Tragic Tats: 40+ Unfortunate People Marred By Terrible Tattoos

By Phillipa G

This article was originally published on funniesnow

Tattoos express someone’s artistic influences and can be incredibly personal and meaningful. They can also just be something the person thinks looks good. The prevalence of tattoos has skyrocketed in recent years, and with that, there has been a massive increase in terrible pieces of body art.

We’re not here to judge the design choices (mostly) because they can be very personal. We have just compiled a list of some terrible artistry—think shaky lines, terrible healing, and awful shading. Read on for some of the worst tattoos the internet has ever seen. We hope that, after witnessing these atrocities, you make sure to never get a home tattoo and to always check the artist’s credentials before your appointment. Happy reading!

Lip tattoo

A few years ago, tattoos on the inside of a person’s lip became very popular. It was probably because you could hide it, and it would only be visible when you pulled your bottom lip down. It was a discrete form of rebellion.

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Well, at least that’s the idea. This artist has gotten it very wrong. Instead of being hidden, the tattoo is just on the bottom lip and is instead very visible. To make it worse, the tattoo itself is so silly. This poor girl.

Twilight fish

It’s unclear how this person came up with this combination, but somehow they have put a morbid Twilight quote in the same tattoo as the rainbow fish. The two seem to be worlds apart, but obviously have some common ground for this individual. 

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It’s a unique look, for sure. We hope they didn’t pay too much for this because the design is undoubtedly a bit questionable. The quote on its own would be a bit gory, but the addition of the fish is just random. 

Shrek fan

We all have our favorite movies that we keep going back to, especially if the movies are childhood faves that bring a sense of comfort. However, that doesn’t mean that we need to tattoo the main character on our bodies. 

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This person has gotten a tattoo of Shrek’s face, which would be okay if the drawing wasn’t so shaky and seemingly done by an amateur. Maybe this was done at the end of a good boozy night. In that case, the uneven lines can be forgiven. 

Might it be a dragon?

This tattoo is a bit difficult to decipher. We can’t be sure, but the tattoo seems to be of a deer. We can only tell because of the hoofprints next to it. The deer itself is very warped, however, and is very hard to figure out. 

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It also seems to have some funky antlers, though it’s hard to make out with the blurry picture. It also doesn’t look like the head fades out very nicely, so it hovers on this person’s arm. Hopefully, this person didn’t pay too much for this tattoo. 


Plenty of people have gotten tattoos dedicated to their significant others. Usually, they get a heart or their beloved’s name or some form of a symbol of their relationship. This person has gone for the third option in a very unique way. 

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This uneven compass has a heart with what seems to be knives that have cut through it, with a quote around it. The original quote is, “I once was lost, but now I am found.” This person went with their own version of the famous quote and ended up with this piece of body art. 

The irony

You would be forgiven for not being able to thoroughly read this quote because the cursive font is quite tricky to read, but fans of The Office would easily pick up on it. This person is such a die-hard fan that they wanted to have Dwight’s “words of wisdom” imprinted on their skin.

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The irony is that this tattoo is obviously a massive, permanent, hard-to-read quote that takes up half of this person’s stomach. One may say that an idiot would indeed pay for and plan out this tattoo and then go and make a booking for it to be done.

Sunny day

“The sun will rise.” This is definitely true. However, the sun in this tattoo has already risen, so it kind of defeats the purpose of this tattoo. The lines are also very uneven and shaky, so it clearly wasn’t the most professional of artists who did this tattoo.

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We’re not knocking the sentiment because it is a nice reminder that everything is temporary and that tomorrow will always be a new day—no matter what you are going through. However, if you want to get a tattoo with such meaning, make sure you go to a good artist.

Bull skull

To be honest, it is really unclear what this tattoo actually is. Is it a bull? A skull? A bull’s skull? Who really knows? One thing that is obvious is that it is not a good piece of body art at all.

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Hopefully, this person didn’t pay for this tattoo because it truly is awful. It is not even clear if it means anything, not that it needs to be meaningful, but it would at least explain the strange design. We just hope the person doesn’t completely hate it.

A mixture

Hand tattoos have become much more popular in recent years, especially small designs on each or a few fingers. This person’s hand, however, is a strange combination as none of the small tattoo designs seem to gel with each other.

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Some seem to be quasi-religious symbols, some stars, an animal footprint, and the number 4. These seem to be very random and don’t seem to link. Maybe this person decided to get any and every meaningful symbol tattooed in one go.  

Foxy lady

There is so much going on here, from the terrible fox design to the random rose. The face is a bit wonky, and it isn’t very well proportioned, so it now looks half like a side profile and half like a straight-on face.

