You’ve gave it a lot of thought and now you’re finally going to pull the trigger. A new tattoo, a first tattoo, whatever it may be you’ll definitely want to make it good. Getting a tattoo is a right of passage that every man should experience in his life. But don’t make the mistake of letting your emotions get the best of your design. What do I mean by this? Well, many people get so excited about simply getting a tattoo that they don’t put enough thought into the context of the design itself—which of course is the whole point of getting a tattoo in the first place. There are good tattoos and then there are bad tattoos, don’t be a victim of the latter. These 60 tattoo designs all qualify as excellent, but make sure to get something meaningful that speaks to you on more than just an aesthetic level.
If you have two eyes and a brain, then it’s easy to see that Oscar Akermo is an exceptionally talented tattoo artist. But what stands out the most to me about Oscar’s work is his artistic vision, perhaps even more than his technical skill—which is considerable to say the least. This stunning rainforest-themed design is the stuff of dreams.
A bridge in Brooklyn
Iconic symbols of architecture are bold, historic, and always tell a story. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world, and even those that can’t recall it by name usually recognize those matching gothic arches by sight. Architectural tattoos are so cool, especially in black and grey ink.
Here we have another absolute masterpiece by Oscar Akermo. Bang Bang founder Keith McCurdy is the “Medici” of talent scouts when it comes to finding the best and brightest the tattoo industry has to offer.
It’s hard to imagine the time and concentration that went into creating an intricate design like this. Balazs’ designs are always full of detail, in a way that almost dares other artists to try to copy his work. Creative and meaningful is always his MO.
A magical design
One could make an argument that Balazs is not-so-secretly trying to hypnotize people with his mesmerizing designs. The spirals, the swirling patterns, they all put you in a different place almost instantally upon first gaze.
A Baphomet back piece
Victor Portugal is a legend of a man. His award-winning works are celebrated all over the world and are constantly filling the pages of industry magazines. Victor’s style can pretty much be described as the complete opposite of Jon Boy’s micro-sized works. His large murals are awe-inspiring to say the list. This particular design won Best of Show at the London Tattoo Convention this year.
All men secretly desire sleeves. And those that say otherwise are either lying or just don’t know it yet. This sleeve is everything anyone looking for one could hope for: a cool concept, flow, and razor sharp details that give it a super polished look. Seriously, what more could you possibly ask for?
An unbelievable sight
Umm…errr….okay, I literally have no words to describe this absolute triumph of artistry. Does this guy even know that there are other tattoo artists out there who are being made to look like incompetent dolphins trying to create tattoos with their little flippers? Game over, voting has come to conclusion, give this guy all the awards.
Sketched tattoo designs are another popular style among men. And when it comes to sketch style tattoo designs, it doesn’t get much better than this. This design features famous works of art like Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Zdzislaw Beksinski’s In Hoc Signo Vinces, and one other work I can’t quite put my finger on.
A pair of wings
Here we have another sketch style design by my other favorite sketch style artist. In case you didn’t know, when it comes to tattoos of this particular style, there are two names at the top of the list: Inez Janiak and Kamil Mokot. Both artists work almost exclusively in the style and both are uber talented.
Everything okay there Bob? Obviously when it comes to portrait tattoos you need an extremely talented artist before you can even consider getting one done. Portraits are notoriously difficult to ink, and are so much less forgiving than any other type of design. With that being said, Goldy is one of the best in the business—as if that even needed to be said.
A beautiful ride
Composed of silky smooth colors that any airbrushed design would be jealous of, this circular motorcyclist’s view is just so fascinating to look at. Even though I don’t own a motorcycle or have ever been on a motorcycle this design makes me want to purchase one and learn how to ride it later.
A skull tat
Obviously not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have the desire and a high enough pain threshold, then getting a tattoo along the lines of the skull topper would be a pretty sweet thing to do. Both the design and the location make this design an unforgettable sight.
A love hate relationship
If you’ve seen a more bipolar tattoo design than this one, please let me know. I have seen this exact same design a few different times but this is by far my favorite. The location as well as the execution are simply divine. Not the most work friendly tattoo out there though I must say.
A white wolf
I’m currently in the process of putting together a collection of wolf tattoos, and when I stumbled upon this design it made such a lasting impression on me that I pulled it from the list to feature in this article. The shadowy background and the white fur of the wolf give this design a truly dynamic feel.
A toe tag
For those quirky guys out there that like to have fun with their tattoos, this ultra concealable toe tag design will bring you pure and utter satisfaction—not to mention possible help out the coroner when the time comes.
Einstein was born prematurely, but that obviously didn’t affect his cognitive development. I’ve always been a big fan of black and grey ink designs that feature small amounts of color. The monochromatic tones really set up the color portion well with a sort of “framing” effect.
Whether you’re looking for more attention at the beach, or just happen to find yourself sitting in Ben Thomas’ chair with a handful of cash, getting a tattoo like the one above will forever change your life. This is one of those tattoo designs that you can stare at for hours without getting tired of it.
