this tattoo is placed on the inside of my right forearm, just below the elbow. it is the retired number of hall of fame New York Yankee legend Lou Gehrig. I am a tremendous Yankee/baseball fan, so it is a tribute to that. it is also a tribute to my grandmother, Louise, who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). since Gehrig retired over 60 years ago, it is meant to look old, much like the number that hangs in Yankee stadium (60+ years of weather). most of the time people tell me how great it looks BECAUSE it looks old, but a few say “it looks unfinished” or “sloppy”. I would like to know what you think, not because I’m seeking approval (because I absolutely love it) but because I’d like to know what you think technically speaking.
Good story, and good solution to having a meaningful tattoo that’s a tribute to different things you love. So that’s a winner.
But it does look very, very sloppy. Tattoos will naturally age—you don’t need to rush that along—but this is beyond that. The 4 isn’t centered. The space in the center of the 4 is tiny as hell compared to the large area of the pin stripes. It’s also so along in that large circle—why not make it bigger? Why not give the circe some volume to it like a ball? Why not just make a giant, interesting, pinstriped 4?
Lots of things that could have gone better here, but it’s an example of a good idea with a bad artist.
It’s a very plain tattoo, but I just wanted to get your thoughts. Now I know you don’t like names as tattoos, but I’ve always wanted to get this— my Grandmothers name (who’s raised me and has always taken care of me) in her own handwriting. She has Alzheimer’s Disease that’s getting progressively worse and she lives 4,000+ miles away.
I haven’t posted this on any social networking sites (this was taken off my girlfriends Instagram), because I’ve done this for myself and I don’t much care for other peoples opinions… but for some reason I wanted to get yours.
Thank you for your time.
Well I don’t think names are necessarily a bad idea, but never quite as exciting as the thousand other things you could do. Especially the hand writing part of it—it usually ends up looking like some kid’s first cursive practice in school. I just don’t understand the appeal of something like this over a well-crafted image that tells an important story verses “my grandmother is old and getting ill and this is her name.” It just seems like a cheaper, easy way out from paying proper tribute if that’s what your intention is.
The redeeming things here are the thickness of lines and space between them, so at least it won’t blur together or look like a scratch job.
I designed this tattoo myself one night and three weeks later it was on me. It’s in honour of my late grandpa, who’s nickname was Buck for various lovely reasons. He was one of the strongest men I’ve ever known, so watching my big strong gramps deteriorate under his sickness was the most painful thing to see.
So, a silhouette of a buck for my grampy and the tree-ring texture for time and strength and perseverance and all that jazz…but also I just love the way it looks. The meaning is there (which, when it comes to tattoos, has never been extremely important to me) but in this case it’s a nice thing to think about.
It was done in Waterloo, Ontario, at Perfect Image.
Actually really cool and I wish we had a better picture of it so we could talk abut line quality etc. But damn clever and quite visually pleasing.
My friend said I could send this to you. I am not 100% on the details but her father was really sick and died when she was young. Originally she had the wings outlined and she was with a friend who was CURRENTLY getting wings (I assume right next to her) and when my friend saw the shading … well, she asked for a little shading.
This is an artist’s example of little shading.
HERP DERP. But you know, they left he top part of the wings white. Because that makes sense.
And that font is pretty bad to. And lopsided compared to the wings.
Not that the wings were all that original to begin with, but I bet she was pissed… it looks pretty small and I’m going to assume it looks like a giant black shape when you stand back from it.
Well, here goes nothing.
Im submitting this, mainly cause it has sentimental value (As every tattoo should) though it is plain and simple and lets be honest personal (its a phone # on my arm, what’d you expect)
This is my father’s phone number, well most of it that is. My parents were separated when I was growing up, so most of my contact with my dad was from calling him every night. He passed away in High School and I knew right away that I wanted to get something for him. After several years, I decided on his phone number, mainly because it was specific to us. This was the biggest memory that I had of him, and the connectivity and communication is what I miss the most.
As for getting the tattoo itself, I was blessed to be able to snag a walk in at the Tattoo Parlor in Venice CA. I went in first, told them what I was looking for, and when I came back several hours later this is what he had drawn up. We agreed that leaving the last number off would be wise for practical reasons. In addition, I told him that that I wanted the tattoo to look aged, so the little faded spots in the numbers really pleased me.
