Tagged: tattoos

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Inked and Educated

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer, freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. In this post she’ll be talking about her decision to not cover her tattoos at her graduation ceremony… 

This summer I had the opportunity to don academic robes for the graduation ceremonies at the university where I work. I gained a PhD in Biochemistry (textile and fibre analysis should you be intrigued) in 2010 however this was the first time since then I would wear my robes, this time to watch my own students graduate. Graduation ceremonies are filled with tradition and seen as formal affairs, dress code is generally smart and conservative. For my own graduations I’d worn smart basics such as a blouse and pencil skirt with some cool shoes for a bit of personality. There is also the practicalities of wearing the gown to consider, they were designed to be worn by men in suits, the hood looping around a shirt button to secure it. Thus wearing it over a dress can cause it to slip around. That said in the 11 years since my first graduation things have changed, the dress code is more about what the students see as ‘their best’ which can be anything from evening gowns to party dresses, t-shirts under blazers and so on. No matter the changing styles it’s an occasion to get dressed up and of course celebrate these amazing achievements.


I’d planned to wear a shirt with loose tapered trousers due to the afore mentioned practicalities, however the day turned out to be a scorcher (robes are heavy and hot at the best of times) so I just threw on a light summer dress, one I wear for work often, instead without much thought other than to make sure I found some safety pins to avoid being strangled by my gown’s hood.

It was only upon putting on the gown and looking at myself in the mirror did it occur to me I should perhaps put on tights to cover my tattoos. As I said these ceremonies are formal affairs. I’m lucky enough to be given the freedom at work to wear whatever I want. As it happens you can’t really see my tattoos with what I wear to work due to the fact I dress in what I deem appropriate – I wouldn’t wear backless dresses or shorts to work say. What I do tend to wear are calf length dresses with jackets, so in the warmer months you can see the tattoos on my lower legs and feet. If anything my tattoos have only brought positive reactions. Although this hasn’t been the case in previous jobs, it has never been a problem for me to cover my tattoos if requested, I think it would be ignorant not to acknowledge the fact there is still very much a stigma around tattoos. Many of my students are tattooed and they are always encouraged to express themselves however they wish, there is no dress code per say for them.

So what made me decide to keep my tattoos visible on this day? It was actually something a friend had said to me ‘look at you with all your education and your tattoos’ and I thought yeah, just look at me, because it really doesn’t matter if you have tattoos or not and we need to break those boundaries. I’m not encouraging anyone to get tattooed, that’s personal choice, but I am in a position to help break the negative stigma attached to tattoos and that I feel is an important place to be.

Jessica Sharville Illustrations

Jessica Sharville is a 30-year-old freelance illustrator who also manages Tattoo Workshop in Brighton. Jess uses a pastel palette to transform what she sees around her into eye catching illustrations and tattoo covered characters. Inspired by The Horror Issue she has created two drawings, titled ‘Maneater’ and ‘The Pact’  especially for Things&Ink.  We chatted to Jess to find out more about her tattoo inspired drawings and her ever expanding tattoo collection… 


How would you describe your style? I think its realistic with a kind of exaggerated stylized feel, it has moments of fashion illustration and traditional tattoo art but with stories behind the illustrations. Romantic and sometimes quite sad.

What inspires you? I get told that people see me in a lot in my illustrations so I think I am inspired by people or events in my life possibly more than I realised! But apart from things in my life I would say that what inspires me the most is just people and moments I see in day to day life, perhaps a couple walking down the street laughing or someone crying on the phone and me wondering if they are going to be ok. (I am a bit of a people watcher). I work five days a week at Tattoo Workshop, and when I’m there I’m surrounded by so many incredible artists who all happen to be bloody ruddy good eggs too.



What medium do you use? I use heavy weight paper as I draw very heavy handed, and I only use Pentel 0.9mm mechanical pencils. I then scan my work and sit on photoshop using my Wacom bamboo graphic pad and do a bit of colouring in! It allows me to keep my original illustration and work with colours and effects and not spoil the drawing.

What do you like to draw? It’s probably obvious I love drawing people and tattooed people but I also love drawing patterns and text too. I have painted a few murals and large pieces in the last few years and found a new love for that. I think I just love little details and it has been great doing large scale things to push myself. But if I sat down with a blank piece of paper, I am nearly always going to draw a couple in bed.

the pact in Colourddd

The Pact

Do you have a background in art? I have a degree in Illustration from Plymouth University and a family full of illustrators and graphic designers. I have worked lots of different jobs to support my illustrations throughout the years and luckily most of them have been creative which has helped push me with my art.

