1. The only reason why I would never get a tattoo is because I don’t like pain.

    I would also say, that because more and more people are getting tattoos, not being inked will be the oddity. And perhaps, the fact that a person is NOT inked, will eventually be the sign of rebellion, aggressive, and status. Say, the Marked and the UnMarked. (pun intended)

    Great post!

  2. Revynn says:

    I actually have an idea for a story sitting in my cloud storage that involves a tattoo based magic system.

    I have several tattoos myself. My only advice to anyone considering getting one: Be heavily involved in the design process. It’s permanent so if you don’t absolutely love it, don’t do it. The only tattoo I have that I regret (and it’s my largest), i made the mistake of having it drawn by someone unfamiliar with the art style I wanted and, being me, I was too timid to say what I didn’t like about it.

    • Mark Carver says:

      I have a few regrets as well but nothing I hate, since I drew everything myself. My regret is in the quality, and I learned that you get what you pay for. Your story idea sounds cool!

  3. Lauren B says:

    Christian fantasy books with tattoos — the Storm Siren series by Mary Weber, although those are symbols of slavery, and the Skin Map series by Stephen Lawhead, yep the map is literally tattooed on the guy’s back!

    I’ve toyed with idea of getting a tattoo, and I know what quote I’d want “we are made of dust and starlight”, but the cost and the reaction of family hold me back.

  4. Autumn Grayson says:

    Good article.  I think people overlook tattoos a lot like people will overlook other things, like glasses.  A lot of times when either of these things are included it is a very deliberate thing the author does in order to give characters a certain persona.  A lot of times characters are not given glasses unless the author wants them to look awkward, smart, etc.  I’ve worn glasses most of my life, and I’ve even noticed I have very few characters with glasses, though that is partially due tithe time period, world, etc. my characters are in.

    Personally I think in real life it’s better that people don’t have tattoos, but at the same time I don’t like how people get unnecessarily freaky about them.  It’s not exactly great for authors to be unwilling to give even their villains(or only their villains) tattoos.  I will have a few characters with tattoos when I see that it fits their story, personality, etc.  Even if I wouldn’t want to get a tattoo myself, it can make a character look kinda cool, and it would be yet another way to add diversity to my stories, because I don’t want all my characters to think and feel exactly as I do.  And of course, each tattooed character will have their own reason for having one.

    Thus far tattoos haven’t fit for a lot of my characters due to their culture and many other factors.  My assassin characters, for instance, tend to avoid doing things that make them more noticeable or easily identifiable.  

    Interestingly enough, scars sometimes take the place of tattoos in my stories.  With the level of danger and fighting and amount of animal characters in my stories, scars are much more common.  I plan on some characters even giving themselves patterned scars on purpose, sort of like an inkless tattoo.  Earrings also have found their way into my character’s stories now and then.

    One interesting thing about tattoos are that they can be a way to mark or identify, a way to signify that a creature is owned by someone else.  If I recall correctly, racehorses have identifying tattoos on the inside of their mouths.  This means that sometimes when a character has a tattoo, it could have similar connotations as when someone wears a dog collar style choker necklace.  Someone choosing to wear signs of bondage in order to look cool.

    An interesting example of tattoos I’ve seen is in Naruto.  The ANBU have small tattoos on their arms to identify them as part of that group, though the story doesn’t emphasize it much.  

    • Mark Carver says:

      Definitely true about assassins and tattoos. Gangbangers have begun to shun tattoos in recent years because they are easy markers to give police probable cause for search and seizures. An assassin or other shady character would be stupid to get something that would make them stand out from the crowd, but in the movies, it looks cool so that’s why they’re thrown in there.

      The only reason I know what Naruto is is because when I taught in China, my students were obsessed with that show 🙂

    • I’ve got a story where the only tattoos are slave tattoos. They’re given to criminals and they have a number to identify the slave/criminal, and a symbol to identify what the crime was. In this part of the galaxy, willingly getting a tattoo would be seen as insane since tattoos are associated with slavery and crime.
      I normally give my characters scars. It’s only realistic considering they’re in a war zone and such.

  5. Kessie says:

    Like they say in that Rhett and Link song, “I think tattoos are cool … on other people!”
    In the Black Magic Outlaw series, the hero has magic tattoos that block unfriendly magic. Kind of like having a Captain America shield permanently attached to your forearm. It’s really cool and fun.

  6. Judy Taylor says:

    Mark, I had a tattoo board on my pinterest account but received too many pin that were sexual. My intent was to focus on the fact that my name is tattooed on the palms of Jesus’s hand…the nail scars. As a Christian speaker to women, my point is that tattoos are permanent and a scar remains if any effort is made to remove them as you mention. Interesting article. Not a topic often mentioned in Christian circles.

  7. Thanks for the nod to Dania. 🙂 I explore Dania’s tattoos a bit more in the prequel novella, Blood Song.

    I’m with Parker…. I don’t like pain. I’m also afraid I couldn’t commit to something without feeling that I might want to change it later. The infernal editor in me fears permanence of that sort. But I’m glad to explore the concepts in fiction. 🙂

  8. Lisa says:

    Great article! I know I would never get a tattoo (ok, never say never, but I really can’t imagine it) but I am from that era that saw them in a negative light (sigh. Why does time pass so quickly??) So I have to work at breaking that stereotype in my own mind. I don’t particularly have any “religious” opposition to it, but the cultural one is what is hard for me. Same goes with lip, face, or other body piercing. But you have reminded me that I can’t forget that my characters might NOT be like myself in every way, and it’s a good reminder!

What do you think?