How to Get a Sleeve Tattoo
Of the many trends in tattooing over the centuries, one of the more interesting ones that has appeared recently is the tattoo sleeve. Although tattoos that cover the body have been around for quite some time, the limitation to the arms has become even more popular in recent years.
What is a Tattoo Sleeve?
Put simply, this is a series of tattoos that covers the arm much in the same manner as a shirt sleeve, thus the name. There are four basic types of sleeves, each of which has their own unique size and structure.
- Quarter: From the shoulder to the midway point of the elbow
- Half: From the shoulder to the elbow
- Full: Shoulder to the wrist
- Hikae: From the chest to the elbow or all the way to the wrist
You should plan in advance the type of sleeve tattoo that you will get, so that you will understand what the final design will look like. Keep in mind that it will take several sessions to accomplish.
There are a couple approaches to filling in a sleeve tattoo. One is planning the entire sleeve out with a single artist. The other can be done by collecting smaller pieces and then going back later to fill the gaps with back ground. This approach is commonly found in traditional American tattoos also with tribal and Polynesian design.
This is the most important part of getting a sleeve, so you will need to be clear about what you want. To undergo this process means you will need to do the following;
- Find the right tattoo artist
- Choose the style that appeals to you
- Narrow down the theme
- Base it on a specific motif
- Select the symbols you want to include
- Finalize the color and placement of the tattoo itself
This may sound rather involved but getting a tattoo sleeve is a process that requires considerable involvement. Remember that you are not trying to dot every I or cross every T, but for the sleeve to work it will require getting a tattoo artist that has done this type of work frequently. Plus, it means knowing as much as possible before the sessions begin.
The first tip is to be as specific as possible. If you have a picture of the tattoo you want, then show it to the tattoo artist. The more information you can provide, the closer the tattoo will be to your expectations. Other tips include the following;
Allow for artistic license: Remember that you are working with an artist, not a photographer. There is going to be some variation, so you will need to accept it and make it part of the tattoo.
Understand the Time Commitment: This is not a one-and-done process. Many sleeve tattoos take multiple sessions and even years to create.
Go for Quality: Remember that a tattoo is a lifetime investment, so treat it as such. Find the best tattoo artist who fits your budget, not the cheapest.