Here is a collection of kanji, the Japanese characters so beloved in Western tattooing presently. Included are mother, daughter, woman, man, son, father, child, teacher and friends.
Pictures of Japanese Kanji for Words that Refer to People
You often see kanji just tattooed in black by themselves, but you can also think of them as a field or shape. You can add a texture, or if done large enough, another image inside of them. You can fill them in with color, or leave them empty against a busy background. Be sure to check with a native language speaker if you get a custom translation done before you get your new tattoo inked for good. It never hurts to make sure it really says what you wanted it to say.
To help you decide on a kanji and find the characters on which to base a design, you might like
Designing with Kanji: Japanese Character Motifs for Surface, Skin & Spirit
by Shogo Oketani and Leza Lowitz or you might like to see more Kanji For Tattoos