scubaron

Back tattoo considerations

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I'm considering getting a tattoo on my back, but I'm undecided on location and subject. A lot of different possibilities going through my mind. Sword, dragon, tiger, etc..

The back is such a large area and considered a prime spot. I'm not looking for a full back piece at this time, but who knows what I will want down the road.

Are there certain areas that are good or bad if I will expand in the future ? Shoulder blade, side, center, top, etc. ?

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I think if a full back is even a consideration at some point in the future it's better to keep your back open to give yourself as many options as possible, and get tattooed elsewhere--arms, legs, ribs, chest--in the meantime.

That said, I've seen many an amazing backpiece work around/cover/incorporate existing tattoos. My wife, for example, had her back done in a folky Americana style by Stephanie Tamez at Saved and Steph incorporated an old tattoo of a map my wife had between her shoulder blades and the whole thing works, flows as a coherent tattoo, and looks fantastic. If you look at Jojo Ackermann's instagram, he's working on an elephant backpiece that works in both an older lower back tattoo and a decent-sized butterfly between the shoulder blades and it looks great.

I guess what to take away from this is go to a quality artist and you'll end up with a quality tattoo, no matter what you choose.

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Don't add anything that has a "bottom" if you plan to go lower than that. I think I told you about my tattoo artist's admonition that if I went with a smaller tattoo on my back, that he'd never be able to do anything "below" the ocean floor, where ever I chose that to be.

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Don't add anything that has a "bottom" if you plan to go lower than that. I think I told you about my tattoo artist's admonition that if I went with a smaller tattoo on my back, that he'd never be able to do anything "below" the ocean floor, where ever I chose that to be.

The Marianas Trench would be a pretty easy addition.

To Scubaron, I agree with the other guys so far. But what makes you want one on your back next as opposed to an arm/leg/anywhere else?

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I understand scubaron's desire to start working on the back. I was thinking about getting something put at the bottom of my back with room to do some more work on the upper part. I then decided that I was rushing it and it was better to wait than have the tattooer have to figure something out to accommodate an existing piece later down the road. This isn't a very helpful response, sorry scubaron.

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The Marianas Trench would be a pretty easy addition.

This is just so, so wrong on so many levels.

I think there are a couple puns in there, along with fodder for a sexual harassment claim. My tattoo artist would have a field day with this.

;)

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At this time I'm not interested in full coverage like sleeves, full back, full leg. Not sure if I ever will be. The look I want is tattoos decorating my body, not covering it. Does that make sense ? Not sure if I am explaining it correctly.

I have tattoos on both calves, 1 thigh, and both shoulders/upper arm. It's the way I want to start in those areas and I can see myself slowing expanding in the future. Maybe going full coverage on an arm or leg, maybe not.

The placement and subject of those tattoos makes it easy to expand or not.

I was thinking the same is probably true for back pieces. Some placements and subjects are better if future expansion is a possibility, but still look good on their own if expansion never happens ?

I guess a quality artist will know this and pick a design and location with this in mind ?

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See the back panels kind of like your rib panels. One nice big feature slamming a panel, then down the track if you wanted to expand, the same on the other panel, then say ya wanted to expand further, a cool theme to tie them both together.

I get what some are saying here, I'm with that same concept to back tattoos, for me it's one large theme mapped from the start, but I also get what your saying too. Definitely achievable.

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I remember seeing something from Yoni a while back on instagram... it was a nice black/grey tattoo on a woman, sat squarely in the middle of her back, started off with one portion (I think a sword) then grew as things were added. Not a full back piece. Looked really nice.

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I started my back neck to waist and immediately regretted no hitting to the thighs, I will

Just put it out there that a small piece no matter how incorporated into future work it may be will have that "I should have" feeling...

Think it through

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Unless you know you'll never want a back piece, I wouldn't touch the real estate. Over the years I've been sure to avoid back/thighs due to potentially wanting a back piece one day. I'm thankful for it now years later (as I'll be starting my back-to-knees piece in December).

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I was thinking the same is probably true for back pieces. Some placements and subjects are better if future expansion is a possibility, but still look good on their own if expansion never happens ?

I guess a quality artist will know this and pick a design and location with this in mind ?

Definitely talk to your tattooer about this; when you go and consult for a tattoo on your back, tell them you'd like to keep the option of a backpiece in the future open, and LISTEN to their advice if they say what you want is or is not doable with that consideration.

Backs are different from other body parts. A pieced together sleeve looks kind of cool, whereas a back is such a huge expanse of space that a pieced together back is kind of a mess. I had two tattoos on my back when I started my backpiece. I was on my way to piecing things together when my tattooer flat out told me that if I kept adding smaller tattoos to my back, it would eventually looks insane, and I was much better off thinking about a larger, more coherent piece. I am SO GLAD I listened to her. Working around the existing pieces we had already was tough and involved a lot of compromise on the design. I am thrilled with it and wouldn't have it any other way, because they're my tattoos, and I love them and I don't really care about the design challenge of the whole thing. But while I know my tattooer was happy with how things turned out, she did see it as a backpiece full of compromises due to the space limitations, and would have been even happier with nothing to work around.

So all of that to say: yes, you can get a very cool backpiece with tattoos already on there (if you're careful), although that will limit your options a lot. But no, you probably can't just get a backpiece through adding a piece here and there. Unless of course, your tattooer and you have discussed this and are putting together something intentionally coherent piece by piece, like what @Fala mentioned.

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