All in all, I know its not a “great” tattoo, but for my first I really enjoy it, and it has allowed me to plan for what I want in the future.
Hope that this works, and that you don’t have to resort to FYT. Cheers!
I don’t think every tattoo should have sentimental value—if you think that should be a rule for you that’s great, but I would personally hate anything sentimental or nostalgic on my body. So overarching statements like that can be tricky.
Anyway, although typewriter text can often be really tacky, the boldness is nice here. Also the numbers are well spaced together, as are the two lines of the numbers. Numbers are often very different animals than straight text, so in this case the boldness is much more appealing than if it had been scripty—which might have made it confusing.
I don’t think it’s the most exciting memorial tattoo, but at least well executed for what it was.
by Richard Smith, Thicker Than Water NYC
THIS is a great way to put someone’s “name” on you. A child, a parent, whatever… a simple script monogram with an interesting image. I’m dying here.
Since you asked for moarrrr I’m also giving you my first tattoo to critique. I think it’s really good. It’s a memorial tattoo as well as a tribute to my hometown of Mpls. Beth at Acme Tattoo as well.
Oh dear, I’m really thankful you posted two tattoos because I asked for them, but this is suuuch a weird piece. I’m going to break it up into sections and make it pretty scientific so you can see what I’m talking about and it doesn’t just seem like some weird judgement on my part.
- Lettering has no flow and you have to swivel your head to see it. It looks like a cheap computer font and doesn’t flatter your body at all. You have these great curves, but it just runs in this arbitrary S against the form of your body. I’m assuming in real life people just ask you what it says all the time and don’t actually read it.
- Stars are uneven and don’t end in points. This can be cute in a very specific context, but along with the cheap font and no flow it just looks sloppy.
- Composition has now flow. The text doesn’t relate to the stars. The middle of a sentence is broken up by one of them! Again, all random sizes with no flow.
- Placement is super weird. Your back is a huge space for such a small design! With a better design, this could have been much better suited as a half sleeve or large thigh piece. Or even just a portion of your back instead of the smack middle of it. It leaves everything very empty looking.
I suggest looking up a new tattoo artist. Check out Sean Hebrank—I believe he’s currently in the twin cities and does stellar work. If not him, see who he would recommend.
My second tattoo, in honor of my kids. My son is the cricket/grasshopper hybrid as we’ve called him Bug since he was first born. My daughter is the duck as she loves rubber ducks and “quack” was one of her first words. The design is based on my sketch and the artist, Dave (formerly of Tiki Tattoo in Mesa AZ, now relocated back to Michigan), cleaned it up a bit but it’s still entirely true to my original idea. The idea was to have the bug and duck represent my kids in a yin yang orientation as they could not be more different. They are complete opposites in every way (boy/girl, high strung/relaxed, needy/independent).
I had previously taken my sketch to another local artist and though I made it clear that I only wanted my sketch cleaned up it ended up completely changed. When I went back to see the new version the generic bug, intentionally drawn as a generic grasshopper/cricket hybrid, had been changed to a lifelike grasshopper and the rubber duck had been made into a swan. Needless to say I couldn’t get out of that shop fast enough as it was nowhere near what I wanted.
Dave did a fantastic job and it’s aged well in the 4-5 years since I got it. It’s located on my left upper chest so it doesn’t get a lot of sun.
Even though the other one wasn’t what you wanted, it seems like a cooler idea. This is just SO generic that there’s nothing really exciting about it. Looks like it’s holding up well, and it certainly has some nice bold lines and color, but not much oomp.
The cricket is nice, but the duck looks like it has it’s beak on sideways and it’s body doesn’t have a great flow to it. The red/blue background kind of clashes, but the rhythm in the cricket’s upper torso and the duck’s wing is nice.
That said, this is a GREAT idea on how to do a tribute to your kids instead of just doing their names or birthdays or something. Cute little nicknames and I’m sure they love it. Their kids will too one day!
I got this for my childhood cat after she passed away. The tattoo is true to her real prints, just a little bit bigger.
She was my rock growing up and I couldn’t stand the thought of losing her completely, so I got her paw prints on my hip so she’ll always be with me.
