Mermaids are known to be mythical creatures found deep under the sea. Children are aware of them thanks to The Little Mermaid but they are known among men as treacherous and persuasive creatures. There is a lot of history and legend tied to mermaids and a lot of people find these stories a great idea for their next tattoo design. If you find yourself drawn to mermaid tattoos, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, you’ll find all there is to know about mermaid tattoos and tattoos in general. If it’s your first time getting a tattoo, then getting a mermaid-inspired one is a bold choice because rarely do mermaid tattoos take a small space on your body. At the same time, mermaid tattoos are often in colored ink which isn’t always preferable to people who want to keep their tattoos subtle. Nonetheless, you’ll find a lot of reasons why you would want a mermaid tattoo here.
The Story of The Mermaid
In Greek mythology, mermaids are said to be offsprings of gods and goddesses who make love with sea creatures. Mermaids also have the same symbolism as Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty and Venus, goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. These similarities could have come from the beauty of these Greek goddesses and mermaids have.
However, no one knows for sure if mermaids are beautiful. There is no doubt that The Little Mermaid has something to do with it although it was also patterned to what sailors and captains of ships said about mermaids.
Seafarers and Sailors
According to seafarers, mermaids are sea creatures that are only seen in the night when the waters are calm and the moon shines brightly. Mermaids’ skin is as luminous as the waters and it is only at night that their skin glows under the surface.
But unlike Ariel in the Disney movie, mermaids are said to be persuasive. They will tempt the sailors and play with their weakness until they lure them towards the rocks where they perch and drown them in the waters. Although this is only folklore, the image of the mermaid is still depicted as dangerous beauty.
Why You Should Get A Mermaid Tattoo
With all that history about mermaids, it seems that having a mermaid tattoo symbolizes more bad than good. But before you abandon your mermaid tattoo dreams, here are a few things you should think about that might persuade you to still get one.
- It’s full of mystery.
Mermaids are full of mystery simply because there is no way of knowing if they are true or not. Any tattoo that is linked to folklore or legends creates a certain mystery with it that people who see your tattoo will be naturally drawn to ask you about it. You can also add a touch of mystery yourself. You can add a more personal meaning to your mermaid tattoo so that it can mean more to you than a folklore.
- They’re a beauty.
Needless to say, mermaids are beautiful. From stories to movies, mermaids are depicted with long wavy hair and white skin. They also have nice voices that when they sing underwater, they bring a sense of calmness. Of course, all of these are based on stories, but what you should focus more on is the reputation they have with people. Since mermaids are known to be pretty, your tattoo will automatically have that effect too.
- You can play with colors.
Depending on the design and features of your mermaid, you can either use black or colorful ink. The coloring is highly recommended if you want to emphasize features of the mermaid (say, their hair color). It also adds more beauty if they have a background. However, if you are choosing a skeleton mermaid, then black ink is highly recommended because it adds more power and character to the design.
- You can customize features.
If there is one characteristic of mermaids that is notable, that is their beauty. And since the definition of beauty varies from one person to another, you are free to design your mermaid tattoo in your own definition of beauty. If you are having a colored tattoo, then feel free to make your mermaid a brunette or a redhead. You can also adjust their facial features to resemble the people you admire.
- They can have scenic backgrounds.
Other than that, what other creature has more scenic backgrounds than mermaids? Aside from having the actual mermaid on your body, you can also design a fitting background in your tattoo. These backgrounds can either be a full moon, the sea, or even a rock where the mermaid is sitting. It’s even more beautiful if the moon has a reflection on the waters.
Mermaid Symbolisms and Meanings
For a tattoo, mermaids have a lot of meaning and symbolism attached to them. This is a list of those meanings.
Love and beauty
As already explained in the history and origin of mermaids, love and beauty is the most prominent symbol of the mermaid.
Because of their connection with Venus, the goddess of fertility, mermaids are also used as meanings of motherhood, fertility, and sensuality.
Needless to say, mermaids portray femininity. Although this tattoo does not mean to be sexist, it just so happens that mermaids have a lot of features and characteristics that are known to portray females.
Because of the mystery that is associated with them, mermaids are a symbol of magic. They are mythical creatures after all. There are also accounts that claim that mermaids have special powers.
Love of the Sea
If you want to use a mermaid to portray your love for the sea, then you are free to do so. They may not be as obvious as a tattoo of a ship or anchor, but a mermaid looking out the sea from the rock they are sitting on shows the love of the waters and the horizon ahead.
Last but not the least is the symbol of danger. Mermaids themselves are considered dangerous simply because they are known to trick a man into the waters.
If you will notice, most of these symbolisms and meanings describe a woman. This is because mermaids are used as a sign of feminism. Rarely is there a tattoo depicting mermen. In fact, there is no folklore talking about mermen and their characteristics.
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Designing Your Mermaid Tattoo
Mermaids have a lot of elements that you can customize. To help you design your mermaid tattoo, you can follow this step-by-step guide to creating your design.
Step 1: Hair color
The first thing you want to do is to choose the kind of hair color your mermaid is going to have. One of the most obvious features of a mermaid is her hair. Most mermaids have long hairs that reach their hips, but you can also decide otherwise. You can play with different hair colors here in much the same way that you can play with your own hair color.
Step 2: Facial features
Next are the facial features. If you aren’t good at drawing, then you might need a little help here. Ask a friend who knows how to sketch or consult with the tattoo artist himself. You can also look for inspiration online since there are a lot of mermaid photos there.
Step 3: Pose
After that, you want to know what the pose of your mermaid is going to be. Common mermaid tattoos show a mermaid sitting on top of a rock looking towards the sunset. Some mermaids are holding their hair while some are in the act of swimming.
