For a 91-year-old, Mickey Mouse sure looks incredible. (Anyone know what anti-aging cream he uses?!) On this day in 1928, the lovable cartoon made his big screen debut with the release of Steamboat Willie. Although the film was only seven minutes long, it quickly attained critical acclaim as one of first animated movies to feature synchronized music and sound effects. Basically, Mickey was a born innovator.
And since then, life has been pretty sweet for the anthropomorphic mouse. Sure, he hasn’t starred in a feature film since 2004, yet according to TIME, he remains one of the most recognizable faces in the world. His face is so famous and so beloved, in fact, that many Disney fans have made him the subject of their tattoos. To celebrate his big day, check out these seven Mickey Mouse tattoos that are arguably as innovative as Steamboat Willie was.
1. Mick’s gone glitch
When Mickey Mouse first entered the spotlight, his personality was a little different from the heroic do-gooder he’s recognized as today. Mick was a curious, arguably naughty mouse in his early days—and this glitchy take his character by Cesar Guerra, a tattooer in North Carolina, does a great job of capturing his formerly bad boy spirit. (Doesn’t he totally look like he’s up to no good?) To make the otherwise black-and-grey design pop, Guerra completed his take on Mickey Mouse tattoos with a multi-colored blacklight outline.
2. A tribute to Walt
Interesting sidenote: Did you know that for a long time, Walt Disney himself was the voice of Mickey Mouse? We had no idea, but this illustrative tattoo helps explain the relationship and pay tribute to it—not to mention the evolution of Mickey himself—with the mouse painting a portrait of his creator.
3. This sketchy style
Brazilian artist Filipe Marcelo tattooed this Mickey on his client’s forearm in his signature sketchwork style which typically includes the rough lines and reference points that you would typically find on the draft of an illustration.
4. A pixel perfect piece
Since Mickey Mouse’s look has evolved over time, it only makes sense that a tribute to him would incorporate more than one style, too. This cool calf tattoo combines a pixelated, 3D-looking style with a touch of American traditional—the dagger through Mickey’s head—for an incredibly unique rendering of the iconic character.
5. Mickey meets mouse
This bicep piece by Dani Sanz is one of our favorite Mickey Mouse tattoos because of its clever composition and intense detail work. You know it’s Mickey because of the classic outfit—the shorts and the way-too-big-for-his-body shoes are instantly recognizable—but the realistic mouse head definitely made us do a double take.
6. This embroidered icon
This cool Mickey piece was done by Duda Lozano, an artist who specializes in a new, up-and-coming style of tattoo known as embroidery. The patch-like effect is created by highlighting each individual line and layering colors—here, Lozano layers white ink over other hues to create the illusion of depth.
7. A Disney classic
If you’re a fan of Mickey’s but want to pay tribute to the character in a more subtle way, this minimal outline of his head drawn as a balloon—the kind you see all over Disney World—could be a great option. Done by Carla Bandiera, resident artist at Tattoo Yes studio in São Paulo, Brazil, this piece pays tribute to the mouse and to the wonderful world of Disney that, as the mascot for the global behemoth, his big round ears have come to represent over the past nine decades.
If you liked our gallery 7 Mickey Mouse Tattoos to Celebrate His 91st Birthday, make sure to check out our post 13 Disney Tattoos for the Ultimate Stan.