Full sleeve tattoos are incredible works of art that wrap the arms in exciting designs. From the top of the shoulder all the way down to the wrist, these tattoos are the perfect excuse to wear a tank top. Tattoo sleeves don’t just happen. They take plenty of planning and prep and the actual task of tattooing can take an artist several hours. The result of all that hard work and pain? Gorgeous and bold sleeves that make a big statement.
There are a few different ways to conceive of a tattoo sleeve. You can plan it as one, giant, cohesive design. Alternatively, you can simply collect a bunch of smaller tattoos here and there and then go back and add “filler” to make the sleeve look complete. We decided to find some thrilling tattoo sleeves that people have shared online over the past couple of months. Here are 25 full sleeve tattoos that take arms from plain to insane.
25. A Snake in the Garden
This jaw-dropping Japanese-inspired sleeve comes from an artist in Myanmar. The flowers are exploding with color and life and stand in stark contrast to the deep blue of the snake and the smokey background.
Snakes are on tap today! Here’s another design with a serpent incorporated above a skull. This beautiful black and grey tattoo might not have tons of color, but the shading and detail make it very special.
23. Hannya Mask
Another Japanese-inspired design, this Hannya mask flanked with flowers is so vivid. The French tattoo artist who created this sleeve calls his style “neo Japanese.” It’s gorgeous.
22. Geometric Dotwork
This grand geometric design us so amazingly detailed and neatly done. It almost vibrates with movement. With motifs that look mosaic, this design combines old with new for a timeless look.
21. Bold and Beautiful
This dramatic tattoo sleeve comes from China and incorporates chrysanthemums and peonies into its design. We love the deep, moody colors the artist chose.
20. Black and Grey, All the Way
The tattoo artist who shared this exquisite sleeve said the entire process took five sittings to complete. In total, the tattoo took over 25 hours to finish. All that time certainly paid off. This black and grey tattoo is amazing.
19. Cat in a Hat
The artist who shared these images of a tattoo sleeve also shared that it took a total of 48 hours to get done. Wow! There’s an incredible amount of detail and precision. We especially love the tiger in the helmet and the Japanese crane.
We’ve entered the big cat portion of the list! Here’s another purrrfect tattoo that imagines adventure and safari. We love how the artist used negative space at the shoulder to create leaves for the cat to peer out from behind.
17. More Meow
This unique tattoo combines aspects of traditional Japanese tattooing and neotraditional design. The result is a novel tattoo with tons of character.
16. Fade Into You
A geometric tatt, when done right, is a stunning achievement. This black and grey design uses more grey than black to give it a subdued effect. This tattoo looks like a kaleidoscope.
15. From Black and White to Technicolor
This tattoo hails from Auckland, New Zealand where it was completed by a Chinese tattoo artist. The tattoo utilizes black and grey ink at the shoulder before exploding into color by the time your eye hits the wrist. It’s a beauty.
14. Butterfly Dream
A little less ambitious than many tattoos on this list, but very pretty nonetheless, this floral scene contains a range of pastels. We love the watercolor effect and how it spills out beyond the black lines.
13. Who? Who? Who?
The spooky scene on display here is warmed up by the presence of orange and red poppy flowers. The focus, an owl, seems to fade into the nightscape it’s surveying. This is a haunting design from Germany.
12. Sailor’s Delight
Unlike the tattoos before it, this sleeve explores a more traditional approach. Small designs resembling “flash” populate the real estate of the arm. Filled in with dots, stars, and diamonds this is a stunner.
11. The Dark Side
As if the gorgeous, cosmic starscape weren’t interesting enough, this design shows a space battle from Star Wars. This is one dedicated fan!
10. Traditional with a Twist
We called this one “traditional with a twist” because it features classic American tattoo design but arranges the tattoo in an almost geometric pattern. We’ve never seen anything like it and would love for this style to catch on.
This tattoo comes from Oregon. It strikes a balance between bold and delicate. Take a closer look at the petals on the flowers and see how they’ve been shaded by a series of tiny dots. What a winner.
8. Cute Racoon
We didn’t know we needed a little raccoon warrior, but we did! This colorful sleeve tattoo features the cutest little furry friend surrounded by pink flowers.
7. Full-Color Seascape
Tattoo lovers flock to the Goa Tattoo Festival in India every year to see and get fresh ink. This tattoo was completed at last year’s festival and is being shared now, in lieu of the pandemic and the likelihood that it will be canceled. This stunning seascape is a masterpiece.
This joyous sleeve comes from Seoul, South Korea where the tattoo artist who made it specializes in traditional style tattoos. The Grim Reaper smoking and drinking is a nice touch. He can take a day off!
5. Dream Poetry
This poetic and dreamy tattoo comes from an artist in Taipei. She describes the design as “Shanghai Style.” The black and grey work here is undeniably gorgeous.
There’s a popular hashtag shared on Instagram for this style tattoo: #geometrip. It’s a descriptor that aptly applies to this trippy geometric tattoo. We love this bold, strong design.
3. Loyal to Old School
This stunning, traditional tattoo comes from Brazil and contains many classic motifs. We especially love the boxer near the shoulder and the charming landscape at the wrist.
2. What Happens In Vegas
This cinematic tattoo has a photorealistic quality in places. This tattoo is like a movie montage in tattoo form. For casino lovers and poker players, you could do no better than this phenomenal tattoo.
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1. Beautiful Koi
Sakura or cherry blossoms are a classic element in Japanese and other Asian art. This Koi fish is swimming in a sea (or storm) of them. The bursts of color from the flowers and fish look almost like they’re floating over the black and grey background. A truly stunning sleeve.
We hope you enjoyed these 25 amazing sleeve tattoos. These tattoos take a lot of commitment from the artists and people who got them. The hard put into each of these designs speaks for itself. These are some truly remarkable tattoos!