exercise: a tattoo.


history of the “mum tattoo”



Sailor Jerry- Hawaiian tattoo artist who started tattooing while in the marines. Tattoos are really popular with sailors and even my father told me that only sinners and sailors get tattoos. I have 8.


A sailor staring down a long stint at sea- including the possibility of not returning home-often wanted a heart to keep his loved ones close. Sometimes these hearts were just images. Other times, they read “Mom” or featured the name of a special girl. Hearts still remain one of the most popular tattoos for both sailors and civilians.


At sea, the anchor is the most secure object in a sailor’s life, making it the perfect representation of stability. This is why you’ll often see them emblazoned with “Mom” or the name of a sailor’s sweetheart (the people who keep them grounded). Anchors have become popular within general tattoo culture over the years, but the symbolism is still the same. It’s a reminder of what keeps you steady

The time-honored “I Love Mom” tattoo is deeply ingrained in our culture celebrities such as Sean Connery, Kelly Osborne and even Bart Simpson have one. It seems the iconic bright red heart, encircled in a banner ribbon emblazed with “Mom,” has been around forever, and according to tattoo artists, it isn’t going anywhere.

mom-tattoo-llm-02   A traditional Mom tattoo.
Credit: sampleaday.com


Are “I Love Mom” Tattoos Still Popular?

“Of course people still get them done,” said Bryan Randolph, an artist at New York Adorned Tattoo Parlor in New York City. “It’s a classic.”

WWII history

The “I Love Mom” tattoo first became popular during World War II. As they traveled around the world, U.S. Navy sailors got tattoos to document their achievements and memories. Tattoo parlors began to pop up near military bases and patriotic tattoos came into vogue, according to John Gray’s book “I Love Mom: An Irreverent History of the Tattoo.”

Aside from wanting to express their patriotism, the homesick sailors started to request “mom” or “mother” tattoos as a sentimental reminder of home.

Norman Keith Collins, who earned the nickname Sailor Jerry while in the Navy, designed the “I Love Mom” tattoo, according to a book of letters between fashion designer Donald Edward Hardy and Collins titled, “Sailor Jerry Collins: American Tattoo Master.”

After his discharge from the Navy, Collins made a name for himself as a prominent tattoo artist in Hawaii, and he created many recognizable “Sailor Jerry” tattoos that are still used today, such as hula girls and blue sparrows. Collins died in 1973, but his unique artistic style can still be spotted on today’s popular fashion items, including Converse sneakers and Ed Hardy clothing.

“The tattoo is definitely more popular this time of year,” said David Beadle, a tattoo artist at Mom’s Tattoos in Austin, Texas, who himself is planning on getting an updated version of the traditional “mom” tattoo this Mother’s Day. “Anytime mom is remembered, the tattoo’s popularity picks up.”

Still popular

“I Love Mom” tattoos are timeless because they make such a sweet, universal statement. Men and women of all ages get them, tattoo artists say.





Evidences of mummified remains with tattoos have been discovered within Europe, Egypt and Siberia are proof that this practice has been used to mark bodies around the world for thousands of years. – See more at: http://www.tattoo-designs-tips.com/history-of-tattoos.html#sthash.m4QuzQN9.dpuf

From what I have been reading on the internet, tattoos have been dated back since the beginning of man. Used for decorative purposes or symbolic meaning. Maoris in new zealand use it to show their tribe. Native americans did the same and also thought that tattooing your animal spirit helps other to visualize the power of the spirit. As time moves forward in western civilizations, there was a pope who banished tattoos and they became out of style. When explorers came back from excursions with their findings and new tattoos it became popular again with the intellectual elite. From my knowledge its popular for people who go to war or are away from home for long periods of time who get tattoos. It keeps them grounded and reminds them of where they come from. Tattoos can be used for decorative purposes or identity. Some people looks for individual identities from getting tattoos and other get them to be uniformed with others. Such as gang and tribal tattoos. Prison tattoos are also popular to show what crime they have committed, which gang they run with and where they come from. I look at tattoos as a memory. I have many randoms tattoos on my body and they all symbolize a time in my life. I also just like the look of them, its nothing too deep. I do have one tattoo of a poppy flower. The state flower of California. Not that I forget and need a reminder. I know where I come from, but  i also just like flowers and tattoos! Once again, its not too deep for me.

history-of-tattoos-needle 130 maori-warrior-tattoo Tattoos for tribal and also traditional bamboo tattoo instrument.

