Besides choosing the tattoo design, it’s also quite challenging to choose the placement. There are certainly a whole lot of areas in the human body that makes such great canvasses. But it’s quite easy to say that the forearm is one of the top choices. Why not? Forearm tattoos are more exposed and yet can be easily hidden. The area also provides enough space to express yourself more freely.
Forearm tattoos are not scarce. In fact, they are one of the most popular ones. The designs of tattoos you can have there is limitless. But always bear in mind that getting a tattoo is painful and this area may hurt just a little more.
Two nerves run through the forearm – the ulnar nerve and the median nerve. It may also look fleshy but some places have thinner layer than some areas of the body. If you have low pain tolerance, you might want to collect your courage first.
History of Forearm Tattoos
- 1 History of Forearm Tattoos
- 2 Issues with Getting Forearm Tattoos
- 3 Popular Forearm Tattoo Designs
- 4 Meaningful Forearm Tattoos
- 5 Minimalist Forearm Ink Designs
- 6 Getting a Tattoo – The Preparations
- 7 Getting a Tattoo – Aftercare
There really isn’t any exact dates as to when tattoos begun. However, many believe that the first ones who had tattoos were tribes and native people back in the old days when life was so much simpler. Most popular tribes to have brought tattoos and still a part of their culture are Polynesian and Native American tribes.
These tribes have various designs that often tells their identity and story. It also shows their position in the tribes. Some tribes and members may have seen forearm tattoos as some show of power. Or it could be a showcase of abilities and talent. For some, it could even be a thing of beauty. However, some see forearm body art as a random place for a tattoo.
Since then tattooing has been a huge part of society. It’s one of the major art forms around the world and seen as a way of self expression. It also became famous in the West during the war when soldiers got tattoos. These traditional tattoos still live up to this day.
However, the time came when tattoos were seen negatively. Many accustoms it to people who have served in jail, gang members, and thugs. For a long while, people who got tattoos were shunned by the community. It is quite good to say that these days, people have begun to be more open and lenient.
Issues with Getting Forearm Tattoos
There are really just two main issues with getting tattoos, especially ones that are easily exposed. First, it could be harder to hide than some other tattoos. Second, it can be painful. Of course, not all tattoos and placements have these issues but forearm tattoos sure do.
Forearm tattoos are rather exposed. You can easily hide them by wearing shirts with long sleeves. If it’s a small tattoo and you have some good coverage makeup, that will do as well. However, you don’t always have the time to hide it nor is it always the right season to wear sweaters and jackets. During those times, your tattoo could be easily exposed.
When does this become a problem? There are still places and people who judge those with tattoos and they are usually found in workplaces. Some do not employ anyone with exposed tattoos. So, if you feel like you’re going to encounter this sort of problem, you might want to hold back a little.
Next is the pain. Sure, getting any tattoo in any place is painful. But some places are usually more – and that includes the forearm. As mentioned, there are two major nerves along the forearm and hitting one is possible and rather painful. If you have low pain tolerance and it’s your first time getting inked, you might want to start somewhere more bearable with a smaller design.
Popular Forearm Tattoo Designs
While more and more tattoo enthusiasts are getting more creative and bolder with their tattoo designs, some have still gone with the household names. These are tattoo designs that are always among the top choices – for both men and women.
These designs have gone quite popular due to their versatility and sometimes with their deeper meaning. Here are some of the most common forearm tattoos you probably have seen (and want to have).
Out of all tattoo designs, quote tattoos are rather the more popular ones these days. Why not? They are very versatile in design. You can keep it simple with just the quote; you can make it fancy and add a few other elements; and you can make it impressive by making them 3D.
Quote tattoos are also more popular as forearm tattoos. It might be because of the way our forearm is shaped. It has a good length that enables you to get a tattoo of a full sentence or even two. Apart from that, it also has enough space for other designs. This is the usual choice for women.
