Red, Silver, Ruby, Diamond, Ultra Moon, and even Pokémon Go: no matter which one introduced you to the famous Japanese saga, celebrate it with a tattoo! Styles, designs, steps: our tattoo studio tells you everything.
Pokémon: a franchise born in the mid-1990s
Were you born in 1996? Pokémon was. Created by Satoshi Tajiri, a Japanese video game producer, the franchise made a thunderous entry into the video game universe with two titles that remain cult classics: Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, released in Europe in 1999.
The concept? The player takes an overhead view of a trainer whose goal is to capture, train, and battle fictional creatures called Pokémon. With the ultimate goal of completing the Pokédex by obtaining all 150 available Pokémon.
In just over two decades, the saga has made its way onto other Nintendo multinational platforms (3DS, Switch...) as well as on Android and iOS, enjoying unflagging success to this day.
What style for a Pokémon tattoo?
Whether they are fire, water, rock, or ice types, Pokémon have not only invaded gaming consoles but also epidermis. While the Japanese creatures can adopt very diverse styles, certain movements are particularly suited to the theme.
Very colorful, the new school is characterized by its thick lines, bold black contours, and often caricatural motifs. New school tattoos frequently represent comic book characters, animals, or objects with bright colors and exaggerated proportions. The main goal? To create fun and expressive tattoos.
If you were considering an ultra-saturated green Bulbasaur, turn to new school!
"The sketchy style makes the tattoo look like a sketch on the skin", explains Peter Galt, Pokémon tattoo expert at La Bête Humaine. The lines seem irregular, chopped, or sketched, thus imitating the appearance of a raw drawing. This style allows for greater artistic freedom and a more organic look, giving the impression that the tattoo was quickly drawn with a pencil or pen.
The perfect style to represent the evanescent nature of Ghost or Dark type Pokémon?
Inspired by video games and pixel art, this style uses blocks of color to create tattoos that recall retro graphics. It plays with the digital aesthetic and is often used to represent characters, logos, or elements inspired by geek culture.
The watercolor style imitates the painting technique of the same name on the skin. Tattoos in this style use washed-out and translucent colors, resulting in a fluid and light appearance. Outlines are often soft or even absent, creating a blend between different colors.
Realism seeks to faithfully reproduce objects, people, or landscapes on the skin. Tattoos in this style are done with a high level of detail, using shading techniques and light play to create a three-dimensional look. The goal is to give the impression of a photographic image or a real scene.
"For example, one could imagine a Pikachu with fur evoking that of a real animal, or Pokémon emerging from the screen of a Game Boy that looks more real than nature", suggests Peter Galt.
The most popular Pokémon for tattoos
Currently, more than 1,000 Pokémon are listed, spread over nine different generations. It's an understatement to say you have a wide choice for your next tattoo... But among this bestiary, some creatures prove to be particularly popular on skin.
Having become the mascot of the Pokémon universe after being chosen as the main character in the game's television adaptation alongside the trainer Ash, Pikachu has naturally carved out the lion's share in the tattoo world. Customizable to infinity, it is regularly crossed with other pop culture characters, such as Link, Goku... or R2-D2.
Charmander and Charizard
Favored by purists, Charmander and Charizard belong to the first generation of Pokémon. The former, Charmander in English, seduces with its big watery eyes and the small flame that dots its tail; the latter, called Charizard in the language of Shakespeare, adopts the characteristics of mythical dragons.
Eevee is a Pokémon unlike any other, in that it can evolve into eight different species: Vaporeon for Water, Jolteon for Electric, Glaceon for Ice, etc. A creature that is by definition variable and, consequently, particularly popular among tattooees... and tattooers.
Magikarp has taken a beautiful revenge: considered one of the most useless Pokémon in the franchise, it now swims in many epidermises! The explanation? It evokes the koi carp, an emblematic fish of Japan very popular in tattoos - so much so that some tattoo artists stick it in the traditional Japanese way. Moreover, it comes with a strong characteristic: this seemingly harmless Pokémon could well morph into Gyarados, a powerful creature if ever there was one.
Other tattoo designs inspired by the Pokémon franchise
Logically, Pokémon themselves make up the overwhelming majority of tattoos dedicated to the Japanese saga. But other designs manage to stand out as well!
The Game Boy
Through it, the world discovered the Pokémon franchise. Since its release in 1989 and beyond the end of its production in 2003, the Game Boy enjoys an almost sacred aura. A gray monolith, four directional arrows for as many buttons - a simple but devilishly effective tattoo.
The Poké Ball
"Poké Ball" refers to the spherical device used by trainers to capture new Pokémon and store them when not in use. It appeals to those tattooed because it has become one of the central symbols of the franchise.
A Badge is an object whose shapes and colors vary, ranging from pink hearts to green leaves and golden medallions. Their purpose? To prove that a trainer has defeated a gym leader. In other words, a Pokémon Badge, like a tattoo, is something that is earned...
The Trainers and Other Characters
Ash, Misty, Team Rocket with Jessie, James, and Meowth... Pokémon is also a pantheon of boys and girls with various motivations and moral codes. "They too can be reinvented", reminds Peter Galt. "For example, one could propose a slightly more... adult version of Nurse Joy", he suggests: see illustration in gallery!
Getting a Pokémon Tattoo: How To
At La Bête Humaine, the best Pokémon tattoo trainer is Peter Galt. Here's how to get under his needle, step by step:
- You contact Peter by email (preferably), on Instagram or by stopping directly in our Parisian studio to present your project. Beforehand, you can look at the flash designs created by the tattoo artist and ask him to reinterpret them for a truly custom pattern!
- To better guide him, you can also send him some reference images, tattoos you like, and ideally, a photo of the area to be tattooed.
- Once the appointment is set, the artist gently shaves any potential hair or down that carpets the area to be tattooed and then disinfects this area.
- After printing the stencil, the artist will overlay this printed transfer onto your skin.
- Everything is ready: your tattoo artist takes out his inks and his tattoo machine and tattoos you!
- When your session is finished, you apply all the usual tattoo care: cleaning with an antiseptic solution, ointment application, etc.
- Touch-ups may be necessary after any tattoo act. If so, you come back to see your tattoo artist, usually one month after the initial act!
Pokémon, an intergenerational motif
In nearly 30 years of existence, the Pokémon saga has had the opportunity to charm several generations of fans. Consequently, there is no age for falling in love! Peter Galt testifies: "One of the last clients I tattooed a Pokémon on was 54 years old. She fell in love with the sketchy Pikachu I was offering because she found it too cute and it had a positive influence on her mood." The result? An ankle now adorned with a 10-centimeter Pikachu!
Examples of Pokémon Tattoos
Need inspiration? Discover in the gallery some tattoos and flash designs from the Japanese franchise!
La Bête Humaine: Address and Hours
Got a project for us? La Bête Humaine is open every day (except Sunday) from 10 am to 7 pm!