I’m planning to get a second tattoo in the semi-near future. It took me a while to settle on a design. I’ve wanted more ink since I got my first piece years ago, and it’s been an ongoing dance of choices and passing fancies. I don’t get tattoos without a very long decision period. I was drawing my first tattoo on myself for months before I got the permanent copy. I still love my tattoo.
There are two images that I am very fond of as tattoos. One is a picture of an owl, which I would get on the inside of my right forearm, at the widest point near my elbow. It would be a brown-dominant tattoo rather than black, as they usually are. But it’s not my immediate choice, because I’ve drawn myself another picture.
It’s a compass. As in, directional. In the centre is a tree, shaped like an aged bonsai, with leaves trailing away, changing from a vibrant, flourishing green into the beautiful yellow, orange, red of autumn. At the cardinal and intermediate directions spread the symbols of the Vegvísir, the traditional Icelandic runic compass.
I took inspiration from other images and drew the complete design by hand. It contains images of things that I have great respect for, or just resonate with me. Every time I look at the picture, I still love it. Love, love, love it. But I have a problem… I don’t know where I want it.
I don’t often have trouble deciding things like the ideal location of a tattoo if I think something would be awesome. The two notions tend to go hand in hand: “If I wanted this as a tat, I’d get it on this part of my body”. Not so with my compass. It’s definitely a larger image, so I’ve considered my thigh, or my stomach. I don’t like the idea of ink on my back, because I wouldn’t be able to see my own tattoo! It wouldn’t fit nicely on my arms, or lower on my legs. I don’t think I’m a chest, collarbone or neck tattoo kind of person unless I went straight for the manubrium, and that would still leave me with the trouble of not seeing it well. I would be in front of a mirror an awful lot!
I guess you understand my trouble.
My only reasonable solution to this problem is to buy some of that print-you-own temporary tattoo paper and trial the locations I’m interested in. My husband is doing his illustrator thing and creating a finalised design for me where everything’s meticulously measured out and uniform (rather than my rough hand drawn version). Then, we will just have to see.