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The rose coming out of the fox’s mouth is an entirely different design, making us think that this could be a cover-up. It also seems a bit out of place. Wolves are strong and powerful creatures but this one has a delicate flower in its mouth.

Not the greatest idea

Tattooing takes a long time to do. Sometimes big tattoos are even split over multiple appointments. So, when this person decided to do a whole sleeve in one night, it would never turn out well. As expected, the tattoo is a mess.

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You can see that the designs are all a bit mismatched, and the lines are pretty thick and uneven. It would also be excruciating to do all this needlework in one go. That is why it would be better to split a sleeve up into more than one session.

Not healed

Tattoos take a little time to heal after being done by an artist. They will not heal properly if the artist doesn’t use adequately sterilized equipment or if they are not cared for properly. This tattoo clearly hasn’t healed properly.

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There is flaky skin by the clock hand and in the surrounding design. The tattoo itself is also a bit questionable because it is clearly a cover-up that doesn’t entirely cover up the previous tattoo. We have to hand it to this guy; this is one of the worst tattoos we have ever seen.

Stick and poke

This is a dodgy attempt at a stick-and-poke tattoo. There are heaps of gaps in the line work, so it looks like it was done at home. The design looks like it was conjured up at a house party or during a good night out.

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The design of a strangely shaped frog with a banjo and a hat is quite funny, but the terrible linework and the fact that it is so big suggests that this person woke up with a lot of regrets about this one.


We noted earlier that the way tattoos heal is critical. This picture proves this point. This tattoo has healed so badly that it has just become a scab and is now completely unrecognizable. It is basically going to just fall off.

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If it doesn’t ultimately come off, the tattoo left behind will be just a hint of what was intended. This is another reminder to make sure you take care of your tattoos and make sure you see a good and reputable artist!


If you need yet another reminder to choose your artist carefully, this is it. If you don’t, then you end up with something like this—a tattoo with uneven lines and a lot of excess ink that hasn’t been wiped off correctly. 

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The details around the hands are also not very well done. A good artist would draw and design the small details much better. Obviously, this is supposed to be cartoon-like, but it just looks like a child has done a drawing for art class.

A bat or a rat?

A bat is a relatively popular tattoo for people to get, so this design is not shocking. However, one would typically expect that someone would get a recognizable bat design that is anatomically correct and obvious to anyone who might glance at it.

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This tattoo is anything but recognizable. The body of the bat looks more like a rat, complete with its creepy little eyes that always seem to follow you. The little stringy things that come out of the face are also very confusing and make it even less recognizable.

A colorful mess

This is not a great display of skill. There is no blend between the red and blue part of the sky, and the tree is just stuck in the middle. The fact that it is an entire forearm is also awful because it takes up so much space on the person’s body.

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This tattoo is just a block of red and blue with minimal shading or detail. Apparently, it is inspired by the film Sleepy Hollow, but we’re not sure if the artist has ever seen this film. It certainly didn’t look like that.

For the love of music

Music is a unifying experience. It is a piece of art and culture that can bring lots of people from all different backgrounds together. So much so that this person has gotten a treble clef that transforms into a heart.

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There is also a unique design around the musical heart. Given all of the pastel colors, it looks like it could be cake icing. However, it also resembles a splash in a body of water or a multicolored rose. Either way, it is not the most visually appealing tattoo, despite the heartfelt message behind it.

A whole lot of awful

A tattoo is a very personal decision, so it is best not to judge someone’s choice in body art. However, there are some objectively terrible tattoos—just like this one. The block letters look like a primary school kid has drawn on a school desk.

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And then there is the quote itself. If you notice, the word “dishonor” has been misspelled. Hopefully, this didn’t cost this person much money, if any, and it will be easy to cover up when this person inevitably regrets this artistic choice.

Pole dancer

This jet-black image is very hard to decipher because it looks like a black blob on someone’s body. It looks like a pole with a female figure spinning around on it. Although the figure kind of looks like a cartoon from Shrek.

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It’s not clear what this tattoo should look like, but one thing is for sure, getting a fully colored tattoo would not be pain-free. It would have taken a long time too, so this person went through hours of pain just for this to be the outcome.

Star cat

Our pets are our families, and lots of people get tattoos inspired by their favorite animals. This tattoo, however, is not the best. This is one unique tattoo from the stars randomly placed on the body to the strange-looking face.

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The artist seems to have signed this piece of work, but we’re not really sure why someone would be proud to admit that they did this. The tail and the face are particularly bad, but hopefully, there wasn’t too much regret.

Bat wings

Face tattoos are always risky because they can permanently alter the way you look and are perceived by other people that you come across. This is even worse when the tattoo is not great. When people look at your face, that is what people will see first.