Are there any artists you admire? I am a huge Norman Rockwell fan and Charles Keeping who are my two favourite artists when it comes to capturing moments between people and creating illustrations which just silently tell stories. I also admire so many different tattoo artists and the amazing creative bubble inspires me, just being around these amazing artists (who all work substantially quicker than me!)

Can you tell us about your tattoos? If you don’t have any are you planning to? What do you think of them? I have possibly too many to explain but I have a few favourites, I have a couple of Kate Mackay Gill  pieces, my feet are my favourites which are a mouse on a powder puff on my left foot and a perfume bottle on my right. Then I have a Kola Hari (from The Circle) Buddhist temple on my leg, a very new Peony on my knee by Jack Thomas Newton at Into You Brighton, lots of music related ones such as ‘Well I Wonder’ my favourite Smiths song, a few sneaky Arctic Monkeys related ones and many more.

I love my tattoos but I actually can be quite private about them. I enjoy having the choice of having them on show or not and sometimes people might not even realise I am tattooed at first. I also just love wearing black and layers!

Wolves in my bed3

Wolves in my Bed

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Ink on the beach

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer, freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. In this post she talks about the reactions she received from people while sunning herself on a beach…

This was to be my first beach holiday in years, I’d packed some vintage style bikinis and not much else envisioning long days spent in the sunshine. What I hadn’t foreseen was that with the bikinis would come the stares. I’m used to getting funny looks back home for my tattoos but I guess this was a lot closer to naked than I was used to being in public. I live in Sheffield which I’d say is a fairly tattooed city, seeing tattooed people isn’t all that unusual. On this two mile stretch of Spanish beach not so much. Sure there was the odd little tattoo but in the five days we spent there I only spotted two other heavily tattooed people. In a sea of exposed flesh mine stood out, together with my boyfriend we stood out even more.

It really made me stop and think, just seeing all that ink free skin how few of us actually choose to be tattooed. When you have tattooed friends, follow tattoo related Instagram accounts and so on it becomes the norm, you get used to seeing tattooed people. The beach line up was a bit of a reality check I guess. The stark realisation at how different you have decided to become. There is sexism in the stigma too, I could watch my boyfriend walk around with the odd glance but nothing compared to the reaction I got. Is it more acceptable, more normal to see tattooed men?

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One day after some holiday cocktails we found a stack of business cards for a local artist and took them to hand out to the gawkers – what can I say we find ourselves hilarious after a few piña coladas. A bonus is that parents with screaming kids would take one look at us, decide we were likely criminals and move further down the beach, win! Away from the beach at a restaurant (not wearing the bikini just to clarify) we were asked to move to a table furthest away from the crowd, the waiters plea that it was reserved didn’t wash as we promptly left for the place opposite and watched said table sit empty for over an hour. I caused quite a stir at the hotel for breakfast too in a backless dress- tattoos not ok, stealing the entire platter of chocolate croissants totally acceptable apparently.

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All I can summarise is that the behaviour of people is strange, Things&Ink’s Rosie wrote about her tattooed holiday experience in Vietnam and had various reactions. In some cultures staring isn’t considered rude and I don’t mind at all people looking at my tattoos, I just wish they could give a little smile to show its in a friendly way every now and again. That said it won’t stop me wearing a bikini on the beach!

Choose Happiness with Miss West End Girl

Lynsay Neil is a 30-year-old writer, podcaster and creator of Miss West End Girl blog, from Glasgow. We chatted to Lynsay to find out how she started her blog, her style tips and tricks and her colourful tattoo collection…  

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How did you get into blogging? I’ve always had a deep love for writing, ever since I was a kid – when all my classmates wanted Tamagotchis (remember them?!) I was asking my parents for a typewriter. It seemed like a natural progression for me to start a blog as a platform to share my life and stories. I used sites like Livejournal and MySpace when I was younger, like most people – but it was when I took the plunge and got my own domain space that I considered myself to be a blogger.

How did you start? I started blogging under the name Miss West End Girl about five or six years ago. It started off as a fashion blog, because I was reading a lot of fashion based blogs at the time and also because I love to have fun with my own personal style. But over the years, it’s evolved into what I consider to be a lifestyle site as I love to write about all manner of things that make me excited, so much so that I have to share the details with my readers.

