Your back is like a canvas that’s primed and ready for some body art. Back tattoos for men come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a small tattoo on the shoulder to entire back pieces that cover the whole of the back. It’s a popular spot for tattoos because they can easily be hidden under clothes should the need arise and also shown off as a celebration of the time you spent under the needle.
Back tattoos for men are often bold and attractive as they complement the body’s natural shape. For instance, a vertical design stretching down the spine will look fantastic, as will any sort of balanced design that radiates from it. We wanted to get an idea of the latest and greatest back tattoos for men, so we turned to social media to discover what sorts of designs are moving the needle. Look at our inspired finds to get an idea for your own tattoo.
Let’s kick things off with a popular back tattoo for men, the big cat. This tiger is huge and very maximalist. Cat faces are extremely common because they symbolize strength, loyalty, and cunningness.
Phoenix imagery is very popular among back tattoos for men. The bird that rises from the ashes and endures perpetually is a powerful symbol that many men connect with.
We find a lot of traditional motifs among the (busy) back tattoos here. A ship and other imagery were popular among sailors for decades. We like that this person is celebrating the history of tattooing by going old-school.
This back tattoo is a Hamsa which is a symbol that’s been used for protection for centuries. The “evil eye” concept is closely associated with this one. Take a look at all of the detail the artist managed to cram inside. Remarkable!
For back tattoos for men, animal faces and skulls are on trend. We find the ram here, a symbol for Aries. It’s paired with other symbols and has a smoky effect that looks singular and cool.
Black and grey are the most popular types of back tattoos for men, but some opt for color. You could choose no better one than red as it absolutely pops off the skin.
We find a beautiful portrait of a woman inside the mouth of a very large bear design. Color has been used sparingly but the artist has managed to strike the perfect balance.
Here’s another example of a big cat back tattoo. It’s one a huge scale and includes a clock shape over a glowing blue eye.
If your aesthetic skews dark and twisty, lean into it. This is one of the wildest back tattoos for men on this list. A skeleton and spider hybrid creature is the show’s star, and it’s totally creepy.
A Dragon Dream
Dragons are also a popular subject matter for back tattoos for men. This one is Asian-inspired, reminding us of Japanese Irezumi. There is a lot of black and grey here that really makes the colorful portions pop. Totally fierce!
Turning to nature for inspiration is always wise. We find decorative, botanical elements here with star shapes for a little something extra. This shape is ideal if you want something that goes along the upper back to the shoulders.
Wow! Say “hello,” to one of our favorite back tattoos for men ever. We find a pair of falcons tattooed in stunning detail. The scene offers so much movement, action, and beauty.
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If you’re not afraid of commitment, you could spend several sessions and numerous hours getting a heavily detailed backpiece. Geometric shapes mix with organic ones here, and the result is spectacular.
Patchwork tattoos are smaller designs that aren’t connected to the others around them in any significant way. Go smaller if you’re not in the market for a giant tattoo. You can always add more at a later time.
Back tattoos for men that climb up the spinal column are another excellent alternative if you’re not looking for an oversized piece. Yes, they can still be detailed and fresh. This is a very mysterious one containing so much interesting imagery.
Going abstract and/or minimalist is also an option. Above, we find two triangular shapes that mirror each other. Inside, the artist has added texture for even more visual interest.
While researching them, we saw many snake back tattoos for men, and this was one of the coolest concepts. On the left, we find death. On the right, life. Together, they form a shape that mirrors the back’s natural shape, making them so appealing.
Turn to fine art for back tattoo inspiration, and you won’t regret it. The artist has tattooed this dramatic scene to make it look like an old etching or lithograph.
With these back tattoos for men, we expected to see more bird imagery, but birds are not nearly as popular for men as they are for women. That’s specific to this placement on the back, of course.
Many Moving Parts
The artist who shared this image explained that the cat on the left was done by another artist in the past. All of the soldier imagery on the right and the little embellishments elsewhere are their handiwork. These little micro tattoos are unique among back tattoos for men.
Snakes Are the Moment
The person who shared this back tattoo said they wanted a good and evil concept. The pair of snakes are tangled up together in such a mesmerizing fashion.
A Celebration of Nature
In this brilliant back tattoo, geometric shapes and bold lines move the eye from object to object. A landscape sits in the center with natural elements, a hand, and other objects worked into the mix.
We find another sailboat, but this backpiece is more cohesive than the last. This neo-traditional masterpiece has it all.
