As tattoo artists get creative and tattooing technologies improve, new styles are always coming up. One of the more recent developments in the body art industry is the emergence of the realistic tattoos. Although this style has been around for quite some time now, its popularity has been on a sharp rise in the past few years. This is as more artists learn how to draw photorealistic images and master the use of different colors in body art.
These tattoos will look like a picture printed on the body. The artists are very keen to make sure that everything is proportional and the color combinations are right to make the image realistic. This style is quite difficult to achieve, and it takes longer than most others to create, and so it will require the services of a skilled and highly experienced artist.
Most people tend to confuse realistic tattoos with the 3D style. Although the two genres are closely related, they are not necessarily the same thing. While 3D totems aim to have, the image appears in three dimensions the realistic style seeks to make it look realistic.’ Perhaps understanding what realism is all about in body art will make it easy to tell the two apart and help you know what to expect when getting one.
History of the Realistic Tattoos
Since the realistic tattoo is a relatively new concept, one might think that it is easy to trace it back to the origins. However, this is not true because tattoos are now a global phenomenon and so it is almost impossible to tell with certainty the origins of this style.
Most tattoo experts agree that it most likely originated from the USA where the tattoo culture is always setting the pace for the rest of the world.
Most tattooing machines and technologies are from the USA. Also, most of the renowned artists doing this genre are also Americans. But there are also many other good realistic body art artists in Europe, Asia, and South America.
Despite being a relatively new tattoo genre, these totems get their inspiration from the 1850’s Realism Art Movement that started in France. The objective of this movement was to tame the effects of the Romantic Period that focused more on fancier subjects that included a lot of emotionalism and drama.
Realism instead focused on everyday objects and ordinary situations and people. Also, it is during this age that artists began to utilize the truth and accuracy in their paintings and drawings.
Realistic art has been evolving and becoming better since the Realism Art Movement, and its incorporation into body art takes it to the next level. The realistic tattoos will mostly depict landscapes and portraits that mimic the appearance of photographs and are very detailed.
Tattoo artists prefer to have these pieces in black and gray inks since they provide a lot of depth to the tattoo. And although capturing an image in other colors can be little challenging many modern artists can now create photo-realistic tattoos that include other shades like red, blue and green.
Meanings and Symbolism
It will not be accurate to give these tattoos a blanket meaning because their symbolism will depend on the owner and why they have the tattoo. Also, in many cases, some tattoo enthusiasts will only have them because they look beautiful or merely because they want to try out a new tattoo genre. And so for this group of people, their tattoos will not have any significant meaning or symbolism to them.
Having one or more of these pieces can symbolize that you are a ‘realistic’ person or prefer to view life realistically. They are also a way of breaking away from the norm or the usual things since they are still relatively rare. There are various tattoo types that you can get, and if you use the services of a skilled artist, they will look stunning.
The only problem with this is that they look obvious or will be just what people will expect to see in a tattoo. With a photo-realistic one, this is not the case, and anyone looking at it will always want to have a second glance just to confirm what they are seeing. And so they are always a good way to symbolize that you are not like everyone else.
The theme or image that you have on the tattoo will also influence its meaning. Most people prefer to have portraits of loved ones, celebrities and people that inspire them. Having a picture of a parent or a close relative symbolizes that they are important to you or are close to your heart.
A realistic tattoo of someone that passed on can mean that even though they are no longer with you, their spirit is present and you will never forget them. Others of influential personalities in the society such as Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs can act as inspiration or encouragement for one to continue pursuing what they believe in or their ambitions.
Realistic Tattoo Ideas
You can have almost anything that you want as a tattoo in realism. The idea is only to add some photo-realism to the image, and so there are no restrictions. However, like any other genre, some particular images seem to look best for this style. They are also what most tattoo lovers prefer to have and also what most of the artists draw well.
#1 The Sugar Skull
It is hard to think of any tattoo style that does not have a variation that involves the skull. A realistic skull looks amazing, and it will always create an attention-grabbing piece. For this tattoo, the most important thing is for the artist to bring out all the small details of the skull such as the arrangement of the teeth and give it a realistic deterioration.
Also, the placement matters but you can have it almost anywhere. While some people will prefer to have a large realistic skull on the back others are more comfortable with a small one on the upper arm.
