Body art has existed in some form since the beginning of human history. Cultures change and some things fall in disfavor for new trends, just like anything else, but they are always a form of self-expression.

Tattoos are a firm part of that in establishing an individuals' identity, and they come with the benefit of being rather easy to simulate on an actor. Thus in an effort to establish a character type, there are many common tricks to use in giving a character a certain flavor in just their appearance.

As tattoos used to be associated with sailors, circus performers, and {{tattooed crook}}s, but went mainstream in TheNineties, this is an EvolvingTrope.

* Basic Symbol: A peace sign, possibly college letters or their fraternity symbols. Generally suggests they had a bit of a wild streak, but not so much that they have major regrets.
* Personal Emblem: Names of family members and/or an image of something they like. A "MOM" tampograph is common for EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas.
* Organizational Emblem: Most anyone who serves in the military will have a related tattoo, same with biker gangs. It gives a good look at their history in comparison to where they are now.
* Complex Design: There is almost always a story to be told, both within the tattoo and how the person got it, or even something of a history on why they chose it.
* Cultural: Tribal signs in particular are evident of someone who embraces their heritage, or who wants to be associated with someone else's heritage.
* Multiple Types (covered in different tattoos with different designs): A free-spirited individual, loves living day to day. May be a part of a fairly "raw" group like construction workers, mechanics, biker gangs, etc.
* Coin Sized: Usually used for the Basic Symbol; unless right on the face, it isn't very noticeable.
* Moderate Sized: Usually in conjunction with the Organizational Emblem, it's identifying the person as belonging to something else.
* Dominant (more tattoo than "blank" space in a given location): It means if the area is exposed they ''want'' you to see it. There is no mistaking the fact it is there.
* Full Body (at least the head, arms and chest): Indicates a ritualistic accomplishment. It could be a cultural honour or rite of passage (in which case the character's personality is likely dignified). It could also be self-applied, perhaps by a circus performer as a gimmick (in which case the character is probably an eccentric LargeHam), or even by a SerialKiller who makes a mark for every kill (in which case the character is probably TheSociopath).
* Asymmetrical (all on one arm or only covers half their face/chest): Generally represents someone who has struggled to find a balance in their life, thus will likely embody a BewareTheNiceOnes. You don't want to be one their bad side, cause that side is the "edgy" tattooed side.

* Upper Back/Shoulder Blades: Suggests power or supernatural origin; either the person themselves in supernatural or was given supernatural abilities. In other ways it may be the key to a HumanNotepad, the person can't see back there and may not even know what is actually written.
* Lower Back: Generally restricted [[AlwaysFemale to women]]; a flirty and/or "easy" woman, as it is likely not seen unless she bends over and her shirt rides up or is already wearing a [[BareYourMidriff midriff revealing]] top. Nicknamed the "Tramp Stamp" or the "California License Plate."
* Neck/Upper Shoulders: A tough thug. Because of its location the design may not be clearly visible, poking out from underneath their shirt.
* Head/Face: Depending on size and the precise location it generally suggests a careful admission of who they are, as the face is the most visible part of the body. The bigger the tattoo and the closer to the center of the face, the more ruthless the character tends to be. The smaller it is and the more hidden away (behind the ear, for example) it may indicate HiddenDepths. A lot of gangbangers in fiction have a tear on their face near their eye, which in real life has various meanings, including have killed someone, having served time in prison, or a gesture of mourning for a dead friend/loved one.
* Hands: Indication of power, strength and resilience; see also KnuckleTattoos. It's also generally known that Russian prisons use tattoos on prisoners' hands and feet to indicate the length of time in prison and the crime they did, making it a good reference point to identify how dangerous a Russian character is.
* Forearms: On the outside it may be used as a badge of honor. On the inside it is popular for personal emblems, such as loved ones, but also for collusion in something sinister and/or dystopian. Often someone will have a snake or something like it wrapped around, which seems to be popular for characters of action like TheLancer. Also notable for the "sleeve" tattoos, ink so detailed it looks like the person is wearing a long sleeved shirt when they aren't.
** For the inside of the arm forearm it is also the place where [[USefulNotes/TheHolocaust Concentration Camp Prisoners]] were tattooed with their registration number, furthering the personal and private nature of that area.
* Upper Arm/Bicep: Another popular place for the personal emblem or the organization emblem, but, unless going [[SleevesAreForWimps sleeveless]], is not seen very often.
* Feet/Legs: A lesser-used location, often used with the same purpose as with hands or in combination with a full body tattoo. Ankles are popular for small tattoos with a college relation.
* Chest: Indication of a warrior for a man. For a woman it indicates someone edgy or promiscuous in a similar manner to the lower back.
* Torso: Similar to the lower back, a place that is generally not seen unless [[ShirtlessScene shirtless]] or the shirt rides up and thus carries the same implications.
