POPSUGAR Beauty

16 Harry Potter Fans Tell the Stories Behind Their Tattoos

Jul 12 2014 - 11:00am

There was a lot to keep Harry Potter fans happy this year, from creepy concept art [1] to an immersive Hogwarts-esque experience [2], not to mention the upcoming spinoff film series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them [3]. Though the story has come to an end when it comes to the books and films, our love of the series and its memorable cast of characters continues, and we're not the only ones.

In fact, many people love Harry, Hermione, Voldemort, and Snape (yes, even Snape) so much that they've decided to commemorate them with tattoos. In honour of the entire Hogwarts crew, we asked 16 tatted-up Potter fans to tell us about how and why they got their pieces. From dark marks to Protego charms, read on to see some truly magic ink.

Alexandra

Alexandra has had her platform nine and three-quarters tattoo since January 2011.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"Without wanting to sound to cheesy, Harry Potter has been a significant part of my life since I was about 10 years old. It's the series that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, the series that inspired my imagination, and the series that had me waiting in anticipation (and in long queues) for each installment. Though I was always an avid reader, there was just something about Harry and his adventures. Each book got better, and as Harry grew up so did I."

How did you come up with the design?


"I had been toying with the idea of getting a Harry Potter-related tattoo for a few years. However, I saw a lot of the same thing over and over: the Deathly Hallows symbol, or a couple of significant quotes, or the Dark Mark. Though I do like all those ideas, I wanted something a little bit different for myself. I don't remember exactly how I decided on nine and three-quarters, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. The platform is the gateway to Harry's world of magic and adventure . . . a gateway I don't want to lose as I get older."

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"I love the style of the numbering [and] the type/font. It took me a while to decide between a couple of options. The design was custom made by my tattoo artist (and friend) Tania from True Tattoo in Frankston [Australia]. It is the thing I get complimented most on when people admire the tattoo. I also love it when someone says out of the blue, 'Oh, I love your tattoo.' I know straight away that they're part of the community, too — the community of young adults who grew up with Harry and his friends."

Source: Flickr User Alexandra Dye [4]

Ida

Ida has had her Protego tattoo since October 2010.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"It's so simple, really. I figured that my first tattoo should be something that really means a lot to me, and because I've loved Harry Potter ever since the first book was released; it felt like a perfect match. You could say I'm a little bit of an HP geek."

How did you come up with the design?


"Once I decided to do an HP tattoo, I started checking some tattoo websites for ideas and inspiration, but I didn't find anything that I liked. Then I got to thinking that it would be awesome tattooing a spell, so I started to check all the spells I could think of and chose Protego, which is a protection spell."

What's the significance of your tattoo?


"Hmmm, it means a lot of different things to me. It's kind of a tribute to HP, and I also love the thought of having a protection spell next to my heart."

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"That I've got the HP scar on my ribs. How geeky is that?"

Source: Flickr User amongclouds [5]

Jen

Jen has had her Fawkes tattoo since 2004.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"Order of the Phoenix was (and still is) my favorite book in the series, and I've always loved the symbolism and mythology of the phoenix in general. I got the ink done at a fork in the road, so to speak. I was coming to terms with my sexuality and found myself at a turning point in my life, and I thought the phoenix was a good way of expressing that."

How did you come up with the design?


"The design comes from the Canadian/UK cover art of Order of the Phoenix; nothing too mind blowing there. I just showed my artist the book and he drew up something a bit more rugged to fit my style."

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"The colors. I've heard that warmer tones are notoriously difficult to keep from fading, but I think the fiery reds and yellows still look great. I haven't had it touched up once! I also love that when I look at it, not only do I get to see a good piece of art, but also the ideas of strength, and loyalty, and new beginnings."

Source: Flickr User gunstreet.girl [6]

Sara

Sara has had her custom tattoo since 2007.

How did you come up with the design?


"I looked at a lot of pics on the Internet, found two pics that I liked two different things about, and my tattoo artist, Arturo, put it together. He's in Midland, TX, at Uprock on Andrews Highway."

What's the significance of your tattoo?


"It shows my love for the books and films, and it shows what I love in my life. It is also always cool to find someone that knows what it is from; it's kind of a secret code to other HP fans."

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"I like that I didn't go the traditional route and get an exact copy of the movie or book design. I combined a few pics to come up with mine."

