Based on an animated parody from Back To The Future, it’s no small wonder the Adult Swim cartoon concerning a brilliant but self-destructive scientist, his sidekick teenage grandson, and long-suffering family became an instant hit with nighttime viewers.
The anarchic adventures of Rick and Morty span time, space, and plausible scenarios, and it’s safe to say the show’s tattoo fan base follows suit.
While the show is relatively young–only just renewed for a third season–Rick and Morty tattoos were quick to catch on, with ink enthusiasts eager to show their love through multiple styles and tableaux. From “Tiny Rick” studding the inner arm, shoulder, or palm, to expansive and darkly humorous scenes depicting the show’s ongoing dance with existential crises, Rick and Morty tattoos carry a unique “otherness” where cartoon ink is concerned.
Fondly drawn to mimic their Back To The Future counterparts, Rick and Morty are both throwback and absolutely on trend, while more psychedelic schemes speak of the mad scientists’s penchant for substances and bizarre pursuits.
Whether you’re something of a mad scientist yourself, trying to make sense of an equally mad world while having a little fun, or the well-meaning Morty just trying to hold it together, Rick and Morty tattoos are a breed of unique that turns overnight sensations into cult classics.
1. Fine Line Black and Gray Rick and Morty Tattoos
The Rick and Morty art style isn’t known for being complex. With fine line black and gray ink you can genuinely capture a true representation of your favourite character or scene. And by true representation I mean you can take these characters and put them into any scenario you can imagine. With a simple fine line black and gray application you’ll get yourself a piece that looks like a stencil from off the show.
If you already have a black and gray or minimalist aesthetic, this is a great way to include your favourite alcoholic scientist and his nephew. Remember the subject doesn’t always have to dictate the style. A skilful artist can integrate just about any subject into your preferred ink application.
2. Psychedelic Rick and Morty Tattoos
Sometimes when I’m watching Rick and Morty I think the writers are stoned, the voice actors are drunk and the animators, well the animators are clearly on LSD. Judging by the popularity of psychedelic Rick and Morty tattoos, I’m not the only one.
Psychedelic Rick and Morty tattoos can blend the swirling, colourful imagery of a portal from Rick’s portal gun, with a highly saturated version of the famous science fiction green. The hypercolor absolutely pops off the canvas. Some fully embrace the color scheme with high saturation pinks, purples, yellows, blues and oranges. Others get their point across by having the subjects on a trip (so to speak) or in head trippy ways. Think faces melting, heads exploding, eyes spinning, and all sorts of fun stuff.
3. American Traditional Rick and Morty Tattoos
By far my favourite form of these tattoos are the hybrid American Traditional images importing the Rick and Mortyverse into the Sailor Jerry style. They’re satisfyingly irreverent – you just know that Popeye era Rick and Morty would approve.
Stylistically, the concept and application go together like burgers and fries. American Traditional is characterised by bold outlines, a bright but limited colour palette, and strictly two dimensional images. I could be describing Rick and Morty.
The normal subjects of American Traditional are simple, universal symbols: roses, skulls, nautical imagery, and the like. The juxtaposition of that instantly recognisable style with a proud, smiling Meeseeks draped in a script banner of “EXISTENCE IS PAIN” is just brilliant.
4. Rick and Morty Minor Character Tattoos
While the main characters clearly have their place in pop culture there are a few side characters that have made an even bigger impact with a lot less screen time. Try not to finish this sentence: “I’m Mr Meeseeks!”
LOOK AT ME!
Sorry. I couldn’t not. It’s not just the heavy hitters like Mr Meeseeks, Bird Person or Mr Poopybutthole that make good Rick and Morty tattoos. Memorable but obscure characters like the Smiths’ dog Snowball (Snuffles was his slave name), Gromflomite assassin Krombopulos Michael (he just loves killing) and even the existentially depressed robot who’s purpose is to serve butter (oh my god).
Tattoo Artist Pony Lawson says for a tattoo of a person to work you need to be able to know who you’re looking at with a single glance. Rick and Morty side characters will have that nailed.
5. Rick and Morty Cross Over Tattoos
When at its best, Rick and Morty is an abstract force drawing inspiration from myriad sources. On the surface, there’s Doc and Marty from the Back to the Future Trilogy that the titular characters were initially based on.
In characterization, look no further than Raoul Duke, the lead character in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. For the uninitiated, Duke is cynical, mentally unbalanced, and in a near perpetual state of intoxication on whatever drugs happen to be around. It’s not hard to see why so many have made the link. Duke sports an unmistakable signature style throughout the movie: a white bucket hat, orange tint sunglasses, black and yellow Hawaiian shirt, cigarette hanging from his mouth. This aesthetic makes for a killer crossover tattoo.
Crossover ink can push the creative envelope by reimagining your favourite characters in another scene, style or genre. They’re also a great way to pay homage to your favourite pieces of pop culture in one tattoo.
6. Cartoon Rick and Morty Tattoos
Cartoon application is an already well–established style in tattooing, an entire, entertaining genre in its own right. But in this instance, I’m using cartoon as an unusual way to describe realism. Because let’s face it, if you want a realistic, accurate portrayal of your favourite cartoon characters, how else exactly is it going to be etched? Cartoon style is for those enthusiasts that want to stay true to the show they love so much. The work often features stills from famous scenes, or accurately rendered characters.
7. New School Rick and Morty Tattoos
Characterised by bold outlines, bright colours and highly stylized depictions you might be forgiven for thinking Rick and Morty already comes in a New School package. New School, or neo-traditional, was the evolution of American Traditional that started all the way back in the 70s. The early adopters were right in the thick of pop culture, with some of the earliest New School tattoos incorporating the USS Enterprise from Star Trek.
The style is almost the quintessential Rick and Morty, so neo traditional fits really well from both a concept and application stand point. Bold, even neon colouring, simple two dimensional images, and exaggerated or even caricature style depictions of the characters, sometimes featuring banner style script. New School Rick and Morty carries the same cred as American Traditional Rick and Morty, just in a slightly different, modern and vibrant style.