When you're looking for a tattoo artist for this type of tattoo, it's important to shop around. You want someone with a really good reputation, a clean studio to work out of, and lots of experience doing portraits. Portrait tattoos are a very specific talent, and while the guy or gal who did your floral piece might have rocked it, that doesn't mean they'd be able to do the same with a picture of your kid's face. Do your research, so you end up with a stunning tattoo that you'll treasure forever.
Image: Instagram / @aditya_panchu
We love the little footprint! Sometimes, you might want to memorialize the birth of your child in a less obvious way than with their photo. We seriously love the idea of the time (we're assuming time of birth), date, and their little footprint. Because let's be honest, is there anything cuter than a fresh new baby foot?! This piece was made a bit more ornate with the inclusion of the stopwatch, and the tattoo as a whole really works. This idea is great because you can really personalize it with whatever you want to make it mean more to you.
Image: Instagram / @ed_does
We imagine this was probably one their favorite photographs of this little guy. That's really the first step in deciding on a tattoo of your child. Find that one photograph that you just love and want to remember forever. It may be their birth photo, or a school picture. Or it may be a picture like this, just a random snapshot of your little person that just captures their spirit perfectly. The gray and black of the tattoo against the white and color in the eyes is such a cool effect. Kudos to the tattoo artist responsible for this one!
Image: Instagram / @the_ugliness_of_eden
The little half-smile is just darling. What we love most about this one is that it's sort of abstract. You can't even see a lot of details of the child's face. But there's something so special about it, you know? It's like the innocence of childhood, captured forever in a tattoo. And the details are just exquisite. The strings on the banjo, the hair, the little furrowed brow. But our favorite part might be the little dimples on the child's hand. If you're a parent, then you know: those little hand dimples are one of the sweetest parts of having a kid.
Credit: Instagram / @ashleighhutchins_art
It's like an abstract still of the life of a boy, and it is absolute perfection. You know, when you find out you're going to be a parent, you immediately start imagining all of the things you'll do with your kids. You picture outings to some of your favorite places, outfits they'll look adorable in, holiday traditions you can't wait to continue. And if there are activities you loved as a kid and still love as an adult, you very likely can't wait to share those with your own kids. We wonder if this dad is a fisherman, and chose this sweet tribute to his son as a way to honor both.
Image: Instagram / @jasminekeatstattoo
The baby blocks are a cute idea! And here we have another timepiece, we're guessing with the time of birth. The great thing about tattoos is that they don't fit a certain mold. You can take a few different pieces and create your own special work of permanent art. Instead of using a footprint like that other tattoo, or a portrait, this person chose to go with a more symbolic tattoo. Classic letter blocks are a great way to honor your kiddo, and you can obviously spell out any name you want. The cool thing about a tattoo like this is that it doesn't age (unlike babies, which just don't keep).
Image: Instagram / @craneocandentetattoo
The artist even managed to capture his dimples and eyelashes! See, this is what we mean when we say it's SO important to find a really good tattoo artist who can do a realistic face. There's not much else to this tattoo, so this sweet little face needed to be perfect. And good gravy, is it ever. It looks just like a photograph, which is what you want when you're going for a realistic portrait tattoo! Parents with tattoos of their kids, take not: this is how it should be done. And we love how simplistic it is, just letting the art and adorable subject do all the talking.
Image: Instagram / @juniorfreest
Baby's don't keep, but tattoos do. And capturing that sweet baby stage is something every parent wants! They just change and grow up so fast. One day, you have a squishy newborn. Then suddenly that newborn is rolling over and giggling. Before you know it, they're crawling and then standing and taking their first steps. The baby phase feels like it goes on forever when you're in it, but it's totally one of those "blink and you'll miss it" seasons of life. The only think that could make this tattoo better is if they captured that sweet baby smell, too.
Image: Instagram / @bridgerjamesart
What a sweet way to remember when his hand was still so much smaller than his dad's. It's those little things, you know? The feel of their tiny little hand in yours. The way their fingers are all wrinkly and they have those little dimples along the backs of their chubby hands. Those wrist wrinkles, killing us! This dad clearly understand how bonded he and his son are from birth, and choosing to honor that relationship with this adorable tattoo and meaningful quote is just lovely. All the baby hands and feet, all the time! They're some of the best parts.
Image: Instagram / @vtattoo_no_doubt
These little scenes are a stunning testament to childhood. Parents with tattoos of their kids understand that the tattoos themselves are a tribute to what raising these little people can be like. It's seeing the world for the first time all over again through their eyes. Introducing them to the places and people and sights and sounds that have shaped who you are as a person. Every parent has a special memory or place or point in time they shared with their kids, and turning that into a piece of permanent art is the perfect way to preserve it forever.
Image: Instagram / @kalichomendozatattoo
A lot of parents with tattoos of their kids choose to use a baby picture or some other special item or symbol from those precious early years. But babies change so much! If you want a picture of your child as a tattoo, using something from childhood or adolescence is a great option. Those faces will be the ones you look at for the next several decades (more or less). So it makes sense to want to remember it forever! This is another great example of a fantastic portrait. Once again, finding a skilled tattoo artist makes all the difference.