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All of the excess ink around the tattoos is pretty distracting. The three huge bats are also a poor choice for a tattoo. They take up such a large part of this person’s face that it almost makes you cringe. 

Daily reminder

We were all told off in school for writing reminders on our hands instead of in a diary or a notebook. However, most people grow out of this habit as they get older and probably start using their phones for quick notes. 

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This person, however, never grew out of this handwriting habit. They even got a tattoo as a reminder to not lie. While it is a good reminder, perhaps a tattoo of it is not the best choice. Perhaps she often forgets to be truthful.


Flowers are a popular tattoo design—almost every second person with a tattoo will have some form of a flower included in their body art! This person is no exception to this rule and has attempted to get a floral design on their hand. 

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However, whoever the artist is has done a genuinely shocking job. The design is quite amateurish, and the shading and line work is very shoddy. The only possible excuse for this tattoo would be if it were a self-done piece. 

Moon Sequence 

Coming a very close second to flowers for the popularity of tattoos would have to be moons. This person has gone for a moon sequence from crescent to full, and back again that goes along the full length of their spine. 

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One would hope that a tattoo of this size would be a beautiful piece of art that you would treasure for many years to come—after all, they are permanent! But this tattoo is not like that. The shading is not done well and makes the moons look more like Petri dishes. 

Ugly sisters

The Sanderson sisters weren’t the most attractive witches on TV, but we loved them all the same. Hocus Pocus was such a cult classic it got a sequel…29 years later. This fan couldn’t wait for the return and wanted to get a tat to show their love for the witches.

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The tattoos themselves aren’t that far off from what the actors looked like in the movie, but the caricature style isn’t doing them any favors. It’s not like the costume and makeup department was designing attractive-looking witches in the first place.


Some people have an interesting taste in tattoos, but that’s not for us to judge. It is a bit crazy when tattoo artists not only advertise their interesting taste in tattoos but also how bad they are at doing these pieces of body art. 

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This artist has done just that, however, and showed off their shaky lines and strange designs. The letters are unevenly spaced, have odd added extras, and look even worse over the top of some older tattoos. This one is a very weird choice. 

Merged words

Tattoos in commemoration of family members are probably the most popular type of tattoo, especially for first-timers. This person has gotten the word family, and the name Naomi merged into one tattoo. We wonder what poor Naomi thinks about this.

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Not only is the resulting word bizarre, but the actual handiwork is also shoddy. The letters are different shading and thickness. This makes it seem like the name Naomi needed to be covered up, so they just added a bit about family. 

Religious symbol

Many people will get religious tattoos to permanently show their faith and the faith’s role in that person’s life. This is a very noble and understandable inspiration for a piece of body art, but this person takes it to the next level. 

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This person has gotten an enormous cross and what seems to be Jesus’ head with His crown of thorns on their back. The cross is so big that it goes up the back of this guy’s head. Well, at least Jesus will always be on his mind.

Husband artist

This person’s husband did this tattoo on what we can only assume is their arm. It seems like the couple is a big fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas because Zero was their first choice of practice tats. Too bad for the dog, it’s not very flattering.

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The writing at the bottom is also tough to decipher—it looks like someone’s name. It is not healing well at all, as you can see from how red and irritated it is. Or maybe they were trying to save on ink for Zero’s Rudolph-inspired red nose.

Couples pic

This was supposed to be a tattoo capturing a cute moment between a couple. However, the tattoo is anything but cute because the artist has completely messed up both of their faces. The woman’s face is terrible. It looks like it could be a lion’s face.

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We’re not sure which weird cartoon this tattoo artist was inspired by, but there is no way this picture is what the couple initially asked for. The faces aren’t the only thing that is bad either, the bodies are out of proportion, and the clothing is so badly fitting. 

Lion King

Who can forget the iconic “Hakuna Matata” song from the kid’s film The Lion King? This song reminds us to never take life too seriously. It is totally understandable that someone may want to get a tattoo to commemorate this great message. 

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However, this tattoo, in particular, has not done it justice at all. The drawings are terrible and honestly look like a child has done them. The writing around the two characters is also poorly spaced and looks wonky. There are big problems with this tat.


British pop group One Direction took the world by storm and became the biggest boy band in the world. So, it is unsurprising that they gained millions and millions of adoring fans across the globe and inspired loads of tattoos. 

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This person has taken that to the absolute extreme. They have gotten Harry Styles’ face tattooed on their cheek. Not only is this just a terribly bad idea, but the portrait is also awfully done and looks nothing like the handsome singer.

