Fierce tattoo recommendations
March 18, 2013 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I would love recommendations for the fiercest of fierce tattoos. I'm tossing a few ideas around in my head, and asking other people for tattoo recommendations is usually a bad idea for obvious reasons, but I'm going through some major major life transitions right now, and I want a tattoo to remind me what a badass I am while I deal with it all.

The tat would go on my left bicep (really deltoid), which was quite muscular and has lost a little muscle mass of late, but I'm a lady so I don't think stretching as I regain muscle mass is much of a concern.
posted by twiggy32 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Skulls are pretty badass. How about a skull with the caption ET IN ARCADIA EGO?
posted by jquinby at 9:42 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Personally, I think scarification tends to look more "fierce." I don't have any tattoos, but I'm pretty proud of my lava scar. That's right, lava scar.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:42 AM on March 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

There is nothing more fierce than a giant, snarling Tyrannosaurus Rex.
posted by steinwald at 9:43 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

How about the Latin word "Invicta" (meaning undefeated or unconquered).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:47 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Think of the things you're most "into," and try to find a way of making them totemic. Ideally these will be things you're not ever going to stop being into. For example, a very big Doctor Who fan I know who went through a nasty illness got "Bad Wolf" tattooed on the back of her neck (she has long hair that she usually wears down) in a really intimidating font.
posted by like_a_friend at 9:49 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tardigrades are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. Some can survive temperatures of close to absolute zero, or 0 Kelvin (−273 °C (−459 °F)),[14] temperatures as high as 151 °C (304 °F), 1,000 times more radiation than other animals,[15] and almost a decade without water.[16] Since 2007, tardigrades have also returned alive from studies in which they have been exposed to the vacuum of space for a few days in low Earth orbit.[17][18] Tardigrades are the first known animal to survive in space.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:00 AM on March 18, 2013 [16 favorites]

It's associated with a number of different organizations, but I've always liked the phrase, "Per aspera ad astra" (roughly, through difficulties, to the stars when I need to feel fierce.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:03 AM on March 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would go for the scowling woodpecker.
posted by mule98J at 10:04 AM on March 18, 2013

Maybe the word "fierce" translated into Japanese characters, or a circle of barbed wire around your upper arm.
posted by BurntHombre at 10:19 AM on March 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

An explosive design derived from the 2nd panel of Roy Lichtenstein's WHAAM!

(Dammit, now I want one.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 10:20 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

My advice would be to find a local tattoo artist whose style is fierce and give them a sense of what you're looking for and why. Browse online artist profiles, go visit shops, etc.

I have spent a fair amount of time around tattoo shops (6 of my own) and I can safely say that things like skulls, latin, japanese characters, knives, barbed wire, fire, etc. can look extremely cheesy and/or contrived if the wrong artist is doing them or the artist is not into the design. If you want fierce, you want to work with a talented artist who has the style (and color preferences) you like and work with the artist to develop something truly personal that they can get inspired to do.

Good tattoo work that exemplifies your never give up, never surrender attitude needs to reflect how personally badass you are. Work with your artist to figure that out.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 10:29 AM on March 18, 2013 [9 favorites]

I would go for the Qwantz T-Rex panel 3 stomp, personally.

Maybe the word "fierce" translated into Japanese characters, or a circle of barbed wire around your upper arm.

Too bad there's no ink color that invariably indicates irony or sarcasm. But if there were, I would add "tribal" to the list.
posted by supercres at 10:43 AM on March 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

The fiercest thing is undoubtedly this Fletcher Hanks panel. Come to think of it, most Fletcher Hanks panels would make pretty good fierce tattoos.
posted by pont at 10:49 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

One could go with a reference to the 140th Psalm, verse 7...

"O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle."

...or the more well-known "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me".

Obviously, if you're not of the Judeo-Christian tradition then these may not be suitable for you.
posted by DWRoelands at 11:10 AM on March 18, 2013

Instead of a finger mustache, you could get a beard hand. Not badass so much as one-upping, but still.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:31 AM on March 18, 2013

Acacia trees thrive in difficult conditions, have big thorns, and some produce cyanide. Check out the symbolism and ritual section on the wiki, too.
posted by momus_window at 12:36 PM on March 18, 2013

posted by orme at 12:39 PM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

major major life transitions right now

When I get around to it, I'm getting a battered book turning to a fresh clean page, possibly also on my bicep. I got the idea after a major, major life transition and it's going to badass in a bookish way.
posted by mibo at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

A phoenix?
posted by akrasia at 1:21 PM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

A tiger fighting a dragon, surrounded by a ring of fire, surrounded by the biblical quote that Jules recited in Pulp Fiction.

Ezekiel 25:17: "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you!"
posted by adamrice at 1:38 PM on March 18, 2013

Honey Badger don't give a shit.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:40 PM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

A shark with laser beams for eyes jumping out of a helicopter.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 3:41 PM on March 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

Does your ethnic background have a warrior tradition? I'd borrow a symbol from that. It would require some research, but at least it would resonate with something that is more specific to you, rather than being something more generic.
posted by quince at 4:11 PM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

1.Having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness.
2.(of a feeling, emotion, or action) Showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.

ferocious - violent - savage - furious - wild - truculent

I do not have a tattoo and live in Indiana, my ideas after defining fierce;

1. Insane badger
2. Grizzly bear protecting its young
3. A shark eating evil people?

Good luck!
posted by Hoosier Prospector at 4:47 PM on March 18, 2013

Thanks all for the awesome suggestions! I decided on "And though she be but little, she is fierce" from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have an awesome artist that I'm working with to figure out the rest.
posted by twiggy32 at 7:15 PM on March 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

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