Armband tattoos could actually be anywhere in the arms. It could be on the biceps or the wrist. But most designs often opt for the forearm. This design actually goes around the arm so if you have it around your forearm, it would be on both the inner and outer side.
Designs for this type of tattoo ranges from simple to awesome. Simple designs often include straight, bold lines like a ring. There could be a few dots or swirls or geometric patterns like a tribal design. However, some designs are purely awesome – working with sceneries such as forests, mountain ranges, or even skyscrapers. These can be minimalist or detailed designs.
Modern tribal tattoos were more for aesthetics these days than actual meaningful tattoo. Back in the day, tribes would be getting inspiration from nature to create designs. Maori tribes had designs that represented strength, courage, and more. These designs were often patterns.
Today, patterns are still very much used for tribal tattoos. Patterns contain geometrical shapes and patterns. They are often made with dark black in but some are using colors. Oftentimes, these tribal forearm tattoos extend to the sleeves and even the shoulders and chest.
Apart from the back and the chest, the forearm is another place for portraits. Oftentimes, these portraits show women who might be fictional or a loved one. More often than not, they are created to look 3 dimensional. These photo-realistic tattoos are hard to do but very stunning.
Sometimes, portraits are accompanied with other elements. Perhaps the most popular is the skull, followed by flowers, gems, and weapons. Men often get these kinds of tattoos.
In general, 3D tattoos are popular forearm tattoos. Apart from portraits, hyper realistic animal designs such as eyes of a tiger, lion, or an owl is common. Quotes made to look like they have been carved from rock are also on the top of the list. For women, abstract “carved” designs are in. For men, they are more into bio-mechanical theme where it looks like they are half human and half machine.
3D tattoos are very hard to do that is why you will need to work with a tattoo artist who has past experience with creating one. You need to see whether their techniques are effective. This is essential if you want to achieve great results.
Meaningful Forearm Tattoos
Apart from designs, many choose elements and symbols that have meaning. It helps remind them of the good things and sometimes even of the bad that they have overcome. These symbols also help reflect who they are as persons and even their life story.
Here are popular and meaningful forearm tattoos:
- Mandala – Mandalas are often choices for women. However, men are also getting these stunning symbols. These are round-shaped symbols that often have unique patterns within and even surrounding it until the innermost circle couldn’t contain any more patterns. As a tattoo design, mandalas represent eternity, balance, and perfection.
- Wolves – Wolves are probably one of the most sought after animal tattoo designs. They are fierce but look so much like some breeds of our favorite pets – dogs. As a tattoo, they symbolize loyalty, power, leadership, and strength.
- Lions – Apart from wolves, lions are also popular choices for both men and women. It can be a couple tattoo with men opting for lions and women opting for lionesses. They are symbols of power, strength, dominance, and loyalty.
- Roses – Roses have a wide variety of meanings depending on their color and how they are depicted. Yet generally, roses are symbols of love, passion, purity, and as a memorial.
- Trees – Trees go through seasons of harsh weather conditions. But they remain standing still and tough. This is why trees are known as symbols of resilience and perseverance. This is great for those who have stood tall despite the challenges they went through.
- Maps – Either a world map or a map of your place, maps are known to represent traveling and the love of it. It’s also a way to get yourself connected to home even if you are far away.
Minimalist Forearm Ink Designs
While others want to share their amazing tattoos to the world, others go for the subtler options. Since the arms is more on the open, many tattoo enthusiasts opt for minimalist tattoos; something that aren’t loud but actually quite stunning.
Minimalist tattoos are much simpler than even traditional tattoos. They do not have much details and if there were, they are more subtle and delicate looking. That is why this has become widely sought after by women who like delicate designs.
Most tattoo symbols and elements can be turned into a minimalist tattoo. You can cut down the details and focus more on getting negative space while still showing off the design. This could be harder on some but there are tons of ideas on the internet for some inspiration.
