Arm tattoo has many benefits compared to other placements. It is relatively painless to make, has a fast healing process, and can be covered at any time. There are multiple designs of arm tattoos for men, so it can be hard to decide on just one.
For this article, we collect not only the most popular ideas but also unique designs to give you all sorts of ideas. We decide to split this inspirational article into sections depending on the placement for easy navigation. However, we strongly recommend scrolling through all ideas for arm tattoos, because many designs can be adapted to any area.
Upper arm tattoos
Upper arm tattoos are very muscular and emphasize muscle contours. In addition, it is large, so it’s easy to locate here a detailed masterpiece. Additional benefits of the upper arm tattoo are that this zone is relatively painless and easy to hide with shirts and long sleeves.
Faces tattoos are hard to accomplish, but they are so impressive that it’s hard to take the eyes off. The meaning of these tattoos usually depends on the face you want to picture. Below are several ideas:
😀 Favorite pop culture character. We can bet you have a favorite character in films, games, or animes. Maybe you just like him/her, or it represents your inner state or you want to have some traits that this character has.
😀 Greek mythology. Wanna be brave and strong as Heracles, or powerful as Poseidon, get the art of Greek gods to motivate yourself.
😀 Jesus is a symbol of hope, power, faith, and love.
😀 Buddha is a sign of devotion and wisdom, but it can be offensive for Buddhists if you make this tattoo just for fashion,
Possible patterns and compositions of the geometric tattoos are limitless. It can be a complex pattern and colorful pattern or black-and-grey work, but in all cases, they look awesome.
Here are just some basic ideas behind classical geometric forms.
⚪ A circle symbolizes peace, infinity, and harmony.
⛛ Triangle means strong will, energy, and masculinity.
⬜ Square represents power, honesty, stubborn.
🤍 Geometric patterns: It can be just a cool combination of forms or a more meaningful design such as a tribal tattoo or cultural ornaments.
These tattoos are one of the most popular among men. There is no better way to represent wild inner nature than with a tattoo of an animal you associate with yourself.
🦁 The lion represents majesty, bravery, and power.
🐯 Tiger symbolizes power, strength, and courage.
🐺 Wolf means loyalty, protection, and strength.
🐍 Snake stands for rebirth, temptation, and good health.
🦈 The shark is a symbol of fearlessness, confidence, and protection.
🦂 The scorpion represents strength and powerful male sexuality.
While birds, in general, are associated with freedom, every avian has its special meaning.
🐦 Phoenix stands for rebirth and the cyclical nature of life and its renewal.
🐦 Owl represents wisdom, magic, and mystery.
🐦 Eagle symbolizes courage, focus, and dominance. It is also a symbol of American patriotism.
Skull tattoos have never lost their popularity because it looks impressive and badass in every style. As for the meaning, it is not always bark and bad. It represents:
💀 Overcoming challenges
The biceps are not an eye-catching place but are masculine. Tattoos in this area can emphasize existing muscles. Moreover, it is very easy to hide.
Eyes tattoos have many meanings. One of the most common is finding new ways of seeing things or a new path in life. Another interpretation is that you keep your eyes open to the world and enjoy this life.
The popular choice is to combine the eye with the clock. It stands for the passage of life towards death.
The clock represents life and death. You can have this tattoo as a notification that life passes you should live every day to the fullest.
Scenery tattoos are usually done in a frame or as linework. It can symbolize your eagerness to explore this world or to find balance and relax. The landscape is not only about mountains, but also includes seascapes, cityscapes, rivers, forests, etc. Here are some meanings behind these elements:
⛰️ Mountains represent strength.
🌊 Sea waves stand for constant motion.
🌲 Forest means life itself and also protection and serenity.
🏞️ Rivers symbolize time flow in life.
🌆 The city landscape shows your energy or love for a certain city.
Other fantastic ideas
This area is more suitable for less massive tattoos than the upper arm. The most popular options are more vertically spread illustrations.
The ideas behind geometric tattoos on the back of the arm are similar to those for the upper part. So if you like geometry patterns and shapes check our article with geometrical design ideas.
At the beginning of the inking tradition, anchor tattoos were popular among sailors. It symbolizes stability, hope, and strength. It can also be an amazing tattoo for somebody you lost but want to save memories.
Illustrative tattoos can be done in many styles both colorful or black and gray. The main task for the artist is to make this art creative without hyper-realism.
Do you like ideas of illustrative tattoos? Find more ideas and a list of the best artists in our article about illustrative tattoos.
These tattoos are so amazing and breathtaking, especially while done correctly. The full-sleeve tattoo goes from the shoulder down to the wrist and covers the whole arm. Sleeve tattoos can be either connected illustrations or separate pieces of art.
It can be hard to decide on the design of a sleeve tattoo. If you want a unique design you should work closely with an experienced artist, who can help you to create a real masterpiece.
