my torso and leaving my limbs mostly clear. When you think about it, following each of those two patterns would make for a really different overall look.

Maybe as a still-kinda-newbie to this world, I do think about this stuff too much, but I'm still curious as to others' thoughts :)

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I don't think about balance at all.

When i get an idea, i think about where it would work best and look good, within my own limitations of available space (im not getting hands, feet, neck, head tattooed) That's about it.

Right now, i've got a bunch on my right leg and none on my left. Just the way its worked out. I don't lean to one side either. :p

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I always think carefully about where to place tattoos, but I pretty much take it one tattoo at a time. Except I know my right arm is going to be an assortment of tattoos where my left arm I'd like to do a more cohesive thing (I'm trying to avoid the word "sleeve"... Lol). With my thigh piece I just had done it would probably have balanced out my other tattoos better if I put it on my left leg, but for some reason I just felt it was *destined* to go on my right, like it was difficult to imagine it on the left. Very strange...

I don't think worrying about placement or planning ahead is over thinking. Tattoos are permanent, so it matters a great deal where they go.

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I would say that I try to balance myself out. I am getting much more particular about placement and available real estate on myself. I like for the piece to fit the area of my body. I like to place things where I can decide if I want to show them or not.

I started off with only torso coverage and have been slowly branching outwards. I still have nothing from the waist down. I think my first piece would be on my foot and then possibly work my way up.

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I am still mostly torso coverage as well, and am still working on it. I have never been big on forearm tattoos and do not plan on getting any... So I'll just cover the rest of my body.

I wont start showing off until I decide on a back piece... then ill just walk around with my shirt off all the time.

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Man.. this is actually a really hard question for me to answer. I guess I have never really thought about how my tattoos are placed in terms of flattery, except for my arms because they are the only regularly visible part of my body except my face. I've only been able to get tattooed for 4 years and I was getting most of my first tattoos before and during my apprenticeship, so most of them were smaller pieces and practice pieces. Smaller pieces have gone on smaller areas of my body, so I started with tattooing my arms and legs. I plan on about 85-90% coverage, although who can really say how it'll actually be when I'm old, can't really picture myself not getting tattooed anymore. I think I mostly just put them where they'll fit. I don't have any BIG work yet, as the only really large areas of my body are back and torso. I'm saving my back for when my 10 years comes. I guess because of my age and the time of my life, big work wasn't an option for me as a starting point. So pretty much everything has been "pick and stick" style.

That being said, I have kind of mapped out areas of my body per theme, if that makes sense. My left arm is strictly american traditional and japanese tattoos. My right arm is only red and black with esoteric themes. My right leg only has tattoos from my friends and myself. My left leg has two pieces on it that both need covering, so I plan to get an enormous black snake up the whole thing. I emailed Seth Wood about doing an Inari & fox piece on the right thigh, but we'll see where that goes. I have only entertained what I want to put on my torso, but I also kind of want to save some large space for when I'm older and have better taste. Which will probably be the case, regardless.

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I am still mostly torso coverage as well, and am still working on it. I have never been big on forearm tattoos and do not plan on getting any... So I'll just cover the rest of my body.

I wont start showing off until I decide on a back piece... then ill just walk around with my shirt off all the time.

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Balance was foremost in my mind since the beginning. I'm a huge fan of the full Japanese styles, and body placement is a HUGE deal. I kind of started on my back piece sooner than I thought I would be able to, but it was definitely in my head as to what would go where, and how I would tie it all together once the back piece was in place.

I never thought I'd be one to get a suit, but I think it would just look weird with empty space between my tattoos ;)

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I'm with @Cork in that balance was a huge consideration. Started with a half sleeve which then was made into a 3/4 sleeve on my left arm. In my mind, had to 3/4 sleeve my right arm as well and from there went below the waist to my left thigh, then began a shoulder to back of knees back piece. Eventually will get a piece on the right thigh to balance out the left. Hadn't planned on anything for my chest/stomach area and chatting with an artist about a calf sleeve but it's just a thought for the moment. My motif is Japanese, strictly animals/creatures and florals. As much as I love them, won't consider any gods or demons for superstitious reason in which I addressed in a separate thread on the forum. Placement was a big consideration for the subject matter.

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Glad you started this thread. It's something I've been pondering for a long time. I remembered the negative space thread but couldn't find it so had to message one of the mods, who found it right away for me. I have a circlet of flowers around my right upper arm, a frog behind my right shoulder. Until this winter that's all I had up top. (3 sides of ankles and both feet are done too) I got some cherry blossoms from the back of my neck, floating down the back of my left shoulder and onto my left upper arm. It looks sort of asymmetrical and is kinda neat..but I have been considering going from one upper arm, across the top of my back, down to the other upper arm with flowers and butterflies. Just not sure how it will mesh b/c of the frog. I'm sure whoever does it can figure out how to do it, it's just something I think about a lot.