Source: Flickr User darthmaul121083 [7]

Jesa

Jesa has had her patronus (Severus Snape's) tattoo since September 2008.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"So that I could tell people that I loved the Harry Potter series so much that I have a tattoo to prove it. It's a good Harry Potter conversation starter. I'll proudly be a Harry Potter lover forever."

What's the significance of your tattoo?


"Severus Snape is my favorite character in the Harry Potter series. He was mean to Harry and company and yet he helped them out on several occasions. No one knew what team he was on until the very end."

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"The silver doe's green eye. I get compliments on it all the time. It was a last-minute decision. I feel it sets it apart from other silver doe tattoos, and even pictures, just like it sets Harry and Lily [Harry's mother] apart in the series. I just couldn't let such a repeated and integral part of the series pass me by."

Source: Flickr User j3d ۞ [8]

Mustafa

Mustafa has had his Dark Mark tattoo since September 2007.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"I have always been intrigued by villains and their background stories, so when I was reading Harry Potter and learned about the world of dark magic, I couldn’t help but wish that I too was involved in that. I also figured that I couldn’t go wrong with my tattoo, because non-Harry Potter fans just see a bad-ass snake and skull, and Harry Potter fans see a bad-ass Dark Mark tattoo."

How did you come up with the design?


"I found a screen capture from one of the Harry Potter films online and went based off that design. I told the artist that I would like him to add his own personal touch to it instead of replicating the design exactly, and also that I wanted a more evil-looking skull. He decided to shade in the snake instead of using the scales, and added this dreamy smoke effect outside the main body of the snake."

What's the significance of your tattoo?


"My tattoo signifies my love for films, for villains, for fiction, and most importantly, for art."

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"Definitely the skull. I cannot emphasize enough how amazing a job the artist, Spencer Briggs, did on the skull. The shading and detail are just flawless."

Source: Flickr User Mustafa Sayed [9]

Kadee

Kadee has had her Riddikulus tattoo since Fall 2010.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"A deep love for Harry Potter! Easy as that."

How did you come up with the design?


"There's not much you can do to spruce up a lip tattoo — it's a small, tricky placement. I just wanted it plain and simple."

What's the significance of your tattoo?


"It's my favorite spell in the Harry Potter series. It's the spell to help get rid of a creature called a boggart, which takes the shape of whatever you fear the most. When you say the spell, you have to imagine what you fear taking a humorous form. Paired with laughter, this spell banishes the thing you fear. I suppose I just need to be reminded sometimes that your fears are only what you make them."

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"It's very simple, there isn't much to like besides the tattoo itself. I kind of like that it isn't visible unless I want to show it. It's more of a personal reminder than anything else."

Source: Flickr User k,.d.'.a.e..'.;.e [10]

Genevieve

Genevieve has had her Albus Dumbledore quotation tattoo since July 2009.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"I have a deep love for the books. I have lost several family members and animals. It's very comforting to know they are always with us, even if they're gone."

How did you come up with the design?


"I knew I wanted a quote, and I wanted it in a place that wasn't visible. My tattoo artist wrote it out in his handwriting."

What's the significance of your tattoo?


"My mom got the same tattoo, but on her leg. It's nice to have a matching tattoo with her and know that it means the same to us both. We find comfort in it."

Source: Flickr User alwaysgenevieve [11]

Iratxe

Iratxe has had her Hogwarts coat of arms tattoo since July 2007.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"Well, obviously I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter books saga, and waiting for the last book to come out, I went through some hard times. Waiting for the book was something to keep me hanging on to my daily routine. By the time the book came out, things had gotten better in my life, so it's like a 'thank you for saving my life' tattoo dedicated to J.K. Rowling (not that she will ever know, but . . .)."

How did you come up with the design?


"The design is the one inside every first page of the book series. I haven't touched anything on it!"

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"I think it's beautiful as a whole, but if I had to choose I would choose Slytherin (my favorite house) and the motto, which means, 'never tickle a sleeping dragon.'"

Source: Flickr User Iratxe Martinez [12]

Rachel

Rachel has had her incantation tattoo since 2008.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"I was inspired to get my tattoo because I love Harry Potter, and I get tattoos of things I love."

How did you come up with the design?


"The design is pretty simple. I just wanted the incantation (though now I'm thinking of adding to it!). I chose the font from the Harry Potter books, and my tattoo artist, Danielle Distefano from Only You Tattoo in Atlanta, helped me place it along my ribs."

What's the significance of your tattoo?


