Dad Covers His Body in Tattoos of Son's Artwork (PHOTOS)

keith anderson

File this one under Brilliant Parenting Idea I Wish I'd Thought of First: Ontario dad Keith Anderson came up with the best way ever to preserve his son's art -- by getting the designs tattooed on his skin (and they're absolutely beautiful!).

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From the moment my kids were old enough to pick up a washable marker, I've been searching for ways to save their artwork. From those first primitive scrawls to their increasingly realistic renderings and colorful abstract masterpieces, it's always broken my heart a little bit every time I had to throw even the most seemingly unimportant scrap of paper away (only to make room for new artwork, of course!). Even storing these vibrant pieces away in a drawer feels wrong, as if these creations deserve to live and breathe and be appreciated on a daily basis, forever. Unfortunately, not every drawing can be framed -- and short of making wallpaper out of your child's scribbles, what's an art-loving parent to do?

Anderson got the idea to use his son Kai's drawings as tattoo templates back when Kai (now 11) was 4 years old, inspired by a family member: "One of my younger brothers had a piece of art my niece had drawn tattooed on his leg, and when I found out about it, I ran with the idea and decided to do a whole sleeve, with one tattoo a year," Anderson tells The Stir.

"The first tattoo, the daisy, went on when he was 5 years old, just starting kindergarten," Anderson adds. "I then went back and found some pics from when he was 4 and added those."

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As of this writing, Anderson has been inked with eight of Kai's designs (he also has other, non-related tattoos), with no plans to stop. Kai is always present for the process and has even helped to etch them on to his dad's skin!

"Most people ask if I let my kid draw on me with markers," says Anderson. "Some people are indifferent about it when they find out they're tattoos and then surprised that they're real kid drawings. Most people do like them." 

The best part about this father-son collaboration, of course (besides the aforementioned preservation aspect), is that it's given Keith and Kai a very special and unique way to bond, as well as encouraging Kai to develop his artistic talent. (Can you imagine how validating it would be for a budding artist to see that his dad respected his work so much, he got it permanently stamped on his skin??) And naturally Anderson loves all of his son's work, but he says his "main favorite is the daisy, then the stained glass. Others are favorites depending on mood and circumstance, I guess. His self-portrait is a favorite."

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For parents looking to follow his example -- and there are most likely quite a few, thanks to photographer Chance Faulkner's recent interview and portrait series with Anderson -- the dad's advice is simple: "I would say go for it, no matter how old the kid is when they do a drawing or whether or not it is of something that is at all recognizable. Just go for it."

Wise words! Check out our gallery of these amazing tattoos. 

Would you get tattoos of your kid's drawings?


All images via Chance Faulkner Photography

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