As anyone with an internet connection knows, tattoos aren’t what they used to be. While the days of simple hearts and dolphin ankle tattoos are still very much with us, the designs we see today are far from what you’d see on someone’s skin who grew up before the internet was around. As technologies have advanced, so have styles and the way we approach tattoo design in general. New techniques have been developed, roofs have been raised, and some pretty unbelievable things are happening—which are even hard to believe when they’re sitting right in front of your eyes. But don’t take my word for it. Ahead, 60 tattoo designs that are guaranteed to impact your life in a positive way.
The last time I saw a rose tattoo this beautiful was in a dream. I’m not joking. Okay I’m joking. But if you’re reading this then that means you’ve seen what I’ve seen and would probably agree with me that this beautiful watercolor rose belongs in a dream.
A mermaid’s tail
I featured this design on an earlier list last month but I felt it was just too beautiful not to showcase again. Mermaid tattoos are relatively popular, so for all you half-fish half-woman fans out there, this one’s for you. Everything from the concept to the execution is simply wonderful.
A colorful thigh piece
Gradient colors were everywhere in 2018, and I have a feeling the trend will continue well into 2019 and beyond. This design is riding pretty high on the thigh, which means summer is its time to shine. If this tattoo had a spirit animal, it would definitely be a peacock.
If you don’t love yourself, you’re not doing life right. Often times we get tattoos as reminders to ourselves—a sort of permanent Post-it note. When it comes to script tattoos (with text), the font is equally as important as the meaning behind the words. The example above works an elegant cursive font into the design of an arrow and the results couldn’t have been any better.
Looking for a design that excites your inner child? Here you go. Disney has had such a strong influence on almost every generation alive today, which is why we see so many Disney related tattoos these days. And as far as Pinocchio tattoos go, this one ranks right up there with the best of them.
A mandala tiger design
Cool tiger, but what really demands your attention in this design is the gorgeous mandala work that frames the tiger. I’ve see a million mandala tattoos everyday so believe me when I say that this is one of the best you’ll ever see.
No matter how many planetary tattoos you’ve seen, you have to admit that this one just may be the best ever. Moons with details for days are a common sight, but seeing Jupiter like this is just blowing my mind. Why do all the best tattoo artists have to live in Korea?
A Japanese painting
This brilliant Japanese style painting features the Hokusai wave and a wonderful complement of cherry blossoms. And in case you didn’t know, this wave is from one of Japan’s most famous works of art known as the The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Hokusai.
I noticed I had two wave tattoos on this list, so just for fun I thought I’d group them together to show you two similar designs done in very different styles. The magical hues that Vitaly uses to animate these waves have a luminescent feel to them.
A smokey circle
This smokey circular cutout will inspire anyone looking for something creative and original. The perfectly removed circle is in direct contrast with the arbitrary path of the whispering smoke. Aki Wong is known for her clean and polished looks, but abstract designs aren’t usually something we see from her.
As this piece clearly illustrates, you can never have too many roses. What gives this design its unique style is the way the petals are colored with textured stripes. These textured stripes are something a number of different artists have adopted which makes their origin somewhat of a mystery.
A cosmic view
Eva Krbdk’s landscape designs always blow me away. Their beauty, depth, and grandeur make Eva’s ink more than just mere tattoos. They’re art. And art on a level that wouldn’t be out of place hanging on a wall in a museum somewhere.
A tree of life
The roots are one of the most interesting aspects of the tree of life design. However, they are almost never the focal point of the design and rarely get the attention they deserve. Which is why it’s so refreshing to see a design like this where the roots have been illustrated to command just as much attention as the leaves.
A wandering vine
If you’re looking for a statement piece that will send random onlookers into jealous fits of rage, then what Lindsay April has created on this woman’s leg will definitely be of interest to you. Wandering vines are a concept that you would think enjoys relative popularity and yet I rarely come across these types of designs.
A leafy design
This is one of those designs that you wouldn’t think would be so popular yet they most definitely are. Not quite palm fronds, these “branches with leaves” —for lack of a better name—have been all the rage this past year. However, this design stands out among the rest for its lovely transition of color.
A colorful x-ray lotus flower
The x-ray style of design is praised so highly for its display of detail and innovative characteristics. And while color isn’t something you never see incorporated into these types of designs, it’s far from common. However, the subtle violet hues used in this design were expertly assigned, making it one of the most beautiful color examples you’ll ever see.
