PDA

View Full Version : Small children and tattoos



Slyest Fox
11-17-2014, 09:20 PM
If a small child (under 10, maybe even under 5) were to get a rather large prominent tattoo on their arm, how much would it change/morph as the child grew? I would assume considerably, yes? Like to the point that it became unrecognizable?

Could it then be predicted in which ways it would change? Like knowing how long the average woman's arm eventually gets and what generally happens to the ink in a tattoo as body parts grow, could one give a tattoo to a small child that looks like nothing when the child gets it, and only grows into what it's supposed to be when that child reaches adulthood?

mirandashell
11-17-2014, 09:27 PM
I wouldn't have thought so. New dermis grows as the child grows so there would be gaps. And I doubt that where those gaps appear can be predicted.

Maryn
11-17-2014, 09:30 PM
I, too, doubt it could be predicted with any accuracy just where and how it would distort as the child grew.

I used to belong to a gym with gang showers. Tattoos on people who were pregnant, or whose skin never recovered after a pregnancy, who'd gained a lot of weight, or who sagged with the passing years, had tattoos that were so distorted I couldn't tell what they'd once been. Made me appreciate the simple beauty of stretch marks!

Maryn, not inked

ironmikezero
11-17-2014, 09:37 PM
It'd be a good idea to check the applicable laws in the (US) state you will place your story. Many restrict the tattooing of underage individuals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_status_of_tattooing_in_the_United_States

Slyest Fox
11-18-2014, 12:30 AM
Aw, man. Come on, guys. Don't be like that. Just tell me exactly what I want to hear.

Nah, alright, I'll think this through a bit more. The idea's tenuous as it is.

Maxx B
11-18-2014, 01:10 AM
One of the main issues would be the colour fading. As the kid's arm gets bigger, the skin cells that had ink injected would no longer all be adjacent, as new skin cells grow between the older cells. It wouldn't distort so much as fade somewhat. Look at photos of yourself as a kid, look at moles, scars, birth marks, etc on your arms. As your arm grows, it's size and location remains proportional to your arm.

You also need to consider what is being tattooed, the human brain is great at ignoring things, so if it is an image, then any slight distortion would mostly go unnoticed, distortion in letters or numbers however would be more noticeable.

As to the idea you could tattoo a mystery image on a kid and it would morph into a recognisable image by the time they stopped growing. Nope, look at images of human development, a kids arm is just a smaller version of an adult. You couldn't tattoo fine enough lines, close enough together to get the effect you are after.

Try drawing a large and complex design on a deflated balloon with a medium tipped sharpie. Then inflate the balloon. The this would give the effect of the kid growing up. The lines would be there, but faded as the latex is stretched.
One last thought, have you tried to get a five year old to sit still for a haircut? Imagine the fun you would have getting then to sit still for a couple of hours whilst you inject them thousands of times. Whilst I happily went back for more tattoos after my first, I seriously doubt you could get anything like straight lines on a squirming kid after the tattooist does the first line.

As to the legality of tattooing kids, whilst previous posters are right, it's illegal pretty much everywhere, there are people who will do anything if the money is right. Also look at what we do to kids in the name of religion and fashion. Many cultures mutilate infant's genitalia with circumcision (both male and female) and ear piercing is common all over the world. Depending on the society your novel is set in, tattooing kids might be normal, and when their tattoo becomes recognisable, is a mark of their arrival at adulthood.

Slyest Fox
11-18-2014, 01:20 AM
The legality's actually not a hurdle, this is a post-apocalyptic thing.

So to explain this a little more, in case it helps. The idea would be that this woman, who was living as a prisoner of sorts in this criminal cult (which is heavily tattooed), and destroyed the only known maps to something, then had the information tattooed on her daughter's arm or possibly back (in this round-about way) and then smuggled her away to make sure the information continued to exist but that no one could access it. I had envisioned it as a fairly crude map, with just the bare bones lines and information needed to find something that's buried more or less in the area - rather than it being, say, a picture.

That make it any more (or less?) practical? Or is it all just... totally non-viable? Haha, it's sounding non-viable. Does back vs. arm help?

Myrealana
11-18-2014, 01:26 AM
The legality's actually not a hurdle, this is a post-apocalyptic thing.
Your tattoo could be enhanced with some kind of latent nanotech or other such phlebotenum to make it behave the way you want.

mccardey
11-18-2014, 01:28 AM
Aw, man. Come on, guys. Don't be like that. Just tell me exactly what I want to hear.


It worked on that movie Waterworld. (As long as no-body asked any difficult questions...)

Slyest Fox
11-18-2014, 01:37 AM
It worked on that movie Waterworld. (As long as no-body asked any difficult questions...)Oh, wow. Just Wikipedia-ing it now, yeah, it looks like Waterworld did almost exactly this. Whoops. Had no idea.

And... my understanding is that's not a movie people are desperate to see emulated.

mccardey
11-18-2014, 01:47 AM
Oh, wow. Just Wikipedia-ing it now, yeah, it looks like Waterworld did almost exactly this. Whoops. Had no idea.

And... my understanding is that's not a movie people are desperate to see emulated.

I may be the only person in the world who remembers it - or admits remembering it. Don't recall the story, but I did like the drowned world idea. It looked rather lovely.

mirandashell
11-18-2014, 01:55 AM
I remember it being complete rubbish but I don't remember much about the actual film.