Country girl

Where to start with this collection of tattoos… it’s just a selection of awful fonts and random quotes. The tattoos look like the headings girls in middle school made with the full selection of glitter pens they had in their pencil cases. The only difference is these are permanent. 

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The quotes are also as questionable as tattoos and don’t really seem to mean anything on their own. Perhaps it’s just because they look so bad that it’s hard to fathom that someone would want this on their body. They might have looked better with a different design.


We all feel nostalgic for our childhood, especially for our favorite shows and the joy the shows would bring us. As a result, a number of people have gotten tattoos in remembrance of their most treasured childhood memories. That is what this person has done.

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This person has opted for an image of Barney from the show Barney and Friends. The worst part of this tattoo is that it is a huge purple and green dinosaur. It just looks like a colorful blob on this person’s body. 

Sea animal

To be completely fair, the tattoo artist has done a pretty good job with this—it’s just the design that is questionable. And, in a way, it is pretty apt. If you didn’t know, manatees are responsible for the mermaid myth.

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But, instead of a graceful manatee or stunning mermaid, the artist combined the most unattractive elements of both. The manatee’s face isn’t doing the tat any favors, either. It kind of resembles a dad on a summer holiday, getting some sun next to the pool. Do you see what we see?

Alice in Wonderland 

Sometimes tattoos can be inspired by someone’s favorite book, movie, or TV show. Given the style of these mushrooms, it seems that someone has been inspired by Alice in Wonderland. However, it looks like the artist did not finish this tattoo.

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The white dots on the mushrooms have been left blank, which kind of makes the tattoo look incomplete. The line work on the moon in the background is also very wonky and shaky. Overall it’s not the worst on this list, but it’s certainly not great. 

Face tattoo

It has already been mentioned on this list that tattoos on the face are a very bold and risky choice. However, this one takes the cake. It is smack bang in the middle of this person’s forehead and is not subtle. 

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It must have been done on a night out because the huge ‘Love Thy Self’ quote and symbol right below it does not look good. And this is permanent! How much does laser tattoo removal cost? Asking for a friend.


A mural tattoo can be seen on anyone who has a sleeve or half sleeve or anyone who has a number of tattoos in one spot on their body. Murals are usually a similar kind of design and may all have a link between the different pieces. 

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This person has one on their shin, but it is not that scenic. The pieces do not match, and the artist seems to have run out of ink because the tattoo is very faded and poorly shaded in a lot of areas. Yikes. 

Monkey business

The “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” trio of monkeys is very well known across most cultures and societies. So much so that there are definitely a number of people with these monkeys as tattoos, including this person. 

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However, this person has put a spin on the traditional monkeys and gotten what looks like Mickey Mouse in place of the monkeys. We are not sure where the idea to conflate a Disney cartoon for kids with prophetic moral guidance came from. 


Doing your own tattoo is never a good idea unless you’re a qualified tattoo artist and know what you’re doing. This person did not follow this sage advice and has given themselves a huge, colored tattoo of the cartoon Bandit. 

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The tattoo has clearly been done by an amateur because the line work is not great and the color is so faded. Granted, the design itself isn’t that bad. It would just be so much better if it had been done by a pro. 

Declaration of love

It is always a bit stressful when you see someone with a tattoo dedicated to a significant other. No one knows if the lovebirds will be together forever. If not, then this person will be left with a tattoo of a past love. 

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This tattoo, on the other hand, was probably the object of some deep regret the very next morning. It has clearly been done at home job. This tattoo is awfully done and probably won’t heal very well, either. However, we hope this person heals from the toxic relationship.

Happy Sad

We all know that humans have a range of emotions, and sometimes it’s good to acknowledge that we all experience the good and the bad. This person’s method of acknowledging that is a bit strange, though. They have opted for this strange tattoo.

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The tattoo is a Venn diagram of a smiley face and a sad face. They’ve gotten it done in different colors, so the color fades from one to the other and leaves the common eye to be a strange mix of pink and purple. 


“Humans are interesting,” reads the top of this tattoo. That is very true but also ironic that this message is in a strange and uneven font and is above a monster-looking figure. This is an interesting tattoo for such a visible part of the body. 

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The only way that this could be made better is with gloves and a long shirt. It is a very jarring image. On top of that, there is some script from an Asian language, which is unrelated to the other tattoos on this person’s hand. 


There is a lot to unpack here—firstly, the permanent declaration of a dietary/lifestyle choice, and secondly, the elephant with wings and a Santa hat. The vegan tattoo looks like the cursive font that you would see on a menu at a diner. 

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It is also a permanent thing to put on your body, even though your dietary choices may change for several reasons. The elephant is an interesting choice as it is clearly pulling a face and has several weird additions. This person clearly has an eclectic taste in body art.