Tattoo artist Jess Koala shared photos of her recent work on Instagram in September, and it’s one of the most heartwarming tattoos we’ve ever seen. “So, Eric might be the coolest dad ever. He is having his daughters design this sleeve,” Koala captioned the photos and video of an arm covered in colorful scribbles.
“He started out with self-portraits of his daughters, and then decided to expand upon it!” Koala tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We came up with the idea of having the girls draw ‘flash sheets’ so he has drawings to choose from the next time he comes in to get tattooed.”
Flash sheets are tattoo designs on paper that help create a stencil. When asked if it was harder or easier to tattoo a child’s drawing, Koala says: “As far as the process, I made stencils directly from the girls drawings, so it worked generally the same as any other tattoo.”
She adds: “We have only had two sessions on the sleeve so far, but it will eventually cover his entire left arm.”
In other words, this dad is literally wearing his heart on his sleeve when it comes to the love he has for his daughters. “So far we have self-portraits of both his daughters, Graci and Isabell, an owl, a heart that says ‘love,’ and a rainbow flower,” Koala says. “The girls are working on more drawings, and we will do another session in a few months.”
Tattoos have come a long way from skull and crossbones and Chinese symbols. Many people use the permanent skin art to express their love for someone — and not always with the clichéd heart with an arrow through it and initials way. Lin-Manuel Miranda got the letter V tattooed on his ring finger for his wife, Vanessa Nadal, in May. “In other news, I got a permanent parking spot for V over the weekend,” the Hamilton creator wrote on Instagram.
One mom got a tattoo that matched her daughter’s skin disease that results in red, scaly, ring-like patches all over her body. Mom Kory Poxton’s tattoo, which is on her thigh, replicates her daughter’s skin condition and is surrounded by a heart. The words “Little me” are tattooed underneath it.
Another dad, Jeremy Cortner, got a tattoo to match his son Casey’s cranial scar. Casey has craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which one or more of the fibrous joints between the bones of a baby’s skull fuse prematurely, before the baby’s brain has had a chance to fully form. Cortner’s son was left with zigzagging scars along the top of his head after undergoing cranial surgery, and his dad decided to get a tattoo that matched those scars to boost his son’s confidence.
For dad Eric’s sweet statement, Koala seems to be the perfect artist — her Instagram is filled with her masterful doodle-like tattoos. “Eric is a really great guy and it is a really fun project!” she says.
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