mother daughter bonding over sharpie tattoos

Sophie likes to draw on herself.  It’s a thing, right?  I mean, I remember drawing on myself around her age.  Is it about pinning down one’s identity?  Maybe?  Cripes, who knows, who cares.  It’s fun, that’s the important bit.

Sophie draws humerous little pictures on her ankle bones and writes down overheard snippets on her arms and thighs.  “Kodomo usagi” with a tiny bunny, or “don’t be a Malcolm” referring to the hilariously foul-mouthed character from “The Thick Of It.”  I’d tell you more , but I think they’re kind of private for her.

Fair enough, right?  Who wants their mother blogging their body art?

So she came into the bath the other night—I was soaking and reading, as is my wont—sporting a rather large amount of writing down one forearm, something on her thigh, drawings on her palms, and I gave her…a look.  It was all in sharpie and I get a little phobic about toxicity levels and…whatever.  I saw her see me see her body art and sort of…tense up.  I opened my mouth to say something like, “how about not using sharpies for this, huh?” and I could just see her closing down a little…so instead I found myself saying, “how about you draw something on me?”


“Yeah, really.”

“That isn’t what I was expecting you to say.”

Me neither.

She gave me a lotus tattoo.

sharpie tattoo 1

I loved it!  I’ve had an interest in lotus tattoos for quite a while.  This post from four years ago (!!!) proves the interest is at least that old (it’s much older).  This particular lotus came from a wonderful manga I’ve been reading, Nana, which is also a horrible, terrible manga, because it is unfinished, and will probably never be finished, because the mangaka got ill years ago and hasn’t returned to work.  SOB for me.  And her.  I hope she’s feeling better.

Anyway, here is Nana, the title character—actually, one of two Nana’s—and her lotus tattoo.

ren flower tattoo 6

When I saw it, I leaned over to Sophie, who was reading Soul Eater beside me, and said, “WANT.”

That was weeks ago, during the month of internet blackout around here, but apparently, Sophie remembered.

It came out really well.  It’s a little faded in the picture, but she did a great job.  The colors were lovely, people stopped me on the street about it.  It only lasted a couple of days, being sharpie and all, which was sad.  Made me consider getting the real thing….

But I’m not ready for that.  I have commitment issues.  Instead, I asked her to give me another one.  She played it cool, but I could tell she liked being asked.  Here’s what she did:

sharpie tattoo 2

A half-sleeve with flowers, blackberries, and an iris on the front.  Very pretty!  Why is it so hard to take good pictures of my arm?

It’s surprisingly enjoyable to be her canvas.  I’m not the focus of her attention, but I’m in her focus, if that makes sense.  It’s like being under a laser spotlight, while also kind of relaxing, like getting an acupuncture treatment or something.

The internet says if you talc a sharpie tattoo and then spray it with hairspray it will last longer, but that is not my experience.  Even if I’m very careful, it only lasts three days.  Sad panda face.

Okay, maybe toxic ink is going to leach into my blood stream and kill me.  But wow, my little budding tattoo artist is so pleased.  Now I’m walking around with little sharpie doo-das all over me.  I guess she can give me The Look now, if she wants to.

Totally worth it.

5 thoughts on “mother daughter bonding over sharpie tattoos

  1. Shannon

    Sophie, that is some beautiful art! 😀 Way cool! Those look great on you, Maya. I am not that brave. 😀

  2. Shannon

    Jeff says take a good look at the Sistine Chapel, Sophie. Where Michelangelo had to make the curves of the ceiling look visually flat. You might find that interesting. Keep loving your he(art). 😀

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