If you want new ink, these tattoo ideas for men are cool, timeless and versatile pieces that will elevate your artwork. These stunning tattoo designs will inspire you to get creative and come up with badass artwork. Whether you want a small and simple design on your wrist or a sleeve that covers your forearm, these popular tattoos for men can help you create a stylish and meaningful piece.
For inspiration, we’ll show you examples of the best tattoos for men. From masculine to artistic, these cool tattoo ideas will transform and take your ink to the next level.
- 1 Tattoo Ideas For Men
- 1.1 Small Tattoo
- 1.2 Simple Tattoo
- 1.3 Religious Tattoo
- 1.4 Cross Tattoo
- 1.5 Quote Tattoo
- 1.6 Lion Tattoo
- 1.7 Wolf Tattoo
- 1.8 Skull Tattoo
- 1.9 Rose Tattoo
- 1.10 Owl Tattoo
- 1.11 Phoenix Tattoo
- 1.12 Dragon Tattoo
- 1.13 Compass Tattoo
- 1.14 3D Tattoo
- 1.15 Tribal Tattoo
- 1.16 Star Tattoo
- 1.17 Angel Tattoo
- 1.18 Music Tattoo
- 1.19 Arrow Tattoo
- 1.20 Feather Tattoo
- 1.21 Crown Tattoo
- 1.22 Family Tattoo
- 1.23 Scorpion Tattoo
- 1.24 Meaningful Tattoo
- 1.25 Name Tattoo
- 2 Where To Get A Tattoo
- 2.1 Sleeve Tattoo
- 2.2 Forearm Tattoo
- 2.3 Chest Tattoo
- 2.4 Back Tattoo
- 2.5 Shoulder Tattoo
- 2.6 Hand Tattoo
- 2.7 Neck Tattoo
- 2.8 Wrist Tattoo
- 2.9 Leg Tattoo
- 2.10 Stomach Tattoo
- 2.11 Finger Tattoo
- 2.12 Rib Tattoo
- 2.13 Face Tattoo
- 3 Popular Tattoos For Men
Tattoo Ideas For Men
Small tattoos are great for working professionals or guys who don’t want their tattoo to define them. The best part is that you can get a small tattoo absolutely anywhere on your body.
Whether you choose a tiny design on your arm, hand, wrist, or chest, you can always conceal the artwork when you want. In the end, small tattoos make for good first and easy tattoo for men.
Simple tattoos are proof that designs don’t have to be intricate or complicated to be cool. A simple idea can provide more meaning and allow for creativity and style. Generally, small and simple tattoos have been very popular for men.
Religious tattoos come in a variety of shapes and styles. Some of the most popular religious tattoo ideas include the cross, bible verses like John 3:16, and phrases like “Only God Can Judge Me”.
Naturally, the Christian religion isn’t the only one that can be immortalized in ink; other tattoos can represent Greek, Roman, and Norse gods. These tattoos are perfect for guys who want to show their devotion for a lifetime.
Crucifix and cross tattoos are by far the favorite Christian designs you’ll see. Symbolic of God, Jesus, and your faith, the cross tattoo provides plenty of styling options.
Quote tattoos are continuing to gain traction with men due to their ability to accurately represent a life philosophy or belief. When looking at quote tattoo ideas, important factors to consider include the meaning, size, location, and font – all of which play a crucial role in emphasizing the message.
It’s also good to remember that a longer quote will require more space and a font or script that is too small can be difficult to read.
Ideally, a single sentence or phrase is best, and most guys choose powerful quotes from their favorite songs or authors.
If you’re looking for designs that represent strength, courage, and family, the lion tattoo is an excellent option. The lion is among the fiercest of all the predators on Earth, and it can serve as a symbolic reminder of your own strength.
Lion tattoo ideas can stand alone or be surrounded by other images in a gorgeous collage, which makes them perfect centerpieces for artwork on the sleeve, chest, or back.
The wolf tattoo is one of the best animal tattoo ideas for guys. Because it symbolizes family, strength and loyalty, it can immortalize your relationship with family members and friends.
Guys may choose wolf tattoo designs that illustrate the full body or just the head howling at a moon.