Credit: Instagram / @sparrowtattoony
Seriously though, the talent that goes into these tattoos just blows us away. You can obviously tell a good tattoo when you see one - the talent of the artist is evident no matter what kind of tattoo it is. But seeing this portrait tattoo next to the picture used for inspiration is kind of amazing. We just can't even wrap our brains around how hard it is to replicate an actual human face in any art medium, let alone using an electric needle on pliable skin! It's so important for the artist to capture the little details like they did here. The hairline, the little half-smile, the eyebrows and eyelashes! So darling.
Image: Instagram / @onlyonecootie
Sometimes the more abstract tattoos are the most poignant. This tattoo says very little about this parent and their kids. You can't tell if it's a man or a woman, you can't tell how old the kids are, and aside from the names, you can't see any details about them. But for a sparse as the details are, the image itself speaks volumes. Just a parent, holding their kids' hands, guiding them or steadying them or leading them into a new adventure. It's a really beautiful, poignant tattoo, and it really is parenting in a nutshell, and we just love it so.
Image: Instagram / @the_ilustrattoo
The picture is on the far left, and it's almost impossible to tell the difference. Seriously, every single detail of this tattoo is stunning. It's like someone just took the actual picture, and stuck it on this person's body! You can almost see the grass of the meadow moving in the breeze. It is absolutely mind-blowing. And again, this is a great example of what you can do when you're thinking of getting a tattoo of your kids. We can't see the child's face, there are not very many identifiable details, but this scene is just so precious. Who among us doesn't have a picture of our kids similar to this? Just a little person and the thing they love to do.
Image: Instagram / @utopiantattootribe
It can be hard to capture the detail of a face in a color tattoo. That's why you'll see so many portraits done in black and gray. Getting the colors and shading just right takes a very deft hand, and this artist clearly knows exactly what they're doing. Aside from the actual details of the little girl's face (check out those eyes!), the colors on the tattoo and the colors in the picture match almost perfectly. The artist even managed to capture the different shades of blonde in her hair, giving it so much depth and realism. Stunning girl, stunning tattoo.
Image: Instagram / @tattoodesign555
That's a smile we'd want to remember forever too. You can almost hear her laugh! It's funny because a lot of us go out of our way to "make" memories with photographs. Hiring professional photographers, finding the perfect location, coordinating outfits, and micromanaging poses so they look organic. But in reality, the best pictures we have of our kids are the ones that we snap on the fly. The quick picture taken of your toddler smiling at something out of the car window. Or the one you took of your child mid-laugh, where their eyes are all crinkled up and their bangs are in their eyes. THOSE are always the best pictures, and the ones we want to remember.
Image: Instagram / @kirsty_skarbek
This neo-traditional tattoo still captures the essence of the little girl. And BB8 gets a spot too! A lot of people with tattoos have a certain style or theme that they like to carry through all of their permanent artwork. Maybe it's classic, maybe it's modern, maybe it's all color or all black and gray. The cool thing is that you can still get a tattoo inspired by your kids, without sacrificing your aesthetic. This piece is really darling, and clearly, they wanted to work in a few of their favorite things to make it more personal. Realism in tattoos is amazing, but sometimes pieces like this can be even more meaningful.
Image: Instagram / @angel_light79
Just...breathtaking. Every single detail is stunning. This tattoo seriously stopped us in our tracks, because it is childhood. This is one of those moments that represents what it's like to have kids. Allowing them to wander and explore, pick the dandelions and blow them away so your wish comes true. We mentioned above that using color in a portrait tattoo can be tricky, but when you do something like this, the result is just perfect. We love how the tattoo looks like a watercolor painting, sort of fuzzy and soft. Somehow, this tattoo artist managed to even capture the light of the photograph, along with so many other exquisite details.
Image: Instagram / @khangg
It's so cool to see it in the middle of the process. And getting a tattoo is a process! Bigger pieces can take two or more sessions to complete, so your tattoo may be a work-in-progress for some time. Here we can see the beginnings of what surely turned out to be a gorgeous piece. And even this early into the process, the details are there! The coloring on the lips, the shading in the eyes, and the individual hairs really come together to create a beautiful image. We especially love the supporting details, like the ring around the back of the child's head and the flowers and leaves that will frame this darling face.
Image: Instagram / @loganaguilarart
Not only will the parent treasure this one, the brothers will too. If you're the kind of parent who will get a tattoo of your kid's face, you might want to hold off until you've got all the kids you're going to have, LOL. Because being able to honor not only your kids, but their relationship with each other, is a very special thing. We love how big brother's arms are around little brother's shoulders, almost like a protector. And the smile on little brother's face really says it all! He knows that as long as he has his big bro, things are going to be just fine.
It would be really hard not to reach out and squeeze those tattooed cheeks! And you know what that means? It means that this is an absolutely amazing example of how a portrait tattoo should be! When you literally want to reach out and squeeze the cheeks on a baby's face, and the face in question is just a tattoo, you KNOW that this person went to an amazing tattoo artist. We are dying over the little lines in the sides of the mouth, and the little dip under the bottom lip. Adorable baby, and just a really fantastic tattoo.
(Image: iStock / vladans)