Help me get the best tattoo possible :)
October 15, 2007 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Tattoo Filter; This question has a few parts; 1. Can the hive recommend a tattoo artist that does exceptional work in the South Florida area (I have heard of the Miami Ink Guys) 2. I am planning to get a half sleeve done and what like your suggestions/comments/antidotes about getting the work done. 3. I would also like to hear from the people that have a half sleeve/ full sleeve about how they picked the content of their tattoo and what went into the planning of it. Thanks in advance!
posted by boyinmiami to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most of the folks guys I know, including my own tattoo artist, didn't necessarily plan on getting a sleeve at all, but became so pleased with the results of prior tattoos that they then went and planned a sleeve around the tattoos already there. In one instance a guy had a sleeve to cover up defects in a pre-existing tattoo. Another got so addicted to the rush of getting a tattoo that a sleeve just kind of sprang forth as a collaboration between himself and his artist.

Most of the sleeves I've seen (I'm in Texas if that has any relevance) indeed don't seem to have any sort of coherent theme of content, but rather up to three "centerpieces" around which a sleeve has "grown". Some are done very well, others look like a whole bunch of tats crammed together. YMMV. I'd presume that if you had a coherent plan and stuck with one artist you'd get the best results.

While I'm not planning on getting a sleeve, I do plan on getting multiple tattoos over my body, and have a plan for an overall look. Talking this over with my own artist has led to some modifications to some of the specifics, but the overall planned look hasn't changed. Changing mid-course on something permanent like this seems to me like asking for trouble.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:08 PM on October 15, 2007

"folks guys"??
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:08 PM on October 15, 2007

I don't have sleeve tattoos, but I was really struck by this photo, because the colors are so vivid and the artworks connects to his painting. Too many sleeves I see are blah -- smudgy and crude, little coherence of design.
posted by Forktine at 6:14 PM on October 15, 2007

Best answer: Anecdotally, the coolest sleeve I have ever seen was a guy obsessed with vacuum cleaners. He had every type and model you can imagine. It was terribly interesting to look at and atypical.

One of my best friends was born on Valentine's Day; she is building a sleeve of all things Valentine's... St. Valentine, Cupid, Kewpie Dolls, heart-shaped box of candy being opened by Lady Luck... that sort of thing.

Whatever you get, remember: black fades to a bluish green. Something with a lot of color, rather than a lot of black, will look good longer. Plus it'll need fewer touch-ups. Don't make the images too small; as you age and gain/lose weight, they will blur. Bigger and more basic is better with lots and lots of color.

A great friend of mine in LA, Joby Cummings, does amazing work and ONLY sleeves and half-sleeves. If you get a chance, he's great. He has freehanded on me before he got really popular and it was great, very little pain. Click the link for neat examples of custom, themed sleeves and half-sleeves.

However, this is clearly the best tattoo in the history of ever. Amen.

So, my answer is, think of something that is terribly important, funny, interesting or personal to you, whether it's Egyptian heiroglyphs (my personal theme), star systems, American presidents, Blythe dolls, the 7 wonders of the natural world, UFO designs and shapes, your favorite comic book heroes... pick out something interesting, different, and very, very personal. For god's sake, never go to the flash wall and decide on something there. You want yours to be unique and part of your identity or you will regret it later.

My boyfriend's tattoos are unique and contribute to his sex appeal greatly.

Best of luck in your search!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:04 PM on October 15, 2007

Oh, and before I forget to mention: If you come back and say you got a Tasmanian Devil, a barbed wire armband, your S.O.'s name, a tribal tramp stamp or worse, a heart that says "daddy" anywhere on you (or a tiny star on your hand or ankle), I will promptly quit Metafilter and never look back.

Just sayin'.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:13 PM on October 15, 2007

I think you meant "anecdotes", not "antidotes". I don't know any antidotes to tattooing.

Anyway, I have tattoos on both of my upper arms, but they are not sleeves. I do have my lower calves done in a themed fashion. My legs started out with a tattoo on each calf. Then I decided to add additional elements to them and they became half, uh, sleeves? socks? Anyway, I am very happy with them.

I suggest thinking of a theme you like - on my right calf, I went with a floral motif, and the left has a sea life motif. My upper arms have tattoos that are placed in such a way that they can't really be effectively turned into sleeves, but they are some of my favorite tattoos because I love the theme and meaning.

As for the south Florida area, I have no idea. If you want to travel, I can recommend some NYC and L.A. area artists, though. :-)
posted by bedhead at 10:34 PM on October 15, 2007

Whatever you decide...take the image or images that you want to get as a tattoo...look carefully, make sure you like it.

Now, take that picture and put it in a drawer for a year. If in one year you still feel the same way, get it done. Keeps you from getting all psyched up and then getting something trendy that'll look stoopid in a couple of months.

posted by legotech at 11:33 PM on October 15, 2007

Best answer: i am currently getting a sleeve. black and grey. celtic. i currently have the entire outer part of my upper arm covered. this is one "centerpiece". i also have some celtic stars on my lower arm which will have to be worked into the design, which is annoying (four years ago when i got them i wasn't thinking that eventually i might want a sleeve and therefore a blank canvas).

as others have said, there are two ways to go about this: one big concept piece made up of a few centerpieces plus background, or a bunch of smaller tattoos that eventually cover your arm. i am fan of the former.

plan something out WITH your tattoo artist. know that you will not get the entire sleeve done in one or two sittings, unless you're going for very sparse coverage.

if you have a theme in mind, bring in tons and tons of pictures of things you like AND pictures of things you don't like. give your artist some ideas, but also welcome his or her ideas. they have good ones more often than not.

figure out now if you want a half, full or three-quarter sleeve.

realize that this will costs a couple grand.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:12 AM on October 16, 2007

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