Skull tattoos are by far one of the most badass tattoo ideas. Talented artists have reinvented the skull tattoo designs in thousands of different and unique ways. So whether you want a small drawing for your hand or forearm, or a fiery 3D version on your back, chest or shoulder, there are endless possibilities.
Though the skull has traditionally been used to represent death, this is not always the case. Skull tattoos for guys can symbolize rebellion, power, passion, rebirth and mortality.
Though rose tattoos may look feminine, roses are often incorporated into many designs for guys. Although the traditional red rose tattoo is the most common, artists can turn a traditional rose into a masterpiece by making it look realistic or 3D.
The rose represents a fresh start, growth, potential, peace, and even a tribute to loved ones. Much of the meaning depends on the color of the rose and the specific art.
Owl tattoos symbolize intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge. Designs can be drawn realistic or more in a traditional tattoo style, and they can even be added into other images. Small owls are perfect for wrists, ankles, and even hands.
But larger ones can be located on your back, chest, thigh, or upper arm. If you want an unique tattoo that doesn’t conform, get an owl tattoo.
The phoenix tattoo is all about new beginnings and rebirth. Sometimes a new lease on life is the best way to move forward, and that’s exactly why many guys get phoenix tattoos. A phoenix rising from the ashes can symbolize transformation, virtue, and potential.
It’s incredibly common among recovering addicts and those who have dealt with great loss but continue to move forward in life.
The dragon tattoo is another powerful mythical creature and design idea. Dragons represent strength, power, greed, intellect, wisdom, and rebellion. There are dozens of different types of dragons, and each has its own meaning.
Horned dragons are the strongest, celestial dragons are protectors, and earth dragons are much like kings and rulers. Dragon tattoos make for amazing designs, especially stretched as a full sleeve tattoo or extending from your arm, shoulder, back and chest.
The compass tattoo is often underappreciated, but offers a classic idea for men who want a small, simple design with deep meaning. Traditionally, a compass is a traveler’s icon, but some guys like to extend the representation to the journey of life.
The compass symbolizes good fortune and guidance as we navigate our own paths, helping us decipher between the right and wrong so we can achieve happiness, health and success.
3D tattoos represent our favorite designs and can be truly captivating. Only the most exceptional artists can create cool 3D tattoos.
The best 3D tattoo ideas include optical illusions, mechanical gears or robotics as body parts, carved-out sections of skin, and more. It’s vital to find a reputable artist for this type of tattoo, but other than that, the designs are unlimited.
Tribal tattoos are derived from ancient history and cultures. As a symbol of family, strength, power, and courage, tribal designs are bold and beautiful. For an intricate and timeless tattoo, get tribal patterns.
Star tattoos have trending in recent years. The star can be small and simple as standalone ink, or big and stylish for a masculine look. In the end, the star tattoo can look good on any guy.
Angel tattoos can represent your faith, your belief in angels, or just the beauty of the design. Your angel tattoo idea can be beautiful and serene or badass and edgy. Either way, angels make for excellent body art.
A music tattoo is an excellent idea for guys who are either musicians or simply have a deep appreciation for music. Share your passion for music with artistic notes, instruments, lyrics, or any other representation.
Arrow tattoos look great anywhere on your body. In fact, arrow tattoo ideas make for the best first tattoos because they are simple and stylish. Popular spots include the wrist and forearm.
Feather tattoos are rich with symbolism and versatile enough to fit anywhere. While you may think feather tattoo designs are straightforward, consider a creative approach to stand out.
The crown tattoo for men is meant to signify that you are a king. Crowns are often part of matching couple tattoos, where a boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife get a king and queen tattoo design to celebrate their relationship. For this reason, crown tattoos can be very powerful symbols.
Family tattoos are an expression of love and unity. Some of the best family tattoo ideas include quotes like “Family First”, “Family Is Forever”, and “Family Over Everything” or names, portraits, and family trees.
The family tattoo is very meaningful and special, and few men ever regret this type of ink.
Scorpion tattoos can celebrate the Scorpio horoscope or represent passion, sexuality, intimidation, power, perseverance, evil, and death. As a powerful piece of artwork, choose the scorpion tattoo carefully.