Step 4: Background
Lastly, you can also choose to have a background to accompany your mermaid tattoo. While there are some tattoos that feature just the mermaid, there is no stopping you from adding water, the moon, the sunset, birds, etc. You can also create a scenery that can give more meaning to your tattoo.
How To Choose The Right Tattoo Studio
Since mermaid tattoos are more complicated than other tattoo designs, you should consider a few things in picking a tattoo studio.
One of the first things you have to consider is your budget. Your budget will help determine your limitations because your budget affects the design. Hence, if you are on a tight budget, your design will have to be adjusted to a smaller size. Since mermaid tattoos often have a lot of details, it will be hard to have them in smaller dimensions.
The next thing you have to consider is the experience of the artist. Again, mermaid tattoos are more detailed than others because they take human form. The more details the mermaid design has, the harder it is to create. To avoid having a bad tattoo in the end, make sure you look for an experienced tattoo artist who has been doing this for a few years.
- Sample Designs
One of the ways to know if an artist is experienced and talented enough is through their sample designs. When you are canvassing for a tattoo artist, make sure to ask for their portfolio and take a look at the tattoos they made on people. If you are lucky, you might chance upon a mermaid tattoo that they have made. With this, you can know if their skill will pass your standards. You can also show the design itself and ask them if they can do it. Although rarely will they say that they can’t, you can ask them more questions about how long they can make your tattoo.
Another important aspect is the cleanliness. When you visit the tattoo artist, take a look at the ambiance and the cleanliness of the place. It’s important that the area is clean because you don’t want to be getting any bacteria.
- Customer Reviews
Last but not the least is the customer reviews. If you’ve found a tattoo artist already, try to ask around if any of your friends or relatives have tried getting a tattoo from there. Or better yet, you can start by asking them if they have any recommendations on tattoo artists. To validate their recommendations, search online about customer experiences with the tattoo artist and studio. Don’t forget to take these reviews with a grain of salt since there can be all sorts of biases involved.
Preparations Before Your Tattoo Appointment
For newbies who have never experienced getting a tattoo, the scheduled tattoo appointment might be a dreaded day or it can cause anxiety. To help calm your nerves, here are a few things you should do a week after your scheduled appointment.
- Do not get a tan or a scrub
What this tip says is to avoid damaging your skin a few days before the tattoo appointment. If you plan on getting a scrub, doing this a week earlier will do. On the other hand, if you plan on getting a tan, postpone this for another time when you have gotten your tattoo and it has healed already.
- Do not drink alcohol or do drugs
In short, don’t drink or consume anything that will render you numb-er for the tattoo session. This is because substances like these might affect your bloodstream and may lead to unnecessary blood clotting. One week before the session, start avoiding alcohol, drugs, and coffee.
- Take a warm shower
On the day of your tattoo session, make sure to have a warm shower. See to it that you are clean (but don’t scrub yet) and ready for your tattoo. Taking a bath will help prevent any bacteria from infecting the tattoo later on. It is also a way of removing dead skin cells.
- Wear comfortable clothes
When getting a tattoo, wear clothes that will give easy access to the area that will be worked on. If it’s in your arm, wear a sleeveless top; if it’s on your leg, wear shorts short enough to not reach the tattooed area. This will help the tattoo artist from getting distracted and having other things that might affect the tattoo session.
- Bring lotion and a few things to keep you distracted
Depending on the design and the size, tattoos can take a long time to make. If you think you don’t have the patience for it, you can always bring things that will help you get distracted. You will do yourself and the tattoo artist a favor in focusing on something else because you will be less fidgety and restless.
Also, remember to bring your own moisturizing lotion because some tattoo studios do not apply lotion after the session.
Aftercare For Your Mermaid Tattoo
If it’s your first time getting a tattoo, you might not know how to take care of it yet. Don’t worry, here are the things you must do right after getting your mermaid tattoo.
- Apply lotion or petroleum jelly
The moment you get your tattoo, the first thing to do is to apply a moisturizing lotion or petroleum jelly. If you will notice, the skin around it will look reddish to the point of bleeding, but there isn’t any blood. When you see this, don’t worry because it’s only natural for your skin to be irritated after the procedure.
However, to prevent actual bleeding and irritation, you should apply moisture to it. Most of the time, the tattoo artist himself will be putting the lotion as part of their procedure. But if they don’t have any, it’s best to bring your own so you can do it yourself.
- Do not touch or scratch
Once you put lotion on your new tattoo, leave it on for at least four hours. This means no touching, no scratching, and no rubbing clothes against it. Doing these things might affect the tattoo as the ink is just starting to dry.
Moreover, if you scratch or touch the tattoo, it might lead to infection because there might be bacteria on your fingertips that might contaminate the tattoo. To be safe, just avoid doing anything to your tattoo at least four hours after the appointment.
- Wash with lukewarm water and soap
After four hours, you can already wash your tattoo. However, in doing this you should not scrub it or scratch it still. What you should do is pour lukewarm water over the tattoo, and gently put soap on it. It is better if you don’t use a bar of soap because then you have to scrub in on the tattoo. Instead, create a rich lather on your hands before gently washing the tattoo. When you’re done, pat the tattoo with a clean towel.
- Apply a bandage
Depending on your tattoo artist, he or she may advise you to cover your tattoo for a few days after the appointment. There are some who will also tell you that you don’t have to do this. The rule of thumb is if the tattooed area will be brushing against tight clothing, then you should put a bandage (or gauze) over it. This is to avoid getting friction over the tattoo and damaging it.
So now that you know what to do, you are all ready to get that mermaid tattoo you’ve been wanting. Don’t forget the preparations and the aftercare because it really is important to know what to do with your tattoo.