Handwriting Tattoo Placement
December 12, 2017 8:23 PM   Subscribe

After thinking about it for several years I've decided to finally get a memorial tattoo for my grandmother. I have her handwriting saying "I love you - Grandma" which I would like. However I am having trouble with placement ideas as well as if I should add a symbol with it because I feel weird about just text tattoos.

I know a tattoo artist could probably help me with a lot of these questions but I feel like I am still kind of in the planning conceptual stage and would just like some different ideas/input to help firm up my idea.

I know for sure I want the "I love you - Grandma". But I have also been thinking about the idea of tying in a carnation (her favorite flower) or a blue bird. Or possibly both?

Also having trouble with placement ideas. Typically I've seen the handwriting tattoos on the arm or wrist but I would like it someplace easily coverable but still easily visible to me when I want to see it. This leads me to think maybe ankle? But I suppose that would depend on size and imagery as well.

Looking for ideas, pictures, suggestions, etc for tying the words together with flowers and/or a bird, as well as thoughts and advice on placement. If it is relevant, I already have a small tattoo on my left ankle.
posted by Malleable to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For what it's worth, I find my forearm and wrist tattoos -- not text, but simple linework symbols -- are hard to cover year-round (you can't live in long sleeves all the time -- at least not where I live) and they visually compete with bracelets. So I would agree with you about considering another location.
posted by liet at 9:17 PM on December 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This sort of thing seems popular for tying together text with flowers.

This is another way to incorporate the flower with your text (not shown on an ankle, but could work in multiple spots).

fwiw, my wrist tattoo (~1.5" square, not text) is very easy to cover up with a wide bracelet. ymmv--it works well if you want something that's mostly visible but can be easily covered when necessary, but if you want the flip of mostly covered, but easily visible when desired, then yeah, wrist probably isn't the best spot.
posted by tan_coul at 10:41 PM on December 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'd say ankle, that's where my meaningful tattoo goes around. It's pretty grounding to have something around your ankle. Plus who's actually going to be looking at your ankle?
posted by zengargoyle at 11:27 PM on December 12, 2017

Upper inside of the bicep/arm can be a good place for text. However the ankle will be easier to cover as long as you prefer pants. I would go on Instagram and start searching some tattoo hashtags for inspiration.

I've made a lot of progress toward half sleeves and 18 tattoos. I have writing both on my front ankle/leg area and my left inner arm/bicep. I also have my wrist done and nearly no one notices that one. So while they are more visible, they are actually quite discreet if they are small.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:08 AM on December 13, 2017

Definitely think about scale/size in addition to placement. Fine text, especially in scripts that look more cursive/handwritten can age poorly and become difficult to read. Your experienced tattooer should be able to advise you on how to avoid this but based on the number of illegible text pieces I see not all will.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:28 AM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

All of my tattoos are white Ink. I like this because they aren’t terribly visible to everyone, more just for me. Could be something to think about if you just want the handrwriting and sentiment :)
posted by wowenthusiast at 6:12 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have tattoos on the insides of both ankles, the insides of both wrists, the inside of both arms (just below the elbow), and the front side of my shoulders just outside the collarbone. My rules for me are much the same - I want to be able to cover them up and I want to able to see them.

The ankles win for ease of seeing and ease of covering up - to a point. As long as I'm wearing pants or knee socks, they're easily covered. However, if you like to wear shorts or dresses and sandals, and/or live in a climate where you're going to be hot if you're wearing pants during warm weather, then you're going to have significant chunks of the year where it's going to be out on display (I know you said you already have one ankle piece, but I'm just marching through all possible placements). I live in a climate where my ankle pieces are out on display about 6 months of the year. This isn't a huge deal for me (and honestly, there are people who've known me for YEARS and looked down at my ankles on day and gone "oh, you have tattoos there too!")

The ones on the insides of my wrists aren't super visible even without long sleeves on - I don't spend a lot of time with my wrists turned up on display - but they are tiny (single words). You're talking about something bigger, so it's going to be more visible. Amusingly, the wrist ones are harder for me to cover up - they are right where the wrist joins the hand and tend to peek out of even long sleeves.

The inner arm ones are super visible to me and everyone else, but long sleeves cover them up easily. But, see climate issues above.

The shoulders are very visible to me - all I have to do is look down - and super easy to cover up (they cover up with short sleeves, avoiding the hot weather issues) but super easy to show off (you can see 90% of them in tank tops). For cover-ability, climate comfort, and show-off-ability when you want, I really recommend the shoulders.

I have friends with thigh pieces who say the same thing - really only visible in female cut swim suits, but easily visible to them several times a day.

I might also recommend ordering some temps from Etsy, plopping them in a few places, and seeing how you feel about the placements after you've been living with them for awhile, since it sounds like the placement of this one is super important to you. :)
posted by joycehealy at 7:24 AM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I wish I could favorite Exceptional_Hubris's answer more than once. I don't have text tattoos, but I have a fine-line neuron that I would have reconsidered knowing what I know now. (It was my first.) It still holds up (I don't get much sun) but I'm in the midst of a concept for reworking it.

Recommendation: for the text, don't plan your concept around a thinner line-width than what a fine-tip Sharpie would look like on skin, and get the text in black. Placement: Get it somewhere that you don't get a lot of sun (fortunately goes well with hiding it). If you think you can do ribs (ouch), that's an option. Front of thigh is a great canvas, and super visible to you without a mirror. Inner bicep similar.

I really like watercolor tattoos; one of my favorite local artists specializes in them. But man they can wash out easily. My favorites have a mix of borderless watercolor splashes and black linework.
posted by supercres at 9:30 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

+1 on handwriting not holding up great - I have phrases tattooed in handwriting on the inside of both wrists and regret both the placement and size (too visible yet too small and blurry.) This could be definitely be a function of getting them done when I was drunk at whatever old place in whatever suburban strip mall, but size is definitely something to consider. I think it's difficult to hit the sweet spot of easily coverable + easily visible to you when it comes to text just because of size constraints. I do like the idea of the text + bird + flower - what do you think of Sailor Jerry style? That can bring all those elements together nicely if done well. Maybe I'm old and Sailor Jerry style is passe? Not sure, check with fellow kids.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 10:55 AM on December 13, 2017

Best answer: Maybe this won't apply to you, but my first thought was that if i had an emotional, meaningful tattoo like this, I'd want it to be somewhere that I'd have access to both seeing and touching it. Like, I imagine it might give me comfort to run my finger across the words, or even lay my hand on the clothing covering that spot. So for me, something like the forearm or front of the thigh would make more sense than, say, the back. Just a thought. This sounds like a beautiful tribute.
posted by jessicapierce at 11:30 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

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