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Tattoo Designs: Ideas for the Kid in You

Updated on October 10, 2011
My Spidey sense says this tattoo rocks!
My Spidey sense says this tattoo rocks! | Source
Whaaat?!!? | Source
Hello- stormtrooper- Kitty!
Hello- stormtrooper- Kitty! | Source
My foot ink- a Pokemon (pichu) ;)
My foot ink- a Pokemon (pichu) ;)
There's a snake in my boot!!
There's a snake in my boot!! | Source
Now that's gangsta!
Now that's gangsta! | Source

If you've ever gotten a tattoo, or even mentioned getting one to your family and friends, you've probably already heard the speech . You know what I'm taking about; that long-winded monologue about how tattoos are permanent and you shouldn't choose something stupid because, ten years from now, you're going to hate it. Blah, blah, blah- ad nauseam.

While I agree there are some tattoo designs that should stay on the page (lovers names, graphic or vulgar images, etc.), the beauty of getting a tattoo is being able to choose the design that will make you smile every time you see it. Sometimes, the things that make us smile are pretty darn immature (go figure). But, who cares? The secret to youth is laughter! If you want to perpetuate giddyness with a tribute in ink, I'm all for it!!!

As an adult, it's your right to get a tattoo of whatever makes you happy. If that happens to be a bag a Cheetos, so be it! The coolest tattoos are the ones that make kids point and say things like, "Look, mommy! Spiderman!!" OR "Wow, she has a pokemon on her foot!!" Comments like these will always make you grin!

Out of a the tattoos in my collection, the one that gets the most compliments is my pichu (Pokemon) tattoo. At least 90% of these cute remarks come from children. Between my students at school and the kids I see at the grocery store, youngsters always greet my pichu with a smile- and so do I. In fact, I can't wait to get a different Pokemon on my other foot!

Many people (namely, the ones who give you the speech over and over again) would find tattoos of superheroes and video game characters a bit extreme, and maybe they're right. It IS extreme...ridiculous, even. But the best art speaks to your soul. The only person who truly knows what your soul enjoys hearing is you. So, if you're contemplating what to exude in ink, why not ask your inner child?

Let's face it, we all have something special that brings an innocent sparkle to our eyes. Getting a tattoo can keep that childhood wish, beloved toy, or treasured icon forever! Here are some tattoo design ideas that will speak to the fun-loving kid in you...

Milk + cookie = love
Milk + cookie = love | Source
Freakin' eggs, bacon!!
Freakin' eggs, bacon!! | Source
I love my vegetables!!
I love my vegetables!! | Source
Cupcakes are heavenly!!
Cupcakes are heavenly!! | Source
Mmm..beefy! | Source
Who knew ink could be so delicious?
Who knew ink could be so delicious? | Source

Yummy Treats

For most people, food is comforting. Even people who can't cook know exactly what foods tingle their Pringles. A good, home-cooked meal can help bring families together, and a tasty treat can help soothe a broken heart. Some people will even travel miles to satisfy a specific craving. No matter how you slice it, food is a great subject for worship.

If you're wondering what types of foods to ink, think about what symbolism you want to achieve. Sugary foods (such as candies, cupcakes, berries, ice cream cones, etc.) are very feminine, while meaty meals (like hamburgers, hot dogs, and steak, etc.) are more on the masculine side. Name-brand food tattoos will label you as a "junky", and alcoholic beverage designs will hint at a whole different addiction altogether. If you're you trying to display your love for cooking, perhaps you could add a kitchen utensil (i.e., knife, spatula) to the mix.

Food-themed tattoo designs can also represent a specific part of the world. For example, sushi, tacos, lobster, spaghetti, and spam all elude to different areas. You can even use a food tattoo to represent a part of your personality. While a lemon might suggest you're a bit sour, a chili pepper will say that you're quite spicy. Keep in mind that everyone has their own personal connections to food. Thus, if you get a slice of cherry pie tattooed on you, don't be surprised to hear everybody's opinion on where the best pie is sold.

Finally, Remember that the presentation of food is art form in itself. Use your discretion when thinking about food designs. Edibles that taste delicious don't always look fantastic. In other words, foods that aren't very attractive on a plate (i.e., mac and cheese, mashed potatoes) probably won't look good on the skin either!!

The magical mouse is really a pyro...
The magical mouse is really a pyro... | Source
...and Papa Smurf was a chemist!!
...and Papa Smurf was a chemist!! | Source
Did someone say lasagne?
Did someone say lasagne? | Source
Ride that piggy, Gir!!
Ride that piggy, Gir!! | Source
Lu-lu-lu, I got some apples...
Lu-lu-lu, I got some apples... | Source

Cartoon Characters

Delivering laugh after laugh, and only a mere click away, cartoons play a very important role in every child's life. Through hilarious skits and delightful characters, animation teaches children to appreciate both art and a good sense of humor.

As a child of the 80s, I loved the Smurfs, Looney Tunes, Thundercats, Garfield & Friends, Jem, and countless other cartoons that ruled my Saturday mornings. Unfortunately, hula practice was also on Saturday mornings and my mother literally had to drag me away from the TV. One day, she finally had enough and forced me to choose between dancing hula or watching cartoons. At six years old, I wasn't about to give up my animated friends! Now, when I watch the Merrie Monarch hula competition, I must admit that I feel quite foolish for my decision. Nonetheless, I still haven't given up my cartoons, lol!