Slyest Fox
11-18-2014, 01:57 AM
I may be the only person in the world who remembers it - or admits remembering it. Don't recall the story, but I did like the drowned world idea. It looked rather lovely.
I actually really like the drowned world idea too, and have toyed with the idea too, but then I remember Waterworld is a movie and let it go. I don't know much about Waterworld at all but I just remember it being, like, an infamous bomb.

Now, this isn't about a drowned world or anything - but a girl (although this one's an adult) with a map tattooed on her which is the key to something important and makes her valuable... sound too similar? Or does the "everything's always been done before" thing apply? I don't want people reading this and going "Seriously? Ripping off Waterworld of all things?"

mirandashell
11-18-2014, 02:00 AM
How about the tattoo being done in somesort of 'invisible ink' like that stuff they use on banknotes? Then you would need a blacklight to see it.

TessB
11-18-2014, 04:03 AM
According to my partner, who actually liked Waterworld, the girl with tattoo map is one of the best parts of the concept. I know that came to mind for me as well. And in Cutthroat island (yeah, we watch trash movies!) Geena Davis' character's father had a treasure map tattooed on his body that gets cut off when he dies and toted around.

So it's not solely a Waterworld concept - if there are a couple more uses of it out there, it practically becomes a trope. ;)

ETA: And I've just been reminded that there's a tattoo map in Yellowbeard (that's three pirate movies, sort of...); Yellowbeard's son Dan has a map tattooed on his scalp, and they give him a tonsure haircut near the end for the reveal.

Maxx B
11-18-2014, 07:04 AM
Tattoos in UV ink are real, a couple of my friends have them. You could hide a UV map in a normal tattoo.

Just had a random idea about smuggling the information out. How about using some form of hypnotic suggestion. She could use it to implant the location in her daughter's subconscious, the info can only be retrieved by her singing a particular song, which triggers the daughter to 'remember' the location / map.

melindamusil
11-18-2014, 07:13 AM
1. I've never seen Waterworld. I'd be intrigued by a post apocalyptic escape tattoo.
2. This reminded me of the tv snow Prison Break, where one of the characters has an elaborate escape-map tattoo (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_Break#Tattoo). Fwiw, I've never actually seen that show either, but I've heard about the tattoo.

frimble3
11-18-2014, 08:29 AM
Are you really tied to the idea of tattooing the cute li'l kid? Because if being tattooed is a 'thing' in this group, why not have the woman get herself tattooed? In reverse, so it would make little sense to someone looking at it, but if she looked at her belly (for instance) in a mirror, she'd see the map. She's seen the actual map, so she wouldn't need as much additional information, more the bare-bones, which could be hidden in other images. Have you seen any of those 'tattoo cover-up' shows, where they disguise horrible tattoos with other images?

Alternatively, some tattoo inks fade faster than others (I think red fades sooner than good old black and blue.) Use the fading. Design in red, with black accents, over the years the red fades, and the black pattern is her map.

WeaselFire
11-18-2014, 07:03 PM
Stretching and changes depend on the exact position of the tattoo and where it's located. Our neighbor has a rubber chicken on his bicep. Used to be an Eagle when he served in the Pacific in WWII. :)

Children's tattoos also tend to fade as they grow. Now, what do you need for your story?

Jeff

Slyest Fox
11-19-2014, 03:59 AM
Are you really tied to the idea of tattooing the cute li'l kid? Because if being tattooed is a 'thing' in this group, why not have the woman get herself tattooed? In reverse, so it would make little sense to someone looking at it, but if she looked at her belly (for instance) in a mirror, she'd see the map. She's seen the actual map, so she wouldn't need as much additional information, more the bare-bones, which could be hidden in other images. Have you seen any of those 'tattoo cover-up' shows, where they disguise horrible tattoos with other images?

Alternatively, some tattoo inks fade faster than others (I think red fades sooner than good old black and blue.) Use the fading. Design in red, with black accents, over the years the red fades, and the black pattern is her map.Ah, the issue is that the character (who is now a young woman) never knew the meaning behind the tattoos and doesn't even clearly remember getting them. If it was the woman herself, she'd know all about it.

Slyest Fox
11-19-2014, 04:03 AM
Tattoos in UV ink are real, a couple of my friends have them. You could hide a UV map in a normal tattoo.

Just had a random idea about smuggling the information out. How about using some form of hypnotic suggestion. She could use it to implant the location in her daughter's subconscious, the info can only be retrieved by her singing a particular song, which triggers the daughter to 'remember' the location / map.Oh, interesting. Yeah, maybe I can start exploring options that have the same effect of the Mom implanting it on her unwitting daughter without it actually being the tattoo.

Maxx B
11-19-2014, 08:47 PM
Oh, interesting. Yeah, maybe I can start exploring options that have the same effect of the Mom implanting it on her unwitting daughter without it actually being the tattoo.

The tattoo could be a series of random shapes and images, which make no sense to her. The key is buried in her subconscious...?

T Robinson
11-20-2014, 05:53 AM
The tattoo could be a series of random shapes and images, which make no sense to her. The key is buried in her subconscious...?

I second this. Sort of like the concept of a binary poison. Two separate, innocuous elements, that when mixed together is a deadly poison.

The tattoos by themselves are no good without the subconscious or external trigger.