90+ Perfect Full Body Tattoo Ideas – Turning the Human Body into a Canvas

A full body tattoo is said to be the ultimate form of dedication and commitment to body art. Many of us do not have a problem getting a little ink onto our skin.

A simple calligraphic word or symbol tucked under the wrist, on the arm or on the shoulder is enough ink for a lifetime according to some, whereas some push the limits a bit further and get relatively extensive albeit separate tattoos.

Compared to full body tattoos, ordinary tattoos seem a bit like child’s play. This is not to downplay their importance to the owners of the tattoos, but the realm of full body art is a completely different sphere where the intensity of art takes on new dimensions.

Full body tattoos are simply masterpieces done by kings and queens of the needle using live human skin as their canvases. In most cases, a great percentage of the body is covered by one enormous, highly detailed tattoo.

The extent of the coverage has always been variable as different body suits came with different purposes. Let’s take a step back in time and see how this amazing form of art was spawned.


History of the Full Body Tattoo

Tattoos were a revered form of art way back in the day. Our ancestors took great pride in beautifying their bodies from head to toe with exquisite markings and symbols. These almost always had a deeper meaning and so it was rare to find a tattoo done just for the sake of it.

The tattoo often covered the torso and a part of the arm although some covered every inch of available skin on the human body save for the face and the genitals.

In some parts of the world, full body tattoos were associated with circus entertainers and performers. Their bodies often carried glorious depictions of cultural symbols, animals and even immortalized cultural events.

Although they did carry meaning, the primary purpose of their full body tattoos was decoration.

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In ancient Japan, however, body tattoos carried a much heavier cultural meaning. Full body tattooing in Japanese culture was known as Izerumi. They took on several different variations and carried different purposes.

However, the bottom line was largely similar: they represented an aspect of their culture. This could be a rite of passage, social standing or even marriage. It is clear that we owe this great form of body art to the Japanese culture.

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Traditional Japanese Full Body Tattoo (Izerumi)

Japanese body tattoos were initially meant to be decorative and to carry spiritual meaning. The art of Izerumi encompassed different types of full body artworks as was dictated by the artist or the client.

The artists used handmade steel and bamboo needles to create art in what was a very excruciating and time-consuming ritual.

The pain was not reserved to the client only as the tattooist was also subjected to screams of agony. Safe to say, it took a lot of guts to get (and give) an Izerumi tattoo mainly due to the amount of agony that was involved, not to mention the level of commitment.

As the years went by, however, Izerumi took on a more punitive role. Due to the excruciating nature of the process, they were used by the authorities as a substitute to the death sentence—a punishment many dreaded.

Little by little, full body works became more identified with the outlaws and crooks and thus was born the Yakuza tattoo.

Yakuza tattoos still covered all or most of the body but unlike the highly decorative Izerumi, the tattoos were restricted to the parts of the body that could be hidden by clothes.

A full body Yakuza tattoo covered all or most of the torso and shoulders but ended just above the elbow and just below the neck. Some even left a clear stretch of skin along the sternum.

The outlawed markings became a symbol of identification in the Japanese underworld. The Shogun period saw the identification of criminals heavily relying on the presence of the Yakuza tattoo. Ultimately, the Japanese gang of outlaws, the Yakuza, came into fruition.

Modern Izerumi and Yakuza artists still use the traditional tattooing methods despite the emergence of better tattooing needles. The full body tattoo can be done in the traditional black and gray monochrome or it could take on a much more vibrantly colored nature.

The tattoos have morphed with the times but they are still very painful, time-consuming and now, immensely expensive if gotten from a traditional Izerumi or Yakuza artist.

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Modern Variations

As with most art forms, the Izerumi and its modern variations have been carried on by art lovers and transformed into a trendy, albeit painful fad. The sheer talent involved in the making of modern tattoos will blow your mind.

Here are some of the immensely artistic forms of the ancient art done by masters of the craft.

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1. Colorful Body Suit

Much like the traditional art form, the vibrancy and attention to detail has been maintained. However, new artists easily incorporate the traditional aspect with modern influences such as comic book heroes in the same flashy fashion. The result is simply amazing.

2. Full Body with Leg Sleeves 

This is a more extensive form of the art that covers the whole body including the legs. Leg sleeves are largely uncommon, but this colorful Izerumi covers them in brilliant detail and magnificent color. The end result certainly makes up for all the pain and time involved in getting one of this.

3. Classic Body Suit

The architects and artists worked hard to create the masterpieces that will be soon be recreated in ink on the human skin. These works usually highly realistic including all the shades and make an impression of a Reinessanse painting.

4. Life History Body Suit

These tattoos usually do not have one motif, as decades may pass between the first and the last work. It may include all stages of life such as army, first love, children, family losses etc.

The work of a true tattoo master is unbelievably accurate and mind blowing story of human life is one of the best variations of the full body ever seen.

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What It Takes To Get a Full Body Suit

For starters, unshakeable nerve and dedication to making the body a piece of art is of utter importance. The tattoo can take up years of your life and a substantial amount of money to be complete.

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One should also be ready for the countless hours of pain. The first session often entails the outlining of the tattoo, and can be finished within several hours. The filling in of the tattoo happens over time as the client pops in now and then when they have the money and time to spare.

It is an excruciatingly slow process, but then again, what masterpiece is made in a day?

This great form of art looks to remain one of the most intrinsic and vibrant ones to date. Due to the level of personal sacrifice involved and the sheer amount of time they take to be completed, they carry a much heavier meaning and purpose.

Full body suits quench the artistic hunger of those who yearn to infuse art into their very being.

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