The legs are a popular spot for new tattoos as they can be concealed if necessary or shown off with pride. Leg tattoo ideas come in all shapes and sizes, and placement varies from ankle to thigh. This means you have much to consider if you’re contemplating getting a leg tattoo. Placement is one of the biggest challenges, but once you find the perfect spot for your tattoo land, you want to ensure the design accentuates the leg’s natural shape. If that seems difficult to you, have no fear, we are here to help.
We decided to round up dozens of leg tattoo ideas for you to get a better understanding of the possibilities and limitations of these types of designs. Our goal is to inspire your ink as you should be using these tattoos as a jumping board and not copying them completely. After all, you want a singular design that no one can claim. A trusted tattoo artist is going to be able to guide you in the right direction and help you realize your own unique design. Now, take a look at some of the best leg tattoo ideas ever below.
Dainty Near the Ankle
Many leg tattoo ideas involve large pieces that cover a significant portion of the leg. However, something neat and small like this can still make a big impact.
Mandala-inspired and mandala-adjacent leg tattoo ideas are very popular these days. Partially abstract and partly ornamental, this design offers the best of both worlds.
Figurative Is Very Fine as Well
Decorative is not the only answer. Figurative designs inspired by the natural world are big hits and the subject of many leg tattoo ideas. How cool is this stylized moth?
These really dramatic leg tattoos find a chrysanthemum blossom blown up to an extremely large size. The orange and red inks contrast greatly with the black background. Matching leg tattoo ideas reinforce the design and, in this case, really delivers.
Cupping the Cap
If your leg tattoo ideas involve a design under or near the kneecap, consider shapes that cup the cap in this way. It is a celebration of the body’s natural shape that this U-shaped design perfectly accentuates.
Set the Scene
The legs and the thighs specifically represent some of the largest areas on the body to get tattooed. Take advantage of all that space by creating a scene that builds a narrative. These birds and botanical elements absolutely stun.
It’s All About the Shape
See how this tattoo forms a very subtle U-shape? The curve of the design perfectly matches that of the knee making the tattoo appear harmonious and intentional. For leg tattoo ideas, you can’t go wrong with botanical elements.
A Study in Contrast
We’ve seen a moth tattoo, yes, but what about these slightly matching, contrasting ones? If you are going to repeat a design on the other leg, consider leg tattoo ideas that allow you to contrast the designs in some way. For instance, one can be in colorful ink while the other is in black and grey.
A Full Leg Sleeve
For leg tattoo ideas that are very big, you can work with a lot of different imagery to help tell your story. A full-leg sleeve is not going to be for everyone as it is a big commitment and expense. If you go in this direction, make the most of it as this person has done.
Making It Micro
On the other end of the spectrum are micro tattoos. Not all leg tattoo ideas have to be massive. If you want something small, and sweet, near the ankle is an excellent position. Do you think this person has a fondness for chocolate?
Spread Your Message
Your leg tattoo ideas can also be about making a declaration. Moving quotes, singular words, and cool fonts are all on the table. “My body, my art,” is a great message about autonomy and agency. Very cool!
Get Expressive with Color
We are big fans of black ink tattoos, but color certainly has its virtues. Choosing a cool or warm color palette can help you express the theme of your tattoo as well as influence tone. We’d say this one is pretty chilling.
Don’t Forget About Style
When contemplating your leg tattoo ideas, consider the style you want your tattoo as well. This is a neo-traditional design that borrows from classic tattoos while making something fresh and new. “Coffee & Contemplation,” is a fun idea that looks so jazzy in this style.
Listen to Your Heart
A more conventional leg tattoo idea for this subject matter would have been a simple heart shape with the name Jasmine inside. However, this person has gone in a very different direction by getting an anatomical heart with the name encircling it. Think outside of the box!
In the Frame
It is true that all tattoos and not just leg tattoo ideas benefit from proper framing. A frame will give your tattoo definition and looks far more polished than it would without it. A frame offers you the opportunity to focus on an aspect of an image you love most.
Elevate Typical Designs
It should come as no surprise that rose tattoos are some of the most requested at tattoo shops around the world. For your leg tattoo ideas, it’s totally fine to go with something that is done often, just find an artist who can take it to the next level as this one has done for this impeccable rose tattoo.
For this leg tattoo, the person has spaced out the characters to make the overall design read as light and weightless. You could do something similar if you’re not after a heavy-looking tattoo. The great thing about something like this is that it can be completed over several sessions should you need a break.
A Word of Caution
2Pac looks fantastic in this portrait but we want to warn you that many portrait tattoos do not turn out as well. Really do your research to find an artist that has a proven track record tattooing in this style. It’s not impossible but it will likely take you a little time.
Similar to the framed tattoo we showed you, this one has a circular background in orange. By adding this element, you will give the colors of your tattoo something to contrast against, making the entire design pop.
A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That
Patchwork tattoos are smaller designs with no clear connection to each other. Instead of just thinking about one leg tattoo idea, you can get multiple small ones in a sitting. This style has become increasingly popular, and that’s especially true for hand-poked tattoos.
