Nostalgia…The pleasant, yet slightly sad, feeling that comes over you when you think about the past. The neighborhood you grew up in, the cartoons that were the soundtrack to your Saturday mornings, the bike on which you used to ride up and down your street.
Sometimes even the smell of a particular scent can cause the memories to come streaming in. If you’re looking for a meaningful tattoo idea, you may want to dive a little deeper into those nostalgic feelings.
But first, is nostalgia a positive emotion?
According to a 2020 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology review, thinking back on positive memories is actually good for you.
“…nostalgia, practicing nostalgia, or the act of feeling nostalgic was more commonly linked to positive markers of health (like meaning in life, self-esteem, and optimism) than negative ones,”Everyday Health
As long as these nostalgic feelings don’t spiral into depression, they can boost your mood, be a reminder of how much you’ve grown as a person, and strengthen your bonds with family and friends.
Here are some ideas on the route you can take with a nostalgia-inspired tattoo:
Your Favorite Childhood Toy
Did you have a teddy bear or action figure that accompanied you everywhere? Getting a tattoo of a childhood toy can evoke fond memories of your formative years and of simpler times.
From Lego figures to animal figurines and Slinkies, there really is no limit to this theme. Plus, depending on your chosen toy, you could opt for a big or small tattoo design.
However, before you set your heart on a particular design, placement, or size, chat with your chosen tattoo artist – they’ll be able to advise what will work best.
Your Favorite Cartoon Character
Remember when you were excited to wake up early on the weekend so that you could watch your favorite cartoon?
Thinking back to this can evoke powerful feelings, and can be a well of special memories to take body art inspiration from. From Snoopy to Stitch, you can choose between a singular tattoo of one character, or instead opt for a certain scene.
This will depend greatly on tattoo placement and how much detail you want to incorporate. Remember, the more detail in a tattoo design the more it will cost and the longer your tattoo appointment will be.
Vintage Video Game Tattoo
A tattoo of a vintage video game like Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., or Tetris can be a reminder of afternoons in childhood whiling away the day trying to beat the high score. Tattoos with a video game theme can go many different ways:
From a full sleeve to a tiny wrist tattoo of your favorite video game’s logo. However, what a lot of video game tattoos have in common is color. Color tattoo ink is different from back tattoo ink, so getting a colorful tattoo needs to be treated a certain way.
“Colors tend to fade faster which can lead to your tattoo looking blurred…Black ink tends to fade more slowly, so it’s not as much of an issue,”Excessive Art Tattooing
Don’t give up on your color tattoo just yet – getting tattooed with colorful ink just means your design may need more maintenance in the form of touch-ups as they fade.
For both black ink tattoos and colorful tattoos, it’s important to protect your ink from the sun with SPF to prevent your tattoo from fading fast.
Quote From A Book
Did you read a book in your childhood that wasn’t just a book? Did you get so engulfed in the story that it continued to be at the top of your list of favorite books as you’ve grown up?
Words can have a profound impact on us, and this impact doesn’t necessarily lessen as we get older. When it comes to lettering tattoos, there is a lot to consider, even with a minimalist design.
From spelling and grammar to font style and size, take your time to make sure you get the best quote tattoo possible. Delicate, wispy tattoos are popular when it comes to quote tattoos, however, Tatt Mag points out,
“Delicate lines with longevity can be accomplished in tattooing, but you’ll have to consult with an artist on how your words flow together. If they’re too tight, they’ll be illegible one day.”
- How To Pick The Right Font For Your Word Tattoo
- 6 Non-Cliché One Word Tattoos
- Ink that Speaks Volumes: Word Tattoos
Pet Memorial Tattoo
A tattoo of your childhood dog or cat can be a way to honor a beloved companion. If you’re thinking about getting a pet portrait tattoo, choose an image of your furry friend that is super clear. The clearer and more detailed the photo you have, the more your chosen tattoo artist has to work with.
Then, choose a tattooist who is well-versed in this tattoo style. A portrait tattoo requires attention to detail and other specific tattoo skills, so find a tattoo artist with enough professional experience in this style.
Childhood Home Tattoo
The place you grew up might have a special place in your heart. If this is the case, you may consider a tattoo of your childhood home. If you want a detailed design, like with a pet portrait tattoo, find a clear and recognizable image for your tattoo artist.
However, you can also opt for an outline tattoo if you’re a fan of the minimalist aesthetic. Whether you want a detailed tattoo or an outline tattoo, placement is an important aspect to consider.
When it comes to placement, it’s essential to think about pain level, what area will actually work with your design, and how easily you want to be able to cover your ink.
Nostalgic tattoos can be a beautiful way to honor your roots and memories. Whether it’s a tattoo of the place you grew up, a favorite video game, or a beloved pet, these tattoos allow you to carry a piece of your history with you.
It’s important to take the time to carefully consider the image and placement of your nostalgic tattoo and find a skilled tattoo artist who can capture the spirit of what you want to remember. With the right approach, nostalgic tattoos can be a touching and meaningful tribute to your childhood.