An arm covered tattoo is called sleeve tattoo because it looks like shirt sleeve. A full sleeve tattoo is usually intricate from shoulder to wrist. Unlike small tattoos on the part of the arm, the whole arm is the canvas for the tattoo.
After someone had the first discreet tattoo, it’s likely to get more and more over years, either for the need for uniqueness or simply for aesthetic preference. But one thing is for sure. Due diligence exercise is needed in research in order to avoid tattoo cover up or removal.
Tattoo pain on arm sleeve
The arm is one of the most popular placement for tattoo lover. It has three major sections, the bones, muscles, nerves. If the part has more muscles, it’s less painful to get tattoo. If the part is close to bones or has many nerve endings, you need to check your tattoo pain chart.
The arm is divided into the following parts.
- Upper arm
As the elbow and wrist has thinner skin, it’s more likely to feel sharp pain when tattoo needle pierces the skin in these places.
Sleeve tattoo styles
Speaking tattoo seems like a discipline in itself if you are new to the tattoo world. But it may not be totally strange to you if you have interest in other art forms. While each artist may have particular style, most of tattoo styles seem resemblance to the artistic styles appearing in other traditional media. When exploring sleeve tattoos, the following styles catch our attention.
- 3D style
- Japanese Tattoo
- Sketch Work
- Trash Polka
Full Sleeve Tattoo Ideas Collection
Fortunately, there are a lot of great ones we can take reference. In this post, I carefully collected a list of 100+ awesome full sleeve tattoos for your reference. Hope you can find inspiration on your full sleeve tattoo ideas. Be sure check out the link to view more portfolio of the tattoo artists. Remember it’s the same important to appoint an best tattoo artist for you tattoo execution.
Dotwok – full sleeve tribal Titan tattoo
Polynesian inspired tribal tattoos usually feature stylized geometrical shapes or symbols, reflecting deepest culture appreciation. For example, in this masculine tattoo, the row of spearheads represents warrior and lizards symbols signifies power, good luck and access the invisible world. Furthermore, placement plays important role in the traditional tattoos. For example, shoulders and upper arms are associated to strength and bravery.
This awesome tattoo is a whimsical illustration inked on the canvas of 360 degree of full sleeve with a fashionable female portrait, flying birds, heart symbol splashed with black ink and decorative cursive script.
Owl, oil Lamp，fall leaf and wolf
An intricate brilliant design combines alerting elements of flying birds, a owl， an oil lamp, a fall leaf and a wolf, which transmits vigilance attitude toward life. On the other hand, the elements are rendered in realistic style and the theme is amazing.
World of Warcraft character
Video game character has always been inspiration for tattoo ideas. For example, World of Warcraft has become popular and one of sources for sleeve tattoo idea. People love to play the online game because of heroes, joy and frustration brought by the game.
I have never been so impressed by the traditional tattoo like this one. The beauty of the stylish woman is not only rendered by the elements like standing bird, flora and tiger face, but also enhanced accent of color and seamless combination of the elements.
Lion, rose and bird
The lion is considered the king of the jungle that’s why it’ a quite masculine metaphor to express the meaning of power and strength. Rose, on the other hand, is the representation of love, which means even the strongest man conceals love in his deep heart.
Life is beautiful and colorful, which is especially true in amine and fantasy world. The tattoo turns the arm into a fantasy world full of UV light with focus on the dancing girl under the spotlight of a fire ball. On the top, a staring eye adds mystery to the look.
The incredibly realistic tattoo highlights a pondering girl done in shades of black and white. Moreover, the clock hands in front of her face as well as the clock in retro steampunk style accent the mood of the picture.
Kiku flower sleeve tattoo in Japanese style
The black themed tattoo turns the woman’s arm to sleeve of tight shirt with Chrysanthemum flower decorating pattern, which is evident by the triangle cuff at the end of the tattoo.
Queen of myth
Many of tattoos are based on legends or mysterious stories. For example, this tattoo features a woman with a crown and halo in abstract depiction. The great details of cross, shark mouth and triangle eye add eery feeling.
Mixed flowers full sleeve tattoo for women
The flower inspired sleeve tattoo features concentric mandala on both ends. In middle, a rose flower is centered at the place of elbow.
