12 Ways to Design Better Tattoo Sleeve

How to plan tattoo sleeve. Important things to consider before starting. Often decision about getting a sleeve is a look that we see in our imagination. Bigger tattoo, that everyone around will notice and compliment. But for that to happen there are many things to consider. In this video, I will join both points of view: customer and tattoo artist. Maybe when letting them influence each other, we will be able to get much better tattoos.

Here is what you will learn in this video:

1. A sleeve as a collection of pieces, or one fluid composition.

There are many ways to skin a cat as an old saying says. This decision is your and your only. It is your skin. Tattoo sleeve designed entirely will have a huge artistic impact. On the other hand, going for tattoo sleeve that is a collection, allows you more freedom. Even getting tattooed by a few artists.

2. A sleeve is a small tattoo.

Even it may sound crazy. A professional artist will perceive it like that. A sleeve is only one arm in comparison to the whole body. And it should be considered with the rest of the body in mind.

3. Do not go too far with size.

So you do not take over places of other, even bigger tattoos. Today we talk about a sleeve, but who knows how crazy you will go tomorrow. After all, that all started with this one tattoo, right? ;)

4. Look for vertical reference images, instead of horizontal.

They function better with a tattoo sleeve that has the same orientation.

5. Do not put too many elements into your sleeve tattoo.

There is often a temptation to put all the ideas that you ever had into your sleeve. That is the easiest way to clutter whole design and make it unreadable. And then even the most intricate detail will be lost visually.

6. Consider nice four flat spaces in the full sleeve tattoo.

When planning a sleeve, it is essential to know what are the best places for most detailed areas of the design. Inside and outside of the forearm, inside of the bicep and outer arm are natural choices for eye-catching pieces. But of course, you do not have to use them all! Sometimes less is more. Significant areas of shading can make the whole sleeve more harmonious.

7. Think about the inner side, versus the outer side.

Inside your arm containing inner forearm, and inner bicep is a hidden part. Outside of forearm and upper arm are visible to the world all the time. That creates excellent separation allowing to put some additional exciting elements. (for instance, more scary and dangerous designs may go for the inside, while outside will be calm and respectful)

8. Work with a flow of the arm.

The human body is not flat. Arms are not flat either. As a tattoo artist try to catch the subtle rhythms of the body, follow the flow and natural movement. That way whole design will be more fluid and will sit on the skin much better. A correctly done sleeve can complement the body shape of its wearer.

9. Think about balance in your sleeve. Dark vs. light, detail vs. simplicity, hard edge vs. smooth transitions.

Balance is essential in art. You do not want to go black only, or super light only. If there is a dark, there has to be a light. As an artist, look for different attributes in the same composition. Make it interesting and rewarding to watch. A good sleeve will be discoverable instead of straightforward.

10. Do not put all of your ideas into the sleeve making it a mess. In art often less means more.

Do you have more ideas for the tattoos? That is great! A sleeve is small, remember? So you can use 2-3 design ideas for a sleeve and have rest saved for even more spectacular tattoos like legs, chest or back.

11. Woman sleeve needs an organic approach and even more careful planning.

Women sleeve tattoos are pretty hard to execute. Space is even thinner. Flow is more important, and it is wise to look for a nice flow that will complement the silhouette. Look out for elements that could be too masculine (until specifically requested or needed as the desired effect). When thinking about woman sleeve, imagine designing for an etherical creature floating few centimeters over the ground.

12. Go for something unique, instead of multiplying ideas done already.

Today the Internet is full of tattoo images. It is so easy to get lost in depths of the Internet. Sometimes it is just better to stay personal, choose ideas independently and rely a bit more on the artist. (Definitely, select the right one, and ambitious.)


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