These Incredibly Realistic Images Are Actually Tattoos. You Have To See Them To Believe It.

Tattooing is an ancient practice with roots around the world, from the British Isles to the Pacific. Thanks to modern developments in technology (and sanitation), tattoos are more intricate and vibrant than ever. While some prefer to work with more traditional styles, some artists are pushing the limits of tattoo art to create photorealistic images right on skin. 

One such artist is St. Petersburg-based tattoo artist Valentina Ryabova, who creates stunningly lifelike portraits. Her work includes portraits of celebrities and famous scenes from movies, as well as animals and portraits of loved ones. Each piece features eye-catching color and painstaking detail. She works in her Russian hometown, as well as at conventions all over the world. Here’s a sampling of her work:

This fluffy squirrel has a glow, as though it’s lit by sunlight.

The subject might not be your cup of tea, but the realism in the eyes and hair is striking.

This has a more painting-like approach.

This image is given even more depth thanks to the reflection in the sunglasses.

A sinister take on the classic portrait.

You have to really like Salma to get this.

A more traditional portrait.

This mashup of metallic skull and tattoo machine is a feat in texture rendering.

Dogs make great portraits, too.

I’m not sure about getting meth tattooed on you, but the portraiture is incredible.

Ryabova at work.

If you’re not in her area, you can still keep up with Ryabova via her Instagram to see more of her work.

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