Japanese style inspired tattoo with snake and exaggerated kiku flower
Mixed flowers full sleeve tattoo
Matching sleeve tattoos in cubist style
Cubist tattoo is inspired by Cubism, the art style features the stylization and distortion of geometric objects or figurative characters, etc. Cubist style inspires observations from different view.
Optical illusion geometric tattoo tattoo on arm for men
Geometric elements are often used by artist to create optical illusions in their abstract artwork. This tattoo employs geometric shapes and patterns across shoulder and full sleeve. It appears stunning and astonishing.
Tribal mandala – Geometric symmetry full sleeve tattoo for men
Warrior vs philosopher
The black and white themed tattoo takes you to distant Greek civilization. On the top is a fully armored soldier and on the bottom is a meditative wise man. There is always debate who is the best dominant to govern the country.
Japanese pavilion arm tattoo
If you are a fan of Japanese culture, you wouldn’t miss the attraction of traditional Japanese archetechure. This tattoo is impressive in that it reproduces the beautiful scenary of Japanese pavilion and garden art on the canvas of arm. It also reveals how the shade of black add hues and accent of the mood.
chrysanthemum themed full sleeve tattoo for men
Skull with eye
Sugar skull wearing a helmet tattoo on arm
Dove and skull sleeve tattoo
Blackwork full sleeve tattoo with mandala and geometric shapes
A natural inspire sleeve tattoo features aquatic plants and animals, lion and guerrilla. On the background, the blue color makes the one look cool and unique.
Incredible full sleeve tatoo in Trash Polka style
Abstract Trash Polka
Portrait full sleeve tattoo
Maori tattoo originated from indigenous Maori people in New Zealand. But now it’s popular choice for men all over the world. This tribal inspired design is overwhelmed with Maori elements such as Tiki, spiral patterns and matau.
Blank and white hibiscus sleeve tattoo
Hibiscus is one of favorite choices for women’s tattoo ideas. Hibiscus tattoos normally come in a variety of colors. But this one rendered in pure black and white outlines.
Isn’t horrible to be able to view the bones in human body transparently? The black themed tattoo does more, which lets you see the vertebral in the arm. Of course, it’s exaggerating representation of Gothic style.
Mandala inspired blackwork tattoo for women
The blackwork tattoo covering full sleeve ususally appears on the arm of men. But it could also be designed for women tattoo by adding elements in feminine style.
Bird and hand
The full Sleeve Tattoo is portrayed as fantasy adventure in a dark world. The lonely hand is seeking help from a flying bird.
Skull and lily full sleeve tattoo
Lily is the symbol of compassion in Buddhism. On the other hand, skull represents vessel of the soul, or wisdom. So the meaningful full sleeve tattoo is nice choice to express their faith.
Intricate full arm ink in 3D style
The iconic work draws meaningful symbols in the full circumference of the arm. At the front of the upper arm is a sad man with lighting candles, which is to say there is darkness in life and there are also lights. Whenever there are difficulties or danger, there are angles in life. Viewing the amount of detail, one can imagine how long it took to get the perfect amount of shading to render the realistic 3D style.
Despite the flower theme, this tattoo looks unique for its burnt yellow color.
The whole circumference of the arms is inked with lily flowers, their leaves and shades.
Life and Death
Blackwork with stylish patterns on full arm for females
Black and white religious themed tattoo on arm
Colorful ink with fictional symbols from water to space
Dragon, Koi and Peony Flower
Black and gray tattoo with Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary on full sleeve
Christians and non-Christians agree character traits of Jesus Christ, compassionate, prayerful and humble. Therefore, the religious subject tattoo is popular by people who’d like to express their faith. This tattoo features depiction of Jesus’ portrait with shining halo. Further, the roses, angel and dove underneath serve to enhance the subject.
Bloody red roses
This tattoo looks like a glow of fire lighting over the arm with nonflammable chains and standing roses, which represents firm character.
Vintage city view
The black and white tattoo takes us back to the city of 19th century. On the top is a picture of cityscape, and then followed by the bridge and street view at night. The cab underneath is the most evocative of days that time.
