Perhaps one of the most iconic images from childhood is the image of the sailor with his forearms tattooed. We’ve all seen it and we’ve all noticed them, the question is are you brave enough to get one.
Having a forearm tattoo has great social and personal significance.
It is in a place to be seen. It is in a place to make a statement. And it is in a place that speaks to others about your confidence in yourself.
In the past, sailors were the only people in the American society to use forearm tattoos. Initially it started as a record log of sorts, holding a sailor’s identity in case of drowning, but it quickly took on a different meaning. It became a history of what the sailor had seen, where he had visited. It showed his skill, his bravery, and his experience. A man worth his mettle and proud of it.
Today, you get to choose how to express yourself. Will you go minimalistic tribal, or choose a symbol that means something profound to you?
The only real question is, what do you want the world to know about you?
1. Triangle Forearm Tattoos
This three-sided shape can exemplify a number of different meanings depending upon the individual who adorns it. They can be incorporated into larger pieces, or are used to isolate a particular narrative that is important to the person willing to put the tattoo on display. These pieces come in all shapes and sizes. Pieces in this section though are minimalist and rely on the art of linework—seemingly simple, yet a hard-earned craft to master for artists. Some pieces are specific references to pop cultural influences, such as the Triforce symbol from the popular Nintendo game Zelda.
Others have the appearance of mountains, arrows, or utilize other geometric shapes within their form. Triangle tattoos are often references to a trinity of concepts such religious themes like the Holy Trinity (the father, the son, and the holy spirit), a parental unit consisting of two parents and a child, and even abstract constructs such as the past, present, and future.
2. Simple Circle Tattoos
Circles are another shape that possesses several different connotations and possible symbolic meanings. The pieces in this section display a popular fad in the tattoo world, which is the seclusion of the piece from other pieces on the person’s body for the sake of a single narrative. They vary greatly in comparison to the American Traditional style of tattoos, which relies heavily on constant classical themes and repeated imagery.
Many of these circular pieces are unique that tell varying tales through the use of multiple styles and techniques. One utilizes dot work to outline a simple vision of our planet earth, while another depicts a maze with a person standing at its entrance, applying heavy shading and black ink work to highlight the separate sections.
Because of their size and potential to contain such small images that imply such a bulbous plot line, many of these pieces are placed just inside the wrist or inner forearm. This size and placement are also popular ideas for people claim to not really ‘be into’ tattoos—minimalist is the answer!
3. Simple Linework Tattoos
These pieces are incredibly straight forward—so straight forward, and some of them don’t even have form. Lines are popular tattoo choices again, for those who aren’t exactly into the covered head-to-toe look. These individuals tend to lean toward the precision of the geometric, and the simplicity of the minimalist.
Example pieces in this section are what appears to be constellation lines for a certain star sign, straight lines curving around the inner elbow, and the beauty of seven perfect lines formed into an open rectangle. What these lines represent varies between individual, but some popular explanations rely on the consistent repetition of parallel lines in our lives; in structures, in art, in science and mathematics, in stories, etc.
The remaining pieces in this section display a story far less ambiguous, but still, utilize either a single-standing running line or two parallel lines running side by side. Linework essentially exists in virtually all applications and styles, but because of their stark nature, rely more heavily on accuracy in order to elevate the narrative that is being expressed.
4. Personalized Symbolic Tattoos
You can still get yourself a piece of minimalist tattoo work that involves more detail, as well as a dose of a more personalized tone. The pieces in this section can mostly fit just inside the wrist while slightly larger pieces nestle neatly on the inside or outside forearm. Many express a tone that is highly personal, with a meaning that is more difficult to decipher. A geometric style and dark shading remain relevant and amplified due to the negative space surrounding the piece.
A small and simple outline of a book could indicate a love of literature, triangularly stencilled mountains could imply an admiration of nature, a shark functioning with half steampunk mechanics and half geometric shapes could imply many meanings to the wearer. Simple calligraphy on the forearm may suffice for some individuals, while a thin stencil of a baking passion reveals a transparent significance.
The body is a large canvas, and while many people feel the inclination to cover up completely, it is possible for an important story to be told with very little ink, should that align with your personality style.
Did you enjoy these simple forearm tattoos but are looking for more inspiration. Check out the links below for other small and simple tattoo galleries that can help you find your next piece of bad ass body art.
- Simple Traditional Tattoo Ideas
- Awesome Small Tattoo Ideas
- Top 43 Coolest Small Tattoos
- Small Nature Tattoo Ideas
- Small Colorful Tattoo Designs