However, some designs are already minimalist. Here’s a list of the most meaningful ones you can use as forearm tattoos:
The infinity symbol has garnered popularity over the last few years. It was mostly a couple tattoo – something partners get to show that their love is endless. Just as the name suggests, the symbol represents infinity, eternity, and even balance and perfection.
Infinity symbols could be as plain as they are. But you can still get the minimalist effect even when adding names.
The semicolon tattoo is one of those tattoos that are more than just symbols. For many, this is to help spread awareness against depression and suicide. The Project Semicolon began when Amy Bleuel’s father committed suicide. This started on 2013 when she used a semicolon to help those who are struggling with their mental health and addiction.
The semicolon is used when you want to end a sentence but you chose not to. It’s a metaphor to choosing to end your life but did not. It has been a great show of support for those who are going through depression, anxiety, self-injury and addiction. Most who have it are also survivors and warriors fighting their own personal demons.
Arrows have a long list of meanings, depending on where its pointing, how its depicted and how many arrows there are. For example, crossed arrows usually represent strong friendship. The notion comes from a single arrow being susceptible to breaking but a bundle is much stronger. A single arrow, on the other hand, is a symbol of protection from harm and defense.
Getting a Tattoo – The Preparations
So, you have decided to get a tattoo. Cool. If it isn’t your first time, you will know what to do. But if it is indeed your first time, what preparations should you do? Well, you’ve asked the right question and come to the right place.
Choosing a design and its placement is an essential part of preparing to get a tattoo. But more than that, you have to prepare yourself, especially your body. Since we are talking about forearm tattoos, it is best to prepare for the pain as well, particularly if you are a first timer with a rather complicated tattoo designs – and low pain tolerance.
1. Prepare your body.
Your flesh will be pierced, no matter how small your tattoo is. It is best to keep your body well to ensure that your healing is fast and the tattoo won’t be damaged or your body. This is most essential when you are getting a bigger tattoo. The body will be taking in more wounds than usual and most of the time, it would take several sessions to fully finish a big or complicated tattoo.
2. Keep your immune system in great condition.
Once you start getting a tattoo, your immune system will be kicking gear and start up. That is why you should rest well, maybe take some vitamins, eat healthy and good food always. Doing the latter is an effective but safe way to keep your blood sugar level up. You might also want to take a bottle of water with you during the procedure. Plus, a good night sleep before your session is needed.
3. Shave the area where you’re going to have a tattoo beforehand.
Some tattoo artists are not really keen on shaving their clients’ bodies. And so, you might want to do that yourself to save them some trouble. Shaving a larger area than the place intended for the tattoo is much better. This helps prep the skin for tattooing.
4. Keep your design ready.
If you haven’t yet talked to an artist, it is much better to do so before getting your tattoo, especially when it’s a bigger and complicate design. Nonetheless, you might want to bring a picture or drawing of your desired tattoo design to the tattoo shop when getting a tattoo.
Getting a Tattoo – Aftercare
Aftercare is as important as the initial preparations. This is the point where your tattoo will make it or break it. Once you have a tattoo, it is your responsibility to guarantee that it will heal well and would turn out the way you want it to.
So, what do you do?
For the first few hours after getting a tattoo, you will want to keep the cover they have placed on you. Keep it for at least a couple of hours to four hours. It is also possible to keep it overnight. However, it is best to change the bandage and clean your tattoo. You can wash it but only with non-alcoholic, mild, and fragrant-free soap. Then you’d want to lightly dab a clean paper cloth on the area.
Never rub it, even when you’re drying. If it is possible, air dry it. When you have a hair dryer, you can use the “cool” option to speed up the process.
Keep on doing this for the first few weeks. You will notice some excess ink coming off. That is clearly natural as the ink is still settling on your skin. You might also want to change your sheets every night if possible.
For the next few weeks to at least 3 months, stay away from direct sun contact or diving and staying in water. If you need to go out, use mild and fragrant-free sunscreen lotion to protect your new ink.