Dad tattoo to represent his children- no YOU DO IT.
August 7, 2015 6:42 AM   Subscribe

My Dad is going to be visiting and wants to get tattooed. He doesn't know what he wants, other than he wants me to come up with it and "it should represent the love i have for you and your siblings." hhooookkkaaayy. SO METIFILTER - what examples of dad tattoos can you think of?

My dad and I have an awkward relationship. He is making an effort and I don't want to shoot him down since this may never happen again, so I am going to try to come up with something. It isn't outlandish that he would ask me- I was a professional artist for years and I am also heavily tattooed.

Like many, many artists, I don't get any of my own work tattooed on me and I am very squeamish about other people getting my work tattooed on them. I don't fucking know what represents love of children- for petesake- all of my tattoos are jokes or just pretty. So I am looking to you, hivemind.

I want examples of tattoos people got for their kids, that have a dad-vibe. That kind of thing. If it helps, my dad is a blue collar dude from the North Woods. his whole vibe is pretty much guns, beer, and sweat-pant shorts.

Yeah i know i could just tell him no, but guys he's trying. So lets not talk about how i can just tell him to figure it out on his own. That's plan B.
posted by Blisterlips to Grab Bag (43 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Names and dates of birth in a heart?
posted by chaiminda at 6:46 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine has a design that incorporates the first letter of each of her kids names plus the first letter of hers into a design that almost looks like chinese script. lots of shared lines for the letters etc. you could do it more like a traditional brand (like on cattle) if you wanted to make it more masculine.

its pretty cool.
posted by domino at 6:49 AM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

How about something from the animal kingdom? He might not go for a seahorse, but how about a wolf? Then if someone asks him about it, he can explain what it represents.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:50 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Finding a tattoo to capture family can be hard. (In my family me, my sisters, and my mom all have pear tattoos over our hearts, and for years dad has joked about getting a pear tree tattoo, to match ours.) I don't recommend a pear tree, but what about a tree with the names of his kids as stylized leaves?If he's the outdoorsy type that may fit his personality as well. You can make the trunk a word as well, like LOVE or FAMILY or whatever, if you want to up the sentimentality factor, but I don't think that is necessary.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:51 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

A tree, usually. Make it an old, gnarled tree with bright leaves, or fruit? Something that looks like it's been on a seacliff, battling the winds of life, as it were?
posted by Nyx at 6:51 AM on August 7, 2015 [8 favorites]

A friend of mine has his mother's name on the left side of his chest in script with no other ornamentation.
posted by mchorn at 6:51 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

how many kids are there? They could each write their name or initials and he tattoos that.
posted by ReluctantViking at 6:52 AM on August 7, 2015

There are three of us, with relatively short first names.
posted by Blisterlips at 6:57 AM on August 7, 2015

Those family member stickers like you see on minivans
posted by ghostbikes at 6:58 AM on August 7, 2015 [8 favorites]

What about taking the birth month flowers of each kid and incorporating them into a tattoo? (Do men do flower tattoos?)
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:58 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

My stepbrother has footprints to represent his kids (they're actually copies of the footprints on their birth certificate so pretty large and specific, but the general principle should apply.)
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:08 AM on August 7, 2015

My sister has a tattoo of her kids' initials, as drawn by her artistically inclined daughter. A friend of mine named his daughter Pepper and got a jalapeƱo tattoo.
posted by adamrice at 7:19 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Compass rose and latitude/longitude of the places the kids were born. It helps if they're in different places, of course.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:29 AM on August 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

I once saw a dad with a kid's drawing of a house and a kid's name in kid handwriting tattooed, and it's one of my favorite tattoo sightings on a stranger. Might be too cutesy for your dad, but a house could be nice and could incorporate some of the other suggestions (initials, compass rose, etc).
posted by torridly at 7:39 AM on August 7, 2015

I really like the Irish triple spiral or triskele - it is a megalithic artwork appearing at the entrance to Newgrange and it has various meanings to do with faith and infinity. With three children it might be a nice image of connection, with three children spiralling out from the centre. I won't link to particular pics but googling triskele/ion and you'll see quite a few variations. Eg: There are various Celtic iterations of this triskelion in the Book of Kells used in Christianity to represent the trinity, in Pagan provenance it meant land, sea, sky. I've always wanted one as I've got Cuchulain's hounds on my arm - there are beautiful images of three hounds entwined to show the values of trust, honour and courage. These would suit a guy such as you describe your dad as being.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:42 AM on August 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Any chance there are still any of your childhood drawings around? I always kind of liked this idea.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:48 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

A goose wearing a conductor hat and overalls followed by 3 goslings.
posted by ian1977 at 8:02 AM on August 7, 2015 [13 favorites]

I think if he's not the type to be looking for meaningful symbols, sticking with names or initials or birth dates would make sense, I mean those are just clearly linked to you guys. Just make them look cool.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:28 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I understand that you said you have a complicated relationship with your dad, but ... eh, if you put on the rose-colored glasses maybe (assuming this is something you're willing to do), what comes to mind for you when you think of your experiences with him when you were a kid? Are there any special things that hold significance because they do represent some sort of bond between you guys, either individually or as a family? Even if it's on a one-on-one basis - maybe you and your dad both liked fishing, maybe your sibling and dad both like the same vacation spot, maybe your other sibling and your dad laughed at the same dumb joke - I'd try to brainstorm some of those very specific things. Maybe doing so could help spark some ideas that could be effectively pulled together into a single coherent theme?