Nando’s floral thigh bouquets are something any girl can get behind. As a particularly avid fan of his, I’ve always appreciated Nando’s work no matter what the subject. But it’s these stylish, yet so basic floral designs that have had me so captivated as of late.
A floral whale
Despite repeated attempts to get a still snap of this photo, I had to capture this still myself as a screenshot from a video, which is why the quality isn’t the best. This quasi-double exposure design is as beautiful as it is creative.
A floral strip
Sigak has done a few of these strip-sampler designs in the past few months and I have to say I’m loving what I’m seeing. This particular example features a harmonious collage of flowers done in varying complimentary shades.
A few birds
I’m not sure who this woman is, but I would bet more than a few wooden nickels that she has a fair amount of followers on social media—if not only for the fact that she is the proud owner of these gorgeous works of art.
Love yourself first
If you’ve ever read any “how to get rich” books, then you’ve probably heard the term “pay yourself first.” This mindset also rings true when it comes to taking care of yourself in a non-financial manner. You have to love yourself first, because that’s who you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.
Here we have another beautiful sampler design from Sigak. This design replaces a floral pattern with a slice of shallow water from the sea. Her brilliant use of color is on full display, and really, what’s not to love about this stunning example of creativity and color?
A fascinating forearm piece
Many well-known tattooists are applauded for their ability to work in such fine detail that a magnifying glass is almost required while viewing. John Monteiro is one of those artists, but what makes his work stand out from even the best micro tattooists is the clarity and crispness of his designs.
Every great tattooist has their own unique style that distinguishes their work from that of other artists. Zihee has several of those said styles and each of them is equally impressive.
A circle of flowers
Stand alone floral designs are beautiful in their own right. But when arranged to illustrate shapes or other designs, they can create even more breathtaking works of art. Call this a circle, a wreath, whatever you want, but one thing is certain: It’s simply gorgeous.
A watercolor compass
Where was this design when I was putting together that compass list a few weeks ago? Watercolor world maps coupled with creative compass designs are a popular trend. This, however, is one of the most beautiful and tasteful examples I’ve yet to come across.
Alice in Wonderland
Composed of several props and a hand-colored aesthetic, this Alice in Wonderland themed tattoo is everything anyone could ever hope for that’s looking for a design of this sort.
A floral crescent moon
This is one of the most beautiful designs I’ve seen in the past year. It doesn’t boast microscopic details, an abundance of creative genius, or fantastical color. But it just works in an elegant and tasteful manner that makes it appeal to almost every woman no matter what her tastes may be.
A creative whale design
Creative tattoo designs are great when they’re good. And this stunning concoction of turquoise and royal blue definitely falls into that category. It’s amazing how powerful of an effect the right color combination can have on a design.
Artists are constantly coming up with more creative ways to implement the watercolor style into their designs. This seemingly monochromatic black and grey ink lighthouse design features just a smidge of color which adds to the allure of the overall design.
A dotwork necklace
Tattoos are decorations that should enhance the appearance of your body. Before tattoos went and got themselves in a big dang hurry, decorative designs that mimicked the form of jewelry were common. In this example, many elements come together perfectly to make for a truly memorable and unique design.
A couple of Koi fish intertwined just so is something of a common sight in the wide world of ink. But the heavy blackwork that outlines these fish give them an original and unique appearance that’s a breath of fresh air for an all-too-common concept.
A black ink rose
It’s not just the delicate lines that make this design so luxe. Sasha’s elegant style is a product of many different details all coming together in just the right order. This design samples the best of both worlds, sampling geometric shapes as well as a traditional floral component.
A perfect poppy
You’ve been shown countless ankle tattoos in your life, but have you seen this one? This cluster of poppies is so much more than an ordinary ankle tattoo. This design was illustrated in a way that makes it appear as if it jumps from the skin in an almost three-dimensional manner.
I know what you’re thinking. Only in a zoo or perhaps a Disney movie would these two noses ever come in such close proximity. But that doesn’t mean it can’t make for an adorable tattoo design that screams originality and awesomeness.
Ever since Bohemian Rhapsody hit theaters, Freddie Mercury tattoos have entered a mini renaissance. I’ve seen a few spectacular FM designs in the last few months, but none of those really captured his spirit like the one featured above.
A galaxy bird
You might think that the whole galaxy thing is getting out of control, but the fact that this design was created recently may just change your mind. This starlet has massive amount of likes and I’m sure its owner is more than proud.
When you want a super beautiful wrist tattoo and nothing else matters, wonderful works of art like this get created and make everything okay. I don’t know what’s more beautiful: The pink rose or the blue and red hummingbird.