Meaningful tattoos come in all shapes, sizes and styles, all depending on the message you want to convey. Whether you pick a quote, symbol, name, or another really cool design that speaks to your soul, guys are always searching for unique tattoos with meaning.
The name tattoo can be an awesome way to show love for a family member or close friend. Whether you want to celebrate your love for a spouse, sibling, child, grandparent, or best friend, name tattoos are all about the styling of the design.
Where To Get A Tattoo
Now that you have some different tattoo ideas when it comes to the location on your body, it’s time to think about the actual design. Sometimes, you may see a piece of artwork that you love for no apparent reason, and this is just as acceptable as a date or something symbolic. Here, you’ll learn the best tattoo design options that are popular among men.
A sleeve tattoo covers the arm, and can be a great canvas for large, powerful messages and drawings. While a full sleeve covers the entire arm, and a half sleeve can cover either the upper or lower arm. Many guys wrap a sleeve tattoo into the shoulder, back and chest for a truly badass piece of work.
While the pain factor varies, areas closer to the bone, such as elbow and wrist, may feel more tender than larger areas such as the forearm, back of your arm and shoulder.
When it comes to choosing artwork for a full or half sleeve tattoo, just about any design you can imagine can come to life. Some men choose a single image that wraps around all or part of their arms.
Others choose to turn their sleeves into a collage of images that may reflect their hobbies, accomplishments, or even pieces of artwork they admire.
Arm and forearm tattoos are a bit different in that they are single pieces of artwork that do not cover your entire arm like a sleeve. The forearm is a great location for a variety of tattoos, and for the most part, any pain you might experience is minimal.
If you’re a professional working in an office, you can cover an arm tattoo with a long sleeve shirt, but it’s far easier to hide ink on your upper arm.
If you want a tattoo on your arm, anything goes. The arm can accommodate the best tattoo designs and ideas.
Chest tattoos are growing more popular with every passing year and represent some of the most masculine and badass tattoo ideas. However, a chest tattoo may or may not be right for you.
Men who have quite a bit of body hair will need to shave their chests prior to getting their ink, and they may need to continue shaving to keep their tattoos visible.
The pain is minimal for the most part, but areas around the nipples and close to the collarbone can be bothersome. The coolest chest tattoo designs include the dragon, skull, phoenix, quotes, names of loved ones, and anything you want to keep close to your heart.
Chest tattoos are among the easiest to cover in professional and formal settings. Nevertheless, take your time finding a talented artist so your ink comes out clean and clear.
The back tattoo is the perfect spot for big drawings and masterpieces. The back is a blank canvas for all types of tattoo ideas. Plus, because you can cover up back ink easily, back tattoos can be as edgy and intimidating as you want.
Some favorite designs include quotes tattooed from shoulder to shoulder, vivid scenes of mythological creatures and Gods, and smaller artwork like a cross or name.
Furthermore, one of the best tattoo ideas for the back is a collage that you can add to as the years go by; many men choose to tattoo their kid’s footprints and birth dates in this manner or get ink to commemorate important events in their lives.
If you are concerned about pain, the areas just over the sharpest parts of the shoulder blades and along the spine can be moderately painful, but tolerable for most.
Shoulder tattoos are perfect for larger pieces of art, and some men choose matching designs for both shoulders. This can look awesome with a tank top, but easily be covered up by clothing.
You’ll also see many tribal shoulder tattoos as they stretch from the shoulder to the back and chest.
The shoulder is one of the more painful areas to get tattooed. But if you’re going for a very manly and bold shoulder tattoo, the pain is almost like a rite of passage.
Hand tattoos come in many different styles. Generally, hand tattoo designs are very bold statements since they are highly visible.
Spelling a word or phrase across four (or eight if you choose to tattoo both hands) may suit your personality. Some guys opt for a very small and simple tattoo on the hand, like a crown, rose, or cross.
Knuckle and finger tattoos can be quite painful, but because they are small, most men won’t even wince. The downside to hand tattoos is that they are almost impossible to cover if you are a professional.