Portraits are probably the most popular realistic tattoos. They entail drawing a photo-realistic image of someone that you love, celebrities or people that inspire you. It is also common for some tattoo enthusiasts to get realistic portraits of their favorite sports personality.
In most case, the tattoo artists will draw them in black and gray inks to add depth and realism to the image. But, some skilled artists can also give you a colorful and vibrant portrait.
#3 Animal Heads
The picture of a wolf, lion, tiger or bear on your sleeve or back creates a fascinating tattoo. These animals are also very symbolic, and most people will associate them with positive traits like courage and strength. Drawing them as realistic images take their appearance a notch higher and you can be sure of getting a tattoo that you will want to look at for many years.
Also, having them in this style can help to bring out different elements and details. For example, you can have a roaring lion with the long canine teeth showing. It is easy to demonstrate the fierceness of the lion or any other animal if you have it as a realistic tattoo.
#4 Religious Symbols
You can also use this style to spice up the appearance of your religious Symbols. Religious symbols like the cross, angels, scripture and praying hands make some adorable tattoos. But, it is still possible to enhance their appearance with some photo-realism.
Although you can still have these tattoos as small images on your arm or back, they look more realistic if you draw them as medium size or large totems. Combining the cross with praying hands or other religious symbols can also help to make the tattoo more symbolic. For the placement of the realistic religious symbol, it will be up to your preferences.
Flowers are another image that seems to work well for most tattoos types or styles. A large realistic rose flower on your upper arm or the thighs for ladies will look astonishing. And to make the flowers even more realistic, you should request the artists to draw them in bright colors like pink or red. Also, ensure that you get the flower from an experienced artist to capture even the minor details to make it look realistic.
You can also have this tattoo in a contemporary design such as the money flower design which entails drawing realistic banknotes wrapped into a flower. Flowers are also very symbolic and so your tattoo will not only look beautiful but will also be meaningful.
There is no better way or carrying the memories of your homeland than with a tattoo. While some people do this by getting the name of their place of birth, others take things a notch higher by drawing the landscape. And with the skills and technologies that tattoo artists possess in these modern times, all you need is a picture of the landscape you want to draw, and they will transfer it to your body.
These tattoos can be quite breathtaking, and this is more so if you get them in numerous colors to capture the exact appearance of the landscape and also add a few birds or butterflies to the image. A realistic representation of the ocean with plant and animal life will also make a beautiful and very detailed totem.
Apart from choosing a suitable image or symbol for your realistic tattoos, you will also need to decide on where to have it. If you are not sure where to draw the totem, your artist should advise you according to the size and appearance of your totem.
Since most people prefer to have large photo-realistic totems, the best placement areas are the back and chest because they provide enough space. Also, the flat nature of the chest and back makes them easier to draw than other parts of the body.
Gender will also have a role to play when it comes to tattoo placement. Ladies prefer to have most of their tattoos in places like the thighs, lower back, ribs, wrist and even behind the ear or neck. Also, the fact that most ladies seem to be more comfortable with small images means that they can have them on the wrist, ankles or even on the fingers.
For men, the back, chest, and arm are the favorite placement areas. A realistic full or half sleeve tattoo will be an excellent choice for a guy. But, it is also not uncommon for men to place their realistic tattoos on the ribs and legs.
Important Points to Keep In Mind When Getting These Tattoos
- Although these tattoos have been around for quite some time, they are still complicated to create. And so you should be ready for a lengthy search for an artist that has mastered realism.
- These tattoos will take longer to draw than most others, and so you should be willing to withstand pain for many hours or even a few days.
- Since they can be quite complicated to create and require a skilled and experienced artist, they will cost more than regular tattoos in most places.
- Not all 3D tattoos are photorealistic, and so you need to know how to tell these tattoos apart to understand what to expect when getting inked.
Although realism has been a part of fine art since the Renaissance, it has only found its way to tattoos recently. But since then the realistic tattoos have evolved into a refined form of body art and are now hugely popular with both celebrities and ordinary tattoo enthusiasts.
Nowadays you can find these body markings in some jaw-dropping black and gray or color portraits. And as more artists continue to learn the skill of drawing in realism, the designs will continue to improve and become even more realistic.
If you are thinking of getting a new tattoo, you should try realism since it not only offers you many design options, but it also guarantees that you will have a unique and attention-grabbing totem.