Some popular themes for full-sleeve tattoos are religion, biomechanics, tribal, dragons, Vikings, and nature.
The forearm is a classical place for making a tattoo of any size. Compared to the upper arm which looks the best with massive art, the forearm suits tattoos of any size and design.
The forearm is popular to place quotes or memorable numbers. It can be either a one-word, inspirational motto, or a favorite quote. As every case is very individual, we propose you see different styles of writing to see what you like the most.
Armband tattoos have originated in different cultures from ancient times. Popular designs include:
🔥 A solid band is a sign of respect and love to whom you have lost, but it can also mean strength and power.
🔥 Tribal armband tattoo marks belonging to a certain tribe and resonates owner’s identity, spirit, passed challenges with symbols.
🔥 Natural motifs usually have sophisticated designs and stand for relaxation and balance.
Abstract drawings are similar to geometry but have more fancy forms (or sometimes don’t have). Usually, the meaning of this art is highly individual. For example, more rounded shapes emphasize the soft and friendly nature of the owner, while angular elements show sharpness and straightforward character.
Natural motifs look awesome on every body area including the forearm. We have already discussed tattoos of animals, avians, and landscapes. Some creatures we haven’t talked about:
🐆 Jaguar means strength, determination, and bravery.
🐻 The bear symbolizes string family connections, health, and strength.
🐶 Dog stands for loyalty, friendship, or love toward your pet.
🐘 An elephant represents strength and good fortune.
Dagger tattoos have different meanings. For example, it can represent either bravery and loyalty or danger, fear and ferocity
🗡️ Dagger with skull stands for the inevitability of death and a call to live every day as the last.
🗡️ Dagger with snake represents the balance of good and evil in the person.
The side of the arm is a nice placement for some long art. In such a way art will emphasize the anatomical contour of bones and muscles there.
Arrows are a symbol of strength and power. It also represents focus, independence, and willingness to overcome all obstacles in you your way toward your goal. You can get a single arrow or add elements to change the meaning:
🏹 A broken arrow means overcoming the conflict and breaking a bad habit.
🏹 A bundle of arrows represents unity.
🏹 Compass with arrow shows you focus on the target.
🏹 Two arrows. If crossed it stands for friendship. If they point in different directions it means war or conflict.
Tattoos of eyes on the side of the arm are more visible compared to the biceps. The most popular option for this place is the eyes of wild animals.
👁️ Tiger’s eyes mean determination and focus on your aim.
👁️ Owl’s eyes represent awareness, attention, and intelligence.
Tree tattoos stand for longevity and endurance. They are powerful symbols to represent yourself.
🌲 Pine means immortality, long life, and adaptation to growth.
🌴 Palm represents peace and relaxation.
Other cool ideas
Simple arm tattoos for guys
Despite small and simple tattoos are not so detailed and hard in design they can bring a lot of meaning, as any object can be done in a simple design. If we speak about styles that fine lines, traditional, dotwork, and geometrical are the most common for small tattoos.
The most popular placement for small tattoos is the forearm.
Tribal tattoo on arm
Tribal tattoos always have a special meaning in the culture they came from. If want to get a tribal tattoo, what you need to do is to appreciate its origin and symbolism. So you should learn more about patterns and elements before deciding on a final design. Or it’s better to consult with a tattoo artist, who specializes in this style.
❗ Caution! If you make a tribal tattoo without respect for its origin and understanding of the meaning, it is considered cultural appropriation.
The arm is probably the most popular area to get a tattoo among men. You can either make a massive and detailed sleeve tattoo or a small fineline art with deep meaning.
The arm is a nice area for the first tattoo. Compared to other body parts, it is almost painless (except inner parts of the arm), easy to care about during the healing process, and can be covered with long sleeves clothes. The last point is especially useful if you are afraid of making a tattoo because of possible judgments at work or an influence on your career.
👀 Are arm tattoos painful?
It depends on the place. The shoulder, biceps, and inner forearm are the least painful zones. The most painful zones are the elbow and inner arm which might feel a little uncomfortable during the session.
🤔 What arm should a man get a tattoo on?
It only depends on your preferences. Some people prefer to have a tattoo on the opposite arm to the leading because will be hard and painful to do something with the inked arm. In other cases, right-handed men prefer to make tattoos on their right hand and left-handed vice versa. The main reason for this is that they want a tattoo on a bigger arm.
⏱️ How much time does it take to make a full sleeve tattoo?
Session time for sleeve tattoos varies on the design complexity. The minimum time is 12 hours (2 days of work) up to 80 hours for a detailed and realistic design.
💸 How much does a full sleeve tattoo cost?
A sleeve tattoo is a big investment. The cost ranges from $1 500 to $ 6000. It depends on the hourly rate of the artist, his speed, and the complexity of the design.
😏 Where should you get your first arm tattoo?
We recommend making it on the shoulder. It is relatively painless to make, doesn’t deforms a lot while aging and it is easy to cover with T-shirt.