What can people expect to see on your blog? My blog is essentially a guide to living life with joy and style, and embracing what makes you unique. You can expect to find guides to Glasgow (my home city), personal and  blogging advice, DIYs, interiors, personal style, beauty, food, travel…the list goes on! In a nutshell, it’s the things that make me smile and that I think will make other people smile or feel inspired.

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You have a lot of positive messages and upbeat posts, how have you cultivated this mind set?  Any important life lessons for our readers? That’s very kind, thank you! I think that happiness is a choice and it’s one that we make each day when we wake up. Negativity is pretty toxic stuff, and even though it’s easy to feel dragged down, I try to concentrate on the things that should be celebrated. We only get one shot at life, and I firmly believe we should make the most of it! Be adventurous, be kind, look after yourself and believe that you can do anything (because you can!).

Do you have any advice for people either thinking of starting a blog or who have one already? Think about what inspires you and go write about it. There is no right way or wrong way to blog – that’s the beauty of it! If you’re writing something that you don’t care about, or for the sake of it, it will show. Don’t put pressure on yourself either – some of my favourite blogs are only updated once in a while, and when a new article drops I get super excited! You’ll find a rhythm and routine that suits your writing style and your life.

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How would you describe your fashion style? Where do you shop? How has it evolved? Sometimes I feel like I’m permanently dressed to attend my own birthday party – I love to wear bright dresses and statement accessories. I’m rarely seen without something on my head – be it a flower crown, a glittery slice of pizza or a massive bow. My personal style has been described as ‘cartoon-like’ which I take as a compliment!
I shop in a variety of places because I don’t tend to stick to whatever is ‘on trend’. An average outfit could be a mixture of indie designers, vintage, thrifted, high-street and high-end. I love discovering local design talent and people who are thinking outside the box. I like to have fun with fashion and dress for myself!
When I was a teenager I was a bit of a sulky goth, all black jeans and kohl eyeliner. This has massively evolved – particularly as I studied film and media at university and feel very inspired by some of my favourite colourful characters.

Does your home/homewares reflect your style? Absolutely! After eight years of renting beige nightmare flats, my boyfriend and I bought our flat last year and have been having the BEST time decorating it. I love sharing home tour posts of the flat on my blog so I can document our little interiors journey! After I posted pictures of our living room, an interiors magazine wanted to run a story on our bright and cheerful home – we ended up getting a 12 page feature in a magazine and I still can’t quite believe it! I’m proud to have created a happy home that I can relax in. It’s somewhere I can write my blog and record podcasts, as well as hang out and entertain friends.

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What are your beauty secrets? Any tips or tricks for our readers? Finding products that work for you and make you feel amazing is my number one tip. I’d feel lost without my eyeliner flicks and a pop of bold lip colour! The best way to get comfortable with make up is to get in front of a mirror and practice – it’s also fun to experiment with products until you find what’s right for you.
Skincare wise, I am all about the classic advice. Look after your skin so you don’t end up looking like a second-hand handbag! Wear sun protection (minimum of SPF 50, especially on those tattoos!), drink water, moisturise plenty and always remove your make up before bed. Some advice never goes out of style!

What inspires you? I feel inspired by lots of things, but if I had to pick one thing it would be meeting other people that are passionate about what they do. That kind of feeling is infectious and you can really feed off of each others’ good vibes.

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Can you tell us about your tattoos? I have 14 tattoos, and have been getting tattooed for just over 10 years. My very first tattoo was my stocking seams, which run from my achilles heels right up to the top of my thighs – go big or go home, eh? They were inspired by my love of vintage glamour and pin-up culture. This was the only grey and black work that I have had done, every other tattoo is very bright!

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My tattoos don’t have too many meanings or tributes behind them – with the exception of two! I have two tattoos that are matching ones with my boyfriend. We got them on our fifth and ten year anniversaries.
I like to think that my tattoos are a reflection of my personality, as they are very feminine and colourful with a rock n’ roll twist. On one arm, I have an old fashioned perfume bottle, a Russian doll, a spider web (bright pink, of course!), a cupcake, a sugar skull, love heart candies and a lipstick. On my other arm, I have a swallow, a strip of pink leopard print and a lucky cat. My legs have identical stocking seams and I have a heart-shaped locket on my foot.
All of my pieces have been custom designed, via consultation and brainstorming with the artist so that we get it just right. I’ve never regretted a tattoo and put a lot of planning into each idea.

