Like most trends, we can credit the Kardashian clan for the popularity of tiny tattoos. In 2015, Kendall made a late-night visit to West 4 Tattoos to have a single, minuscule dot tattoos on her finger by JonBoy, an in-demand New York artist whose Instagram feed is littered with barely-there ink. These tiny tattoos can still make a statement, proving that size doesn’t matter, and range from ultra-simple to detailed, fine-line masterpieces.
A feathered finger
Most of JonBoy’s tattoos are in black or white ink, but this peacock feather has the tiniest pop of color to stand out around the wisps of black outlining it. Your digits are the perfect canvas for discreet tattoos and their size ensures you won’t be in danger of going too big. Though, keep in mind finger tattoos can fade faster than other areas, especially if you wear rings or work with your hands.
A little pop of pansy
A lot of the tiny tattoos you’ll find are hand-poked, meaning that buzz of the tattoo machine won’t be ringing in your ears, but your small design will take much longer. Using the manual stick-and-poke method, the way the artist did here, requires the artist to double back over the design two or three times to make sure no blank space can be seen in between pokes. Madison from Hounds of Love Tattoo in Melbourne, Australia, offers bold but hand-poked designs in a tiny package.
If you’re as deep into the celebrity tattoo scene as us, you’re familiar with Daniel Winter, or Winterstone on Instagram, and his single-needle, fine-line ink. He recently gave Demi Lovato a rose to mark six months of sobriety and memorialized Mandy Moore’s Kilimanjaro trip with some itty ink. His single-needle style of work is delicate, with his handwritten lettering standing out for anyone looking to covertly pay tribute.
Permanent makeup, using tattoos, has been popular for a while but what we’re seeing more of lately are freckle tattoos. If you want to look like you’ve got some sun without doing actual damage, artists like Jes Valentine, owner of Nice Tattoo Parlor in Brooklyn, are pros are these subtle dots.
A subtle rainbow
If piercings aren’t your vibe, ear tattoos are another way to dress up your lobes but, be aware, they hurt. Your ears don’t have much tissue to soften the sting of the needle, so this ink isn’t for the faint of heart. Playground Tattoo in Seoul, Korea, specializes in tiny tattoos and their rainbow, ear-cuff stands out as a way to blend color and subtly in an area we ignore too often.
A tiny taste of fruit
For colorful, tiny tattoos, it seems no one does these small scenes better than Korean artists, which, if you’re familiar with Korean culture, makes perfect sense. (Check out our gallery of some of the best South Korean artists right now, BTW.) The multi-colored portraits look like the casual etchings you might find in a collection of Picasso’s notes and drafts. Colored inks make statements and look beautiful without taking up an entire limb of space.
A delicate rose
We’ve been seeing a lot of women add subtle ink to their sternum and collarbone, where it can be hidden or displayed, depending on the season and the mood. The collarbone is prime placement for greenery, like herbs and wildflowers, while the sternum is home to symbol and abstract designs, usually conveying strength or power.
A happy face
The most popular spot for the tiny tat? The wrist. This classic placement has always been the favorite of both the shy and the bold customer. It’s a spot to have a little fun, where you can also easily cover up with a sleeve, watch, or bracelet. We’ve seen it all—names of parents and portraits of deceased pets—but love the subtle quirk of this winking face.
A small statement quote
Phrases can still fall into the tiny category, especially when they’re in minuscule-but-perfect script. It’s increasingly common to have meaningful phrases, some with a political or religious bent, inked in places for anyone to see. They tell people who we are and what we stand for before we tell them ourselves.
For more tattoo inspiration and a chance to try out an itsy-bitsy design before committing for life, check out the semi-permanent tattoos over at Inkbox.com. There are thousands of designs to choose from, designed by a worldwide community of artists. Just a heads up, Inside Out is powered by the folks at Inkbox. It’s all part of our shared mission to empower you to tell your unique story, be it for now or forever.