Otherwise, I'd go with Darth Vader.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:29 AM on August 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

My friend has their names tattoo'd in beautiful calligraphy in a ribbon wrapping around his arm on his arm.

My brother has tribal animal symbols that represent his kids worked into a tattoo over his heart.
posted by wwax at 8:30 AM on August 7, 2015

How about the classic "Mom" heart/banner, but with just "Kids" in the banner?
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:35 AM on August 7, 2015 [11 favorites]

LOL, and now I see how that could be not a good idea, and I can't stop laughing.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:36 AM on August 7, 2015 [13 favorites]

it's actually prob perfect. I have a "mom" heart tattoo that he has always been a little jealous of. He is not a complicated guy.
posted by Blisterlips at 8:40 AM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

I think fiercecupcake is thinking that the tattoo could be seen as "I heart kids" which is maybe problematic.
posted by ian1977 at 8:50 AM on August 7, 2015 [6 favorites]

What about a tattoo of Earth with 3 moons or 3 satellites?
posted by mal de coucou at 8:51 AM on August 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'd still do it, though.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:57 AM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

How about your names in scrabble tiles?

_____G R E G
posted by ian1977 at 8:59 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Or! How about a pair of antlers that has your names carved into them?
posted by ian1977 at 9:01 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

The heart could say "family" or"my kids" instead.
posted by sockermom at 9:01 AM on August 7, 2015 [9 favorites]

He could get the initials of the kids tattooed within the banner, instead of "Kids," to get rid of the pedo-vibe.
posted by jabes at 9:02 AM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Or....a majestic buck followed by 3 fawns?
posted by ian1977 at 9:06 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I saw a tattoo of thumbprints once that I thought was cool - it was a husband/wife set of thumbprints, but I liked the idea. "Dad" written in each of your handwriting. An anchor with each of your names below it (or just a bad-ass anchor). A mountain range with one larger peak, three smaller ones.
posted by ersatzkat at 9:27 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I saw one not long ago, that was a tree with angels in it, two girls and one boy, each representing a kid. Pretty cool and it was manly looking.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 9:35 AM on August 7, 2015

I think kids represent blood, tears, toil and sweat. Also a gamble, and a chance at eternity. As a parent, I kind of think of myself as a lighthouse, so I like a lighthouse and three sailing ships, maybe each heading out in a different direction.
posted by puddledork at 9:55 AM on August 7, 2015 [5 favorites]

Three-leaf clover, with your name & your siblings' short names on a lobe. (The symbolism is that it doesn't need to be a four-leaf clover, his kids are his luck.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:21 AM on August 7, 2015

Three wolf moon.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 10:33 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Three eyed crow.
posted by TheRedArmy at 11:49 AM on August 7, 2015

I know a bad-ass guy who has bar codes of all his children's birth statistics as tattoos! They are legit bar codes from what I understand ... although I don't imagine he is swiping them at the supermarket or anything. But it looks super cool and is very understated.
posted by mccxxiii at 12:50 PM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

How about your name and under each of your name some number of tally marks. Who ever has the most tally marks is his favorite child. Each time someone does something he approves of he goes in and gets another tally mark. Its interactive that way.
posted by ian1977 at 1:00 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

it's actually prob perfect. I have a "mom" heart tattoo that he has always been a little jealous of. He is not a complicated guy.

An American Traditional style tattoo where the banner says "Family" or has multiple banners with each child's name would be a good workaround for anyone who might read a "Kids" banner as...a creepy possible meme.
posted by blue suede stockings at 1:05 PM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Re the pedo-vibe with just "kids" in a banner, make it "My Kids" or --- if they're short --- all three names: "Bill, Deb & John"
posted by easily confused at 5:31 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Plain lettering: I love guns, beer, sweat-pant shorts and my kids.
posted by Melsky at 8:19 PM on August 7, 2015

I like the birth month flower idea mentioned above - for our 10th anniversary my husband and I had matching tattoos done with state flowers - his and my birth states and Hawaii where we were married. Black and grey, on our (ouch) ribs, just the three blooms. They look neat.
posted by hilaryjade at 8:46 AM on August 8, 2015

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