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Do you have any future tattoo plans? Always! I think about getting tattooed all the time, and with so many amazing artists posting their work on Instagram the only question is, who to book with? I feel like a kid in a candy store.

Tattooed Pig Heads

For his latest collection titled Pigs, New York photographer Peter Garritano asked tattoo artists to decorate real pig heads with designs of their choice as part of a project to show the relationship between tattooists and skin. Peter got the pig heads from a butcher in Brooklyn who sources animals that lead happy lives on local family farms. He wanted to show off the talent of tattooists in New York, the creativeness, strangeness and difference of the tattooing scene.


Mehai Bakaty


Anderson Luna


John Reardon


Kenny K-Bar


Sue Jeiven

The art and tattoos of Sasha Unisex

Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to infamous Russian tattoo artist Sasha Unisex about her beginnings in the art world, her tattoo style and collaborations with big bands such as BMW


The art of Sasha Unisex does not go unnoticed, that’s for sure. You just have to take a look at her work to understand that her style differs from others. Chatting to Sasha, I wanted to better understand the artist who resides inside her. Here’s what she told me about her beginning with tattoos… “I graduated from Lviv Academy of Art, in 2010. From that period onwards, I just observed other artists tattooing. I visited many exhibitions as I was very curious and keen to learn this amazing job. 2010 was also the year in which I got tattooed for the first time. Then, I started to do it myself, tattooing little black subjects or words. I have to say my degree in graphic design really helped with my signature style. Yes, it is similar to watercolor as you can see, but with a graphic touch.”


In fact, the lack of black outlines, together with amazing shading effects, gives shape and softness to the final tattoo. Sasha’s works are stunning and are appreciated all over the world. Sweet and original characters are created from Sasha’s mind and are appreciated even from those who don’t usually like tattoos. “I am truly inspired by animals and nature, that’s the reason why most of my tattoos have them as subjects. They are all mostly of the same size… I love the idea that a tattoo can be like an accessory: once you get it, you can never lose it!”


And what about tattoo culture in Russia? “Well, the situation in Russia is still a bit different, compared to Europe or to the USA. Tattooing is not very developed in society, but people of different ages get tattooed. They come to my private studio, they follow me on social networks and I appreciate it a lot. It’s always good and satisfying to remember you are doing what you love and you are doing it in the right way, too.”

Sasha also loves to travel and meet different people and artists, as she compares her background to other realities. She also attended the 20th Milan Tattoo Convention last year, her fist convention out of Russian borders, where she met some of her favourite artists and hundreds of fans! She is now moving to Europe, and we can’t wait to visit her new studio. Talking about travels and love for tattoos, I also wanted to bring the testimony of Valeria, a girl who did not hesitate to fly from Rome in Italy to Russia to meet Sasha.

Valeria's tattoo by Sasha Unisex Valeria’s tattoo by Sasha Unisex


 Valeria: “I think her tattoos are small works of art, that’s why I decided to go all the way to Russia. To me, she is the best tattoo artist in the world, so I decided to fly to Saint Petersburg to get a piece from her!”

How was the whole experience, once you arrived in her studio? Valeria: “It was simply unique! The atmosphere is far from what I am used to and not at all like the snooty tattoo studios you find in Italy/Europe. There, I was greeted by her curious and funny staff, these girls offered me tea and chocolates during the tattoo session. Sasha also offered to lend me her computer so I wouldn’t get bored! In a few words, Sasha is a lovely human being with her feet on the ground, and above all she is very sweet.”


All in all, Sasha is a reserved person who is aware of the substance and value of the art of tattooing. Clients explain their deepest emotions, sometimes connected to a memory, sometimes connected to an emotion. She is a young pioneer in the tattoo world, and I am sure that this kind of innovation can only be positive!


Sasha has also revealed to us that she wants to develop ‘Sasha Unisex brand’, creating clothes, stickers, phone cases and many other products with her printed creatures as protagonists. All of these products will be available on her new website soon.

She also recently connected to BMW, creating a unique design based on one of her favourite animals, the fox. She chose to tattoo a fox on the motorcycle leather seat because of the connection between the BMW S 1000 XR and the animal’s characteristics. Once again, she has been able to push the boundaries of tattoo art and surely this is just the beginning of a long series of great collaborations with worldwide brands.


