A tattoo flash is a tattoo design printed or drawn on paper or cardboard, and may be regarded as a species of industrial design. It is typically displayed on the walls of tattoo parlors and in binders to give walk-in customers ideas for tattoos. Much if not most traditional tattoo flash was designed for rapid tattooing, and was either drawn by the individual artist for display and use in his own shop, or traded and sold among artists. Hand-drawn, local tattoo flash has largely been replaced by professional "flash artists" who produce prints of copyrighted flash and sell them at conventions or through the Internet. There is no standard size for tattoo flash, but it is commonly found on 11x14 inch prints. Tattoo flash may or may not come with an outline, also known as a stencil. This outline is typically printed on a separate sheet. This is convenient for the tattoo artist, who would otherwise have to draw the line work for themselves.
In today's world it can be said that flash tattoos are in vogue for its urban style. For witty persons it would be a good option to take the best of advantage form flash tattoos so as to attract customers and décor their shop. Most flash today is found on the Internet, which customers can print out and bring to their own artist to have tattooed. Although this method is becoming commonplace, it can be a form of copyright violation, in as much as artwork found in books, magazines, or on websites is the property of the original artist and not in the public domain. In most countries, the original copyright holder can take action against the tattoo artist, or the person who illegally supplied the tattoo flash. For this reason, many of the top tattoo flash sites are now offering legal downloads of individual designs.
Common Flash symbols and their meanings
Anchor: Closely identified with sailors, mainly young sailors who would get the tattoo as a rite of passage after their first crossing of the Atlantic.
Bettie Page: A symbol of beauty and femininity, seen as the "Girl Next Door" hinting at the naughty.
Barbed Wire: Came out of prison culture and was adopted by Latino culture in Southern California. Often seen as armbands, this form of tattoo was wildly popularized by Pamela Anderson when she starred in Barb Wire.
Heart: Classic Flash design that was often used as an expression of romantic love. Variations include stars and hearts, symbol of happiness and favorable opportunities; hands holding a heart, representing parental love; black heart, for grief or mourning.
Dragon: In China, the dragon represents a supernatural and imperial power that resides in heavenly realms. It is also seen as a deity of rain. The dragon is also said to represent the four elements air, water, earth, and fire.
Koi/Carp Fish: An important fixture in Chinese and Japanese culture and are present in many stories and legends. In these stories, the Koi is a symbol of perseverance in the face of adversity and strength of character and purpose. The carp can also represent wisdom, knowledge, longevity, and loyalty.