* Intimate Spots: Locations that are generally not seen unless the character is wearing a bathing suit or seen in their underwear, the lower back and torso already sort of fill in such a place. Another is the hip bone/pelvic region. It indicates a private person with a desire for intimacy.
* [[IntimateMarks Private Areas]] (actually on or surrounding genitalia): Evidently probably not seen on anything mainstream, but may be referenced in dialogue. Usually evident of a pervert or promiscuous individual (as they evidently have to expose that area to get the tattoo in the first place).

As this is about how the tattoos represent something about the character, examples should elaborate on that and not just be "Character X has a tattoo in Y location." As well, no one should take this personally if you happen to have a tattoo type in a location that indicates an evil person...

An EmbarrassingTattoo or PowerTattoo can exist in almost any of the above forms.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Revy from ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' has tribal symbols on her right arm and neck, and fittingly [[SleevesAreForWimps usually wears a tank top to show them off]]. Also fits in that she is an ActionGirl who [[DualWield dual wields]] [[GunKata pistols]] and is very violent, qualifying her for the "thug" type above.
* The heads of the Sonozaki clan in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' have an elaborate {{Yakuza}} tattoo on their upper back/shoulder area, in this case symbolizing their status as leaders of the group. It also played an important role in the backstory of two characters, since [[spoiler:they had pulled a temporary TwinSwitch and the younger twin was the one who got the tattoo, meaning that she's recognized as the heir and her older sister, the actual heir, had to permanently switch places with her]].
* [[spoiler:Riza Hawkeye]] of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' has an alchemical array on her back that was put there by her father containing his research into flame alchemy, qualifying her for the HumanNotepad variation of this trope since he was entrusting it to her to make sure it did not fall into the wrong hands. Later on she actually requests that part of it be ''burned off'' to keep its secrets even safer after she shares it with [[spoiler:Roy Mustang]].
* The first six Straw Hats and Princess Vivi in ''Manga/OnePiece'' have X tattoos on their left forearms. While it was originally used to foil a Baroque Works agent who was a MasterOfDisguise and stop him from infiltrating the group, it was eventually used again [[TrueCompanions as a sign of camaraderie]] between the Straw Hats and Vivi when they finally part ways. The infamous leader of [[LaResistance the Revolutionary Army]] Monkey D. Dragon also has a very noticeable tribal tattoo on one side of his face.
** In the beginning of the series, Nami always wore shirts with sleeves because she wanted to hide the tattoo on her left shoulder as it marked her as a member of Arlong's Fishman Pirates (thus an Organizational Emblem[=/=]EmbarrassingTattoo[=/=]SlaveBrand). This is the reason her adopted sister Nojiko gets a personal tattoo to make herself NotSoDifferent. After Luffy defeats Arlong, she asks the Doctor to have it removed, but he observes she will still have a scar where it was, so instead she asks him to replace it with one symbolizing her home and adopted family. As part of her CharacterDevelopment, Nami's tattoo changes from an Organizational emblem to a Personal one, and from that point forward she's no longer ashamed to go {{Stripperific}}.
** Another changing tattoo/changing meaning story. Slaves of the World Nobles (the "untouchable" descendants of the founders of the World Government) had their symbol, "The Claw of the Soaring Dragon" (fitting description--a circle with a few claw-like triangles on top), etched on their backs as a SlaveBrand. When a bunch of these slaves rebelled and escaped, they added additional triangles to the circle branding, changing the look from a claw to a sunburst: thus creating the infamous Sun Pirates.
* Mugen from ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' has solid stripe tattoos on his wrists and ankles. They indicate [[RebelliousSpirit his lawless nature]] because he got them as a ''prisoner''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* This shows up repeatedly in the ''ComicBook/XMen'' titles:
** ComicBook/{{Gambit}} has a royal flush tattooed across his shoulders on his back. He's from New Orleans and is supposed to be a bit of a lucky guy.
** One of the Hellions could bring tattoos to life.
** There are at least two timelines in which mutants are forced to get a large M tattoo over the eye, as a mark of the dystopian society making human-looking mutants obvious to any observer. Bishop and Shard come from one such future. Jamie Madrox and Layla Miller visited and came back from another.
* Kate Kane (ComicBook/{{Batwoman}}) has a tattoo of the Green Beret sleeve insignia on her right upper arm, and a nautical star on her upper back, which is associated with the Navy and Marines corps, and also supposedly being used by homosexuals, particularly lesbians, in the 40's to identify themselves subtly.
* A reveal in one of the Creator/MarvelComics stories of the Mar-Vell version of ComicBook/CaptainMarVell -- an elderly character is shown to be a concentration camp survivor at the end by this.
* One {{Yakuza}} boss in the ''ComicBook/{{Wolverine}}'' comic book had a spider tattooed on his face, as opposed to the usual back or shoulders to symbolize his absolute lack of fear of being identified as a criminal. (And that he was a {{Chessmaster}} wannabe).
