Dr Seuss was the pen name for the American children’s book author and illustrator, Theodor Seuss Geisel. His stories have delighted both children and adults since the 1930s and have become the inspiration for dozens of movies, animations and derivative children’s tales. The master of nonsense rhymes and fantasy illustrations is also celebrated through body art, in the form of Dr Seuss tattoos.
A Tattoo’s a Tattoo, that is Truer than True
Theodor Geisel used his mother’s German maiden name for his pen name, creating the Dr Seuss brand that is now so adored. “Seuss” is supposed to rhyme with “voice”, but over time, the public changed it to rhyme with “Zeus” or “loose”. Alexander Liang, one of Seuss’s contemporaries, said of Dr Seuss: “You’re wrong as the deuce and you shouldn’t rejoice; if you’re calling him Zeus, he pronounces it Soice.” Tattoos that celebrate Dr Seuss seldom include the author’s name, however. Often Dr Seuss tattoos depict the illustrated characters or creatively written sayings from the books.
Favorite sayings for Dr Seuss tattoos are “Be who you are and say what you feel, because the people who mind don’t matter, and the people who matter don’t mind”, “A person’s a person, no matter how small” and “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Tattoos of Dr Seuss sayings often use his signature font style and are sometimes accompanied by tattoos of creatures and characters from the Dr Seuss books.
Dr Seuss created an entire world for his stories. Although many of the animals and people are similar to those found on Earth, they always had distinctly Seuss-like characteristics, such as furry bodies, tufted paws or fingers and little buttons noses. In Seuss’s world, trees are fluffy, fish can walk and sing and the characters are capable of the most absurd nonsense. The appeal of Dr Seuss’s books have survived the rigors of time, accompanying many people into adulthood. Most Dr Seuss tattoo designs are inspired by childhood memories of reading the books with a parent, sibling or grandparent.
Unless it Wears a Tutu, then it’s a Tutu Tattoo
Dr Seuss was the master of nonsense. He created riddles, rhymes and entire words that celebrated nonsense. Among the words that Seuss created are, “schloppity-schlop”, “nerd” and “wocket”. Even his characters are nonsensical, bearing names such as the “grinch” and the “lorax”. Even though Dr Seuss’s tales can seem silly at a glance, each story has a social theme behind it.
Seuss tried to avoid starting with a moral in his stories, but did try to address human issues throughout the tale, only approaching the moral towards the end. His reasoning was that “kids can see a moral coming a mile off” and that children were bored of stories that had a moral. He described his style of sneaking up on the moral of the story as “subversive as hell”.
A number of Dr Seuss’s stories and poems aim to inspire children to grow up to be good people. A lot of Seuss’s poetry advises children to be confident and not be afraid to take risks, and to allow their natural greatness to shine through. Unlike so many children’s books, Dr Seuss’s stories told children that life will be tough at times, but if you’re smart and determined, a person (no matter how small) can get through even the most difficult situations. A fun reading of the poem was compiled at Burning Man, in which dozens of festival goers recited and acted out the lines of the poem. Watch the video here.
Dr Seuss tattoos can be worn in homage to a loved one who has passed away, but in life enjoyed the stories of Dr Seuss. Tattoos of Dr Seuss sayings can have a personal meaning as a mantra to guide a person through life. The Dr Seuss characters are more than just fun tattoo designs – each character symbolizes the moral of the story that they appeared in. Often tattoos of Dr Seuss characters have a deep personal meaning for the tattoo owner, reminding them of their childhood or a life-changing experience.