This is a tattoo that is actually its own living creature. Sometimes it is a two-dimensional animated being who is restricted to the surface it's inscribed upon, but other times it can leap off that surface and interact with the outside world as its own physical being.

The two-dimensional version can be PlayedForLaughs since it physically resides on its owner, while the three-dimensional version can overlap with SummonMagic, depending on whether or not the owner has control over it.

See also PowerTattoo.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* A minor [[DifferentlyPoweredIndividual euphoric]] of ''SpeedGrapher'' can animate his tattoos. He prefers spiders, but also has knives and a shield.
* Reedus Jonah from ''Manga/FairyTail'' has powers based on this.
* Sai from ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' also has powers based on this.
* In the PornWithPlot hentai OVA ''OniTensei'', the protagonist has the eponymous [[{{Youkai}} oni]] tattooed on her back, which can come alive and rip people to shreds when she is in danger. Unfortunately for her, it can also come alive on its own when it feels horny and a hot woman is nearby. [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane Or it may be just a hallucination of an abused girl.]]
* ''[[Manga/NatsumeYuujinchou Natsume's Book of Friends]]''. Natori has what appears to be a gecko "tattoo" that walks around his body, except for his left leg. It is actually a species of {{Youkai}} and not a tattoo at all, meaning that [[{{Muggles}} ordinary people]] cannot see it.
* ''Manga/SoulEater'''s Medusa has a pet snake that disguises itself as a tattoo. ...or is it a tattoo that becomes a snake?

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* [[DCUniverse The Tattooed Man]] does this using magical ink.
** The second man to bear that name deserves special mention; two of his tattoos (Kabuki Dan and Alaara, a samurai and a succubus) eventually started coming to life of their own volition.
* Minor Franchise/{{Batman}} foe Pyx has this power.
* UltimateFantasticFour's DoctorDoom uses them to take over a country.
* Every member of the Gamelei Collective from ''Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse'' is marked with a unique animal tattoo she can animate to destroy her enemies.
* A recent issue of CREEPY had a story called Pelted in it. It involved a mobster getting a demon tattooed on his chest for accomplishing his first kill. The demon in question is not very nice, nor still.
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[[folder: Fan Fic ]]

* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' FanFic ''Fanfic/AfterTheEnd'', Charlie Weasley has a dragon tattoo that can move and breathe fire.
* In ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/616867 Left As Ghosts]]'', a {{Webcomic/Homestuck}} fanfic, Terezi's dragon tatoo is probably senitent, mght be able to read her thoughts, and is named Pyralspite. It can interact with the world, but that causes it to fade- requiring periodic touch ups with ink (and for it to absorb blood). It acts as armor for the skin its currently on, and helps Terezi navigate after losing her sight.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* One of the villains of ''Film/{{Elektra}}'' can bring the many animals tattooed on his body to life. Apparently its not that rare, either--right before she kills him, Elektra quips "Nice trick, but I've seen it before."
* A variation happens in ''Film/TheTattooist'' which uses tattoos as a form of curse that spreads over the body before poisoning them/drowning them in ink.
* The MarxBrothers movie ''Film/DuckSoup'' has a scene where Harpo shows a tattoo of a doghouse - and a live-action dog sticks his head out of it and barks.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* Acheron, a god in Sherrilyn Kenyon's [[Literature/TheDarkHunters Dark Hunters]] series, has a tatoo that is also his personal demon Simi, literally..
* Pritkin and Mac's tattoos in the ''Literature/CassandraPalmer'' series.
* The Tattoo in ''Literature/{{Kraken}}'' is a mob boss. He literally is an intelligent, animate tattoo of a face covering some hapless man's back. The Tattoo wasn't always a tattoo-- a rival boss captured him and transformed him into one to eliminate him, but that didn't really take. The process of turning him into a tattoo also stripped him of his name, which is why he's only known as the Tattoo.
* [[http://www.southernfriedweirdness.com/magicneedles.htm This story]] as well.
* Creator/RayBradbury's ''The Illustrated Man'' featured tattoos that were animated and told stories as a framing device.
* ''Penny Dreadful'', a ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'' novel, features Baron, a mage who casts spells by making his tattoos come alive.
* In the ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' books, the plant mage Briar tattoos vines on his hands to cover up the court-ordered X's identifying him as a thief. Because he uses vegetable-based dyes (he's a plant mage) and Sandry's magic needles, they come to life and move around under his skin, sometimes reflecting his moods (e.g., growing thorns when he's angry).
* ''Literature/{{Genome}}'', Creator/SergeyLukyanenko's novel, involved a character who had a tattoo of an imp on his shoulder. While not living per se, it was technically an LCD screen hooked up to his nervous system and effectively displays his emotions. He ''is'' a mutant whose emotions were altered (Case in point: as a genetically engineered pilot, he can only love [[CargoShip spaceships]]). He initially wears sleeveless shirts and considers getting a spacesuit with a transparent shoulder, but since the novel is about understanding yourself, he eventually covers the tattoo with clothes.
* In the book ''[[Literature/InheritanceCycle Eldest]]'', Eragon meets the twin elves Iduna and Neya, who have a dragon tattoo inscribed across both their bodies. The tattoo has the ability to leave their skin and become a fully formed dragon that can interact with the outside world.
* In the third book, Specials, of the ''Literature/{{Uglies}}'' series, Tally and the Cutters have facial tattoos that pulse with blood pressure.
* In the ''Literature/{{Dragonback}}'' books, the alien [[OurDragonsAreDifferent K'da]] have the ability (and, indeed, the ''requirement'') to temporarily become living tattoos on humans and a couple other species.
* Dr. Scamandros in the Literature/KeysToTheKingdom series has tattoos that move and change form to reflect his emotions.
* In Creator/NealStephenson 's ''Literature/TheDiamondAge'', nanotechnology has evolved to include mediatronic tattoos. In fact, a nameless woman appears naked and has a full-body mediatronic tattoo; even her hair changes color and projects images.
* In ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', Blake Thorburn has tattoos of birds that change to reflect his state of being, and eventually gains the ability to remove the birds and send them to do simple tasks for him.

