So you’ve decided to get a tattoo. You’ve even chosen to incorporate Psalm 23. But you have a lot of preparations before you can proudly show off your new ink. Maybe you want a simple and understated tattoo that displays the personal meaning the Bible passage has for you. Or perhaps you want something that makes a statement to everyone who sees it. Whatever the case, with careful deliberation you can get a tattoo you can be proud of for years to come rather than an abomination you have to remove quickly before anyone sees it.
Though Psalm 23 contains just six verses, it’s important to decide how much of the passage to include. A small tattoo could contain a single, favorite verse or perhaps just the words “Psalm 23” in a decorative script. However, the actual text of the passage differs depending on the translation, so you must pick the version that best expresses the sentiment you want the tattoo to capture. For example, the King James Version’s language is more poetic and traditional with the first verse reading “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” However, the same verse in the New International Version ends with “I lack nothing.” You could even choose to use the original Hebrew script for a more ornamental tattoo.
Placement and Size
How much the tattoo incorporates Psalm 23’s text can dictate where it’s placed on the body. If the tattoo contains a lot of text, then perhaps a place with ample space like a shoulder or calf would be the best location. Likewise, the wrist or ankle could fit smaller designs. If cost is a factor, ask the tattoo artist how she charges. Though determining cost varies with the tattoo shop, assume larger, more colorful tattoos will cost more. In addition, larger tattoos mean more pain. Tattoos on areas with thin skin that are close to bones and nerves, like the wrist, are typically more painful than those on fleshy areas, like the thigh.
If you want to individualize your tattoo, using meaningful images along with text can make it more ornate. Use the text of the passage for ideas. Perhaps a shepherd’s crook for the reference to God as a shepherd in the first verse or surround the text with the green pastures and quiet waters of the second verse. You could also use something more generic like a cross or Star of David. The goal is to choose an image that has personal meaning.
An interesting design can give the tattoo a personal touch. Tattoo shops usually have samples of possible font styles, so peruse those as well as online sources like Tattoo Lettering, which allows you to test text in various styles. Color can also make tattoos more interesting, but remember colored inks tend to fade more easily than black ink so they will require more touch-ups over the years. Collaborating with the tattoo artist can also yield interesting ideas. They can suggest colors and themes that will make a cohesive tattoo design while still catering to your desires.