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Far too much thinking going on here :)

I'm going to second this.

I used to have ideas of how things were going to go together, and I still kind of have rough ideas and plans, but mostly when it comes down to picking a design and placement I'm all about spur of the moment decisions. I figure that it's all going to end up as one tattoo more or less anyway so I don't stress out about it.

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Interesting! I assumed some people would pay much more attention to all of this than others, but it's cool to hear everyone's reasoning.

I definitely have an interest in keeping my work at least partially balanced on my body, as that look is just more appealing to me personally. The problem is deciding exactly where I want things to go! I have some ideas for pieces that I know will look best on certain body parts, and I am trying to create a game plan around that, haha. I also take into consideration how public I want each tattoo to be -- that is, if I want to be able to hide it easily. In my opinion, there's a lot to think about!

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This is one of my main problems with getting a lot of work done. Though its my body and I can do what i want with it, I still try and respect those around me like my grandparents that don't like tattoos.

So the majority of the work that i want will be easily covered up in a normal work/church situation. And being a girl tattoos tend to send off different signals in certain places then they do with guys. So i

tend to over think placement and image as well, which is why i have only 2 very! small ones for now that aren't easily seen.

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There is only one area I ever took REALLY seriously in terms of planning - and that was my back (and butt/thighs). To me, you only get one chance with a back tattoo, and one big cohesive design is the only thing that I could ever have done. Everything else I am more relaxed about, I will do the rest of my body at my own pace and just see how it goes, but the neck to knees area of the back? Non-negotiable for me.

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Very interesting thread. I totally disagree with the fact that people say we're over thinking it. We're not going for full body coverage, so we need to be careful with where tattoos go.

As for myself, I have been heavily debating the issue lately. I really love the look of numerous tattoos on the leg, with negitive space between... of course in american traditional. But is it for me? I don't know. When I see my legs, I can't envision it. At most I can picture maybe one more tattoo each on my lower legs, and maybe one on my thigh... which would bring me up to five on my legs, but that seems a bit much for me.

I don't have any tattoos on my arm, and while I have deeply considered it, I don't think it would be the route for me. While it could be beautiful, I just dont see myself with arm tattoos, doesn't fit the look I want for myself.

Definitely considered getting the other side of my chest with another lady head to make it look complete, but at the same time, I want to wait until I am older.

I can see myself getting the other back of my shoulder done, then filling the gap on my left shoulder between the lady and ganesh, and maybe something middle upper back.

I don't want to rush or fill up my skin too quickly, without concern for career or for the future. and Probably anything above 30% coverage is too much for me. I'll leave the super extensive tattooing to my sister, she wants alot of tattoos, even more than me.

So, as of now, I am at 4 tattoos, I'm seeing anything above 12 tattoos as something not really for me (at this moment) things might change as my professional goals change, and as I age, but I still love the look of my milky white skin accented with tattoos, not just tattooed everywhere.

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I have the same thought process not only with tattoos but with clothes as well. I'll see something and think that's cool/cute/awesome but wont go near it with a 10 foot pole bc i don't think it would look the same on me as it does on others. I am constantly 2nd guessing tattoos that i want.

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As of right now my plan is to have my left arm symbolic of friends and family, most that've already met their end. The tiger in my ditch is symbolic for and intended as the center piece.

My right arm will be symbolic of things that make me, well me.. Both will stop roughly 2" short of my wrist..

I plan on a few upper chest pieces and a large back piece, the inspiration for those has yet to come I believe..

Never been a fan of spur-attic tattoos all the body..

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I like balance. Old timers would say that if you had one tattooed arm and the other blank, you'd walk around leaning to one side.

I had one side of my chest done in 2010 and had to get the other side going within a month. That would have looked off balance. So I do think of placement quite a bit. My left forearm is next up and that one will be heavy for a while until I get the right one caught up.

Rob

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but I still love the look of my milky white skin accented with tattoos, not just tattooed everywhere.

I think this is kind of it for me, too. I like the way tattoos look on skin, and I feel like I still need to be able to see some skin to really appreciate them. I also think it's really cool when a tattoo flows perfectly with the part of the body it's on -- like one that follows the curve of the back or hip, or curls around the shoulder or elbow perfectly. It looks so cool to me because it highlights the natural shape/movement of the body, and to me, those kinds of tattoos always look like they really BELONG where they are, especially when there is negative space around them that makes them stand out. I just think it's neat. I would love to get more work like that.

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I just wanted to make the observation that it is almost exclusively women that have concerns about spacing/placement/symmetry in this thread. I find that interesting...

When woman commit suicide they tend to cut their wrist or over dose so is to look good at the funeral. Most women are brought up to believe that certain things aren't "lady like", and since symmetry is the "science" of beauty it would make since that we are concerned with the symmetry of our work. And I say most bc no one group of people is 100% the same. There are always exceptions.

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