Whether you're a fan of Yosemite Sam or Voltron, cartoon characters make great tattoo designs. Because they've already been drawn by the animator, it will be easier for your tattoo artist to come up with an identical design. Just remember that cartoon characters can get a bit, well, stale after awhile. Therefore, I don't recommend getting a cartoon character tattoo on a whim. Just because she's the cutest fairy you know doesn't mean you're going to enjoy seeing Tinkerbell everyday for the rest of your life. Make sure you have a genuine connection to your animated pal before going under the needle!

*sigh* many memories...
*sigh* many memories... | Source
Don't let the cuteness fool you!
Don't let the cuteness fool you! | Source
Personally, I prefer using Guile.
Personally, I prefer using Guile. | Source
Hungry, hungry dragons!!
Hungry, hungry dragons!!

Video Game Icons

Another addiction (besides ink) that I've had for years is video games. From the minute I received my first Nintendo game system, I was hooked. Even though I haven't played Contra for decades, I can still recite its famous 9-lives game code on command. From the 1-up mushroom to Pokemon, I absolutely LOVE video game icons!!

Like their cartoon counterparts, video game characters are easy designs for a tattoo artists to duplicate because they have already been graphically-conceptualized. However, make sure that you do your research and supply your artist with clear picture of your character. Also,if your artist is unfamiliar with the particular game/character you're referring to, they may have a harder time making a custom design. Tattoo artists want to feel connected to the pieces they create for people, so giving them an abundance of resources can really come in handy. With that being said, always trust your artist's judgment. If s/he says your design idea isn't going to fly, listen! Any suggestion that is provided as an alternative should be considered, as your artist knows exactly what will work best on your skin.

Villains beware!!!
Villains beware!!! | Source
Stark-raving RAD!
Stark-raving RAD! | Source
Why so serious??
Why so serious?? | Source

Superheroes & Supervillains

Good vs. Evil- it's a theme that has transcended the ages. Famous superheroes help remind us that the world is worth fighting for, while supervillains prove that you don't necessarily have to be good to win a place in the history books. Kids all over the world understand this timeless battle and adore their comic book heroes so much they even sport these infamous faces on their underwear! Thus, it makes sense that a future tribute in ink might follow.

Batman and Catwoman make excellent candidates for a monochromatic design, while the majority of superheroes and supervillains come alive in a rainbow of colors. Also, if you're interested in inking someone like Wolverine, you want to look for a tattoo artist who is talented with portraits. Because these characters are usually human-like in form, they take quite a lot of shading and detail. Keep this in mind when looking for the right design for you.

Finally, be prepared for some negative comments if you opt for a supervillain that is generally hated by the public (especially if your tattoo depicts them doing something despicable). If your desired design is bloody, gory, or downright unnerving, you may want to think about placing it on a part of your body that can be easily covered.

Hasbro- giving girls their own ponies since 1982!
Hasbro- giving girls their own ponies since 1982! | Source
Sorry gang, this one can't turn back into a car.
Sorry gang, this one can't turn back into a car. | Source
Forget the fridge, ink your child's best art!
Forget the fridge, ink your child's best art! | Source
The dead Lego skull is classic!!
The dead Lego skull is classic!! | Source


If you love toys as much as I do, you probably still have some of your favorite ones in storage. I was a big fan of things like Legos, Lite Brite, and coloring books, but I admit I still have a soft spot for plush toys. Thinking back, I still smile reminiscing about the fantastic toys I received over my childhood years. And, since we can all remember that one toy which we carried everywhere, toys are wonderful subjects for tattoo designs.

Toy tattoos can also be interactive. Some of the most interesting tattoos I've seen were created in honor of kids. One particular design included a connect-the-dots layout which became a cute giraffe when completed with a pen. Another design, worn by a proud parent, was a replica of a child's drawing. Although very raw and simplistic, the design is actually very appealing. Tattoos can even provide coloring fun for you kids. Once in a while, I'll let my nieces and nephews color in the black-and-gray butterfly on my left shoulder. They absolutely love pretending to be tattoo artists!

Just don't forget that some toys are harder to depict in ink that others. It would probably be a lot easier for a tattoo artist to sketch you a teddy bear than a set of jacks. Also, many toys carry gender-specific connotations, so be very mindful of the toy you choose. A guy sporting a Care Bear tattoo will get just as many odd looks as the girl who wants to rock a G.I. Joe. I'm not saying you shouldn't get the toy tattoo you really want, just remember that the public is pretty critical when it comes to body art. Any tattoo that breaks the mold of what is widely accepted by the general public will initiate some unwanted attention (which, in some cases, is exactly what you want- lol!)

Happy Ink Hunting!

Despite what anyone says, you are the only one who knows exactly what design you'll wake up happy with every morning. Although designs which represent pieces of our childhood may seem silly or trivial to everyone else, that shouldn't deter you from inking an icon that brings back positive memories. Just remember that tattoos which are very symbolic to the collector will usually be the designs that most people ask about. No matter what tattoo you decide to get, always be prepared to explain your art with a smile and a story!


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