Neck tattoos are extremely visible and impossible to cover as well, so we wouldn’t recommend this spot if you are a professional with a career. If this does not apply to you, there are numerous neck tattoo designs that can work well here.
Single words that have some sort of meaning are popular, as are small tattoos on the left or right side. Some men may also choose to tattoo the backs of their neck.
As far as pain goes, it depends on the location; the back of the neck is far less painful than the sides, but even then, the pain is only moderate and easily tolerated.
If you like the idea of a neck tattoo, think carefully about what you want to convey to the world.
Wrist tattoos can look amazing, depending on your personality and the type of ink you get. While it can be difficult to cover a wrist tattoo, the inner wrist has become a popular canvas for artists. It’s a great place for stylish, small, subtle designs that are becoming more accepted in most workplaces.
While the wrist is not a painful area to get tattooed, the region just over the bone can become tender quickly. Simple ideas look best here, so a cross, crown, spade, symbols, and dates are worth thinking about.
Leg tattoos are good for guys who want to show off their ink. The upper thigh and calf are great for working professionals who want to be able to cover up a leg tattoo, whereas drawings on your ankle will make a statement.
Because of the length of the canvas, the best leg tattoo ideas for men tend to be long like a dragon or phoenix. However, you can always get a small and compact design.
A stomach tattoo can be sexy and hot if you have a toned body. Whether you want a badass tattoo design across your stomach or on just one side, be mindful that the artwork can look stretched out if you gain weight. Other than, it’s a great spot that can easily be concealed.
Despite the limited space, finger tattoos can be tailored in a number of ways. The best finger tattoo ideas are often small and simple, like a cross, rose, musical note, symbol, letter, or arrow. Guys can even choose to get one design on each finger for a collection of drawings.
Rib tattoos can be among the most painful, but the rib cage makes for an excellent canvas. Ideas for a rib tattoo range from the fierce lion roaring to a fiery skull bursting in flames.
While you may see more face tattoos popping up, this type of ink is still generally considered an extreme look. We recommend you weigh the pros and cons before getting one, especially if you aren’t in love with the design.
Even then, there are plenty of other body parts to get tattooed that are easier to cover up in the future.
Popular Tattoos For Men
The most popular tattoos for men are lions, dragons, wolves, skulls, roses, arrows, quotes, trees, anchor and meaningful designs. These tattoo designs can be small and simple or cover your arm, chest, back, shoulder or leg for an elaborate piece. The best tattoo ideas are generally thoughtful, timeless and masculine designs that symbolize something special to the person.
- Gather Reference Images. ...
- Look Through Tattoo Portfolios. ...
- Decide on Tattoo Placement. ...
- Discover Your Preferred Tattoo Style.
What are the most popular tattoos for guys? The most popular tattoo designs for men are tribal, skull, phoenix, dragon, lion, wolf, flower, compass, religious, nautical, and crown.What tattoo represents strength for men? ›
Strong, Fierce Animal
If you want to go hyper masculine with your selection, nothing says “tough guy” quite like a strong, fierce animal tattoo. From lions to wolves to tigers, majestic animals are a top-notch selection for depicting strength and resilience.
Thigh tattoos might have the most sexual undertones and convey a sense of mystery and openness to intimacy. Upper arm tattoos evoke both adventurous and practical qualities. With this balance, it makes sense that all genders universally consider this placement to be the sexiest tattoo location.Does a tattoo make a guy more attractive? ›
Key points. In a study, women rated tattooed men as healthier but not more attractive than men without tattoos. Men viewed tattooed men as more attractive but not healthier than men without tattoos. Women judged men with tattoos as worse potential parents and partners than men without tattoos.What should I not tell my tattoo artist? ›
- I Let My Dog Sleep In My Bed With Me. ...
- How Much For A Sleeve? ...
- Can You Draw Something, And If I Like It, I Book An Appointment? ...
- I Am Just 17, But My Parents Approve. ...
- Can You Hurry Up, Please? ...
- I Had A Few Beers To Man Up.
- Expect to be waitlisted. ...
- Tattoos are expensive. ...
- Do a recce of the shop. ...
- Consult your dermatologist. ...