Sasha for BMW Fox BMW


Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: In the Buff

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer,  freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. In this post she talks about getting her bum tattooed… 

Let’s face it getting tattooed is fairly intimate. It involves someone, that can be a total stranger, touching your naked skin. Arms and legs are easily exposed but what about those areas we usually have covered with clothes? What about those tattoos that cover large areas? I’ve been asked a few times about getting my butt tattooed. What did I wear, was it embarrassing, could everyone in the shop see, what if you needed to fart!

I guess embarrassment depends on the individual. I get absolutely mortified when I’ve got to go see a doctor, professional bikini wax – forget it I’ll do it myself, but that’s just me. So how did I find myself sitting comfortably sans clothes in a tattoo studio with three guys? The answer to that is simple, respect. My artist and the others in the studio are some of the nicest people I ever met. I’ve been getting tattooed there for over a year now and in getting to know the guys I am totally relaxed with them. From my first visit I felt at ease, we discussed the design and had a chat before that oh so awkward moment when I had to get undressed. I’d asked around before hand and the general consensus was to wear a bikini which had tie sides so you could undo and adjust as needed. This turned out to be excellent advise. I was handed a roll of tape and left to prepare behind screens in the studio, grateful for the privacy and a mirror I taped the sides of my bikini to me so that the strings could be undone exposing my back whilst preserving my modesty at the front et viola.



Tip, the bikini is also ideal for after you’ve been tattooed- nobody wants a tight bra over a fresh tattoo. Turns out that you’re not the only person getting embarrassed, a naked lady is also a problem for other people not knowing where to look. So if you find an artist you’re comfortable with you’ll be fine. Yes we’ve had the odd nip-slip but what do you expect? Just have a good laugh about it. As for farting, just don’t, please!

Pet Tattoos

Our guest blogger is 25-year-old London-based Amber Bryce, who not only writes her own blog but also the social media copy for Tesco. In this post she talks about her own pet tattoo and talks to other pet owners to find out why they decided to immortalise their pets in ink… 

Getting a tattoo of your pet can be as simple as a paw print, as intricate as a portrait, or as fun as a moggy cat dressed in scuba gear. Although the stories behind them may sometimes be sad, there’s always something so heartwarming about hearing the impact a pet has had on someone’s life. 

Here’s my own story about why I chose to get a tattoo of my pet, followed by some more pet lovers… 

“My dog’s name is Punky. He’s a puggle (beagle crossed with a pug) and looks like he’s either constantly philosophising or in a really bad mood. I got Punky when I was 15 and from the very start he was a nightmare. My sister and I would get home from school to find he’d got into our bedrooms and eaten through half our wardrobe (RIP leggings) or escaped to the local curry house (seriously).


“As naughty as he was, I find it hard to remember my life without him. Since moving out of my dad’s house I miss him so much; the jingle of his collar, the deep sighs he does before getting settled at the end of my bed, or the way he rolls over for belly rubs like a big, blubbery seal. I decided I wanted to get a tattoo of him, to keep a little bit of him and his comforting presence with me wherever I go.

Rebecca Vincent created my beautiful and personal portrait of Punky in her poetic, naturalistic style. The subtle nature of the sketchy tones makes him look as though he’s left an imprint of his soul in dot work.”



The thing I love most about seeing other people’s pet tattoos is the variety of ways in which people choose to symbolise their pets, whether through their strange little quirks and eccentricities or the emotional narrative they left behind. I decided to explore other pet tattoos and the stories behind them… 

Name: Natasha Westlake Age: 26 Lives: St Albans 

“The first pet I had as a child was a moggie called Harmony. He loved swimming and would frequently come into the house covered in moss, soaking wet after chasing ducks in the nearby pond. He also had half a moustache! Sadly he passed away a few years ago, so I wanted to get my first tattoo as a dedication to his memory.


“My second pet is my Shih-Tzu dog, Lilly. She is a stubborn little princess and loves a lot of attention, she isn’t a fan of wearing any kind of doggy clothes (so I took a really adorable photograph of her wearing a feather boa — needless to say she wasn’t a fan) and she has very crooked teeth and an under-bite, which always shows. She had a really funny and lovable relationship with Harmony, and I love her very much so I wanted to get her tattooed on my other thigh.


