Since we were kids, we’ve been enthralled with things like toys, animals and cartoons. Moving forward in life, animals were something that many adults still enjoy while only a certain amount of people or specific groups of people are still fans of toys and cartoons. This isn’t a slight on anyone, however, it is more of a niche part of life that some adults get “too old” for these days. For those that can still find the simple joys in playing games and watching cartoons, a tattoo is a great way to keep the memory alive for something that so many adults think they’ve grown out of.
Tattoos of cartoons are generally an expression of beloved memories of childhood and adolescence when the specific cartoon imagery was first seen. The pieces are nostalgic for the individual, serving as a reminder of a beloved character or set of characters taken from books, movies, or television. There are countless images and styles that can be used to portray the character or characters, but bright, vivid colors and contour lines are most often used to recreate the cartoon imagery.
In this post we are going to talk about some of the more popular cartoon tattoos that we’ve seen and a bit of a history behind them. As with people, there are different generations of cartoons so depending on where you grew up or how old you are might influence you in your cartoon tattoo. We will also talk about the cartoon tattoo meaning and what it symbolizes for those that get these kinds of tattoos. By the end of the post you might feel a bit more versed in the different cartoon tattoos and what they mean.
Cartoon Tattoo Meaning
As with most tattoos that you see, the meaning is generally going to be up to the person that has it. Some symbols have a meaning that is widely accepted but it is up to the person with the tattoo to tell you what it means.
Many people we have talked to with cartoon tattoos tell us it a way to remember their childhood. Many of these cartoons have certain feelings attached to them or conjure up some sort of nostalgia. To look at your Thundercats tattoo might just be what you need to bring back those happy feelings of being a kid. The feeling of sitting around the TV with your friends or siblings, struggling through commercials, to watch your favorite Saturday morning cartoons.
Similarly, some people tell us it is a way to keep a child-like wonder in this life. Many of us get wrapped up in the rat race of life and get so absorbed in making money and paying bills that we forget to have fun along the way. The cartoon tattoo is a fantastic way to remind you to slow down and remember the times when you didn’t have the weight of the world pressing down on you. If you look at any kid playing in the street or watching their favorite cartoon, you will start to remember what it was like to just let go and enjoy the moment. To not worry about the next bill or if you went to the gym today. Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, just enjoy the day.
Cartoon Style Tattoos
There is also a style of tattooing that is naturally cartoonish and it is called new school. This style of tattooing is characterized by the over dramatic framing of whatever is being tattooed. From big cartoonish eyes to oversized body parts, the new school style of tattooing is extremely popular these days whether you are choosing an actual cartoon character to be tattooed or you want to take a family member and have a caricature tattooed.
Cartoon Tattoo Variations
Over the years, there have been so many cartoons that you could never name them. However, there are a bunch of them that are very well known and happen to be extremely popular in terms of getting tattoos. Below are some examples of the different groups and companies that produced famous cartoon characters. These are the kinds of characters that you are likely to see tattooed. We know there are more and the ones below may not be your cup of tea but nonetheless, these are some very popular cartoon subjects for tattooing.
Warner Bros. Tattoos
One of the most classic designs is any character taken from The Bugs Bunny Show, one of the first popular cartoon television shows broadcasted. First appearing in short films, Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, are only a few of the combinations of characters taken from the show, created in the 1930s and beloved by children and adults alike. From these characters, many other films and television shows took inspiration.
Betty Boop Tattoos
Betty Boop is one of the all time greats in terms of well-known cartoon characters. She made her first appearance in 1930 and has aired in some form even today. Betty Boop is described as having a sophisticated yet childish look. She’s got big eyes and a big round head. She has a very confident attitude and knows how to use her charm to get her way. She was even said to be a sort of sex symbol back in the days when nudity and pornography was frowned upon.
The Betty Boop merchandise is very popular to collectors and some of the items are worth a lot of money. Like many of the cartoons listed, this popularity has led to a plethora of Betty Boop tattoos over the years.
Disney cartoon images are often seen and easily rendered quickly, in their original cartoon style. Mickey and Mini Mouse are frequently depicted, highlighting a love of the classic Walt Disney cartoons and movies. Other characters, like Princesses and Villains from the films, are used as well. Winnie the Pooh and the array of characters from the book and movie series make cute and sweet images. Hello Kitty is another popular image, harkening to the Kawaii Japanese culture that overtook North America in the late 1970s. These designs emphasize a whimsical and lighthearted spirit, a connection to childhood innocence.
Video Game Tattoos
Video game characters, especially Nintendo characters like Mario, are used as designs representing fun and leisure, often stemming from childhood. They serve as a symbol of family and friendship for those who engaged in gaming activities with social groups as adolescence. They also work well as group tattoos, where each member receives a different character from one, or multiple, games.
Adult Cartoon Tattoos
Adult cartoons are frequently used as well, taking characters from television series like The Simpsons, portraying a more satirical view of cartoons. To create a less innocent image, the characters (any cartoon character) can be rendered in a more ominous way, transforming the character into a monster like a zombie or designing them in violent ways.
Anime is Japanese for animation and this style of cartoon is popular all over the world, not just in the Far East. Their style of cartoon is usually defined as having vibrant characters, fantastical themes and colorful graphics. It is somewhat abstract in terms of tattoos that you would have watched as a child in the United States, but over the years anime has become much more popular. Some of the more well known anime characters would be Goku from Dragonball Z, Naruto and Monkey D. Luffy.
Whatever cartoon tattoo you decide to get, make sure the artist you are going to work with has experience in this style of tattooing. Fortunately, most portfolios are online these days and you can sit at home and research the artist you would like to work with. Let us know if you are having trouble so we can make a recommendation.