Calvin and Hobbes Fan Art: Tattoos

Bill Watterson’s world famous comic strip characters, Calvin and Hobbes, are a staple in the literary diet of children and adults alike. Calvin, a blonde kid with an over-active imagination, and his stuffed tiger who comes alive in the alternate universe created by Calvin’s mind, have relocated from a life on paper to a new existence on skin, as tattoos.

In the early 1980s, Bill Watterson held a job in an advertising company, a position that he didn’t enjoy. Watterson began to explore a talent that he had – cartooning, in the hopes that he could create a new career for himself. His early creations were unsuccessful, with the variety of strips he’d inked being rejected repeatedly by the various syndicates that he sent them to.

However, one strip contained two characters that aroused the interest of the United Press Syndicate. These characters were a young boy, the younger brother of the strip’s main character, and the boy’s stuffed tiger. Watterson created a strip based entirely on these characters and the wonderful world of Calvin and Hobbes was born.
The comic strip became so popular over the years that it has inspired a variety of fan art pieces. The following examples of fan art take the form of tattoo designs based on the Calvin and Hobbes characters and comic strip.

Above: The image of Calvin running home from school to be with his best friend, Hobbes, is one of the most famous and beloved pictures of Calvin.

Above: Calvin may at times seem far to intelligent for a kid his age, but sometimes, a child has to be a child and enjoy childish things, like bubbles. This tattoo design of Calvin is simple and elegant, needing no more than a few outlines to portray the comic strip character.

Spaceman Spiff and Stupendous Man

The strip’s protagonist, Calvin, has a number of alter-egos. Spaceman Spiff is an “interplanetary explorer extraordinaire” who is often chased, shot down and captured by predatory alien beasties. Spaceman Spiff wears goggles, the frames of which change shape according to Spiff’s emotions, and Spiff’s futuristic weapon changes names and purposes according to Spiff’s whims. His weapon is sometimes known as the Death Ray Blaster, Atom Blaster or the Atomic Napalm Neutralizer.

Stupendous Man boasts a red spandex hood and cape and has several arch-enemies, Annoying Girl (Susie Derkins), Mom Lady (Calvin’s mother), Babysitter Girl (Rosalyn) and the Crab Teacher (Miss Wormwood). As Stupendous Man, Calvin attempts to pull off a number of useless plans with his super powers of superhuman intelligence, high speed flight, enhanced vision and “the strength of a million mortal men”.

Above: This Calvin and Hobbes fan art tattoo boasts Stupendous Man, tattooed on the right shoulder, and Spaceman Spiff, inked into the skin of the left shoulder.

Above: Spaceman Spiff regularly crashes into alien planets, bravely withstanding ghastly crash injuries while defending himself from alien beasties. Watterson has the ability to create highly expressive lines in his cartoons, which turns each frame into a lively rendition of Calvin's active imagination.

Hobbes the Tiger

Hobbes is Calvin’s best friend and a figment of Calvin’s over-active imagination. In reality, Hobbes is a stuffed animal toy, but in Calvin’s imagination, Hobbes is a mischievous, often-lazy, loyal tiger. Hobbes is Calvin’s sidekick who likes to sneak up on Calvin unawares and scare the skin off the poor boy.

Above: Hobbes the tiger as he looks to adults, teachers, little girls and the other unimaginative characters in Calvin’s world

Above: This fan art tattoo shows Hobbes in real life, as a stuffed toy. It is only in Calvin's imagination that Hobbes is animated.

Above: Hobbes questions his own existence after discovering how he appears in real life.

Calvin and Hobbes

The story of Calvin and Hobbes is that of an infallible friendship. They fight, they hug, they laugh and they dance. The relationship between Watterson’s famous characters is both touching and entertaining, as the inseparable duo explore and celebrate the world of Calvin’s imagination.

Above: The image of Hobbes pouncing on Calvin is a favorite among Calvin and Hobbes fans. The tattoo design is given depth because of its placement on the ankle.

Above: This tattoo design shows Calvin and Hobbes acting like perfectly normal boys.

Above: Calvin and Hobbes love to dance. This tattoo of Watterson's characters is lively and entertaining.

Above: This Calvin and Hobbes tattoo shows the two characters having fun, dancing. The space around the boy and his tiger is littered with music notes, a symbol that is recognizable in any language. 

Above: A tattoo of Calvin and Hobbes, friends forever.

Above: This tattoo design shows yet another scene of the two friends that is a favorite among Calvin and Hobbes fans. Here, they are shown exploring.

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip Tattoos

When drawing a comic strip for a newspaper, cartoonists will often try to fill every inch of space, as it is the space on a newspaper page that costs money. Watterson, however, leaves an enormous amount of space blank in his comic strips to introduce the introspective mood of Calvin. These comic strips, with their elegant simplicity and sense of space, make great line tattoos.

Above: Bill Waterson's comic strip style is free of clutter, reminiscent of the focus that a child has on their current activity. 

Above: Watterson's expressive lines and lack of clutter are a perfect medium for the light-hearted humor of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.

Bill Watterson’s famous comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, still delights readers more than 20 years after its conception. The comic depicts both the joys and trials of youth, with the unique flavor of Calvin’s active imagination and curious, intelligent mind.

Read More on Art-Sci:
 10 Where's Waldo Puzzles