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Dad Tats: The Tattoos Of Fatherhood

A Dad and His Dog

If you think about, it really has been the cool people getting tattooed since the beginning of time. I mean, way back when, it was the warriors and the pirates and probably the vikings too: although theirs were more than likely only half done or half-baked since they were pretty fond of their Cold Clam Schnapps and its doubtful many of them could squint and focus long enough to get much done in the name Land-Ho, let alone in the name of  body art.

Then came the soldiers and the greasers and the rock’n’rollers.

Nowadays, every other pro athlete has two sleeves of ink up and down his arms. And so do half of the young celebrity chefs and practically every urban bartender from London to L.A.

These days we can put a new name on the Cool List.

Dad.

See, it seems legions of newer fathers are turning to the ancient art of tattooing to show the entire world just how much they love their kids. And at the same time, more and more sons and daughters are getting tattooed in the name of Dear Old Dad, too.

Tattoos and basically everything and anything having to do with getting inked is still extremely hot/hip/and cool these days. And for a rapidly growing number of dads and the people who love them: there is no better canvas in this world then the skin upon their very own bones when it comes time to paint a daddy’s love.

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  • Daddy’s Little Brace Face 1 of 20
    Daddy's Little Brace Face
    Sometimes big Technicolor tattoos capture an essence lost in black and white. Sometimes they don't. But no matter what you think of this one, you have to admit that this proud dad managed to land himself a nice big slice of Teenager Pie when he decided to memorialize that all-important era of his daughter's youth known as The Brace Face Years. Something tells me when that girl is seventeen she is not going to want to be anywhere near dad at the beach. Oh well, Pop. You tried.
    Photo Credit: mdtattoos.com
  • Baby Got Back 2 of 20
    Baby Got Back
    One of the more popular ways a lot of dads choose to celebrate their kids in ink is with profiles of their little faces. Of course, the more popular something becomes, the more the quality can suffer. And, sadly, there are some rather, shall we say, 'odd' renditions of baby pics floating around on more than a few dads. But, there are also plenty of cool ones, too. This guy's look pretty good, I think. It's probably the fact that he planned it out a bit, collaborated with a really good artist, and avoided the alluring temptation to have it done on a whim that weekend he went away with the guys to Vegas and woke up clutching the tequila worm in a casino lobby fountain.
    Photo Credit: ratemyink.com
  • Homeland 3 of 20
    Homeland
    This dad decided that he wanted to show where each of his two little ones were born. And so since one was born in Puerto Rico and one came along in the USA, he used the flag pattern from each country to show it. This one seems a little rough around the edges, but I kind of like that. It makes it somehow seem more genuine, as if the fellow wasn't out to win any Tattoo Convention prizes, he was out to get an important job done. I'd say he did, too.
    Photo Credit: checkoutmyink.com
  • Next Level Daddy Tat 4 of 20
    Next Level Daddy Tat
    So, unless you're allergic to the ink or you buckle and chuck at the sight of needles, it doesn't take much to tattoo your bambino on your trunk somewhere. Yet, there are certain little avenues that can take a dad to Uptown Coolville when it comes to showing your kids how much they mean to you. Pro baseball pitcher, David Wells figured this out a few years ago when he decided to display his little baby son's image to the world by raising his sleeve and showing him off. On his baseball card. Yeah, it doesn't get much cooler than that really. And when that kid gets older, there is always the option of a tattoo of your dad's baseball card...with you in it. Nice one, Dad.
    Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com
  • Daddy Was A Wordsmith 5 of 20
    Daddy Was A Wordsmith
    Eminem is probably one of the greatest hip-hoppers to ever live. And like a lot of superstars, his life has been lived under a microscope at times, scrutinized by a demanding public. But one thing you can't ever argue about this guy is how much he loves being a father, how much he loves his kids. And as this picture reveals, at least one of his many tats is the name of his oldest daughter, Hailie Jade. In a fabulous 60 Minutes interview from 2010, the rapper spoke eloquently about how nothing could ever keep him from his kids, and how he would travel to the edge of the Earth to find them should he ever need to. I always liked the guy before that. But now I love him.
    sodahead.com
  • It’s The Thought That Counts, But… 6 of 20
    It's The Thought That Counts, But...
    You know, I hate to even question anyone's tattoo of their little one. I know it is done from the heart and that love is the driving motivator each and every time someone gets their child ink'd somewhere on their body. But there needs to be at least a little reminder here that tattooing is SO popular in this day and age, and there are SO MANY top-notch masters of the art that it really does make a lot of sense to spend the extra money to get the thing done at a reputable parlor with people in the waiting room and regular business hours. Otherwise, it could come out, I don't know, creepy or something.
    Photo Credit: perezitos.com
  • I Did It My Way 7 of 20
    I Did It My Way
    Sometimes, the kid isn't enough I guess. Sometimes his or her sweet cherubic face begins to appear out there on your skin and suddenly you say to yourself: why should I deny my kid a pet dinosaur? Then, just like that, you decide that you won't, you can't deny your kid a pet dinosaur for even one more day. And, I'm pretty sure that somehow makes you the Greatest Daddy Who Ever Lived.
    Photo Credit: tatto-cute-tattoos-gallery.blogspot.com
  • Little Foot Mania! 8 of 20
    Little Foot Mania!
    Another super-duper popular way a lot of dads (and moms too) pay tribute to their child is by tattooing the kid's footprint somewhere on their skin. This seems like a pretty simple and classic way to get the job done, and judging by the trillions of photos that appear when you come anywhere close to Googling "baby footprint tattoos": if you go ahead and choose this way you are joining a fraternity of gazillions who all have pretty much the exact same tattoo as you do.