* Hefty Smurf in ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs'' began to wear a heart tattoo on one or both of his upper arms in the cartoon show, which then migrated over into the comic books starting with "The Jewel Smurfer". Without the tattoo, he is able to disguise himself as a rebel Smurf in the comic book version of "King Smurf" when he is serving as captain of the guard. Unfortunately, he is also mistaken for a rebel Smurf by King Smurf's troops, and nobody believe he is Hefty Smurf until he gives them a good beating.
* Dart from the ''ComicBook/AtariForce'' second series is given tattoo marks all along the left side of her body by her partner Dalia for successful missions performed during her time serving as a member of a mercenary school.
* In ''ComicBook/StrangersInParadise'', Parker Girls (Darcy Parker's henchwomen) are all given a lily tattoo. If you're her "favorite toy" (read: Katchoo), she'll put it on your breast.
* ComicStrip/RasmusKlump: Sea captain Skæg has an anchor tattoed on his chest.
* ''ComicBooks/{{Transmetropolitan}}'': AntiHero protagonist Spider Jerusalem has assorted asymmetric tattoos scattered over his body. They include mismatched tribal patterns on his arms and legs, a spider atop his bald head, a "Kiss Here" on his butt-cheek, and a couple only mentioned, not shown. Very fitting for such a rebellious character.

* Extreme sports guy Xander Cage of ''Film/XXx'' has the eponymous tattoo on the back of his neck.
* ''Film/TheFifthElement'': Leeloo has her tattoo inside her left wrist to identify her as The Perfect Being.
* Played with example: In the first ''Film/TheOmen1976'', Damian had a birthmark that looked like a tattoo of ''666'' on his head.
* The little girl in ''Film/{{Waterworld}}'' had a full back tattoo: the map to [[spoiler: the only land left on the planet that was no longer underwater]].
* ''Film/{{Armageddon}}'': Max the roughneck has several. There's a quick shot in the "getting the roughnecks together" montage that shows him getting another tattoo. He tells his mother what it is; she smiles genuinely and says, "Aw, that's sweet, Maxie." He's not precisely an example of EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas but the FBI did show up for him in that same scene.
* In ''Film/WeddingCrashers'' Vince Vaughn's character noted one of the bridesmaids had a lower back tattoo, calling it a "bullseye" as their whole purpose is to find the women who were easy to get in bed.
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries''
** In ''Film/XMen1'', Magneto bears a [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII concentration camp]] tattoo from his [[DarkAndTroubledPast childhood]], giving some insight as to how he decided that mutants and nonmutants would never be able to live side-by-side.
** In the [[Film/XMenTheLastStand third movie]], a newly recruited (and heavily inked) mutant asks Magneto where his ink is. He shows her the concentration camp tattoo and says something to the effect of "I was marked once, and no needle will ever touch my skin again."
* In ''Film/TheATeam'', the team members all have Ranger tattoos, and this is in fact what helps Hannibal recruit B.A. in the film's intro.
* In ''Film/DownPeriscope'', Commander Dodge has "Welcome Aboard" tattooed on his penis. Apart from the fact that this cements Dodge as a loose cannon, it is also in and of itself a bar to his continued advancement ("Are we really going to hand a multi-million dollar submarine to a man with a tattooed johnson?!").
* In ''Film/TheHobbit'', Dwalin has tattoos on his knuckles (fitting given his status as TheBigGuy) and on the top of his head; his actor has stated that the head tattoos are a pictoral history of the dwarves.
* In ''Film/MadDogMorgan'', a brutal prison guard has a teardrop tattooed below his eye.
* Te Wheke, the protagonist of ''Film/{{Utu}}'' receives a full face tattoo as the mark of a warrior.
* Our [[ first look]] at the ''Film/DCCinematicUniverse'' version of ComicBook/{{Aquaman}} shows him with extensive tattoos that not only take after actor Jason Momoa's traditional Polynesian tats, but also resemble fish scales, showing a duel [[MixedAncestry Polynesian/Atlantean cultural heritage]], while also [[MythologyGag referencing his traditional orange fish hide shirt]].
* ''Film/SuicideSquad2016'':
** The film features [[ a tattooed Joker]]. He sports a variety of Joker-themed emblems ranging from a deck of cards to a wide, demented smile on his right arm.
** The Squad also features El Diablo, a man who possesses prison and gang tattoos[[note]]Actually subverted, as they signify the presence of a Mayan Fire demon[[/note]].
** Harley Quinn has a tiny heart on her face, indicating that she's crazy enough to get a face tattoo but still cute, 'rotten' written along her jaw, "Lucky You" above her crotch (the Joker pimps her out to gang bosses) and a variety of upside-down amateurish stick-and-poke tattoos (reading things like "HARLEY + PUDDIN") that (according to Margot Robbie) she did herself while bored in prison. She also has Harlequin diamonds wrapped around her wrist.
