With tattoos becoming more widely accepted in the workplace in recent years, men are deciding to follow their dreams and get sleeve tattoos more often.
Sleeve tattoos aren’t for the faint of heart and men that decide to get these bold designs usually operate under the saying, “go big or go home”.
If you consider yourself bold and are looking to make a statement, sleeve tattoos are the way to go.
Today, we will be giving you our tips for selecting the best sleeve tattoo as well as sharing some ideas based on the best sleeve tattoos for men.
With sleeve tattoos for men becoming more and more popular, there are a lot of designs to choose from.
If you are unsure of where to start, you may feel a little overwhelmed.
After reading this, you will have all of the information necessary to decide on a great sleeve tattoo design that makes an impact.
A sleeve tattoo is a large scale tattoo or a collection of small or medium-sized tattoos, unified by one particular theme or style that covers the entire arm, like a bracelet tattoo.
A sleeve tattoo can be a pretty big commitment and requires a bit more preparation and planning than most tattoo designs for men.
Most sleeve tattoos are done by a single artist and are based around a theme.
Sleeve tattoos usually feature a very clearly designed style and flow down the arm in a way that looks like one piece of art.
Sleeve tattoos are very large and take a lot of time, so they are almost always broken up into multiple sessions.
There are four different types of sleeve tattoo designs and each type takes up a different amount of space on the arm.
Let’s talk about the four main types of sleeve tattoo designs that you can choose from.
● Quarter Sleeve- Quarter sleeves cover only the space from the top of the shoulder to half way to the elbow
● Half Sleeve- Half sleeves extend from the top of the shoulder all the way down to the elbow.
● Full Sleeve- Full sleeve tattoos cover the space from the top of the shoulder to the wrist-essentially covering the entire arm.
● Hikae Sleeve- A hikae sleeve isn’t as well known as the other sleeve tattoo types. Rooted in Japanese culture, this sleeve tattoo covers the chest and extends out either to the elbow or all the way down to the wrist.
In many instances, the sleeve tattoos are created by one single artist, but it’s not unusual for multiple artists to work on the same sleeve tattoo as long as they follow a clearly defined style and a singular theme.
Whether we're talking about animal tattoos, neotradtional tattoos or biomechanical tattos, sleeve tattoos fascinate people all around the world for good reason.
Furthermore, sleeve tattoos have inspired fashion designers in creating printed clothes with tattoo patterns.
The best sleeve tattoo design requires a lot of preparation.
Sleeve tattoos cover a large amount of space, sometimes an entire arm, and take a significant amount of time to design and draw out.
Working closely with your tattoo artist to find the best sleeve tattoo design for you is essential.
After all, you wouldn’t want to sit through multiple lengthy tattoo sessions only to bedissatisfied with the final product.
As one of the largest unified tattoo types, a reasonable amount of forethought should be applied when deciding on the best sleeve tattoo design for you.
Luckily, there are a few key steps that you can follow to identify the best sleeve tattoo design for your vision.
If you follow these important steps, you will be much more likely to choose a design that checks all the boxes.
If you have no clue where to start, follow these steps:
1. Take the time to shop around for tattoo artists.
While you may have a particular idea in mind for your sleeve tattoo, it is recommended to choose a talented tattoo artist before getting to set on one particular design.
This is because no two tattoo artists are exactly alike and each artist brings their own particular style to the table.
It is important to work collaboratively with your tattoo artist- especially when it comes to sleeve tattoo designs.
2. Decide on an overall theme.
The best sleeve tattoo designs feature a universal theme and are constructed to flow like one mural-like piece of art.
Once you decide on a theme, you will have a much easier time choosing a style.
3. Consider many different styles.
There are so many different tattoo styles out there for you to consider when planning your sleeve tattoo design.
From tribal and traditional to new school and watercolor, there are a variety of options available.
Test the waters and consider many different styles so that you can choose one that is just right for you.
4. Pick symbols carefully.
Once you have decided on the perfect theme and style for your design, it’s time to pick a few symbols to make up the meat of your design.
The symbols to be featured in your sleeve tattoo design should be representative of your theme, style, and meaning, tying the piece together.
