Hand tattoos are one of the few taboos left when it comes to body art (closely following face, and neck tattoos). Whatever design a wearer chooses, the placement signifies a commitment; whether it be to a loved one, to a certain religion, or even just to their desire for bold, statement-making body art.
Most people like to start out small when it comes to their hand tattoos. These tiny pieces lend to a touch of discretion to an otherwise indiscreet piece of body art. Small, simple symbols are most commonly used for this style; symbols like five-point stars, flower buds, or tiny pixies are usually placed just under the thumb. You may also occasionally see more uncommon symbols like card suits (sometimes with an associated letter or number), tiny eyes, spiders or other small insects.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are incredibly elaborate hand tattoos. These are usually meant to make a bold statement, and show a clear picture of who the wearer is. Some of the most popular styles for these hand tattoos are similar in appearance to henna artwork. These often feature intricate designs that look like lace and flowers; they may be seen at the top or bottom of the hands, and they may also wrap around one or all of the fingers. Other people like to add contrasting images to both hands such as fire on one hand, water on the other; words like ‘love’ and ‘hate,’ or ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ You may also occasionally see elaborate hand tattoos that accentuate the features of the hand. For example, you might see designs that show realistic depictions of bones, veins, muscle and tendons.
Most other people will find a middle ground when it comes to hand tattoos. These pieces are medium in size, they may have a more obvious placement, but they are generally rather simple in design. Some good examples of this would be to place an eye in the middle of the top, or even the bottom, of the hand. You might also see a ring (such as a wedding or promise ring) wrapped around an index finger; or you might see a snake coiling around every finger.
A good number of tattoo artists will not even consider doing hand tattoos, as these pieces are so noticeable, and some people will regret them later. But for those who do them, and those who get them, there is an understanding that these pieces in themselves are a symbol of dedication.