Mandala tattoos are some of the most popular designs today, which holds true for back tattoos for men. Here is one that will take your breath away. The precision with which the artist has applied the shapes is unbelievably good.
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In this back tattoo, we find a take on Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. It’s a very popular motif, but we’ve never seen it like this before. Work with an artist you trust and they will help realize your unique vision.
There you go! We hope you found some back tattoos for men to inspire your own design. As you have seen, back tattoos come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and tones. The sky’s the limit. If you would like even more ink inspiration, keep reading. We’ve got dozens more tattoos for men to share with you.
Placement of Tattoos for Men
You can tattoo virtually anywhere you want to on your body but some places are more popular than others for tattoos for men. The upper arm and bicep are some of the most popular locations as these tattoos can be easily concealed or shown off!
Another Arm Piece
Here’s another, larger arm tattoo that practically constitutes a half sleeve. If you’ve been lifting weights and want to show off all the hard work you put into arm day, this placement will be a perfect option for you!
Classic designs like this one are timeless. They are typically done with colorful ink and look distinguished.
About the Inner Bicep
Inner bicep tattoos for men look great, but a word of caution: they really hurt. Tattoos on the tender skin of the inner arm are significantly more painful than those done on the outer bicep. For this example, the fish’s tail fin probably stung the worst as you have more nerve endings near your armpit. But, it will look great if you can muscle through it.
Moving on to Forearms
Another extremely popular place for tattoos for men is the forearm. It’s one of the least painful spots to be tattooed as well. Here we find a cool geometric pattern that’s understated but still fun.
Another exciting trend with tattoos for men today are these big blocks with intricate fill. Again, we find an abstract, geometric designs inside each block of black ink. If you want to start a full or half sleeve tattoo this is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Express Your Interests
Your tattoo should absolutely be meaningful to you. So, if you are a motor head like this person, something similar will look excellent on your forearm. It shows the world who you are.
Black & Grey
While we wrap up these forearm tattoos for men, let’s take a second to discuss color. For men (and overall), black ink is the color of choice. Here’s an awesome black and grey tattoo for you to see just how effective these types of tattoo can be. But, if color is the way you want to go, be bold!
In tattoo parlance, a large tattoo across the chest is called a chest piece. They are very popular with men and women, especially for those who already have inked up arms. Here’s a handsome one that features sharp lines and expert shading.
A Smaller Chest Piece
A chest piece that’s smaller and scale, sitting just beneath the collar bones results in a cool look. A word of caution: getting a tattoo near or over any bone hurts like a mother, so be prepared for some additional sting once the artist tattoos near your collar bones.
Keep Scrolling for Even More Cool Tattoos for Men
You don’t have to go covering your entire chest in a single tattoo. Instead, you might want something situated on the pec like this snake. A watercolor effect has been applied here to add color and movement. It’s a huge trend at the moment.
Back Tattoos for Men
Let’s talk about back tattoos for men. Your back is a huge part of your body and presents your tattoo artist with a big, blank canvas to work with. You can get something epic or choose just one part, like the upper back which has been done here very well. Notice how the shapes accentuate the shoulder blades and neck? That’s money.
Epic Back Tattoos for Men
If you want to commit a lot and time and money, you can go all-out with a giant back tattoo like this one. It incorporates traditional and neo-traditional styles to great effect.
Thigh Tattoos for Men
Thigh tattoos for men are far less popular for men than women. That’s not to say they’re not uncommon! Here’s a great example with inspiration taken from Star Wars.
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Pop Culture Tattoos for Men
Pop culture tattoos for men are big! Here’s a super fun and colorful one inspired by A Goofy Movie. If you love a film, piece of art, or even meme, consider it for your tattoo. After all, you know what you like.
Calf Tattoos for Men
Here’s another pop culture tattoo. This one’s inspired by Breaking Bad‘s Walter White. Calf tattoos are very very popular with men. You’ll mostly see abstract shapes in these tattoos for men but not always.
Abstract Calf Tattoos
Here’s another calf tattoo, as promised, this one is abstract in nature. Take a look at all of those clean lines and beautiful fill.
Full Leg Sleeves for Men
We share this image with you to show you just how distinct these abstract designs can become and because you might be ambitious. Are you looking for a scheme for full leg sleeve tattoos? Something similar to this would look fantastic.