* ''Film/AssassinsCreed2016'': Aguilar and Maria have facial tattoos, indicating their, and the Spanish Assassins', Moorish origins and how they are nomadic outsiders in Spanish society.

* The book ''Child of Fire'' has mystical tattoos that are painted on, and usually on the lower abdomen. They're protection from an EldritchAbomination. And they're indications to the Twenty Palaces Society to kill anyone on sight who has them (outside the Society themselves). The society themselves also have the magically painted-on tats; theirs are also for protection.
* The upper back tattoo can be mystical in nature as in the book ''Touch The Dark''. The main character has them as magical protection.
* The serial killer in ''Dead of Night'' by Jonathan Maberry had red mouths and black eyes tattooed on various locations on his body. To him, they were personifications of [[HearingVoices his insanity and the voices he heard]].
* Count Olaf, the villain of ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' has an eye tattooed on his ankle. It's indicative that he belonged to [=VFD=]
* In ''Literature/TheNightCircus'', Tsukiko the contortionist has a full-body complex tattoo that makes her already-exceptional performances even more beautiful. [[spoiler: They serve as her source for HermeticMagic, since she got tired of lugging books around.]]
* Mainyu Mazda in the ''Literature/LeftBehind'' book series tattoos his neck with a double M for each kill he makes. Sometimes he gets the tattoo mark in advance for someone he is about to kill, as Albie unfortunately found out when he paid him a visit.
* Taurau Tangaroa in ''Literature/Birthright2017'' has extensive tattoos covering his chest, torso, shoulders and arms. They're of the cultural/religious variety, depicting various symbols and faces. He explicitly keeps his torso tattoos uncovered, as it's mentioned that they're sacred and should never be hidden in any way.
* A women in or descended from the military of ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' has what's called the Order of the Sword tattoo on the back of one hand. "Crib father initials" mark how many generations; the Order of the Sword maintains its own [[SexSlave crib captives]] who women can be serviced by. These are somewhere between Personal and Organizational emblems. It's mentioned that crib captives also have tattoos, and suggested that these involve their name and number in some way, but never elaborated on.
* Phedre no Delunay of the ''Literature/KushielsLegacy'' series has a tattoo of a briar rose running the length of her back. In addition to its in-universe significance (her being a HighClassCallGirl dedicated to the d'Angeline goddess of love), it connects with her characterization as soft but strong (i.e. a rose smells nice, but be careful of the thorns).
* Blake Thorburn, the narrator of ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', has tattoos of sparrows perched on branches on his arms, which serve as a KarmaMeter and a measurement of his spiritual health.
* Francis Dolarhyde in ''Literature/RedDragon'' has a tattoo of a dragon's tail starting on his lower back and wrapping around one of his legs. He is deluded into thinking that by killing people he is transforming himself into his image of masculine ideal, which to him is personified by the William Blake painting [[ "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed In Sun."]] His tattoo is a physical attempt at transformation. The 2002 adaptation changes the tattoo to be the painting covering his entire back, emphasizing that Francis ''isn't'' the Dragon but is actually the Woman in the painting, who is ensnared by the Dragon.
* ''Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy'': Lizbeth Salander has all manner of markings to show her rough life before the books began, including the Dragon Tattoo from her series' first book title, a small wasp on the back of her neck (used to represent her idea of vengeance as well as where she gets her Hacker alias), thorns and a Date tattoo (from when her therapist/guardian raped her - she argued with her girlfriend about it because said girlfriend thought it was a Suicide Note).
* Four from ''Literature/{{Divergent}}'', has tattoos of all the faction insignias to symbolize that he wants the traits of someone from all factions.
* Most [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Yuuzhan Vong]] in the ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' have elaborate tattoos which signify their [[FantasticCasteSystem caste]], social standing, and personal history (ritual scarring serves a similar purpose, particularly among the warrior caste and/or those who want to appear particularly devout, and scars and tattoos are typically woven together into complex designs). Another Yuuzhan Vong (or someone familiar with the culture) can quickly identify the most important details about an individual just by the particular appearance of their tattoos and scars.
* Raven in ''Literature/SnowCrash'' has a large forehead tattoo (probably forced) saying "POOR IMPULSE CONTROL". Fitting for the "baddest motherfucker in the world".
* Most witches in ''Literature/TheWitchlands'' have the symbol of their particular type of witchery tattooed somewhere on their skin, as it's required by law.
