Should you get a patchwork tattoo sleeve?

Should you get a patchwork tattoo sleeve?

While we are all for the major commitment — from tattooed to tattooer alike — that it is to commit to a half or full sleeve, there is much to be said about the advantages of a patchwork approach. An attitude wholly onto themselves, they have exploded in popularity over the past few years, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. 

First and foremost — what are they? Patchwork sleeves are a style of tattoo that covers a person’s arm. But rather than being a fully themed and interconnected sleeve done by the same artist in one or a few go’s, they are made up of individual tattoos.

They can still be from the same tattoo artist, but it is more of an eclectic collection of individual designs, rather than a piece covering the whole surface of the skin. This opens up a whole world of possibilities: you can go for tiny, dainty tattoos like the ones Peggy Gou is collecting (see below), or bolder lines for some awesome blackwork. 

Image of the DJ Peggy Gou walking down a street in Chicago.
Credit: @peggygou_

The tattoos that make up a patchwork sleeve can be of the same style, or they can be a (deliberate and thought-out or not) happy mismatch of themes. In either case, they offer a chance to come up with something entirely unique, making it into a project that grows with your style and life. 

man young male adults

Each tattoo within the sleeve can represent a different aspect of one’s personality and tell one’s story through a timeline of art. Collectively, they form a longer narrative, visually recounting milestones or experiences. Or, you can choose designs that are simply aesthetically pleasing or you think look cool. That’s the beauty of the patchwork approach, you get to pick and choose as much as you like. 

They also offer a more economical way of building your sleeve, with shorter sessions over time, rather than splurging for a bigger project right away. Should you change your mind further down the line about one design or other, it is also easier to cover up one tattoo, rather than a whole shoulder-to-wrist sleeve. 

patchwork sleeve tattoo
By Sara at Vivid Ink Walsall

One really cool thing about patchwork sleeves is that you can have different artists collaborate on it for you. Maybe you want to get something added while you travel to a different location or to a tattoo convention? Each artist gets to contribute their unique style to your living art project and it becomes a showcase. 

Or, you could work with your favourite tattoo artist — or several from the same studio, that way they can plan together for a design that builds over time. Or, come up with ones on the spot! Just book your session and see what you both feel like on the day! We should take who we get tattooed by and where seriously, but we can also have fun and be spontaneous with the actual designs and tattoos. We love to see your ideas come to life! 


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