sleeve tattoo (or tattoo t-shirt) is a large tattoo, or a collection of smaller tattoos, usually themed in similar manner, that
covers most or all of a person's arm, usually from shoulder to wrist.
The term "sleeve" is a reference to the tattoo's size similarity in coverage to a long shirt sleeve on an article of clothing. In this manner, the term is also used as a verb; for example, "getting sleeved" means to have one's entire arm tattooed. The term is also sometimes used in reference to a large leg tattoo that covers a person's leg in a similar manner.
Half-sleeves or quarter-sleeves are tattoos that cover only part of an arm, usually above the elbow, but can also be found below the elbow. A sleeve implies complete tattoo coverage of a particular area, so a half sleeve is a tattoo that covers the entire upper or lower arm. A "quarter sleeve" usually covers the area of skin from the shoulder midway to the elbow.Sleeve tattoos are a collaboration between a tattoo artist and customer to demonstrate a personal and unified artistic theme. Other times, a sleeve is created when a person has many smaller tattoos on his/her arm and later has them connected with background tattooing to form a sleeve. Pre-planned sleeves generally require many long hours of tattooing and can take weeks, months or years to complete.
Some organizations have proposed rules banning sleeves among their members; the United States Marine Corps
prohibited Marines from getting arm- or leg-sleeve tattoos after April 1, 2007. Those with sleeves already are protected under a grandfather clause.Nevertheless, tattoo sleeves have become so popular that several clothing companies have produced apparel that simulates the look of tattoo sleeves using transparent mesh fabric printed with tattoo designs.