Every guy at one point or another during his lifetime has entertained the idea of getting a tattoo. To some, tattoos are a right of passage, and to others, a way of life. Yet most men get tattoos for one simple reason; they look cool. However, as you’ll soon discover, tattoos can be so much more than just a pretty piece of art to look at. One thing is for certain, any tattoo created with a little taste and consideration will be something you’ll cherish and appreciate for the rest of your years on this planet. From everyone’s favorite rapper to intricate pieces of art that will absolutely blow you away, here are 60 tattoo designs that any guy would be lucky to have.
A halftone fist
According to yours truly, halftone style tattoos are some of the most underrated designs out there. Not unlike regular dotwork tattoos, halftone designs are made up of a number of strategically placed dots, but what separates halftone designs from your typical dotwork technique is the reliance on larger rounded dots which take more than a few movements to create.
A shattered clock
…and one of the best wolves we’ve ever seen. This splintered clock gives the artist the ability to add more detail to the piece which in turn makes it more of an eye-catching design. Roman numerals always look better on timepieces, and the straight edges of the numerals compliment the jagged lines of the splintered pieces.
A stomach tat
Probably the only thing that will get your lower mid section more attention than a six-pack of rock hard abs, this stunning ornamental mandala design will have everyone doing double and triple takes. I bet you this guy doesn’t own many shirts.
I never understood why tigers, jaguars, and lions were such popular tattoo choices. I mean, I get that they are beautiful and all but so are a lot of things. But if you are going to go full jungle cat, it’s hard to think a lion could compete with the beautiful spots of a jaguar from an artistic and visual point of view.
Bald eagle forearm tattoos are coming back. And I’m not just talking about my ex Marine uncle coming over for dinner. Eagles are awesome, and when done with such attention to detail, it’s easy to support a comeback, whether or not you happen to bleed red, white, and blue.
There are bear tattoos and then there are bear tattoos, this is the latter. There are also two kinds of people with tattoos: those who like to show them off and those who tend to be a little more reserved. And while we all know that annoying guy who has to show every person he meets each and every one of his tattoos, it’s not his fault he can’t contain his excitement (tattoos are cool). But if you are that guy, you may want to consider a prop tattoo like the one above for a little added novelty when it does come time to show that tattoo off.
A disassembled gun
You may be squinting at the screen while asking yourself “is this really a tattoo?” Yes, Oscar has that effect on most people and yes, this is a real tattoo. I plan on putting together a Best Tattoos of the Year article in December and you can bet this will make the list. Oscar’s ability to replicate lighting effects is on a completely different level.
A winged warrior
This large winged warrior is so in your face awesome that I’ve probably spent an hour in total just staring at it over the past 2 days. The wings, the 300-esque warrior, and the abstract wisps of sketch style ink all come together to make this one of the most impressive chest pieces I have seen a in a while.
A realistic portrait
There’s no shortage of Biggie Smalls tattoos floating around on the internet, but this is one of the better examples out there. It always amazes me how much better the overall quality of tattoos has gotten over the last 30 years. If Biggie were still alive, he would definitely approve.
A lot of ink
If I wasn’t so much of a wuss (very low pain threshold), my body would look something like this. I spend so much time looking at tattoos that when I see someone without tattoos it looks odd to me. In my opinion, the more tattoos the better. But of course you wouldn’t expect anything less from me, right?
A dotwork vortex
With the precise placement of halftone dots, DORI was able to create a multidimensional spiral while displaying harmonious rows of proportional perfection. Why do with something traditional when you can have this?
A few dials
If you have a particular hobby, passion, or interest it’s a common trend to get something related to whatever you like or love as a tattoo. I’ve seen all sorts of cool musical tributes but these control knobs are definitely a wonderful surprise that I have yet to have come across.
There’s nothing like a righteous pound. Especially when it’s executed in such stunning fashion as is this example. A parent’s bond with their child is something special, and that’s why parental tattoos are always popular. There are a lot of mother/son and mother/daughter designs, but not many father/son designs. This is a great example of the latter.
A tiger and skull
I’ve been doing this for a long time, so discovering new artists that I would put in my “Top Five,” it really is a rarity. I just recently stumbled upon this artist and to say he’s talented would be the understatement of the year, and it’s almost November, so that’s a lot of understatements.
A symmetrical design
Symmetry is a beautiful thing. It manifests itself through structure and order. Diverse, chaotic, yet undeniably appealing, this gorgeous forearm piece represents everything that is good and well in the world.
What are you on?
Don’t adjust your screen or clean your glasses. These four words are supposed to be blurry, and the coolest part about it is trying to focus on the design itself. That being said, I wouldn’t try it. You may just end up with a headache. Creatively cool—a style that I’ve just coined.
A black and grey ink landscape
If I were a fisherman, this would be my tattoo. There’s something about the ocean that just calms the soul. And the waves, they’re one of the hardest things to tattoo but when done well, are also one of the most impressive. Polish artist Eva Krbdk recently brought her skills to New York’s swanky Bang Bang studios which is a good thing for anyone stateside looking to get a little of her landscape goodness.
