Beautiful and striking are probably the most descriptive words to use when looking at a Japanese sleeve tattoo design. They are more commonplace in today's more liberal society. Should you get one?
What do you know about this type of tattoo? Do you know what "sleeve" means? Are you aware of what designs would make up a Japanese sleeve?
A sleeve tattoo is a term describing a design that completely covers the skin of the chosen area. Common body placement for sleeves is on the arms, and that is where we get the name. The tattoo looks like where the sleeve of your shirt should be.
Sleeve tattoos come in different lengths. These are:
1. Full Sleeve. Runs from the shoulder-blade all the way to the wrist.
2. Three quarter sleeve. Runs from shoulder-blade to middle/upper part of forearm.
3. Half Sleeve. Runs from the shoulder to the elbow.
4. Quarter Sleeve. Runs from the elbow to wrist.
As you can see there are many variations, and sleeves are not limited to the arms. Many people have taken the concept onto the lower limbs as well.
There is also the possibility of adding further work to the sleeve in the form of a "chest plate", which is basically covering the whole of the pectoral area leading off from the arm.
Sleeves can incorporate many styles of design, so long as the entire skin area is covered. However it is the Japanese sleeve which appears to be most popular.
Common themes in Japanese sleeve tattoo designs are dragons, koi carp, samurai warriors, geisha girls, cherry blossoms, water falls and hanya masks (a legendary Japanese demon).
The sleeve will often incorporate many if not all of these themes in one flowing design of intricate detail and vivid colour.
Full Sleeves are bold and in your face. Everyone will know that you are tattooed! However, if you are looking for some discretion but still favour this kind of tattoo, then a half sleeve could be a compromise. The sleeve can start on the shoulder and be cut short just above the elbow, enabling the tattoo to be hidden from view with a short-sleeved shirt.