5. Color or black and grey?
One of the biggest decisions that you will make when planning your sleeve tattoo design is whether to use color or keep it classic with black and grey only.
Ask your artist what their specialty is and take their advice.
If your theme is better suited by color or black and grey, they should be able to give you their professional opinion.
6. Grant your tattoo artist some artistic freedom.
At the end of the day, you will have the final say in what goes on your body.
In the meantime, allow your artist to get creative with the design and share their ideas with you.
You may end up loving the ideas they cook up and allowing your artist as much freedom as possible will make it much easier for them to apply their creative and technical knowledge to your sleeve tattoo design.
It’s one of the most commonly asked questions in regards to sleeve tattoo designs for men: can a sleeve tattoo be random?
As we have discussed, choosing a theme is usually the best way to decide on a sleeve tattoo design.
At the same time, some people prefer spontaneity and would prefer a sleeve that doesn’t follow one set theme.
If you count yourself among this group, you may prefer to keep things a bit more random.
Going the random route in regards to a sleeve tattoo design typically works best for those that already have a few different tattoos scattered across their arm.
You can talk with your artist about the best way to unify these random tattoos into one piece while still maintaining a random feel.
On the other hand, if you’re starting completely from scratch, it is probably best to not go the completely random route.
That being said, you shouldn’t feel too limited when finding the best sleeve tattoo design for you.
If random is your thing, go for it- but proceed with caution.
Are you having trouble deciding which arm your sleeve tattoo design should go on?
Put simply, deciding which arm your sleeve tattoo design should go on is largely left up to personal preference.
If you’d like a little input, however, consider putting your sleeve tattoo on the arm that isn’t your primary side.
Many right-handed people prefer to put their sleeve tattoos on their left arm for a number of reasons.
For one, it provides less risk of damaging the tattoo over time as you don’t use it as often, and therefore, are less likely to ding or cut it.
But again, this is usually a matter of personal preference. Do what feels right!
If you are considering your very own sleeve tattoo, it is likely that you’re wondering how much your tattoo will cost.
As you probably guessed, sleeve tattoos tend to be more expensive than smaller designs.
With multiple sessions and many hours of work required for completion, sleeve tattoos aren’t cheap.
Luckily, the fact that you break a sleeve tattoo into multiple sessions means that you don’t have to fork up quite as much cash right off the bat.
On average, most tattoo sleeve designs cost around $1,500 and can take anywhere between 10 and 40 hours to complete.
Full sleeves will cost you the most and typically have higher per hour charges set at around $100 per hour.
On the other hand, quarter sleeves and half sleeves aren’t likely to take as much time and can cost as little as $500.
To get the most upfront pricing, schedule a consultation with your chosen tattoo artist.
Now that you have all of the necessary information to choose the best sleeve tattoo design for you, you might be looking for a little bit of inspiration.
Here are a few of the most popular sleeve tattoo designs to help you plan your own work of art!
Tribal sleeve tattoos are extremely popular for their cultural significance and intricate design.
In many cultures, getting tattoos were considered a rite of passage and a tribal sleeve tattoo will help you look like the powerful warrior that you are inside.
It is best practice to find an artist that specializes in tribal tattoos in order to get the best tribal sleeve design possible.
If you’re a fan of a biomechanical design, a 3D sleeve might be just what you’re looking for.
3D sleeve tattoos are really popular for their ability to create texture and dimension.
A talented tattoo artist can easily turn your arm into a cyborg-like work of art, complete with gears and metal parts.
There are few sleeve tattoo designs for men that are as tough as this one!
Space sleeve tattoos are well-known for their bright use of color and detail.
As one of the largest spaces for your tattoo artist to work, the arm is a great place to represent your love for all things sci-fi and outer space.
From a starry night sky to the awe-inspiring solar system, there is an endless amount of resources for you to use for inspiration when designing your own space sleeve tattoo.
So, if you're planning to get sleeved, go to an experienced tattoo artist, work together on the tattoo design and share your visual ideas with him in order to make the best choice!
But before doing that, take a look at one of the best sleeve tattoo photo gallery and get inspired!
What's your favourite sleeve tattoo? Tell us here!