This tattoo is so much more than just a bear. Besides being practically perfect in every way shape and form, the creative genius of this piece is what I love most about it. The use of negative space trees set against the shadows of the bear’s fur is fantastic.
Lion tattoos are a dime a dozen. In fact, I’m creating an article dedicated solely to lion tattoos, and while it usually takes about a month to collect enough quality designs to make one of my lists, I was able to gather enough designs for the article in about 2 days. Meaning there’s no shortage of quality lion tattoos out there. And out of all those lion tattoos I’ve collected, this is one of my favorites.
A wooden ship
Remember when every tattoo in popular culture was pirate related? An anchor, a skull and crossbones, or a treasure map were seemingly the only options for any animated sailor. We’ve long since kicked that taboo but every time I see a sailor-style tattoo I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. The detail on display in this design is magnificent.
A creature from a dark lagoon
Okay, so in case you aren’t a baby boomer or Sci-Fi guy, this arm belongs to Gill-man in the film Creature from the Black Lagoon. It feels kind of silly explaining this but for the sake of Generation Z and my mom, I thought it necessary.
An ornamental necklace
In case you didn’t know, getting your breastplate tattooed is extremely painful. So if you’re going to decorate that area, I advise you to get something well worth the pain, like this fantastic ornamental decoration.
I included this design on the list for its unique combination of styles that we often don’t see paired together. You have your geometric patterns and shapes but also an uncharacteristically realistic owl. Usually we don’t see styles mixed in this way but I gotta admit, it looks great.
I don’t know if I would be comfortable with all the attention on my, um, lower region, but this realistic eye tattoo is very pleasant to look at. It’s always fascinating looking at tattoos of eyes. We’re so use to looking at eyes everyday that even animated eyes have a certain personality to them.
If going to space has always been a dream of yours, why not get an astronaut tattoo? Of course there are plenty of examples for you to refer to, including this gorgeous black and grey ink design.
A sketched wing
Sketch style tattoos are hugely popular right now and it’s easy to see why. Their unbridled lines and rough texture makes this “sketchy” style of tattoos an attractive one no matter how you look at things. If you like this particular type of design, Kamil, as well as Inez Janiak are some of the best in the business.
A tasteful mandala design
The dotwork and mandala styles go together like peanut butter and jelly. And while I have a tendency to overload you guys with mandala designs (sorry, they’re just everywhere these days), this example is unique in a few different ways. If you look closely, this design features an offset fault line which definitely ups the cool factor. It’s also not everyday that you see a close up of a design like this. I’d like to see more close up shots of tattoos, the details are so fascinating to me.
A partial lion mural
This tattoo is a work in progress, the artist is clearly only halfway done. But it all seriousness, I wish there was a close up shot of this piece. If you take a second to look at the details in the lion’s mane (what is this beautiful madness!?!), you’ll be wishing the same. The patterns almost looks like peacock feathers.
A classical back mural
While a monstrous back mural isn’t in everyone’s immediate future, there’s no harm in appreciating them from a far. Jun Cha is well-known for his classical style of ink. And if you can manage to secure his services, you may eventually find yourself the proud owner of something like this.
A sleeve in progress
Yes, it’s still in progress but if Arang was to stop today, it would still be an ultra cool sleeve. In fact, I didn’t even know it was still in progress when I chose it for the list—that’s how neat I think it looks “as is.” But still, I hope Arang posts a snap of the finished design because I’m interested in seeing how it turns out.
A dynamic cuff
You probably are thinking to yourself “This isn’t a sleeve.” But then again, what exactly is a sleeve? Half-sleeves are considered sleeves in my opinion, and even if you don’t share the same sentiment, it doesn’t take anything away from the design itself.
A linework skull
Cool, huh? A great way to make anything more appealing is to draw it using a series of strategically placed lines. Italian tattoo artist Francesco Rossetti works with lines, and boy does he deliver. Almost all of his designs feature some sort of linework element, which makes his work instantly recognizable.
A dotwork crescent moon
Okay, so you may think I simply chose this design for the fact that it’s an incredible composition altogether. And if that is the case, then you’d be partially correct. But that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that this dotted crescent moon would be wonderful all by itself.
An abstract skull
Here we have yet another halftone design. Abstract designs are a relatively new phenomenon in the wide world of tattoos. You see them frequently featured on the largest social media accounts in the industry, but rarely in person. I have a feeling this will change soon, ’cause, well, just look at this amazing work of art!
A shoulder piece
While this shoulder piece may initially be a stand-alone design, I’d be really impressed if this guy is able to stop here. Tattoos are addictive, and once you start, it’s incredibly difficult to stop, especially when your design has so much potential for additional work like the one pictured above.
An OverWatch tattoo
Not gonna lie, I didn’t know what OverWatch was until I came across this tattoo design (It’s a video game for all of you non-gamers out there). But the point is, the design quality is stupendous, and regardless if you’re an OverWatch fan or not, you’d be lucky to have this tattoo design.
A couple stars
Just kidding. See what I did there? But seriously this ram skull is awesome, as is almost every design created by Polish artist Magdalena. And not to take anything away from the main design in the photo, but that lettering is fire as well.
