Portrait tattoos are unquestionably one of the most meaningful types of body art around. After all, having someone’s visage printed into the skin is a sure symbol of love, commitment and appreciation. Many portrait pieces are meant as a permanent reminder of lost loved ones, or to forever capture the youth and innocence of a new member of the family; however, other types are meant solely to express an interest or fascination – namely in famous entities, such as movie stars, writers, musicians, and occasionally even important political figures. Other portraits may consist of wildlife, generally a beloved pet.
Realism is key when it comes to the majority of portrait tattoos. These pieces, which often depict loved ones, try to capture the most lifelike appearance as possible. Quite often, these designs show only the head and shoulders of the subject; however, some may be made up of the entire person, and even the background of the original photograph used. Sometimes a collage of photographs is made, generally showing an entire family, but occasionally a single person at different stages of life. Although most of these portraits are done in varying shades of gray and black, many are done in vivid, realistic hues, usually picking up the colors of the original picture.
Although the natural style is most common, many people prefer portrait tattoos with a twist. For example, they may take on a caricature-type design; they may show made up people, such as cartoon characters and cheesecake models, in a lifelike way; or they may use a realistic approach that mingles with a more abstract style. For instance, square pieces may be pulled from the eyes and lips of the portrait model, and placed away from the face; one face with many expressions may be turned into a small emblem; or the model may simply be painted in bright colors of red, blue, yellow and green. This style might also be seen with a border – some may bear something like a gilded frame, while another may be surrounded by a chain of flowers, just to name a few possibilities. Although the majority of portrait tattoos feature those who are close to the wearer, others depict the faces of well known celebrities. These portraits may be abstract or lifelike, and are sometimes surrounded by pertinent symbols and words, such as band logos, poems, and even backdrops of famous paintings.
Portrait pieces, if done by a skilled artist, can be stunning tributes to a number of different people. Although they are sometimes frowned upon, those who get them know that they are an intimate, loving gesture to the person who appears in the art.