Bible verse sleeve tattoo
Religious tattoos are always choices to express one’s faith. For example, this tattoo creates illusion that the Bible verses were carved in the flesh of the arm with shades and veins of wounds conspicuous and realistic.
Legendary full sleeve tattoo design
The intricate sleeve tattoo depicts details of imaginary metaphors, such as a mysterious man with full-face helmet, an axe, chains and a sword, which evoke rich imaginations about the story.
Skull vampire full sleeve tattoo
The spooky tattoos are alway sleeve tattoo ideas for men. For example, this full sleeve tattoo features frightful skulls with red blood over the arm.
Freaky wonderland full sleeve tattoo
Fight with evils
Elyse Arm finished
Buddha is always serene and peaceful no matter how much chaos the world becomes.
Woman, clock/compass, book and roses custom tattoo cover up
Fantastic fall foliage splatted over the arm. The focus of near leaves is contrast to distant blurry, which creates perfect photographic effect. The deep Autumn leaves tattoo is a sign of transformation, a metaphor for rich experience of life.
War and children
This tattoo depicts a powerful and realistic battle scenes as well as its consequence. On the top, the tattoo makes use of natual area of the back shoulder and draws a helicopter, creating perfect realistic effect. On the arm is highlighed with the children left alone. This is another way to remind people of the danger of the war.
Family sleeve tattoo
New school tattoo sleeve
Music drums note micro tat
Monster with large paw vs. cherry blossoms
Colored sleeve tattoo with dragon and kio fish for men
Ocean subject sleeve tattoo with octopus, sea fish and compass in blue theme
Japanese style tattoo with kio fishes and swirling wave
The high quality body art of Neo American tattoo
Inverted blue tattoo of underwater world
A colored ink with shorcking details
Jazz full sleeve tattoo
Tattoo design koi fish
Viper and woman full sleeve tattoo in greyscale for men
Black and grey tattoo with flowers and multiple symbols in full arm
Angel full sleeve tattoo
Cruelty sleeve tattoo
Black and grey tattoo with skull, rose and boat on arm for men
Colorful tattoo delineating a woman with masquerade mask, red flowers and clock on arm
Sleeve ink with bride, skull and spooky faces
Greywork with Wolf and beautiful woman in realistic style
Angle and skeleton tattoo on full sleeve for men
Colored Japanese themed tattoo with kio fish, lotus and wave on full arm
Inverted space and earth tattoo on full arm
The intriguing combination of colors makes space tattoo design look spectacular. Fast rotating celestial bodies and big explosion remind people of the power of the nature.
King Kong film inspired full sleeve tattoo in grey style
Dragon Koi fish
Sometimes there’s no need to use any objects for expression but just color and shapes. For example, the full arm tattoo is full colorful swirls without specific references.
Stylized flowers and leaves
Geometric abstract sleeve tattoo
Black and white sleeve tattoo with mandala inspired patterns
Blackwork matching tattoo on arms for lovers
Colored arm ink of film characters
Stylized birds and dancing woman in watercolor style
Wave and cloud tattoo in Japanese style on full arm for women
Alice in Wonderland
Carton inspired tattoos are loved by people who cherish their days of childhood. But White Rabbit is different here as we can see the words “Here All Mad” on the tattoo.
Vampire wearing feathers with horns in black and grey theme
Black and grey tattoo with flowers on full arm
Go with the flow sleeve tattoo
The natural inspired tattoo features nature elements over the arm. On the top, the partial of a bird represents a large flock of birds flying over the jungle. On the back, is a staring eye rendered realistically. What is surprising is that the tattoo does not hide the meaning deep in the metaphors but uses four words explicitly covering the arm. One with this attitude does not attempt to exert pressure to others, but an easygoing man.
Realistic sleeve tattoo with withered branches and red leaves
Black and grey sleeve tattoo with cinematic scenes for men
Skull wearing a daisy flower integrates with geometric blocks in greyscale
Black and grey sleeve tattoo with mysterious scenes for men
Lion and roses sleeve tattoo
A virile lion face inked on the upper arm was depicted in great details, in which its hair looks messy. From its eyes, the lion looks plunged deep in its contemplation. On the bottom, two pieces of roses and cross unveil the meaning of tattoo.