"I love my HP tattoo because I got it with my friends. We all got HP tattoos that day, and it reminds me of our friendship. I chose Expecto Patronum specifically because everyone needs some protection from Dementors!"

Source: Flickr User dunemanic [13]

Janet

Janet has had her Mischief Managed tattoo since October 2007.

What inspired you to get your tattoo?


"I always knew I wanted something to commemorate the books, and this one was perfect for me, since I'm usually up to something mischievous."

How did you come up with the design?


"It was a collaboration between me and the tattoo artist, John, at Blue Heron Tattoo in Derry, NH."

What's the significance of your tattoo?


"I just totally relate to the saying 'Mischief Managed.'"

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoo that you liked best, what would it be?


"I love the swirling smoke! John did a great job, as always."

Source: Flickr User fondofsnape [14]

Kate

Kate has had her Harry Potter-inspired tattoo since 2009.

Where did you get your tattoo, and how long did such a big, colorful piece take?

"It took four sessions to complete the piece, which was done by Kit Hall at Deluxe Tattoo in Chicago at the time (and might still). She has a website [15], which I mention because her online portfolio has another awesome Harry Potter tattoo in it, and she herself has some Potter tattoos, I think."

Kate

This is what Kate's tattoo looked like when it was halfway through, right after her second session.

Source: Flickr User caboosezine [16]

Rachael

Rachael continues to get more Harry Potter tattoos, but has four so far.

What inspired you to get your tattoos?


"My inspiration was absolutely the Harry Potter book series. I began reading them to my children and was, like so many millions of others, drawn in to the world Ms. Rowling created."

Source: Flickr User deekoi77 [17]

Rachael

How did you come up with the designs?


"Three of the portraits on my leg were taken directly from the movies, via still shots that my artist, Rich White of Action Tattoo in Auburn, WA, printed out and used as reference. The only tattoo that did not come directly from the movies is my 'Harry Potter chasing the Golden Snitch' tattoo. That was an assortment of reference images pasted together by my tattoo artist himself."

Source: Flickr User deekoi77 [18]

Rachael

What's the significance of your tattoos?


"There is no real significance of my tattoos, per se. Simply a combination of two things I adore: tattoos and Harry Potter. My right leg is entirely dedicated to the world of Harry Potter. The initial tattoo on this leg was a portrait of Severus Snape, and it was done about a year before the last book was released. Thusfar I have four portraits: Harry Potter, Bellatrix [19] LeStrange, Severus Snape, and Lord Voldemort."

Source: Flickr User deekoi77 [20]

Rachael

If you had to pick one thing about your tattoos that you liked best, what would it be?


"There are a ton of things that I love about my tattoos, but if forced to chose a favorite thing I would have to say that they are so beautifully done. People might not always 'get' why I chose to decorate myself with Harry Potter tattoos, but they cannot deny how well done they are. In fact, both the Snape and the Bellatrix [21] tattoos have won trophies at the Seattle Tattoo Expo, something my artist and I are both very proud of!"

Source: Flickr User deekoi77 [22]

Jacqueline

Jacqueline has three Harry Potter tattoos, including this one written in the lightning-bolt font featured from in the series, and hopes to get more.

Source: Flickr User Jack.Danielle [23]

Mark From Addicted Body Art Studio

Mark, a tattoo artist, created this Jack Skellington/Dark Mark tattoo.

How did you come up with the design?


"When this customer came in, she expressed the idea for either a Nightmare Before Christmas tattoo or a Harry Potter one. Because I'm a fan of both, I came up with the idea to meld them into one!"

What Harry Potter tattoo do people most commonly ask for?


"It would have to be the Death Eater snake and skull design. We've done other tattoos relating to the films/books, but by far that design is the mostly commonly seen tattoo."

Do more women or men come in to get Harry Potter tattoos?


"It's really 50/50. Maybe a slightly higher amount on women, but it's very close."

Source: Flickr User Addicted Body Art Studio [24]

Mandy

Mandy has had her tattoo since June 2009.

What have people said about your tattoo?

"They tell me I'm brave, and if they had the courage to do it they would do it. Lots of people stop me on the street to see my Harry Potter tattoo. It's amazing to see their reaction."

Do you think you'll get more tattoos based on books?

"If I find another great and amazing series. If it has the same impact, I'll definitely do more. Books have a magic that other things don't have. Books are unique and amazing and they deserve to be remembered, loved, and respected, because books are forever."

Source: Flickr User @mandyyporto [25]


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