Tattoo Lettering Ideas: Deciding what to Get

Updated on November 3, 2013

Tattoos are a form of self expression and the human body is an empty canvas. You can paint it, pierce it, brand it, and accentuate it with metal, ink and a variety of other body modifications. Most people get an idea in their head and then visit a tattoo artist who will help them bring their vision to life on their skin. Others design their own tattoo artwork or lettering. But still others, although eagerly aware of their desire to get a tattoo, actually have no idea what exactly they want to get. This does not quell the desire for ink, however, and you shouldn't let it deter you from your ultimate goal. Tattoo inspiration can be gleaned in a number of ways to get your ideas flowing. Keep in mind that a tattoo should be something particular to you, something that has meaning to you personally. Don't worry if it won't make a bit of sense to anyone else--you're not adorning your body for anyone else's benefit, so understanding the reasoning behind your choice is not a requisite for acceptance and appreciation.

"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein
"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein

Favorite Books

Take a look through all your favorite books from over the course of your life. Don't just focus on the adult books you've read recently, but the children's books as well. Keep a notebook on hand, and as you're flipping through jot down quotes or phrases that jump out at you. If it's a children's book, write down the page number that contains a picture you appreciate. Although they are geared towards kids, there is often merit in children's books that speak to adults as well. Popular volumes like Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree", "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams and "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss all offer universal messages of hope and learning. Check out Literary Tattoos for more idea inspiration.

Bjork lyrics
Bjork lyrics

Favorite Songs

Song lyrics make for great lettering tattoos. Everyone has at least one song that follows them everywhere. Think of a tune that has inspired your creativity or played in the background as you went through a difficult time period. Before getting it tattooed, make sure you do a lyrics search just to ensure you've got all the wording right. If you enjoy classical music such as Beethoven or Mozart which has no lyrics, consider getting the corresponding music notes instead. Music staffs look great wrapped around the upper arm, wrist or ankle. CD albums or record covers are another great place to look for inspiration. Many of them contain amazing works of graphic design varying in size, shape and simplicity. Band logos or symbols, like the AFI winged bat or H.I.M.'s heartagram are two very popular choices. Click here for more examples of music tattoos.

Quote by Gandalf from "Lord of the Rings" written in Tengwar [geocities.com/therealteng]
Quote by Gandalf from "Lord of the Rings" written in Tengwar [geocities.com/therealteng]

Favorite Movies

Movies are a great source of inspiration because they are full of dialogue and chances are there'll be an amazing quote somewhere in the midst of all that talking. If you can't remember the exact wording off the top of your head, do a Google search for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind quotes" for example, or search for the film on IMDB and check out the memorable quotes section. If you're lucky, you may be able to do a search and find a complete copy of the movie's screenplay online. You can then scour the script for good excerpts. Some people are dead set on replicating the quote exactly as it is said in the film, whereas others are content with paraphrasin, or leaving out what they consider to be "nonessential" words for the sake of brevity. This is especially true if the area you're looking to tattoo is small. Another option is to just take the most important word from the quote and get that tattooed by itself. For example, my friend Megan wanted the biblical verse where Jesus counsels Peter to forgive someone who has transgressed him not just seven times, but seventy times seven. However, since the spot where she wanted to get tattooed was on her wrist, she decided to get "70 x 7" in lieu of the entire verse.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        bruno_jr 

        11 years ago

        some pretty great ideas here. My best friend and I went and got matching tattoos of and Irish Claddaugh and would eventually like to expand it and I came up with the idea of having the words Love, Loyalty, Friendship tattooed above it in Gealic, but I'm having a hard time finding a reliable translation and an expample of the old style gealic writing to use as a template. So if anyone can help me out, I would really apprieciate it.

      • GreatTattoosNow profile image

        GreatTattoosNow 

        11 years ago from San Jose

        Great sources for ideas. I like the Books of course being a wordy type of person!

      • taylorblue profile image

        taylorblue 

        11 years ago from Canada

        Great ideas...thanks!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, tatring.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://tatring.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)