I’ve seen a lot of clock tattoos in my day but nothing quite as elegant as the design above. Oozing minimalism, this tasteful clock is the sort of tattoo design that doesn’t even really look like a tattoo design if you know what I mean (It’s just so classy).
A cosmic triangle
These shapes are sometimes referred to as “Infinity triangles,” which totally makes sense if you take a second to follow the lines. Adrian is one of our favorite watercolor tattooists and loves to throw a little cosmic madness into his designs. I’ve always thought that the cosmos are some of Mother Nature’s most beautiful work.
Dragon Ball Z
Whenever I post a Dragon Ball Z related tattoo, everyone goes crazy for it. I guess that just shows you how many fans the series has. Fun fact: like The Simpson’s Bart, Goku’s character is voiced by a woman. Tokyo born voice actress Masako Nozawa holds the Guninness world record for voicing Goku for 23 years and 218 days. She’s currently 82.
A blackwork sleeve
Geometric sleeves are getting more and more popular these days. What once was once a style virtually unheard of, is now something I run into on a daily basis. Of course this sleeve is so much more than your ordinary geometric design.
The one who knocks
Arguably the best TV show ever written, Breaking Bad is one of those shows that everyone needs to watch at least once during their lifetime. Wait, what am I talking about. You can’t just watch it once! Jefree puts his talents on display here with a stunning and stylistic portrait of Walter White with a transparent typographical twist.
A forearm piece
Sometimes you just have to tall your artists you want something cool and trust him or her to deliver. Now I’m definitely not saying that was the case here but I’d like to imagine it was. A winged skeleton in a tux—it doesn’t get much better.
A classical back mural
I’m not sure if Jun Cha is quietly becoming the next Michelangelo, but according to his Instagram, he spends a fair amount of time in Italy carving actual sculptures out of solid blocks of marble. His fascination with classical sculpture is well documented in his work, so I guess it should come as no surprise that he’s so interested in the real thing. When it comes to sculpture style tattoo designs, Jun is one of the best in the business.
I can’t help but think that this design was inspired by the late and great Isaiah Negrete’s epic Hollywood sign tattoo. I know that in reality it most likely wasn’t but I’ve spent so much time admiring that design that I see it in my sleep. This sleeve has a great theme and I’m not just saying that on bias.
A mandala design
If you don’t have any hair, then consider yourself lucky. One of the advantages of not having any hair, besides the money you save on hair products, is being able to get tattoos like this. I’ve seen a lot of similar tattoos in my days but this one is quite remarkable.
From the artist “‘I fall into the deepest dream. Hug by darkness, I give in. Then by miracle I was torn to be reborn.’ Destruction effect ll. This piece symbolizes the strength that is needed to free yourself from pain. It represents the inner power required to free our mind and truly let go. You are able to do it. To succeed. Trust your light. ”
Black and white watercolor designs are completely underrated and underproduced in my opinion. This watercolor X is placed just so, and the style and execution will guarantee that it maintains its integrity as the client ages.
It’s true that you do have to look at these type of designs just so—which isn’t too practical as you go about your life, but straight on and in photos it achieves exactly what it was created to do; captivate and mesmerize any and all who look upon it. Well, I guess that could really be said about any tattoo design. I digress.
Black and grey ink florals tattoos on men are where it’s at. There’s nothing more beautiful, elegant, or trendy right now and when I say trendy, I also mean timeless. Dragon is one of the most talented tattoo artists you will ever come across, and this design is just the tip of the iceberg.
Fredao Oliveira has a unique style that he rarely strays from and totally owns. This half lion half skull is a perfect example is his genius and talent and it’s easy to see why he’s accumulated such a cult following.
Men have had a love affair with cars as long as cars have been around. And when it comes to cars, nothing is more menacing than an Indy or F1 race car. The real appeal to any car is the sound of its engine. IndyCars are some of the loudest and you really have to experience them in person to fully appreciate their awesomeness.
A winged heart
Can you imagine the looks you’d get at the pool with this bad boy? Many people don’t quite understand the celebrity-like attention that comes with owning something as polarizing as this chest piece. It will literally change your life.
Speaking of life changing tattoo designs, this chest piece definitely falls into that category with an emphatic thud. Skulls upon skulls upon skulls done in a highly fashionable style appear to have a reverse image effect going on. What’s not to love?
An abstract creation
Abstract art knows no limits. And designs like these are what you get when artists continue to realize their visions in a medium that probably gets more exposure than say a regular work of art on a canvas or piece of paper.
A two-headed snake
Don’t mess with this guy. And I’m not saying that simply because his muscles look as if they could provide enough shade to shelter a small group of camels wandering in the Sahara desert. These snakes are only something someone who was a complete and utter badass would get.
An anatomy back piece
Here we have another brilliant example of Victor Portugal’s work on a grand scale. If you’re looking to get a back mural that will turn heads wherever you go, then possibly setting your sights on a world renowned tattoo artist like Victor Portugal might be something to pursue.
