So you started off with a small Snoopy tattoo and now you find yourself planning a sleeve. Don’t worry. It’s only natural. We’ve all been there. While you may have not originally planned on getting a sleeve, tattoos snowball fast and if you’re not strong enough to resist the allure of that next tattoo, you may find yourself with a sleeve, whether you planned on it or not.
Or perhaps you find yourself on the other side, having planned your sleeves out for the better part of a decade before a needle has even touched your skin. Either way, this list is for you.
Here, we’ll take a look at 60+ of the best and most mind-bending sleeve tattoos that are sure to leave you in awe. We hope you enjoy this list and don’t forget to save and share your favorites.
This spiraling sleeve tattoo.
When it comes to sleeves comprised of geometric patterns, spiraling designs are in right now. And it’s easy to see why. This design separates each spiraling section with the use of a negative space gap, which is exaggerated with bold black ink borders that disappear into each pattern. (Photo: Cassady Bell)
This watercolor koi pond.
When you get a full sleeve, or end up with a full sleeve, your piece will fall into one of two categories. Those that are made up of many small pieces, often amassed one at a time over a long period of time, and those that have a single continuous theme, which are usually planned out during one sitting, like the koi fish sleeve above. (Photo: Russell Van Schaick)
This floral full sleeve tattoo.
For both men and women alike, floral themed sleeves are an elegant choice with an attractive continuity throughout the design. This particular design is made up of roses and features black and grey ink fill. (Photo: Justin Hobson)
This Star Wars sleeve.
From the stunning lighting of Darth Vader’s helmet to the beautiful blue honeycomb pattern surrounding R2D2, Saga continues to prove time and again that he’s among the best colorists in the business with this fascinating The Empire Strikes Back sleeve. (Photo: Saga Anderson)
These dynamic patterns.
Even though we only have a partial sample of this sleeve, it’s definitely one of our favorites. You’ll notice quite a few designs on the list that are similar to this one. These types of geometric sleeves are becoming a common sight on Pinterest and Instagram. (Photo: Wagner Basei)
This sculpture and shell.
Jun Cha creates amazing examples of classical design. His work usually features Greek sculpture, and as you can see here, he’s pretty good at it. So what will one of these masterpieces set you back? Well, as always it depends on the complexity of the piece, but thanks to Cha’s recently redesigned website, he’s been kind enough to include some ball park figures for those of you interested. A sleeve like the one above will cost you anywhere from $30-50k, that is, if he decides to add you to his extensive waiting list. Oh ya, there’s also a $6,000 project minimum for smaller works. (Photo: Jun Cha)
This surreal sleeve.
It’s not that often that a tattoo looks so good that we actually think it’s fake. With all the tattoo simulation software available today, we quickly attributed this sleeve to the magic of post production. But upon closer inspection, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that this design is as real as it gets. The soft, dreamy shading gives this piece a surreal effect. (Photo: Gary Mossman)
These radiating lines.
There’s nothing more fascinating than a creative and original design. Using the elbow as a starting point, black lines radiate from the design giving it the appearance of a sun rays or a deep dark hole. The negative space elements of the design are the perfect complement to the streaming black and grey ink lines. (Photo: Kev Richardson)
This beautiful watercolor sleeve.
If you’re looking for something colorful with an almost psychedelic feel to it, then look no further. Without taking anything away from the beautiful watercolor tiger, we have to say that the negative space mandala-esque flower design is nothing short of spectacular. (Photo: Alberto Cuerva)
This dotwork pattern.
Here we have another awesome geometric pattern with a mesmerizing optical illusion feel to it. Illustrated with a myriad of dots, the clean negative space circles and connecting lines are almost more than the eyes can handle. What an impressive design. (Photo: Fabio Sciascia)