I’ve seen my fair share of arrow tattoos, but none of them come close to the design featured above. Take a close look at the detail on the shaft. Hector Daniels, you sir know how to draw an arrow. Bravo.
A geometric jaguar
This concept is one that I come across from time to time. It’s relative unique, but where most artists usually go wrong is making the geometric portion remarkably unremarkable. Too plain. Too boring. Glad to see that this isn’t the case here.
A projection photo
If you’re old like me, then you probably remember overheads in the classroom. Just saying the world “overhead” made my hand cramp up a little. I really don’t miss the countless hours spent copying whatever the teacher was writing. Anyways I got a little off topic there but this design really reminds me of when someone walks in front of an overhead. But seriously, how do you even get the inspiration for such a unique and creative design like this?
Everyone loves to travel. That is, until they don’t anymore. But it’s the idea of traveling that’s so romantic. The notion of far off places where everything is so much more interesting and fun. And it’s those emotions that can be triggered by the smallest of things. Travelers, wanderlusts, and dreamers, this is your tattoo.
An incredible chest piece
If you’re thinking ouch, then you’d be correct. However, you shouldn’t let a little pain get in the way of your dreams. And it may even come in handy some day. “Oh you’re going to waterboard me? Sure! That will be like a day at the waterpark compared to this!”
I’ve looked at this tattoo many times before and just now am I noticing that his face is resting in the palm of his hand. Iconic rappers always make for great tattoos. And Lesane Parish Crooks is one of the greatest.
All monsters are human
This is a neat play on a quote from American Horror Story: Asylum. Everyone loves clever tattoos. A little creativity often goes a long way. It also makes showing off your ink all the more fun.
A cool fond
Sometimes the simplest and most random things make for the best tattoo designs. This tropical fond is something of a hot design as of late. While we’re not sure who started the trend, we’ve been seeing a steady increase of these designs over the past two years. Why? Well, why not?
A geometric lower leg sleeve
What do you do when you can’t decide which geometric pattern you like the most? You get a little bit of each one of course! Geometric patterns are one of the most fascinating designs from the viewers standpoint. The more you stare at a design, the more you see.
You can practically smell the sage and hear the chants just looking at this stunning shaman tattoo. Black, grey, and even a little white ink were used to create a textured and dynamic design that must have taken forever to complete.
A couple connecting lines
This design looks simple enough but you would be surprised how hard it is to create lines this straight. Not all tattoo artists have the skills to pull this design off, as surprising as that may sound. Creative, unique, and super original.
A lot of heavy blackwork
For those of you looking to transform your body into something awe-inspiring like this, you better have your big boy pants on and an artist that’s committed. But of course, if you’re seriously considering something along these lines, this probably isn’t your first rodeo.
I’m an elephant
I’m curious as to what the process was like when creating this tattoo. Orange elephant first and then the little boy laid on top? If you fancy this particular design, make sure to check out Vasif’s Instagram profile, there’s plenty more.
A melting skull
If you love skulls, which I’m assuming is a guy thing, then you’ll definitely love this sprawling thigh piece. This design is a collaboration between Cassady Bell and Archie. They describe this design as “weird,” which we tend to agree with. Well, weird but awesome.
A chest piece
Leny Tusfey specializes in “Dark tattoos.” And while we’re not exactly sure what’s going on in this design, it is pretty epic in its entirety. So if you’re in the market for something dark, sinister, and slightly spooky, Leny is your guy.
Sleeves made up of multiple stand alone designs are my favorite. Unlike theme sleeves, these type of sleeves have so many stops for your eyes to make along the way. They also are a lot more fun to get—selecting a number of different designs is way more fun than just one.
I don’t know what is better: this, or the original. The level of detail and color Eva is able to harness on such a small scale is impressive. If you haven’t already, check out Eva’s full portfolio. And if you’re standing up, I’d recommend pulling up a chair— but you’ll only need the edge.
The quality of inks have improved, tattoo machines have gotten better, but what has really had the biggest impact on the tattoo industry in the last few decades is the micro movement. The level of detail artists are now able to achieve with these ultra fine needles have given artists the ability to capture details and create works of art no one ever dreamed possible.
A traveler’s tattoo
Here we have another one of Francesco’s marvelous linework designs, which reminds me of drawing on the edges of the pages of the book when it was closed.
A forearm piece
Apparently the cool thing to do with these ultra exclusive tattoo artists is to just walk in there and tell them to design you something beautiful. Of course I’m kidding but it’s just too hard to imagine someone saying “I’d like a heart, surrounded with flowers set to a background of diamond shapes with a realistic planetary progression. And could you fill one of those shapes with a swirling galaxy?”
A Bob Marley inspired design
This tattoo was inspired by one of my favorite Bob Marley songs, Three Little Birds. The birds are a little difficult to make out and in the future will probably become indistinguishable but right now, this design is truly something special. In Balazs’ world, there is no such thing as a simple tattoo design.
A large mandala chest piece
Not only will this massive mandala design make up for your lack of chest hair, but it will also seriously reduce the number of shirts you have to maintain in your wardrobe—you just won’t wear ’em that often. When it comes to mandala designs, I like to compare them to snowflakes; no two are exactly alike.