A sketched wolf
If you know of a larger wolf tattoo, please, point the way. Because this battle scarred wolf with a devilish tongue is about the biggest I’ve ever seen. Frank Carrilho’s work is instantly recognizable, as he falls into that category of artists with incredibly distinctive styles.
If you have a passion that you love more than anything in life, then go back to the root of that passion, where it all began, and get a tattoo that represents those beginnings. Trust me, it’s the coolest way to to go about doing it. Modern designs are blah when compared to their more ancient counterparts—at least that’s what I think.
A Tolkien tribute
JR Tolkien inspired and entertained more people than the lightbulb. Well, maybe, but you get the drift. This wizard was inspired by either the books or the theatrical adaptations. I’m guessing it’s Saruman the white, but my Lord of The Rings game isn’t as polished as it should be.
I’ve always been a complete sucker for landscape tattoos not matter what the context. So when I saw this gorgeous black and grey ink design I immediately fell in love with it. I’m not sure if this is supposed to represent a looking glass, a crystal ball foretelling the future, or just a circular window with a view, but it sure is fun to look at.
It’s not every day that you see a tattoo of a bison. But when a design like this it put before your eyes you don’t easily forget it. The bison played a large a role in American history as just about any other animal you can imagine. The bison is about as American as the bald eagle, which makes for a truly patriotic design for Americans without the cliches attached to the Bald Eagle.
Hold the light
Art at its finest. If you’re interested in getting a tattoo but don’t know what to get, don’t worry. Tell your artist your ideas—however vague they may be—and let them take it from there. Artists are almost always extra excited and motivated if you give them a little creative freedom.
A floral head piece
What’s it called when you see something you never knew you wanted? Oh ya, Tuesday. But enough about my life. If you’re looking for something to compliment your side-shaved haircut, then this is it.
A fascinating statue
Zeus with his magnificent beard makes for a wonderful tattoo design. But what do you do when you don’t want to be just another guy with that cool classical tattoo design? You enlist the services of Jefree of course to totally reinvent the wheel. How’s having your cake and eating it too.
A little skeleton
Let’s take a second to appreciate how awesome this design is. Now skeleton tattoos are about as common as ink in the tattoo industry, but skeletons that look as if they’ve been stuffed into a hollowed out leg are a sight for sore eyes.
A black and grey ink mural
Go big or go home is what this guy would tell you. Getting straight blasted is always something retail clothing giants frown upon. Why you no buy our clothes anymore?!
It took me a minute to figure out what in the actual going here but now that I’m in the know I’m absolutely in love with it. Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction clothed and posed to look like the Virgin Mary.
The spots on a leopard make them one of the most fascinating animals to ink. If you like what you see here, make sure to check out our list of Lion and Tiger tattoos we posted about a month ago.
These contrasting sleeves go together, yet they remind you of the Yin and Yang symbol. One sleeve has a darker theme to it and the other one a little lighter theme. Or perhaps the lighter sleeve simply isn’t finished yet.
A few angels
Zlata is one of those artists that has a very firm grip on the whole realism thing. As in, she can take a photograph and recreate it in a way that’s nearly indistinguishable from the original.
A small rose
A lot fo people think that just because flowers are seen as a feminine objects that men can’t get tattoos of them. I understand where people are coming from, it does makes sense, but at the same time couldn’t be further from the truth. Flowers look just as good on men as they do on women. Case and point: see above.
The first thing I notice when I see this design is how shiny it is. But it’s the sheen of this particular design that allows the artist to pack it full of detail and showcase just how talented he is. Centaurus is a constellation in the southern sky which represents the the father of all minotaurs.
A classical sleeve
These days Jun doesn’t post as much of his work as he used to. So when a new design of his does surface, it puts me in a kind of celebratory mood. Jun was one of the first artists I really looked up to and has continued to inspire me throughout my life.
A stunning mandala flower
Dotwork mandala designs have always been among my favorite, and definitely my favorite style of mandala flower. It’s a little difficult to distinguish where exactly this tattoo is located on the client but it appears to be the inside of the bicep or possibly the leg.
Japanese style sleeves
Japanese sleeves are almost too cool for school. Their distinctive characteristics make them instantly recognizable—perhaps even the most well known style on the planet. These sleeves are beautifully done and I’d even go so far as to label them unique, but what really stands out in this particular instance is the passionate monkey located on the sternum.
Celebrating the birth of a child is something that many people choose to do in ink. And if you someday find yourself among that group, take note, because this is how you do it. Almost all of Kyle’s designs have a naturalistic theme to them and this example is no different.
An optical illusion
Optical illusion tattoos rarely live up to their name. But in this case, I think it’s safe to say that American tattooist Jesse Rix overachieved. Jesse is known for his mind-bending illusion-themed tattoos and this example is one of his best.
Blade Runner 2049
So when I initially selected this design for the list I had no idea that it was a Blade Runner reference. I thought it was just some random dude in a trench coat taking a walk by himself. Thank goodness for artist comments because I’m positive they saved me from an embarrassing myself—it would only be a matter of time before someone pointed it out to me.