    Photo Credit: ratemyink.com
  • Kids That Grow On Trees 9 of 20
    Kids That Grow On Trees
    Let's face it, the words "family" and "tree' go together real easy and smooth, like "onion" and "dip" or "van" and "halen". Family Tree rolls right off the tongue and it's a good thing too because when you decide to plant a big old redwood on your back and it's dangling your young ones like the ripe fruit, well, you'd better be ready to start saying it a whole lot. Photo Credit: ratemyink.com
  • And Then There Was Mama 10 of 20
    And Then There Was Mama
    There are times when the kids, bless their hearts, just simply aren't enough. There are those times when you're getting a full back job done and there's a little space there/a little fleshy void that is calling out for the artist to make magic happen. And that's when, I say, add a little Mama to the mix! Why not?! After all, there wouldn't be any of this crazy jazz if there was no mama to begin with. And then what would you cloak your entire back with...Harley Davidson wings? Puh-leeze.
    Photo Credit: somethingawful.com
  • Little Picasso 11 of 20
    Little Picasso
    It''s nice to know that even if you aren't certain you want your kid's face slapped somewhere on you bicep or your spine, you can still find very cool ways to use the ancient art of tattoo to show how much they mean to you. One way that I kind of dig is when dads take one of their child's finger paintings or crayon still-life's down to the tattoo parlor and have that little masterpiece needled in. Still, I'd probably be getting my kids a whole heck of a lot of paper and crayons before they handed me "the one" I felt was good enough for my hide.
    Photo Credit: tigerdroppings.com
  • Little Picasso Revisited 12 of 20
    Little Picasso Revisited
    Hey, check it out, maybe the whole crayon kiddy picture thing is cute and loving and all, but maybe it's also a little too 'premature' in this scientific era (where tattoo removal is still a bit of a frontier) to be making that leap, huh? I mean let's be perfectly straight here: these pastel stick figures look like something Timothy Leary probably had etched on his brain. Listen, when all else fails: go with the old navy anchor. Your kids won't care that much, believe me.
    Photo Credit: twentytwowords.com
  • Sweet Emotion 13 of 20
    Sweet Emotion
    There are certain tattoos that speak way louder than others. There are some dads (and moms) who go ahead and get ink'd not just to celebrate the birth of their baby or how good they draw or whatever, but rather to mark themselves touched forever by their child's remarkable inner-strength. Some of the tats we have taken a peak at are funny, it's true. But I really genuinely love this one where mom and dad have each gotten a rendering of their diabetic son's insulin pump on their own skin. Their unspoken message of "Hey, if he has to wear one then we will wear one right along with him," is beautiful, and quite frankly, hard to top.
    Photo Credit: scienceroll.com
  • Back In Your Arms Again 14 of 20
    Back In Your Arms Again
    No story dealing with dads and tattoos would be complete without flipping things around a bit here and seeing the other side of the story. Many people, upon losing their fathers, use tattoos to show their undying love for the guy who helped make them who they are today. This fellow has a depiction of his late father on his arm. I think this one is regal and classy and pretty darn stunning.
    Photo Credit: tattoonow.com
  • Every Daddy Was A Son 15 of 20
    Every Daddy Was A Son
    This tattoo might be my favorite of this whole project. This son had a fabulous picture of his father standing with his dog many years ago when the dad was just a boy. So, he had an obviously world-class artist transfer that image onto his entire upper arm. There are so many horrid tattoos out there that it makes seeing the really cool ones even more mind-blowing. Just an awesome tribute to a father.
    Photo Credit: fyeahtattoos.com
  • Close To Me 16 of 20
    Close To Me
    Here a young lady took a different but intriguing approach to remembering her daddy in ink. Her tattoo is of one of her father's last EKG printouts from the hospital, taken just before he died. To her, it is a reminder of his time alive. And as she puts it so gracefully, "This is my dads actual heartbeat high on my ribs, and I will forever carry him with me - close to my own heart."
    Photo Credit: fyeahtattoos.com
  • I Love You, In Writing 17 of 20
    I Love You, In Writing
    One of the cool things about creating and getting an original tattoo (and NO: Bart Simpson on your calf is not really an original tattoo) is that they each usually have a great story behind them. This girl tells how she was rummaging through some notecards just after her dad had died and found one he had written her. It ended with the beautiful words: "P.S. you will always Be my Baby girl". So that became how she chose to remember him, with his words/in his very own handwriting. Quite cool.
    Photo Credit: tumblr.com
  • The Bieberville Ink Spots 18 of 20
    The Bieberville Ink Spots
    Of course, if you want to take things to the upper echelon of male bonding with your kid, then you're just going to have to fork out the scratch and take them with you down to Larry's King Of Skin. That's what Justin Bieber and his dad did when they both decided that the love was mutual and the time was right to get matching tats, together. It's actually pretty damn special if you think about it.
    Photo Credit: theimproper.com
  • If You’re Gonna Do It Then Do It Right 19 of 20
    If You're Gonna Do It Then Do It Right
    Look, I don't have any tattoos. None. Zilch. So, I am no one to talk at all. But, I can say with all honesty that for every classy understated Angelina Jolie-type tattoo celebrating parenthood that exists out in the world, there is always another one, around the next corner, that just says "I love you kids" by opening a can of WhoopButt everytime the shirt comes off. Both kinds have their place. Because, after all, love is everywhere.
    Photo Credit: thehotglove.com
  • Mom Rules 20 of 20
    Mom Rules
    In the end though, moms still lay claim to a few of the most magnificent tattoo designs all to themselves. Because, let's face it: there are still a few things they can pull off just a little bit better than any dad ever will.
    Photo Credit: buzzfeed.com

You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.

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