Foot Tattoos for Men
Foot tattoos for men are far less common than you might think. Most of them are funny, goofy tattoos or abstract. Here’s an example of the latter.
Funny Tattoos for Men
Here’s a tattoo that’s located just under this dude’s ankle. The foot is a great place to put a tattoo if you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Hand Tattoos for Men
Tattoos on the hands and face were once considered too taboo. But today, opinions are changing. If you’re bold and brave, go ahead and get your hand tattooed. Here’s an awesome black, grey, and white ink option.
Colorful Hand Tattoos for Men
As you can see, colorful ink on the hands really does make a huge impact. These are two traditional designs that have been looked at from a fresh perspective.
Neck Tattoos for Men
You need to have nerves of steel to get your neck tattooed but plenty of people do! Here’s an interesting tattoo that lands right on the Adam’s apple (shudder).
More Neck Tattoos for Men
The most popular area of the neck for tattooing is the side, like this one. Classic designs like swallows and roses are never going out of style.
Small Tattoos for Men
We’ve shown you a whole lot of rather large tattoos for men so we thought we’d also share some smaller ones as well. Here’s a small tattoo inspired by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.
More Small Tattoos for Men
Initials, words, and just a letter all make for evocative, mysterious tattoos. The person who shared this image wrote that he got the tattoo in Cyprus to commemorate time spent there.
Here’s an interesting design that highlights the importance of working with a tattoo artist who can help execute your vision. You can enjoy a tattoo that’s wholly original that way.
Sport Tattoos for Men
We could not complete a list of tattoos for men without tattoos inspired by sports. Here’s a fun basketball tattoo that’s been completed with thousands of tiny little dots.
Sport tattoos are extremely popular and for good reason. They’re what we play and what we enjoy being spectators for. These boxing gloves look classy.
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We leave you with this tattoo of a mountain landscape to encourage you to get tattoos that express the things you enjoy most. If you love spending time outdoors hiking, climbing, kayaking, etc. go ahead and get yourself a tattoo that showcases your passion for the great outdoors.
There you go! We took a look at many tattoos for men in different styles, sizes, placements, and colors. We hope this list has helped land on a tattoo idea or placement that will be perfect for you. There’s no right or wrong way to get a tattoo. Ultimately, as long as you are happy with the end result, that’s all that matters. Now, go get some ink!
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 0.1 Rawr!
- 0.2 Phoenix
- 0.3 Sailor’s Delight
- 0.4 Hamsa
- 0.5 Aries
- 0.6 Moody
- 0.7 Grizzly
- 0.8 Lion Time
- 0.9 Creeped Out
- 0.10 A Dragon Dream
- 0.11 Botanical Moment
- 0.12 Fighting Falcons
- 0.13 Unbelievable
- 0.14 Patchwork
- 0.15 Spine Tingler
- 0.16 Cool Shapes
- 0.17 Two Ways
- 0.18 Etching
- 0.19 In Flight
- 0.20 Many Moving Parts
- 0.21 Snakes Are the Moment
- 0.22 A Celebration of Nature
- 0.23 Sailing (Again)
- 0.24 Marvelous Mandala
- 0.25 Creation
- 0.26 Placement of Tattoos for Men
- 0.27 Another Arm Piece
- 0.28 Pantera
- 0.29 About the Inner Bicep
- 0.30 Moving on to Forearms
- 0.31 Blocks
- 0.32 Express Your Interests
- 0.33 Black & Grey
- 0.34 Chest Pieces
- 0.35 A Smaller Chest Piece
- 1 Keep Scrolling for Even More Cool Tattoos for Men
- 1.1 Pec Tats
- 1.2 Back Tattoos for Men
- 1.3 Epic Back Tattoos for Men
- 1.4 Thigh Tattoos for Men
- 1.5 Pop Culture Tattoos for Men
- 1.6 Calf Tattoos for Men
- 1.7 Abstract Calf Tattoos
- 1.8 Full Leg Sleeves for Men
- 1.9 Foot Tattoos for Men
- 1.10 Funny Tattoos for Men
- 1.11 Hand Tattoos for Men
- 1.12 Colorful Hand Tattoos for Men
- 1.13 Neck Tattoos for Men
- 1.14 More Neck Tattoos for Men
- 1.15 Small Tattoos for Men
- 1.16 More Small Tattoos for Men
- 1.17 Moody
- 1.18 Sport Tattoos for Men
- 1.19 A Knockout
- 1.20 Happy Place
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