Tattoo ideas inspired by Charley Harper

It is time I cover myself in ink, don’t you think?

After many years of thinking about it, I’m finally taking a step further and have started to draw up some plans. I did some online research, sought out photos, and performed some work on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop helped me create the looks you see below.


I am inspired by the great Charley Harper with his “minimal realism.” I fell in love with this tropical rainforest poster during my travels in Monte Verde, Costa Rica. This was the first time I encountered the art of Charley Harper and I have feasted for it ever since. He is famous for his modern minimalist approach to elements of nature and wildlife by layering blocks of colors in basic shapes to create lively and clever works of art

 I have used this poster as a template and traced over images with the pen tool, so I could transfer them to an image of my arm.  You will notice there is a sloth peeking up in the middle of the bottom of this poster. I traced its head and then shaped my own version of its body and arms, as seen below. I know it’s not perfect, I’m still getting used to the pen tool.

A sloth is a creature of the tropics, most known for its slow movements and lazy attitude. A sloth keeps to itself, hosts a bed of insects in the moss on its back, and enjoys its days in the trees overlooking the beautiful rainforest and breathtaking views of the Caribbean and pacific. But what really gets me is the way it naturally hugs. If you have ever held a sloth, you have also been hugged by one because the hug is the way they hold on. I’ve had this idea for a sloth hug tattoo for a few years now, The arms would wrap around my own and look like a simple striped arm band on the outside, but from the inside of the arm you would see it hugging me. …An eternal reminder to relax and love others. Pura Vida.

Sloth Armband-02

sloth hug tattoo

A sloth tattoo hug could embrace one arm, for the other arm I seek the Charley Harper sleeve. As you can see I used his images to pull out more graphics from his work that appeal to me.

I am inspired by happy and wild animals, black geometric shapes, simple modern design, and the fibonnaci sequence.

 harper tattoo ideabird tattoo sleevebird tatt

charley harper dog tattoocharley harper dog tattoocharley harper cat tattoocharley harper

More inspiration, from flickrtattoo artists, and the internet.

arm band tattooscharley harper bird tattoocharley harper tattoo

I am still in the beginning stages, next I need to find an artist that can recreate these looks. Let the research continue! If any of you know someone who is good at the simple thin lines and solid colors who lives in the Southern California area let me know. I would also love to hear your feedback. You can let me know in the comments below…

Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

One thought on “Tattoo ideas inspired by Charley Harper

  1. Hey there! I like your approach to tattoos, possibly because I share a similar one. I have the Charley Harper Giraffes on my forearm, my favorite tattoo (of my many 3). I would love to continue adding Harper pieces over time, but I don’t jump quick into tattoos. The tattoo artist is in my Phoenix area, he pulled off very clean, thin lines and they are holding really well! Also, he happens to be hearing impaired which made the process a bit more challenging but even more special for me. I put the website of my company below. Take care!

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