Betty Boop Tattoo

Candy got this skeletal Betty Boop tattoo done by Kris Roberts at Shipwreck Tattoo in Corpus Christi, Texas. She explains,

I grew to love Betty Boop as a child and now that I’m older, I have a passion for animation because of her creator, Max Fleischer. I wanted to commemorate Betty as she represents not only loves of mine, but also female history as well as the history of animation. I did not want to just get a straight up portrait of Betty because her image has been strewed over the years. Modern Betty has a stereotype of Harley Davidson and Playboy which I didn’t want to portray on my body.

I was browsing the internet one day and came across the online portfolio of artist Michael Paulus who had drafted skeletons for a bunch of cartoon characters, including Betty. I thought his designers were soooo clever! As soon as I saw his Betty, I knew it was the perfect imagery. I emailed him asking for permission, which he granted!

I took these images to my tattoo artist and asked him to come up with something “neo-traditional” and 1930s themed and to have Betty’s skull decorated dia de los muertos style (to celebrate her death*). Kris came up with this amazing composition and the rest is history! One thing that I think is really amazing is that when Kris drew up the design, he put a sacred jaw on her forehead because he noticed that she did not have a jaw. It was funny because when Micheal e-mailed me granting permission for the tattoo, he included this little tidbit: “You might have noticed that I omitted the lower jaw of Betty. Was never sure if she indeed have a jaw, although she does obviously talk!”

Funny how that worked out!

* Betty’s death = her censorship. ‘America’ forced her to move into a small apartment with a small pet dog and lengthened her skirt. Betty was no longer free to be the independent sexy women she once was. Weveral of her cartoons were banned as well.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

17 thoughts on “Betty Boop Tattoo

  1. I love it ^^ I thought at first that she had one in each leg but then I noticed there were two pics :D I like the umbrella and the colors of the piece. I could get something similar myself. And Betty-skeleton looks adorable, not at all scary like most skeletons and skulls do :)

  2. this is one of my favorite tattoos of all time! i can’t even articulate what i love most about it.. there are too many little perfect details. i’m so glad it’s being shared with the masses so everyone else can appreciate its genius as well. the owner of the tattoo is also an awesome artist and generally an all-around rad person!

  3. WOWWOWWOW. I have never posted a single message on this blog before, but the tattoo is so beautiful it could nearly make me cry. I’m speechless. HUGE vintage animation fan here (including the colorful history behind that early stuff). I own every early B&W toon she did–they’re brilliant (and that early jazz…!), and when I see those damn window-stickers on the cars at Wal-Mart, it makes me want to puke. So to see someone truly appreciate a particular aesthetic within the greater animation art-form–AND understand it… is beautiful.

    Dead on with the neo-traditional angle. Mr. Roberts has gone above and beyond maintaining both a personal touch and yielding to a traditional motif. Dia de los muertos has such a colorful morbidity to it! I have always loved its classic imagery. And the umbrella… oh that beautiful umbrella with its turn-of-the-century curves: the best part. I think I found my new tattoo guy when I’m in Texas.

    This tattoo defines why I love art; the way it can touch you in such a powerful way, stirring real emotions as varied as there are colors.

    (Don’t Mess With Texas! :)

  4. i had no idea what it was until I read the description, and even then I had a hard time figuring it out, to many bright colors for my eyes to decipher….. very neat idea though, and well done…

  5. I am in love with this tattoo- it is stunning- but aside from that i am really grateful there are people who go out of their way to honor an artist’s work and to ask permission before using an image of their’s..

  6. Took a fair while to see the Betty there, I think its the peacock feather/indian influence that threw me.
    Very clever tattoo and I agree with the “cheapening” of modern Betty, on every T shirt & kitsch ornament.

  7. Wow, great tattoo. At first I thought it was two tattoos. Turns out you can use this as a magic eye thing to see a 3D leg. Was that intentional?

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