A floral landscape design
It’s designs like this that make you rethink your dreams of over-the-top displays of color. I mean, if black and grey ink designs can be this beautiful, why do color inks even exist?
Sometimes quotes, passages, or phrases just speak to you so friggin’ hard that you have to design an entire tattoo around it. And when it comes to inspirational words, T. S. Eliot definitely knows his way around a typewriter.
A small crescent moon
I want to apologize to all the women out there who are covered in ink thanks to my passion for tattoos and my obsession for making lists which dangle these designs in front of your eyes so very often. Okay, I’m a realist, but I do like to think that I inspired at least a few tiny tats out there.
A botanical sleeve
You know what would make a great sleeve? The longest branch of leaves in the history of planet earth. It’s designs like this that get me all excited. Why couldn’t I have stumbled upon this design when I still had an entire arm to work with?
A dotwork design
Does anyone else see a puckered set of lips? I’ve looked at this design on several different occasions and this is the first time I saw something besides a cool dotwork design. I guess the eye sees what it wants to see when it wants to see it.
A Hokusai thigh piece
I have to say, the Hokusai wave has to be one of the most influential pieces of fine art in the tattoo industry. There’s something so cool and clean about the Hokusai wave that makes it well-suited for tattoo designs.
A floral triangle
The whole floral triangular glyph thing is something I’ve always had a soft spot for. This is one of those designs that—when executed properly—takes you to a really nice place. The example above features three different flowers, which in this case looks just as good as any other example I’ve ever seen.
A world map
While your face is glued to a screen, don’t forget that there’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Travel themed tattoos are as inspiring as any. And the slight sketch style elements of this world map really give it character.
Colorful mandala flowers
As evident by the millions (no exaggeration) of mandala tattoos out there, these symmetrical and super decorative flowers have been a fan favorite for many years. However, it’s not too often that we’re treated to designs of this caliber which contain so much detail and color.
A Tinkerbell dreamcatcher
This super feminine dreamcatcher tattoo leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Cara is an artist that I only recently discovered, but I instantly fell in love with her work the second I opened her Instagram feed.
A family walk
Family portraits are popular design concepts and can have a powerful impact when executed with skill. This example manages to incorporate a little creativity without taking too much away from the focal point of the design.
A watercolor sleeve
Jules Boho rolled out this wonderful feminine sleeve that doesn’t get too girly and managed to capture every bit of elegance the watercolor style has to offer. And that geometric pattern on the hand is the cherry on top.
An elegant ankle piece
This isn’t just one of the coolest ankle designs on the list. It also happens to be one of the coolest designs in general. In addition to being a prolific designer, Victoria also has a wonderful almost surreal style without being too obvious.
Banul’s work always has an antique vibe it and I can never quite put my finger on why exactly that is. I guess I should just know my place and sit back and enjoy the view like everyone else instead of analyzing everything so closely.
An ornamental forearm piece
When you look at this design the first word that comes to mind is “clean.” It’s also a great example of how bold lines and dotwork elements can not only coexist, but compliment each other in the process.
It’s no secret that cacti are giving floral designs something to be concerned about. Well, I guess that both cacti and flowers are all one big happy family, but you know what I mean. This tiny cactus represents everything adorable in the world.
So simple yet so elegant. Koi fish arranged in this particular pose are a dime a dozen. But that doesn’t make these designs any less beautiful every time I see them. Con Ele has that clean-clean style that always keeps me coming back for more.
A floral compass
This compass is undeniably beautiful. But what steals the show is the floral elements of the design. You could put these pink and purple roses on practically anything and make it beautiful.
You know how beautiful the Sistine Chapel is? Okay, well if you haven’t been I’ll tell you that the photos really do do it justice. Yes it’s beautiful, but incredibly small and even smaller when you pack 100 people inside and quickly usher them through like cattle on the way to church.
A watercolor tree of life
Here we have another tree of life design which focuses on the leaves with a wonderful sampling of color. Koray only works in the watercolor style, and it’s his epic combinations of color that I appreciate the most.
Okay, now this is just straight fun. Disney tattoos are all about fun, but when you have Pooh Bear having the time of his life, well, let’s just say that Walt would probably be tempted to get this very tattoo if he had the chance.
Anyone who says they don’t like lotus flowers probably hasn’t seen one in person. The lotus flower is known for its “diamond in the ruff” quality. It’s almost unbelievable that such a beautiful flower can emerge from such modest and muddy surroundings.