- Proofread. ...
- Getting inked hurts. ...
- Tattoos do need touch-ups. ...
- Post-tattoo care is crucial.
According to a list compiled by Singulart, the most popular tattoo in all of America is the butterfly. "With a very impressive 165,000 monthly searches, rose tattoos are in second place, with flower designs in joint third, at 110,000 searches.What tattoos should men not get? ›
- A Chinese symbol.
- Barbed wire. ...
- A cartoon figure. ...
- A pop-culture reference. ...
- An iconic face. ...
- An anchor. ...
- A mythical animal. ...
- A superhero emblem. Yes, Batman is a badass, Spider-Man is cool and it's awesome that Superman can subdue an intergalactic menace with a flick of his cape. ...
- Ask Yourself Why You Want Body Art. ...
- Consult a Tattoo Artist. ...
- Determine Where You Want Your Ink. ...
- Ensure It Makes You Happy. ...
- Make a List of Your Favorite Things. ...
- Gather Inspiration. ...
- Look For Ideas in Unusual Places. ...
- Keep an Open Mind.
Women tend to look more favourably on men with tattoos, associating them with “good health, masculinity, aggressiveness and dominance,” according to one study.How much do you tip a tattoo guy? ›
“A suggested percentage of 20% to 25% for personal services is an accepted standard, especially in these post-COVID times.” Cornolo puts the range between 15% to 20%, but says that it really varies. “Some tip less, and some are very generous."What is the hardest spot to tattoo? ›
The armpit is among the most painful places, if not the most painful place, to get tattooed. The pain you'll experience getting tattooed here is very severe. In fact, most tattoo artists advise against people getting armpit tattoos.Where should I get my first tattoo as a guy? ›
If it's your first time, start with something discreet in an unobtrusive area of your body (on the underside of your upper arm/on your hip) and see how you get on with it. Think of your new tattoo as you would a new skin product – patch test it first before splashing it on all over the place.What tattoos do girls like on guys? ›
- Tattoo Location. ...
- Forearm Tattoo – Forearms tied for first place with chest ink, with 28% of the votes.
- Bicep Tattoo – 18% of women like bicep tattoos, with no specification as to inner or outer arm.
- Shoulder Blade Tattoo – 11% of ladies prefer to see a man with ink on their shoulder blade.
– The Research. According to a Polish study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal, women don't find tattooed men more (or less) attractive. They do think men with tattoos are healthier, more masculine, dominant, and aggressive, but that they make worse partners and parents.What age group has the most tattoos? ›
According to a recent surveys conducted in the United States, tattoos were common the most among Millennials. Millennials represents that part of population born between the beginning of the 1980s and half 1990s.What annoys tattoo artists? ›
- When you complain about the estimated price of your tattoo: ...
- And when you try to bargain for a cheaper price: ...
- When you ask your tattoo artist to copy another tattoo artist's work: ...
- When you try to convince your tattoo artist you're 18 even though you're clearly underage:
Some artists love to gab while tattooing but others prefer to be quiet. Let the artist take the lead or ask them what they prefer. Do bring a book to read or movie to watch provided you can do it without moving. Do let your artist take the lead on whether or not to talk.What not to do before a tattoo? ›
Drink a lot of water during the week; avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours before getting tattooed. Please do not shave the area; we will do it for you at your appointment. Avoid aspirin or blood thinning medication at least 24 hours before your tattoo; ibuprofen, acetaminophen, & other NSAID pain relievers are OK.
