Tattoos are an ancient practice, and while they may rise and fall in popularity, they are here to stay.
You may have a design picked out, and you may have even researched your local tattoo scene to figure out which artist speaks your aesthetic language.
But many would-be tattoo wearers look at their untouched skin canvas and are left wondering; “Where should I get my first tattoo?”
It can definitely be a difficult decision.
Let’s take a look at a forearm tattoos for men, what they symbolize and the pros/cons.
Forearm tattoos are a popular design for men.
The area can be easily hidden by a dress shirt or sweater, but it doesn’t have to be a “sun’s out guns out” situation before anyone sees your sweet new ink.
Arms are a pretty easily exposed spot- a plus for anyone who wants to take the opportunity to show off their tattoos whenever possible.
That said, if you have a family who is disapproving of tattoos, or work in a very strict office environment, it may be hard to avoid rolling up your sleeves forever.
If you’re looking for something a little more discreet, a bicep or back tattoo may be a better option than a forearm tattoo.
You may be asking yourself “what does it mean to get a forearm tattoo?” or “is there special meaning behind a forearm tattoo?”
Forearm tattoos have an interesting history, and mean different things to different people.
In traditional Iban culture, there were only a few women who knew how to weave sacred ceremonial blankets known as “Pua.”
Because the red ink used in the blankets was said to attract evil spirits, these expert weavers would cover their arms with protective symbols to guard themselves as they wove the blankets.
This practice was thought to be as dangerous, noble, and integral to the community as the headhunting done by men.
Headhunting was thought to bring celestial balance to the community. The men in the culture also wore tattoos, which they would receive after participating in a hunt.
In Iban culture, a forearm tattoo would symbolize strength and bravery.
Any Jason Mamoa fans know that the actor, known for his roles in Aquaman and Game of Thrones, has forearm tattoos.
The design is all black, and appears to be a cuff made of small triangles.
Though simple geometric tattoos are all the rage at the moment, the Hawaii born hunk had more personal reasons for getting this particular design.
The tattoos are meant to resemble shark teeth- to symbolize his family’s spirit guardian. Aumakua is a shark, and the image is meant to serve two purposes:
1. The forearm tattoo wards off sharks as they are said to be able to recognize someone with this marking as one of their own.
2. Aumakua, the spirit that is represented by the tattoo, has been said to remove the darkness from your heart, transforming it to light.
A pretty positive idea for a forearm tattoo! Maybe you can look into your family’s lineage and find something meaningful for your design.
Tattoo pain ranges from person to person, and no one can guarantee how getting a tattoo will feel for you.
That said, forearms are a generally low pain location for your next piece. Until you get to the sensitive ditch (inner elbow area) or wrist, there just aren’t as many nerve endings to hit on the forearm, plus it isn’t a particularly bony area.
This may be a great option for a beginner who is scared to get their first tattoo.
That said, if you get an intricate piece, it will hurt no matter where you place the design on your body.
Complex designs mean the artist has to go over an area several times, making the skin raw and irritated.
If you’re interested in something with a lot of detail and shading, chat with your tattoo artist about splitting your tattoo into two or three sessions.
Forearm tattoos are some of the most popular tattoos these days and also stand the test of time, since the World War II. Being one of the most tattooed parts of the body, an inked forearm looks so masculine and everybody can see it when wearing a T-shirt.
When you’re getting a forearm tattoo, you should consider 4 things:
1. Tattoo Size
2. Forearm Placement
3. Tattoo Style
Still not sure if you want a forearm tattoo?
Whether you’ve decided to get a small simple forearm tattoo, or a watercolor outer forearm tattoo, we've got you covered!
Check out our inspiration gallery of stunning forearm tattoos for men!
Forearm tattoos are a popular option for men because they are highly visible when you want them to be, but easily hidden for more corporate environments or formal occasions.
Because the forearm area isn’t too sensitive, it can be a nice first tattoo experience because it won’t hurt too much.
The forearm is also a great area to pay homage to your family and spiritual beliefs.
If you’ve ever heard the term “wearing your heart on your sleeve,” the same logic applies.
Choose something meaningful to you and the people you love.
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