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* A MonsterOfTheWeek in ''Series/{{Reaper}}'' could bring his tattoos to life--including the [[PlayingWithFire flames]].
* In ''Series/TinMan'', Azkadellia produces the flying monkeys from tattoos on her chest.
* In ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Never Again", Ed Jerse gets a tattoo of a woman that begins talking to him, insulting him and forcing him to do things. Subverted: [[spoiler:It's actually a hallucination caused by ergot in the red ink.]]
* ''FridayThe13thTheSeries'' featured cursed tattoo needles that caused its images to come to life and kill its recipient. In exchange, the needles offered unbeatable luck.
* A mild example in ''Series/InvisibleMan'', where the Keeper gives Darien the tattoo of a coiled snake on his arm with a chip embedded under it to detect the level of [[AppliedPhlebotinum quicksilver]] saturation in his blood. This is shown by the number of links on the snake turning red.

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[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]

* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}''. The cover of the ''Awakenings'' supplement has a woman with a dragon tattoo on her back, with tattoo animating into a real (small) dragon. See it [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Shadowrun_-_Awakenings_cover_5057.jpg here]].
* ''ForgottenRealms'' {{sourcebook}} "Inside Ravens Bluff" has an enchanted needle which allows to make "Living Tattoos". These are just animated pictures, though.
* ''{{Ravenloft}}'' has one nomadic tribe whose shamans can bind a non-evil spirit into living tattoo on anyone they like as a sort of {{familiar}} capable of walking around in ghostly form. In "Carnival" one of carnies binds in tattoos [[spoiler:Night Terrors - embodiment of phobias, so that instead of scaring people out of their pants little creeps are forced to grant their hosts resistance to the same sort of fear]].
* In ''TranshumanSpace'' this is possible with "nanorobotically created and controlled pseudo-chromatophores", which essentially turn a patch of skin into an LCD screen.
* Similarly ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' has "nanotats".
* The Tattooed Sorcerer archetype from ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' grants a familiar even to sorcerers who would not otherwise have one. It also allows this familiar to transform into a tattoo on the sorcerer's body for safekeeping.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The canceled arcade game ''[[http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/tattoo-assassins/ Tattoo Assassins]]'' used this as a gimmick.
* In the MMO ''VideoGame/{{Dofus}}'' the Sacrier class uses their own blood as a weapon, but for its successor ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'' they control their tattoos instead.
* Vulcan Raven in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' makes his forehead tattoo, a raven, perch on Snake's shoulder and taste his blood to check his lineage. Also, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen a removed boss]] in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2'', Chinaman, would have had the power to turn his dragon tattoos into real dragons when he was under water.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Calm and Claire of ''Webcomic/{{Seasons}}'' have them.
* Kyoto from ''Webcomic/BladeBunny'' has an animated dragon tattoo that can reach out from her body. Taken to its [[http://www.bladebunny.com/2012/04/25/book-8-page-20/ logical conclusion]] when she uses it to [[spoiler: grow wings]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Tattoo {{familiar}} [[http://s297.photobucket.com/albums/mm233/Vkthsu/?action=viewĄt=tattoofamiliar.jpg here]].
* [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-021 SCP-021]] the Wiki/SCPFoundation is a tattoo dragon. It eats pigment found in the host's skin, which could be either melanin or other tattoos, which it prefers.
* Clade Scrabo Prior in the ''OrionsArm'' setting uses these for communication.
** And {{Mega Corp}}s from the Non Coersive Zone often pay people to have animated ads tattooed on their skin.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Amy gets a talking devil tattoo that keeps teasing Kif for being so cheap.
** She also has several on her butt.
--> '''Devil Tattoo:''' I can't wait to tell the tattoos on Amy's butt about this!
--> '''Male Voice:''' About what?!
--> '''Female Voice:''' Tell us!
--> (Horse Whinnies)
* This was the power of the villain Tattoo Man on ''TheSuperGlobetrotters''.
* One ghost on ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' can bring her tattoos to life and come off her body.
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* Thanks to advances in both battery technology ([[http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/25341/?a=f using cells which can run off the glucose in your blood]]) and LED technology this [[http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/23847/?mod=related&a=f could soon be]] TruthInTelevision.
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