Be sure to get a good night's sleep, don't drink the night before, stay hydrated, and eat something before arriving at the tattoo studio. (You can also bring snacks to have while getting tattooed.)What is the hardest color to tattoo? ›
However, not all pigments are created the same as some tattoo colors may be more difficult to remove than others. So which tattoo color is the hardest to remove? White ink is one of the harder pigments to extract because it only reflects the laser light instead of absorbing it.What should I get tattooed first? ›
If you're worried about how you'll deal with the pain, it's good to test your first tattoo out on the legs or arms, where Brodsky says the pain can be less intense, especially if it's a fleshier part of your body.What personality type gets tattoos? ›
A study completed in 2007 in Germany evaluating tattooed and non-tattooed individuals using a Big Five Personality Inventory found that tattooed individuals scored higher on the subscale of extraversion, and lower on the subscale of neuroticism (Wohlrab, 2007).Which is the safest tattoo? ›
Black remains safest. Blue and green inks with copper phthalocyanine pigments are safe too.What kind of tattoos are unprofessional? ›
"In most industries, your boss and colleagues will just shrug their shoulders and adapt to the way you look." But there are two types of tattoos that aren't likely to fly: face and neck tattoos. Ruettimann said those tattoos will likely disqualify you from jobs where you'll be meeting clients in particular.What does 5 dots on the hand tattoo mean? ›
These dots differ greatly from the previous tattoo – five dots represents time done in prison. Also known as the quincunx, the four dots on the outside represent four walls, with the fifth on the inside representing the prisoner. This tattoo can be found internationally, among both American and European inmates.What tattoos last longer? ›
Best Tattoo Colors that Last the Longest
With proper aftercare, black and gray colors last for up to 10 years or longer before requiring a retouch. Dark blue: Like black ink, dark blue tattoo colors are suitable for dark skin. They have long-wearing pigments and can also last for up to 10 years.
- Colorful Creations. Colorful tattoos are undoubtedly becoming more and more popular with an increase in demand for bold, vibrant designs. ...
- Dotwork. If you want a tattoo that stands out from the crowd then a dotwork design is just for you. ...
- Minimalist Magic. ...
- Abstract Beauty. ...
- 90's Tattoo Nostalgia.
Gaining some serious muscle (as in Hulk-like proportions) will definitely stretch your skin, but it usually won't stretch a tattoo enough to warp its appearance. Even if you lift heavy and often, the bulking up typically won't happen fast enough to impact the appearance of a tattoo.
The best places to put your tattoo are areas that don't see as much light, friction, or stretching. These areas are your chest, your back, your shoulders, and your upper arm. While you might have planned to put that tattoo in the perfect spot, think again; to have it last a lifetime you need to consider location.Which gender is more likely to get a tattoo? ›
Men were more likely than women to report a tattoo, but the highest rates of tattooing were found among women in their 20s (29.4%). Men and women ages 20-39 were most likely to have been tattooed, as were men with lower levels of education, tradesmen, and women with live-out partners.What does tattoo 444 mean? ›
The “444” specifically refers to passion and ambition. The number is meant to inspire you to get your act together and move towards something great, don't drag your feet, and reignite and find the things that make you passionate about life.What is a smart tattoo? ›
Smart tattoos will include flexible electronic sensors, through which they will be able to monitor brain and heart activities, blood sugar levels, muscle functions, and sleep disorders. In brief, smart tattoos will work like a personalised circuit onto the skin.Do tattoos make you hotter? ›
New research suggests that all that ink impedes natural sweating -- and that might cause the body to overheat. The study found that tattooed skin on arms "has reduced sweat rates, and thus potential heat loss capacity, during [whole-body heating], compared to adjacent skin without tattoos."Why you should date a guy with tattoos? ›
Nothing says “commitment” like having a picture stamped to your body for life. When he makes a decision, he stands by it. He knows there's no turning back, no backing down at the last minute and letting someone down. He's true to his word.
Both men and women rated photographs of men with a tattoo as more masculine, dominant and aggressive. But women assessed tattooed men as worse potential partners and parents than men without tattoos—but having a tattoo did not influence men's ratings along these lines.What is the most common tattoo to get? ›
According to SINGULART, butterflies, rose, and dragon tattoos were ranked the most common tattoos nationally.Where do tattoos age the least? ›
- Inner Forearm. This is proven to be the best area to get a tattoo when it comes to aging. ...
- Upper, Outer Chest. This area is normally covered by clothing, which means it is not often exposed to the sun. ...
- Back of The Neck. ...
- Lower Back.
Ephemeral is the first and only tattoo that's made-to-fade in a year. Applied by real tattoo artists, Ephemeral tattoos are formulated to have a shorter lifespan– giving you the freedom to get tattoos without a lifetime commitment.