The idea of getting her paw prints instead of generic ones was a good idea, but the paw prints are still a bit over done. Couldn’t there have been a more exciting way to memorialize her? Something that captured more of her personality, what she meant to you, and that is more exciting to look at?
Check out the #memorial-tattoos tag to get a good idea of what this could have been.
So how do you feel about getting tattoos dedicated to a pet? I know I've seen you post things before about specific pet-related tattoos. What's your overall opinion on them?
I’m not here to tell people what they should or shouldn’t get tattoos about. Everyone has their own reasons and it really not anyone else’s business unless its racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise victimiizes a group of oppressed people.
This blog is to give everyone a historic and asthetic understanding of an amazing art form.
So if ya want a pet tattoos, knock yourself out. Just do it right.
What do you feel about memorial tattoos that are of someone’s signature or of something personal they wrote before they passed?
Cute idea, but most handwriting doesn’t have enough space to stand time.
I don’t know if I posted this photo or not yet, but you can see how all of the letters are smushing in on each other, especially in “memory” and the dates. Letters need a lot of room to breath—more than most people’s handwritings have.
And, visually, I just don’t think they’re that interesting. Remember someone with an awesome tattoo: check out my #memorial-tattoos tag for great ideas.
A couple pages back you posted a guy who wanted to get “PUNK 1995” tattooed in honor of his dad, and you cautioned him to re-think his idea. Here is an awesome piece in honor of a different dad that I think is a great tribute. Not only does it make for a well-done and fun tattoo, it also encapsulates a happy memory and shows the personality of the dad as well.
THIS IS NOT MY TATTOO. Here is the info from FYeahTattoos:
When she was little, she would ask her father “Will you draw me a mermaid?” And her father, to get a rise out of her, would reverse the mermaid concept by giving a fish the lady legs.
Tattoo by Clay McCay Savannah Ga. at Anonymous Tattoo
I remember seeing this a while back and thinking it was hillarious and well done. And I agree today!
She could have asked the artist to tattoo her father’s drawing on her. But that probably would have looked really bad. This, on the other hand, is just fantastic. I hope her father thinks so too.
This is my memorial tattoo for my dear friend and hero who passed away from his 4 year fight with cancer at age 22. He was a musician and martial artist. I personally love it, but am curious as to what others think.
Done by Vince @ Skin Pollution (Stettler, AB)
Please note that the years at the top are getting touched up in a week, so don’t rip that apart too much lol
Another example of how a good memorial idea can turn into a bad tattoo. The guitar/flowing keyboard are so 80’s kitch, the shading is overly simple and boring, and the text is really weird. Way better than “RIP” or cross tattoos, but the artist didn’t put the same effort into it as you did.
This is my first tattoo, a memorial piece I got done for my grandfather. This was the patch his bomb group wore during ww2 and I decided this was the best way to represent him. Done by Den at Tattoo Seen Bronx NY
It’s a cute ‘lil tattoo. Simple and creative. Good use of gradients all the war around too.
But my question is always this: do we want to sum up our loved ones not through their connection to us, their job, their hobbies… but as soldiers? Yes war is a huge part of any soldier’s life (especially with the physical and mental limitations many of them come back with), but is that the sum or center of their life? I can see if they were killed in the line of duty but I’m assuming your grandfather was not.
So I’m not knocking your tattoo. There’s certainly more to your story than I know, but whenever I see a memorial tattoo like this I always wonder if there isn’t a better way.
But hey. That’s just me.
Done by Jules Croucher at Ink Spot Tattoos & Piercings in Christchurch, New Zealand. It’s not quite finished, I’ve got to go back and get the vines filled in a bit.
It’s my take on a memorial piece for my grandparents (canary because my grandmother used to raise canaries and rose because my grandfather developed Alzheimer’s before he died and forgot who his family were (it’s a certain rose called In Loving Memory)).
Great idea for a memorial tattoo, not so great execution. As always, look at the lines first. They’re a little scratchy. Then, the curves in the tail, wings and rose are all off. They just look forced. The text and vines have super weird curves and look like they were thrown in as an after thought. The coloring is bright but chunky and looks like it was put on with a crayon.
But again, the idea is spot on. I actually found another canary/rose tattoo and even though it’s style (or the cage) is probably not what you wanted, you can see what a difference the composition and artist make in the final product