How to come up with unique tattoo ideas
When it comes to body art, deciding what to get exactly or landing on unique tattoo ideas can be challenging. There are so many different styles and methods to choose from. So if you’re struggling to come up with cool tattoo ideas that extend beyond the traditional skull tattoo or rose tattoo, here’s a few strategies to consider.
1. Delve into family history
Some of the best tattoo ideas often start close to home. Differing traditions, ranging from Celtic tattoos and religious tattoos (think angel wings, a cross tattoo, or even favorite bible quotes) can be an interesting way to come up with a meaningful tattoo.
Opting for a family crest tattoo is another way to incorporate your heritage into your body art. Don’t have a family crest, but have always wished you did? No problem! A skilled tattoo artist can help custom design something that represents your lineage and can incorporate unique family details, such as flags, or imagery that represent a place of origin, such as tree tattoos or flower tattoos. You never know what you can come up with and share for generations to come.
A shared family tattoo can also be really special. Some friends and family members opt to get matching tattoos, or similar pieces that play off one another. For example, if you have a sibling you’d like to get a tattoo with, consider your childhood. Did you play cops and robbers? Was one kid always the “good” one and the other always getting into trouble? It could be fun for one sibling to get a tattoo of a cop, and the other a robber. There are endless ways to bring meaningful details from your life directly into your body art .
2. Revisit your favorite creators
Favorite artists, authors and musicians are an awesome source of inspiration for personal and unique tattoo ideas. Have a favorite passage from a cherished book? Consider a quote tattoo, or even a music tattoo that features lyrics from your favorite band or soloist. There’s a lot of interesting ways to use word tattoos or lettering tattoos that cut straight to the heart and represent your other interests, values and passions.
Or, if you have a favorite artist, there are many tattoo artists who can recreate famous paintings, sculptures, murals and more! So if you’ve ever loved Salvador Dali’s melting clocks, or admired Frida’s stark self portraits, consider having a portrait tattoo or another famous artwork commemorated as either an arm tattoo, or as a larger set of chest tattoos.
Large famous works of art also make really interesting small tattoos, as well. So whether you’re looking for more of a minimalist tattoo or something a bit more complex, you might want to go to a local art museum to get a few ideas for small tattoos or a large tattoo. I mean, imagine having the scope of something like Bottecelli’s Venus captured in a small tattoo on your arm, shoulder or someplace completely unexpected (like, your kneecap or behind your ear)…. now that would definitely set your piece apart.
Consider different styles
From the tiger and dragon tattoos of traditional and old school to the eagle and scorpion themed worked of neo-traditional, to abstract and trash polka, there are so many different styles which continue to evolve and merge. Do your research and take note of linework or stylistic choices you really like.
Some of the most interesting tattoo styles include:
Watercolor tattoos are a more contemporary tattoo style which feature soft “washes” of color instead of heavy line work and bold colors. Meant to mimic the effect of a watercolor painting, this style usually lacks the definitive, bold quality of traditional tattoos, but when done correctly, can be incredibly beautiful and delicate… and extremely unique!
As a response to the aftermath of World War I, the cultural movement of surrealism, spearheaded by the likes of Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Mirò, paved the way for a whole new expression of art. Today, new surrealist tattooing mimics this cultural and artistic movement and uses many of the same mechanics: relating visual imagery in strange or unique ways, which often results in a dreamlike or subconscious quality.
If you’re looking for something truly unique, surrealism makes for some of the best tattoos. Tattoo artists specialize in this kind of work, so make sure you pinpoint artists who are proficient and truly enjoy this particular tattoo style
There’s nothing quite like memorializing the face of someone you love. It can be incredibly special to carry the likeness of a family member, child or beloved pet. And better yet, portrait-style work can range from illustrative to extremely realistic. Portraiture can be a simple tattoo or even a small tattoo, with delicate line work, or something very rendered and large, meant for thigh tattoos, forearm tattoos and even sleeve tattoos.
Extremely skilled artists can achieve amazing detail and coloring, and may even forgo dark outlining so that the result mimics that of a classical painting. Portraits are among some of the hardest work to do well, so consider yourself warned: if you’re looking to have a portrait done (especially if the subject is near and dear), research well!
Go with a non-traditional ink
If you really want that wow factor, you may want to consider glow-in-the-dark ink.
These tattoos are a vibrant alternative to traditional tattoo ink. BUT, keep in mind, glow in the dark tattoos aren’t like those plastic stars you had in your room as a kid. Most glow-in-the-dark tattoos only glow under a blacklight, which for some people is perfect, because it has a “sweet and simple by day, party animal by night” sort of duality. But make no mistake, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. This medium works amazingly well for celestial themed worked, like a sun tattoo, moon tattoos and even geometric tattoos.
Worried the ink might be toxic? When glow-in-the-dark ink first came onto the scene in the 90s (which, let’s be real, was still kind of the wild west in some ways) tattoo artists mixed their ink solutions with phosphorous, which was eventually determined to not be so good for your body. Today, glow-in-the-dark tattoos are now mixed using ink that is reactive to UV light… so you can rest assured your tattoo and your health will continue to glow.
About Remington Tattoo
Built in 1914 and restored in 2011, Remington Tattoo Parlor + Gallery is located in the North Park district, the heart of San Diego. Remington Tattoo Parlor is a combination of industrial/modern meets an apothecary/artist’s studio. Our unique shop’s aim is to create a memorable experience combining tradition and nostalgia with a modern, clean environment utilizing the best quality supplies and sterilization techniques.