“I have always had an obsession with Asian culture, cartoons, and cutesy things, so I knew I wanted the style of my tattoo to be cartoon-y and cute, but to keep the characteristics and personality of my pets. I found my artist through Instagram, which I would say is definitely the place to find tattoo artists. I hash-tagged pet tattoos and came across Keely Rutherford from Jolie Rouge, whose main style is a cutesy kawaii animated style.

“I love the very personal details in my tattoos that make them my own, I gave Keely a bunch of ideas and she was able to translate them. The scuba diving gear and the bandage on Harmony represents his  love of swimming and fighting, and the tiara and feathers on Lilly represents her princess-like personality. I also love how vivid the colours are.”

Name: Amber Schwartz Age:24 Lives: LA

“Charlie was five years old. I got him when I lived in Chicago and he went everywhere with me. We flew together countless times and he moved to NJ and California with me. He was my son. He was a Malshi and his birthday was a week difference from mine. A few months ago I moved to Hollywood and my roommate lied to an organisation and neglected to tell them that Charlie and I lived there. They gave her a 70 lb pitt bull who attacked and killed Charlie. I was not home during the incident and I left Charlie locked in my room. My roommate took Charlie out of my room and Jameson attacked him. He passed away about 2 months ago at this point, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him or miss him.

Charlie“Before Charlie passed; about a year ago I got a paw print tattoo for him witha “C” in it. After his passing it was a no brainer that I needed to honor him. I got his actual paw print tattooed on my elbow, and “Good Morning Char”. That did not feel like enough; hence I got my best friend’s portrait.

I went to Victor Hugo at Norwalk Tattoo studio in Norwalk California. He is a dog lover; and honestly I could not have asked for this piece to come out any better. His work is amazing; his detail and care is obvious in all tattoos he does. I am so so, so grateful for Victor!”

Name: Jennifer Byrne Age: 23 Lives: Liverpool 

“Bubbles is my 12 year old tabby cat, the smallest and cutest of our three cat family. I got her as a kitten when I was 10 years old and I’ve been smitten ever since!

Amy Savage does the most amazing stippled tattoos of cats and other animals. I knew I wanted to get a cattoo by her and thought that it was only right I got my favourite cat tattooed – Bubbles. I love the fact that I will have her on me forever, I can’t believe such a little animal has made such an impression on me.


“Her work is incredibly detailed and I sat for my longest sitting yet with her when getting Bubbles tattooed. She was so friendly and I felt really comfortable, especially considering I’m a huge wimp! I may ask her sometime in the future to tattoo Bubbles’ brother on my other leg… I’ll probably end up with all my pets on me!”

Five Best Tattooed Film Characters

Our guest blogger is hobbyist film and TV series reviewer and writer Harry Casey-Woodward

5 best film characters with tattoos

5) Name: Jack Sparrow (sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow)
Played by: Johnny Depp
In: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, 2003
Tattoo: A sparrow on his wrist

If you’re on the run (or sail rather) from the Royal Navy or the terrible clutches of the East India trading company, surely you wouldn’t get a certain avian tattoo on your forearm that would give a clue to your name?

4) Name: Leonard
Played by: Guy Pearce
In: Memento, 2000
Tattoo: Daily reminders all over his body

Here’s proof to your disapproving elders that tattoos can be useful. In a more interesting movie by Christopher Nolan than his Dark Knight films, Guy Pearce plays a chap searching for his wife’s murderer while suffering from short term memory loss. To combat this, he  tattoos of all the things he needs to remember like clues, who he can trust and I guess daily reminders onto his body. However useful and painful the process, it’s best to keep those shopping lists short. I guess it’s quite impractical stripping off in a supermarket just to check you’ve got everything.

3) Name: Lisbeth Salander
Played by: Noomi Rapace
In: Män som hatar kvinnor or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2009
Tattoo: A dragon on her back, in case you were wondering.

Lisbeth’s huge tattoo on her delicate frame is a sign of the power and strength she felt she lacked as grew up watching her father beat her mother. She is a world class hacker and all round computer goddess, but she is a troubled heroine. She is ruled legally incompetent as a child and lives under the care of a legal guardian, initially the kind hearted Holger Palmgren. When Holger suffers a stroke, he is replaced by Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson). Nils is a heinous man to say the least. He abuses his position to extort sexual favours from Lisbeth and eventually rapes her. She catches the entire incident on film and threatens to ruin him unless he gives her full control of her life – and uses a tattoo gun to write across his belly “Jag är ett sadistiskt svin och en våldtäktsman” – I am a sadistic pig and a rapist. Lisbeth has everything her tattoo embodies – triumph over adversity and strength from pain.

