THEY were once the realm of sailors, tribes and criminals.
Today tattoos are as much a part of a person's image as their hair colour or clothing choice.
While some have subtle, hidden markings, others sport colourful tapestries on their limbs.
Kylie Simons is one of the latter.
The Launceston woman will be dusting off her vast array of body art for the upcoming Miss Ink Launceston competition, which will be held on Friday night at Richardson's Harley- Davidson.
Mrs Simons took out the Miss Ink Tasmania title in 2012 and is hoping to reclaim the crown.
"It's a lot of fun," she said of the competition, part of Miss Ink Australia.
Mrs Simons got her first tattoo at the age of 15 - a butterfly.
Since then she has added too many to count, with two almost-full arm sleeves, a chest piece, an extensive back piece and various leg pieces.
"I get asked `Don't you worry about when you're old and wrinkly?', `Whereabouts hurt the most?' and `Can I touch you?' - actually some people don't even ask," Mrs Simons said.
"People pat me like I'm a Braille book - they expect me to feel different."
Participants can register for the competition online at www.missinkaustralia.com.au.