Puzzles. Who doesn’t like a good puzzle – a riddle, a conundrum or simply a plain old maze?
Even if you say you don’t, deep down you know they always catch your eye. In the shop window, on your friend’s bookshelf or even on someone’s skin. Yes, this is one of the first reasons puzzle tattoos are so great.
Do your eyes play tricks on you?
If you’re looking for an eye-catching tattoo, or even if you’re not really, you need a strong visual. One of the basic qualities of a good tattoo is readability. And that means being able to tell what it is across the room. Not all the details, of course, but it better not look like a big blob of colours or shades until you really get up close.
So what makes for a good readability? Well known, easily distinguishable shapes. You put a nice rose on your arm or chest, Americana or New School, there will be no doubt about what it is. You take a jigsaw puzzle piece or ten and you’ll get the same effect. However you colour, twist or exaggerate it, odds are people will recognise it straight away.
Why is easy recognition a good thing?
The more recognisable an image, the more you can play around with it before you it loses its shape and meaning. I should know, my half-sleeve is a patchwork. It’s got background and foreground, it has a ribbon flowing through it… Sounds like a mess, I know. But even if it sounds like that from a half-baked explanation, the puzzle that is the base of it always comes through. Always. What I mean to say is that a nice puzzle gives you the option to play around not just with the shape, but with the content. You can put as much or as little detail as you want, within reason, of course. And what is the first thing most people ask me after “Is that a puzzle? Cool!”?
What does a puzzle represent?
That is the best part – it could be anything at all. It could be a piece you’ve “exchanged” with your best friend. Or friends – you can have a whole set of pieces that match up. It could be a little token for a loved one. It could represent another level of you, revealing your inner creature or a super power. Or it could mean nothing at all and you can just like the way it looks. With the right application, the visuals can be stunning, regardless if full of detail or a single 3D piece coming off.
Have a look at some examples and feel free to disagree with anything I’ve said. After all, puzzles are not for everyone.