2) Name: Francis Dolarhyde aka the Tooth Fairy
Played by: Ralph Fiennes
In: Red Dragon, 2002
Tattoo: Also a dragon on his back.

Red Dragon
Probably one of the greatest tattoo identity crises. In this prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Ralph Fiennes (who has an arsenal of terrifying performances including a Nazi, a gangster and a psychotic megalomaniac wizard) portrays a serial killer who has a William Blake  Biblical dragon painting tattooed all over his back. This is not just because he likes it but because he wants to become it. In his most deluded scene, he displays his mighty sexy dragon body before a captured Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is clearly terrified at the amount of days, agony and expenditure that went into that ink.

1) Name: Harry Powell
Played by: Robert Mitchum
In: The Night of the Hunter, 1955
Tattoo: The words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ tattooed on his knuckles.

For marrying a widow to get her ex-husband’s money, killing her then stalking her runaway children across the country, this devilish preacher surely wins for being the creepiest inked character in this classic film noir. His most sinister feature besides his eerie singing are the striking tattoos on his hands. One hand bears the word ‘love’, the other ‘hate’. He uses these to physically represent the struggle between the two emotions in a one-man arm wrestle. What they may actually signify is the duality of his personality, a criminal masquerading as a Christian, and perhaps in conservative 1950s America a man with tattoos was surely disreputable? Whatever the meaning behind the tattoos (if there is any, for they might be his tenth and meaning stopped mattering a while ago) and even though they are basic compared to the other tattoos in this list, they are instantly iconic and a bizarre and original character trait for 1950s cinema.

All images from IMDB

Pastel Paradise: Lemon Freckles

Toni or Lemon Freckles is a 30-year-old illustrator and blogger from Sheffield who lives in a pastel paradise of pink hair, her pugs and girl gang inspired drawings. We chatted to Toni to find out more about her fashion and artistic style, how she became a blogger and her tattoo collection… 

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When did you start blogging? How did you get into it? I originally started blogging around 10 years ago under a different name but Lemon Freckles is around five years old I think. At the time I was working full-time in mental health and in need of a creative outlet, blogging seemed like something I was able to do while working full-time, I didn’t really think anyone would ever read it.

What things can people expect to see on your blogA mixture of things, I like being able to share what is happening in my world; from my latest cute find to things that inspire me. I want Lemon Freckles to be a positive place, full of colour and silliness.

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Do you have a background in art? No, my degree is in mental health but I have always been a doodler. After 10 years of working in the mental health industry, I decided to take a step back and reflect on what I enjoy doing and last year I enrolled in a year long course in design. A few months ago I went self-employed full-time and it has been one of the best decisions I have made.

What inspires you? Colour and my ever so slight obsessive collecting of cute toys from my childhood. I want to bring back a little bit of that magic I left at the school gates sometime between the late 80s and early 90s. I am a firm believer that just because you’re an adult, it doesn’t mean you have to act like a grown up.

What things to do you like to draw? The more colour the better in my eyes. I love doodling toys and making characters out of everyday objects.

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What medium do you use? Pen and paper, Illustrator, whatever is to hand.

How would you describe your style, both in art and fashion? I think they are both the same, eclectic. It’s all in the detail, from the Polly Pocket earrings to the denim jacket covered in patches, the more cute the better!


Can you tell us a little bit about your tattoos? Of course! I actually only got my first tattoo last year, which was a pug (a forever reminder of my two furry pug babies, Doug and Lola) and since then I have got three more; a My Little Pony, a Lefton, Miss Priss Kitty tea pot and a sewing related one. Sam Whitehead of Blind Eye Tattoo Company in Leeds has done all of mine and also has the same love of cuteness that I do, which makes her wonderful to work with.

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Do you think they have to have meanings? Nothing deep and meaningful I’m afraid. I get tattoos of things I love, things that make me happy and of course, the more colour the better.

Do you have any future tattoo plans? I’ve got one later this month actually, a Roly-Poly doll, which will be going on my arm. I’m wanting to get my full arm covered in cuteness over the next year, much like my style, eclectic and cute.