Vintage Pin-Up Tattoos
The female figure has been a long-standing staple in art for thousands of years, so it follows easily that her form and face bear a prominent place in this new art form as tattooing developed in the early 20th century. Pin-up girls are one of the most classic, traditional tattoos you can get.
The term "pin-up" comes from images of beautiful women who could be cut out of magazines or newspapers and "pinned up" on one's wall; a practice dating at least to the 1890s, though the term was formally coined in 1941.Pin up tattoos were largely popularized in the 1920s-1940s, largely by sailors and soldiers--two groups of men who spend long periods of time away from society and women in general. As the old joke goes, your pin-up tattoo is the one woman who will never leave you.
Pin-up tattoos often depict women with a personal touch to make her
the wearer's own. The pin-up is an extremely versatile tattoo--a
beautiful woman can be put in numerous settings, from a cowgirl to a
hula girl to a geisha, thereby rendering it anything from an extremely
personal image representing one's girlfriend or wife, or a more general
and merely aesthetic one. The pin up can be naughty, nice, the girl
next door, the Madonna--whatever the wearer desires.
The images used in this hub are primarily vintage pin-ups--genuine images from earlier in the 20th century when the women were highly stylized. These days, with art school training, better and more colorful ink, and technologically efficient machines, pin-ups can contain a high degree of realism, but earlier in the art of tattooing, they had to be bolder and simpler.
Classic pin-ups by Sailor Jerry
Variations on an image
Here's an example of the variations on a theme. On the right the pin-up girl is far more traditional--less nuanced shading and bold traditional colors. On the left the image appears more modern because of thinner outlines and the careful shading in the hat, clothes, and legs. (Finer shading is possible these days because of better needles and machines than earlier in the 20th century.) The colors on the left are also more modern (in the past, there were few color choices in tattoo ink, hence the simpler palattes of traditional tattoos). Also, note that the girl on the left is tattooed herself--a distinctly modern touch!
Any good tattoo artist will be able to take an image provided and personalize it to your requests to make the tattoo your own.
The Pin Up Bust
Another option when choosing a pin up tattoo is a partial figure. The head and/or bust of a beautiful woman can stand alone or be surrounded by personalized decoration such as flowers, decorative rope and an anchor for a sailor theme, or other images.