Tattoo Tips for the Body Types


I am not a tattoo artist (nor do I have any tattoos, yet), and you should always take into account the professional opinion of your artist, and make sure you do your research to find an artist that you love!

In this post I’ll be focusing more on aesthetics considerations, and while I will be making suggestions based on the Kibbe body types, I won’t strictly be suggesting things for specific body types. Instead, I’ll be explaining how these aesthetic choices may harmonizes with certain features, or contrast with others.

Is symmetry for you?

One of the first things to consider when getting a tattoo is where you’ll be putting it on your body. Will it be placed symmetrically (for example, a sternum tattoo, or two matching hip tattoos)? Will it be placed asymmetrically? What aspect of your body will you be highlighting with it?

As an example, Mei Pang (@meicrosoft, left) is known for her entirely symmetrical tattoos, which harmonizes quite well with her very symmetrical features and body. She’s explained that she gets symmetric tattoos because she feels off balance when she has asymmetric placements, which makes sense considering just how symmetric she is.

Personally, I’m more on the asymmetric side, with a visibly curvier side to my body, and a visibly straighter side. My face is also fairly asymmetric as well, which is something that jumps out at me whenever I take a selfie, so getting perfectly symmetric tattoos will likely highlight this.

It’s also possible to get a symmetric placement with an asymmetric tattoo, such as with El Blake’s (@elblakee) collarbone tattoo (right). This is an idea that appeals to me a lot, as I love the look of collarbone tattoos but I don’t want completely symmetrical tattoos, as I feel that perfect symmetry on me will make the asymmetry within me more apparent.

How do you know whether you should get symmetric or asymmetric tattoos and placements? Well, your symmetry preferences in clothing may shed some light on your preferences!

Personally, I’m drawn more to symmetrical clothing silhouettes with asymmetric details, which is probably why I’m drawn most to the idea of symmetric placements with asymmetric tattoos, like with the collarbone tattoo.

How does size play a role?

Now that you have an idea of what placements you like or don’t like, it’s time to consider how size plays a role. In this section, I will be talking a bit about the Kibbe body types, so if you don’t know your body type, now is a great time to take the test and then come back to this blog post.

There’s been a trend lately of getting very tiny and delicate looking tattoos. But do you need to go that small? And is that trend for everyone? Well, no. Even if you’re very petite, you don’t need to go super small, unless you want to that is. And you also don’t need to go super large either, again, unless you want to.

Alright, I’m being very vague right now, so let’s get down into the details of how size plays a role in the aesthetics of your tattoos.

Large tattoos: If you get a large tattoo and you have a smaller figure, or are more on the petite side (such as Gamines or Romantics), then your tattoo may look like it’s enveloping and hugging you. On the other hand, if you have a larger figure, or you’re more on the tall side (such as Dramatics and Naturals), then a larger tattoo will look a lot more fitted to your body.

Small tattoos: If you have a smaller figure, or are more on the petite side (such as Gamines or Romantics), then a small tattoo can look very harmonious to your body. On the other hand if you have a larger figure, or you’re more on the tall side (such as Dramatics and Naturals), then a smaller tattoo can look very delicate and dainty by contrast.

It’s important to note that your tattoo placement will also play a role in how large or small you should scale your tattoo design. Larger parts of the body (such as the hips and butt area) can carry a much larger tattoo than smaller parts of the body (such as the wrist or ankle), and a small tattoo on a large area may look off balance, and vice versa.

I really recommend consulting with your tattoo artist about the placement and size you want as they can give you an idea of what size range will look best in the area that you want your tattoo. And if you prefer a larger or smaller tattoo, then your artist can help you find a better placement for it.

Now what about line weight?

Different styles of tattoos usually have different line weights, for example old school tattoos have much thicker lines than fine line tattoos. Well, the size of the lines is going to play the same role as the size of the tattoo. A larger tattoo is going to look a lot more delicate if it has fine lines, and a smaller tattoo will have more visual weight if it’s done in an old school style.

And the overall shape and silhouette?

Lastly, let’s talk about the overall shape and silhouette of tattoos. Like with flowers, tattoos can have very different silhouettes and shapes. Some will be sharper, some will be rounder. And like with the flowers that I chose to represent the body types, a rounder silhouette / round shapes will work better for more yin body types, and a sharper or more geometric silhouette or shapes will work better for more yang body types.

Here are some examples of flowers that represent the body types, to give you an idea of the shapes and silhouettes:

So with that, the post draws to an end! Do you have any tattoos, or are you considering getting a tattoo in the future? I love tattoos, and I hope to be able to decorate my body with a few different ones.

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