Let me guess, you’ve always secretly wanted a full sleeve but have reservations that are preventing you from fulfilling your destiny? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. And after you’ve finished scrolling through this list, all of those reservations are likely to seem a little less important.
As lovely as whatever tattoo you currently have may be, a full sleeve is the next obvious step, right? This list may just be the best collection of sleeves we’ve ever put together. Whether you’re male or female, have good taste or not, there’s likely something on this list that will tickle your fancy. Here are 40 sleeves so fascinating that you’ll definitely want to share them with your family and friends.
This jungle-themed half-sleeve.
If you’re a frequent visitor to the site, then you’ve probably noticed two things: 1. I’m obsessed with Oscar Akermo. 2. This sleeve looks really familiar. This sleeve is obviously one of my favorites. I feel it almost a duty to bring to you the best examples each go around, so when a new “sleeve” article drops, I admit, this particular design slips in there more often than not.
This stunning black and grey ink sleeve.
There’s something analog about Kir’s sleeves that gives them a smooth a polished look. Sleeves are often hard to describe because they sample so many different subjects. Most sleeves are murals of some sort—which is what makes them so fascinating to gaze upon.
This floral sleeve.
Heavy blackwork fill can have a devastatingly beautiful effect when set behind lightly-shaded designs. This piece is one of the most captivating full sleeves you will ever see. Contrast meets a soft elegance which aren’t two attributes you usually associate with one another.
Connecting sleeves across the chest is quite appealing. As is pretty much every Japanese-themed design. If you didn’t notice, the highest elements of this design are left unfilled. This was purposely done to create a more subtle transition, which I absolutely love.
Avihoo is one of the best in the business when it comes to inking beautiful well-balanced sleeves. This sleeve samples a number of different famous landmarks and individuals. If you’re not familiar with Avihoo’s work, definitely head over to his Instragram and take a look.
This halftone design.
Halftone designs have always been a favorite of mine but I don’t think I’ve ever come across it incorporated so effectively into a design. Halftone dots, as well as a few elements of sacred geometry, were expertly blended to create a wonderful work of art.
Gradient color contrasts effortlessly with a vintage dotwork mandala flower.
Noksi is an artist with a style of his own. His work is mainly composed of intricate geometric patterns and what he describes as “Point ornaments.” Point ornaments (as seen above) combine to make for mesmerizing and rhythmic designs that offer endless design possibilities for the artist. Noksi’s portfolio features a number of sleeves done in this splendid style.
Here we have another extraordinary sleeve out of Kir’s studio. A Japanese geisha as well as a tiger can be seen accented with various varieties of flora. Tigers and timepieces tend to be a reoccurring theme in Kir’s work. Some of the best examples of tigers can be found in his portfolio.
This naturalistic sleeve.
Many people believe that sleeves need to be filled in for that polished and finished look. While I understand where they are coming from, it really depends on the particular design. There are many cases, like the one above, where open spaces can add to the appeal of the design. In most cases these sleeves are designed in whole ahead of time.