* Haik in ''Literature/TheCrocodileGod'' has extensive cultural tattoos to reflect his pre-colonial Filipino nature (which shares many traits with Polynesian tattoos), with a bonus of being [[NeverSmileAtACrocodile crocodile-themed]] as he is the titular "crocodile-god" for the ancient Tagalog tribe: Zigzagging ridged tattoos on his back and a sleeve-tattoo of crocodile scales from his shoulder to his wrist. It's repeatedly stated that [[DarkIsNotEvil crocodiles were not BAD symbols]] in native Tagalog mythology--rather, they thought [[DinosaursAreDragons crocodiles were dragons.]] However, the less-savory meaning of tattoos is doubled up with {{Profiling}}, as Haik's tattoos combined with [[ButNotTooBlack his dark skin]] frequently make people THINK he's a criminal. It's revealed through {{Pensieve Flashback}}s that he was once ''covered'' in upper-body and facial tattoos, and in the present-day, the lower-body Samoan pe'a and a modern-day sleeve reappear on his skin. When Mirasol asks what happened to make his tattoos vanish, he says he had to [[RuleOfSymbolism "take them off"]] after the Spanish started [[DeathOfTheOldGods converting the Philippines to Christianity.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DueSouth'': The elderly coroner, in a late episode of the series, casually tells a story about a camp he went to when he was a kid. At this camp, one of the adults would throw explosives into the lake to cause the fish to float to the surface. When asked where this camp was, he raises his sleeve to reveal a serial number tattoo, and replies with "[[HiddenDepths Auschwitz]]".
* Series/{{Kingdom}}: Lyle is sent to deal with an old man who might lose his house because he has failed to pay rent on it. Frustrated with Lyle prying into his life, the old man pulls up his sleeve to reveal a series of numbers, asking Lyle if he knows what it is. He is a holocaust survivor.
* ''Series/{{Buffy The Vampire Slayer}}'':
** Faith has a tattoo on her upper arm. Because she's naughty.
** Also Giles, whose Mark of Egyhon tattoo was a link to his dark past.
** Angel has got a tattoo representing his name back during his Angelus days. It ends up ID'ing him in his early ''Buffy'' days.
* The Sci-Fi Channel (predating its name change to Creator/{{Syfy}}) had a version of ''Series/TheInvisibleMan'' who had a SanityMeter tattoo.
* ''Series/BurnNotice'':
** Sam Axe of has a military tattoo on his right arm just below the shoulder. When confronting an older ex-spy Sam showed the tattoo in an effort to convince the guy they were on the same side. In another episode Michael noticed an enemy with a special forces tattoo, eventually prying from him that he was in a bomb disposal squad and was not as bad as he seemed.
** In another episode they recruited a random thug to run part of an operation, due to limited manpower. Sam mused that he wished they didn't have to rely on a guy with a neck tattoo.
** One episode showed that Fiona has the letters [[UsefulNotes/TheTroubles "I.R.A."]] tattooed at the small of her back.
* Chakotay from ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' had a large Native American facial tattoo over one side of his face. They established that he got that tattoo in memory of his father, and he was trying to continue their traditions after previously rejecting them, thus embodying the "conflicted" characteristic. Interestingly, in "Living Witness" among the many things mistaken for the "historic re-enactment" they made his tattoo even larger, covering both sides of his face. Appropriately his personality changed to something of a sadist (as with most of the crew). Similarly, in "Author, Author", his [[WriteWhoYouKnow counterpart]] in the Doctor's holonovel is a Bajoran, and his tattoo is the ovular Bajoran religious/national symbol.
* Subverted on ''Series/{{CSI NY}}''. Klaus Braun had what appeared to be a concentration camp tattoo, but it was really part of his elaborate hoax, pretending to be Jewish to escape prosecution after the war.
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'' Jim Brass's tattoos are mostly backstory-connected. He's got at least two date tattoos at the sites where he was injured. One was apparently a war injury, and one was his bullet wound from "Bang Bang".
* The tattoo as backstory/identity is a big part of the Watchers in ''{{Series/Highlander}}''. Each has a tattoo on his or her wrist, a circle with a vertical chevron-like shape inside. The lines of the design have a row of pale circles inside (around the circle rim and following the lines of the inner shape.) Joe has his removed when he chose Duncan's friendship over his job, but presumably got it returned when Duncan told him he belonged with the Watchers because he was a man of honor, not some gloried file clerk. The exceptions were one flashback watcher from several centuries ago who had a pendant, and possibly Methos, as it's uncertain whether or not he had one or if an immortal could keep a tattoo or if it would simply vanish.
* In the miniseries ''Characters/HoratioHornblower'', the evil bastard Jack Simpson from "The Even Chance" has an ominous skull tattooed on his hand. It's shown when he intimidates or beats up other midshipmen.
* Sherlock Holmes in ''Series/{{Elementary}}'' has a series of tattoos all over his body which he put on himself. When Watson asked him how he put them on his back, he replied he is ambidextrous.
* Sam Shaw from ''Series/PersonOfInterest'', a former Marine, has an anchor with the letters "USMC" tattooed on her forearm.