Horimyo-Japanese-Tattoo-Artist-2012-07-011 Japanese tattoo, mainly for the yakuza gang.

another-gang-tattooGang related tattoo in mexico


första-kända-kvinnliga-amerikanska-tattuerarenamerican-traditional-flash-tattoo-designs-10276514567-hand-butterfly-colorful-tattoo_large traditional sailor style tattoo

25-cute-classy-mom-tattoos--large-msg-136803689897f12cd1296cd2ac36fe62b59ded263c62 1012073_691688174209541_1766623089_n Sasha-Unisex-Tattoo-Colorful-Tattoo-Watercolor-Tattoo-23 tumblr_n14au92MIl1qdcc43o5_250 Post-Modern-Tattoo blacktattooart_3d-tattoo 71f00fba1206c4e9937d09a96d9238d2 tattoo14 19e372dbdb9b5f272e8c7c701d800a99 geometric-tattoos-7 geometric-face-tatoo foxweb f5917d61c254a4335b72ae00d30e5d25 9490492_600x338 4220da47bb342ee754b1c2a20d9325b5 putka tattoo2 mum-and-dad-tattoo-design-1 Mommy Tattoos1  peter-aurisch-4-2


As I look more into modern tattoos I can see that geometric style, bright even florescent colors and technical shading is more popular. a recent trend is the watercolor effects done in tattoo work. Stippling is also popular.







I was originally just doodling on this page and messing around with ideas and taking some notes. I did a little bit of a spider diagram with what I thought the word Mum meant to me. There was much more than what is listed, but  I would get distracted and have to draw something. I was really into the word nurturing. I love this russian nesting doll idea. With the mother bring the largest and holding everyone together. The children fit perfectly inside each other because we exist only through our mother. She is hold us.. or something cheesy like that. But I moved on from that idea. Then I was thinking of the word nurturing again. I thought of birds and elephants. Birds take care of their young, feed them, teach them to fly. Plus bird tattoos are timeless and beautiful. I moved on to the elephant. mainly because my mother loves elephants. It was hard to do this task with out having a friend who wanted a tattoo. Iw as going to ask someone to be my pretend friend-client. But, I just moved to Bangkok and my only friend here is my mom! So that wasnt going to work. Because of my mother and living in thailand now, I thought how about incorporating thai script. Most “mum tats” have the word Mum or mom or mother. In Thai, the way to say mother is MAE. I doodled with this idea in mind. I thought of natural, earthly things to use as font. Feathers, gems, leaves etc. It still wasnt hitting the spot. After looking through images of different tattoos I remembered that the geometric style was very popular and looks great too. I decided to make my elephant like an origami elephant. With  just line work.


Here I experimented with  the line work. And also trying other ideas too.



Above is my final image for the elephant. I love the different colored lines next to each other. And in person (the photo stinks! I miss my scanner!!) it is actually quite vibrant and I think it would work well as a simple tattoo.




Here I kept going with the nurturing, caring animals. I thought of a kangaroo. with the little joey in their pouches and the feeling of your mothers warmth and cuddles. I thought, how perfect. (even though from watching lots of National geographic, I know that mother kangaroos will kick the baby joey out of the pouch and let it die just to mate again… ) If you pretend I didnt just say that, then we can move on.  I used many references to create the style and colors for this design.

tumblr_lzlrmejQbr1r1k299o1_500 geometric-tattoos-7

You can see the flowers on the rabbit are very very similar to the ones I used.



Here I experiemented with just using line work. I was inspired by this tattoo blacktattooart_3d-tattoo

and also the elephant I had drawn earlier.

Now its time to make it into a tattoo and a card for “my friend’s” mother for mothers day.



I used color so that is shows up more on the skin

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.05.59 PM

here it is without color

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.10.59 PM  more color experimentsScreen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.18.26 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-25 at 4.56.26 PM

This is my final image. I wanted to show it on the skin so it could be visualized as a real tattoo and not just the design.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.33.18 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 5.58.48 PM


my first card design..and other ones. trying to work with layout and color.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 4.52.02 PM


here  i wanted the card to be light hearted and funny. Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 4.52.33 PM


Here is my final card design.


This was not a difficult exercise in the end, but at first i straggled with ideas. I wanted to use a friend as a real example or maybe myself. It was hard to think of what other people would want tattooed to them versus what I would want. I also wish I knew more about this friends mother. I think it would help me to come up with ideas.

Over all I like to tattoo. The card could be better but I think the layout works ok and you can still see the tattoo.

Its quite funny to start the card with “So, dont be mad”




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