Tattoo forearm ideas for men

Written by benna crawford
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Tattoo forearm ideas for men
Tattoos can go anywhere but the forearm is a popular place for men to get inked. (tattoo man in jeans image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

Men's forearms are a particularly good place for tattoos because the muscles of the forearm tend to keep the skin taut. If the tattoo is well-designed and placed, muscle movement can even make the image appear to move. The forearm is also a highly visible part of the body and it is easy to see ink art displayed on the arm. Tattoos might range from the name of a loved one emblazoned across a forearm to a half sleeve elaborate "painting" covering the entire lower half of the arm. Several traditional and popular styles area available.

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Old School -- Sailor Art

Grandpa might have got this type of tattoo while on shore leave. This is an old-fashioned style that uses a limited palette of red, yellow, green, blue and black, flat shading and simple lines. Pin-up girls, anyone? Anchors aweigh and flag waving, mom without the apple pie, old school style was a bit down-market but proud and bold.

Tribal and Celtic Knot

The Maori tribe of New Zealand and the Celts of the British Isles developed black, stylised designs of cultural significance that happen to work especially well as tattoos. Tribal is pure design, originally borrowed from the Pacific Islands and Africa. Today, it refers to any heavy decorative lines and shapes that are usually rendered in solid black. Celtic knotwork is lifted from the old illuminated manuscripts laboriously scribed and painted by Irish monks. The designs are intricate puzzles and are typically inked in black but might incorporate some solid bright primary colour.

Asian, Irezumi, Kanji

The arts of Asia are beautiful adornments on the skin and they range from simple calligraphy, which is usually black, to complex, colourful swirls of koi, temples, dragons, geishas and other emblematic Asian icons. Black is used to outline and highlight the designs and vivid colours. The popular, heavily marketed tattoo designs of Don Ed Hardy that splashed koi, tigers and geishas all over sneakers and hoodies are partly based on Asian tattoo design.

Black & Gray Wash

Black & Gray Wash is also known as Chicano ink. It features portraits of real people, permanently etched on the skin as a memorial or in affection. A father might have his child's or his wife's portrait "painted" on his arm. Some people go for celebrity portraits, occasionally with a touch of irony or a nod to a cultural icon such as Marilyn Monroe. Others commemorate a loved one or a friend who died, often at a young age. This ink requires a skilled portraitist, is copied from a photograph and is done in black ink shaded in greys.

Fine Line

Art school grads who turn to tattooing specialise in fine art ink. The lines are usually hand-drawn and quite thin. The detail is extremely fine and the colours may exhibit complex shading. The final piece, when a full colour scene or image is etched into the arm, looks like a painting. Fine line might also be used for inscribing words on the arms or smaller, realistically detailed pieces like barbed wire bands.

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