* On ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', Oliver Queen returns from his five year ordeal bearing multiple tattoos representing his trials and experience during the time. Of note is one denoting his membership in TheMafiya, and another is of a dragon on his shoulder blade [[spoiler: identical to the one worn by Shado, and inflicted on him by [[WeUsedToBeFriends Slade Wilson]] in retribution for his perceived contribution in Shado's murder]] and the asian characters on his right side given to him by [[spoiler: John Constantine.]]
* In ''Series/TheExpanse'' Belters often have tattoos for cultural reasons, most often a neck tattoo with an off-center gap symbolizing contact burns from the faulty connection collars of early space suits, now added after a Belter's first spacewalk.

* Gregg Allman has a song called "I'm No Angel" which has the lyric: ''oh, come on baby / come and let me show you my tattoo'' but does not specify its location. Given that the song has a recurring line of "I'm no stranger to the dark" and otherwise sounds like it's trying to seduce a woman, it'd likely be in a "tough guy" location and/or an "intimate" location.

* The only touch of color on the otherwise DeliberatelyMonochrome ''Pinball/{{Centaur}}'' is a small red heart tattoo on his upper-left bicep.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Lunar [[TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} Exalted]] are tattooed by the Silver Pact to prevent them from becoming [[TheCorruption monsters]]. The tattoos' exact aesthetic [[DependingOnTheArtist varies]], but all symbolize the Lunar's identity and the deed that earned them Exaltation. (They also serve an authorial purpose- indicating Lunars' wild and countercultural natures.)

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Jr. of ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' has the number 666 tattooed on the inside of his right hand to signify that he was [[spoiler:the 666th U.R.T.V. created]]. While it is implied, it is unknown if the others have similar tattoos.
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'':
** Tai Kaliso has tribal patterns covering his face, arms and chest. He is the most relaxed and mild mannered character of the series, taking even horrible events in stride saying "Everything happens for a reason." He seems vaguely Samoan/Pacific Islander as well, he is one of the more spiritual characters.
** Dom can be seen with a tattoo of his wife on his arm as he is one of the few people who wear short sleeves, but in ''Gears 3'' everyone wears a stripped down armor and you see nearly everyone with military tattoos. As the games are heavily BandOfBrothers, it represents their united nature.
*** Dom also gets his tattoo reworked to depict his wife as an angel after [[spoiler:he had to MercyKill her]] along with growing a BeardOfSorrow, providing an example of "tattoo [[AccidentalPun marking]] character development."
* ''VideoGame/TattooAssassins'': As the title suggests, the assassins wear tattoos on their bodies. These are located on their bellies. One character, Lyla Blue, has tattoos on her back - the same tattoos that the assassins have!
* Zaeed Massani, introduced in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', has a tattoo on his neck, visible when he's first introduced. Its importance only becomes apparent during his loyalty mission.
** Subject Zero, a.k.a Jack, is unhinged [[WalkingWasteland super-biotic]] felon and required party member. An engineer on the ''Normandy'' notes that "the only thing she wears from the waist up is tattoos." {{Justified}}, as she was raised an tortured from infancy to become their biotic superweapon, and suffered permanent mental scarring once she escaped. Just like real-life victims of torture and abuse, Jack's tattoos are a way to both assert control over her own body and serve as a reminder of her own history and exploits that nobody can remove.
* Psychos from ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' often have tattoos of the Vault Symbol, showing their cult-like devotion to finding the Vaults. Sirens have large, arm-covering PowerTattoos that identify them (Handsome Jack had to tell mercenaries to stop sending in dead women with fake Siren markings because 'It was funny the first couple of times but now [his] office smells like blood and marker fumes.' [[spoiler: Jack himself has the Vault symbol scarred across his face with the same meaning as the Psychos]] and, from ''VideoGame/TalesFromTheBorderlands'' shows, [[spoiler: Rhys, who self-styles himself after Handsome Jack albeit a bit more heroically, has a large Vault Symbol tattoo under his shirt.]]
* Krystal of ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' has tribal tattoos wrapped around her upper arms and on each thigh. Despite being covered with fur ([[ freeze brands?]])
* ''VideoGame/FarCry3'': At the beginning of the game, Jason is given a tattoo of a shark-crane-spider totem pole. As you level him up, his tattoo literally grows to represent his growth as a warrior, [[spoiler:and how insane he's slowly becoming. Destroying the tattoo at the end of the game by defying the cult leader restores a portion of his sanity, while giving in to it enslaves him to the island's curse of taking over and being assassinated]].
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'':
*** The Sephiroth clones are each tattooed with a number in a significant location (one has a tattoo of a 1 on his hand, one has a tattoo of a 9 on the back of his neck). This indicates that they're scientific experiments. Cloud, who is also a clone, does not have a tattoo (as his experiment was a failure) and in his [[HeroicBSOD darkest moment]] ends up pathetically begging Hojo for one.
*** Red XIII is heavily tattooed which indicates that he's capable of symbolic thought despite being quadrupedal, and they have a tribal look (as he is a warrior from a tribal society).
*** Violent and angry Barret has a tattoo of a firebreathing skull on his arm.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' gives the characters magic "l'Cie brands" which are designed to evoke tattoos.
*** The locations indicate details about the characters - Lightning, who has to learn to be TeamMom, has the brand on the left of her chest (over her heart and on her breast); the sexual and secretive Vanille has hers on her inner thigh; the confident Fang has hers on her left shoulder and bears it openly; the outgoing and powerful Snow has his on his left forearm; the sinister and mystical Cid Raynes has one on his hand; and so on.
*** The idea of being branded, and the discrimination faced by those with brands, somewhat evokes concentration camp tattoos, especially since the opening image of the game is a train full of identically-dressed people of various ages being taken off to their mass state extermination.
** ''VideoGame/MobiusFinalFantasy'' prominently features the complicated tribal full-back tattoo of the protagonist, which is visible in most of his {{Stripperific}} outfits, and his tribal armbands. As he is a [[BlankSlate Blank]] with no memories, this indicates that he is still somehow 'marked' by whatever his past was. The design is also based on a stylised Mobius loop, possibly referencing the time loop in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasy'' (which ''Mobius'' is a prequel to).
* ''VideoGame/{{Yakuza}}'' has these as it's about Yakuza themselves. For an example: Kiryu Kazuma has a tattoo of a dragon on his back, Akira Nishikiyama has a tattoo of a koi fish, and Goro Majima has a hannya on his. All three tattoos have meaning to the story of the man: Kiryu is "the Dragon of Dojima" and is as strong and powerful as a dragon but as wise as one too; Nishikiyama's [[LegendaryCarp koi fish]] calls to mind the koi fish swimming up a waterfall to become a dragon as Nishikiyama fights to become as powerful as he can; Majima's tattoo of a hannya (a female demon in Noh theater) shows that he's dangerous but also tormented inside as he can and will kill people who gets on his bad side and puts up a dangerous fight but beneath he's deep thinking and morally conscious, using his "Mad Dog of of the Shimano Family" to deal with his harsh life as a Yakuza and the loss that comes with it.

* In ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', Tagon has a bowl of oatmeal tattooed on his shoulder from his time in the Oatmeal Peacekeepers. They're a BadassArmy who take pride in being able to feed you your heart with a spoon if you make fun of their tattoo.
* As one of the main characters of ''{{Webcomic/Sunstone}}'' is a tattoo artist there are a few examples of this;
** Lisa gets a tattoo of a winged heart containing the words "Property of Allison" on her posterior, it's design and intimate location displaying her relationship to her mistress.
** Cassie, despite being a lawyer, is in the process of getting an overly elaborate BDSM tattoo that will cover her back, she points out just like the trope says although it covers a large portion of skin only people she will want to see it will as she is fully dressed in court.
** Anne as said tattoo artist has a tattoo of a dragon spanning her back, this shows Anne, like Cassie, is adventurous.
* Old Man Death from Webcomic/GirlGenius has a Jägersymbol tattoo from his time riding with the Jägermonsters (SuperSoldier monsters serving a MadScientist family) on his upper arm. Despite claiming those days are behind him he wears a shirt with a ripped sleeve, leaving it clearly visible. It works as an organisational symbol despite the actual Jägers not having (or needing) them to be identified.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Immortals can bestow powers to pre-Awakening magic-capable mortals, at the expense of a discolored area of skin which resembles a birthmark or tattoo. Since the arrangement is undertaken willingly, the mortal is usually allowed to choose the shape of the marking. [[StrawFeminist Susan]] chose the symbol of Venus on the back of her shoulder: a personal emblem in the supernatural location.
** In more recent updates, markings of this nature have been bestowed on [[spoiler: Dexter in the shape of a fairy (summoning), Justin in the shape of a flame (??? possibly fire resistance), and Rhoda in a swirl going from small to large (size altering).]] More importantly, they're all in the center of the back, ''unknown to the bearer'', which is a severe violation of conduct.
* Dirk Strider in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' has a tattoo of his bro's character [[Webcomic/SweetBroAndHellaJeff Hella Jeff]] on his shoulder, suggesting that despite his aloof demeanor, he has a deep admiration for his brother. Especially since, as he lives completely alone in a post-apocalyptic future, he must have applied the tattoo ''himself''.
** When Dirk and Jake start dating, Jake gets a matching Sweet Bro tat on his own shoulder -- but [[EmbarrassingTattoo begins to regret it]] after the relationship goes sour.
** Meenah also claims to have a tattoo, but says that [[IntimateMarks you can only see it if you're "lucky"]].
* In ''Webcomic/AliceAndTheNightmare'', people get natural tattoo-like marks on their bodies denoting their [[FantasticCasteSystem Suit]], which translates to their personality to an extent. For people with powers, those double as PowerTattoo.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Rhapsodies}}'', Circle Band guitarist, [[HuskyRusskie Fedya's]] right arm is covered with stars, He has a Russian two-headed eagle on his left upper arm and a large Orthodox cross on his chest with the Circle Band's [[IconicLogo logo]] over his heart. While it hasn't been shown, apparently he has a tattoo of the Virgin Mary on his back. [[ (with a halo that looks like a rifle sight.)]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Website/{{Cracked}} discusses tattoo location in [[ this article.]]

[[folder:Web Video]]
* ''WebVideo/TheAutobiographyOfJaneEyre'': Mr Rochester is a CEO of Thornfield Exports and a father of an eight year old girl. His tattoos show his wild streak as he's not in charge of the company quite voluntarily. He has several tattoos on his arm (perhaps arms). They are shown when he rolls up his shirt sleeves or when he wears a T-shirt. They look like a diamond or a paper plane definitely some kind of geometrical objects with sharp lines. The tattoos are as mysterious as he is, and some viewers speculated that one of them might be a ''Harry Potter'' tattoo.
* One of the [[MachoCamp Fabulous Custodes]] in ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'' expresses his and his brethren's somewhat creepy devotion to the GodEmperor of Mankind by having a portrait of him (pre-death) tattooed on his bulging biceps. It's all the more noticeable since the Custodes [[{{Stripperiffic}} aren't wearing much]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Wyatt from ''WesternAnimation/{{Sixteen}}'' has a small eighth note tattooed on his upper arm, although it doesn't come up too often.
* {{Popeye}}, as a sailor, has anchors on both arms.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", Bart gets a tattoo. It was supposed to say "Mother", but the artist only got as far as "Moth" when Marge found him - and not as happy as Bart thought she'd be about it. She wound up spending the money she had saved to buy Christmas presents getting it lasered off.
** In "Cape Feare", Homer is trying to get back at Bart for somehow managing to get "Wide Load" tattooed on ''the former's'' butt as a prank.
** In "'Round Springfield", it's revealed that Homer has a tattoo, as he explains to Lisa -- who is grieving the death of Bleeding Gums Murphy -- that getting a tattoo is a way to honor something you love. His tattoo honors..."Starland Vocal Band? Awww, they suck!" (That was TheSeventies group best-known for "Afternoon Delight", suggesting that Homer got it as a teenager/young adult.)
** Snake has a tattoo of ... a snake. As a petty crook, this is pretty fitting.
** Sideshow Bob has several tattoos of his SitcomArchnemesis Bart. One depicting his head cut off saying "OUCH, MAN", the words "LÜV" and "HÄT", and in big red letters "DIE BART DIE" on his chest. The latter meaning [[BlatantLies The Bart, The]], according to the horse's mouth.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' Terry got into a discussion with his Mom about the recent craze of "[[LegoGenetics Splicers]]," modifying personal appearance with animal characteristics. His Mom was disgusted with the very concept of self-modification, while Terry pointed out a heart tattoo on her ankle from her college days.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* {{Yakuza}} members get huge tattoos of dragons on their backs. This leads to Japan's stigma against tattoos in general.
* Holocaust survivors. The tattoo indicates the wearer is Jewish and has not removed it out of respect for those who did not survive, and usually as a reminder that the Nazi atrocities must never be repeated.
* Many sailors get propellers, fish, and mermaids because the superstition was/is that these things will help keep them safe at sea.
* Medical science has come up with a sugar-reactive ink. It's not completely there yet, but when it's done, diabetics will be able to monitor their own blood sugar simply by looking at their tattoo. (Which might go a long way toward removing the stigma of tattoos). Such a utilitarian tattoo would likely be placed where the wearer (and a paramedic) could easily read it: like on an arm.
* HardRock / HeavyMetal / VisualKei musicians generally do tattoos of words/sayings/imagery meaningful to them personally, trademarks of being in a specific band or being a fan of a specific band (as an example, both Music/HidetoMatsumoto and Music/TaijiSawada of Music/XJapan had rose tattoos, with roses being symbolic of the band), or fashion tattoos. Memorials are also highly common - especially funerary memorials for late musicians among both other artists and fans of said artists. The arms are a very popular location (both forearm and bicep), and more adventurous ones may go for chest/abdominal area, back (if they want to signify how tough they are to pain), or intimate parts or close by (a good example there being Music/{{Miyavi}}'s "Don't Hesitate And Go," which is on his lower abdomen just above his groin).
* At one point, The Tattooed Man (or Woman) was a popular sideshow attraction, presumably because of how dangerous it was to receive tattooes over that much of your body (and because it provided an excuse to show a lot of skin).