Have Some Fun
The possibilities are endless regarding leg tattoo ideas. Anything goes! We say this to encourage you to go with your gut even if your idea seems far-fetched. It’s not.
It’s All About You
If you are struggling with subject matter, think of aspects of your personality or things that bring you joy. If you are a Scorpio, for instance, it’s not a terrible idea to go with a scorpion. If you love apple pie, go for a pie. It’s all about self-expression.
If you’re not taking yourself too seriously, a quirky or even funny design could be the right choice for you. This muscle has taken on a life of its own thanks to the facial features tattooed onto it.
A Slice of Life
We were not kidding when we talked about that pie tattoo! Here is a delicious pumpkin pie slice that looks like a real winner. All leg tattoo ideas are good ideas.
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Be Bold, Be Brave
Be bold with your leg tattoo ideas and don’t settle. After all, this tattoo will be with you for life, so go big or go home if that’s your mantra.
There you go! What did you think of these leg tattoo ideas? We hope you found some ideas to take to your tattoo artist. There’s no wrong or right way to go about getting your leg tattoo. Just stay true to yourself and embrace your own unique vision. If you would like even more ink inspiration, keep reading. We’ve got some big leg tattoos to share with you as well.
Check Out Ricky Martin’s New Leg Tattoo Below
Is Ricky Martin “Livin’ La Vida Loca?” We think his new leg tattoo looks excellent with a distinct shape and clean design. It almost looks like a drop of pigment in water. Mesmerizing! The star thanked @roxx_____, the artist, on Instagram, calling him a “legend.”
Adam Levine’s Leg Tattoo Is All Drama and Waves
Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine has also been chronicling his leg tattoo journey which took days for the artist Bryan Randolph to complete. This is not the musician’s first but it is one of the most ambitious tattoos. So, far he has only shared images of the new tattoo on his Instagram stories, but we hope a clearer shot of the finished product comes soon.
Geometric & Inspired
As you might imagine, there are not a ton of people out there with leg tattoos like Ricky Martin and Adam Levine, but we were able to find continuous designs, similar to the ones they have. Here’s a great example of a black ink tattoo that employs geometric shapes in a wavy pattern. We think it also looks fantastic.
Mandala & More
Here’s another example to get us kicked off. Notice how much of the leg is covered in black ink, almost like a blackout tattoo. Whenever the moody, dark stops, it reveals intricate shapes like the Mandala-inspired design at the knee and interlocking rings on the thighs. A dream!
This half sleeve that goes from the ankle up to the knee looks similar to Levine’s tattoo, as it uses a wave design similar to those found in irezumi, a traditional Japanese style of tattooing. Expect to see more like this as we continue on this leg tattoo journey.
We mentioned blackout tattoos earlier and this is another example, and in fact, it’s a better one. See how both legs have been completely blacked out only to reveal the tattoos that were done beneath them, that’s a big trend right now. While this is a bigger commitment than what Levine or Martin dedicated themselves to, it’s still an option for those who have a lot of patience!
We find a fantasy scene here from Japanese tradition that is more involved than Levine’s leg tattoo, but you can see the similarities. We love the inclusion of figures because we also like busy tattoos, if that’s true for you too, this could be a perfect inspiration.
How handsome is this tattoo that wraps all the way down the leg, fading out at the ankle? We are very fond of this one and felt that others who like more visual interest would as well.
Enter the Void
We really love the way this leg sleeve centers around a sort of vortex that occurs just above the knee. Everything seems to be trying to escape its inescapable pull. Storms like these are popular in irezumi and are often accompanied by cherry blossoms.
Here’s a wild design that is a touch trippy and offers viewers a bit of an optical illusion due to the way the lines run parallel lines make the area around the knee appear larger than it is. If you noticed, at the bottom of Martin’s tattoo, at the foot, the lines turn into parallel ones that run down to the toes.
Here’s another design that should be getting somewhat familiar to you at this point. However, we liked how whittled down this leg tattoo feels in comparison to some of the others on the list. The lines of a wave broaden near the bottom of the leg near the ankle to create thick blocks of black.
This swirling and mesmerizing tattoo design takes elements from tribal and Polynesian tradition to create a truly original design that culminates to a dramatic point just above the thigh. If you are looking for something just as bold, but with less black, something similar would be perfect for you.
It’s not immediately clear when you look at these leg tattoos that there is a giant dragon staring you in the face, but that becomes apparent after time which is a lovely effect. These is very stylish and well-done design. Bravo!
Black Old Sun
Look less at the shin and instead at the area behind the knee. We love the idea of these radiating geometric shapes filled with bold black ink. What do you think? Is it too blocky or a possibility?
To achieve the organic shapes that Martin and Levine’s tattoos both share, consider any element from nature. A snake would be an excellent choice for someone looking for a little edge. You can have the artist design it in such a way that it wraps around the leg to accentuate its shape.
Another Mix of Patterns
This is not the first geometric tattoo design that has mixed patterns on this list, but it is the closest look we have had tattoos in this genre. Play with different geometric patterns like this to mix and match and find the best combinations.
Swirls and More
See? By blocking sections with a bold design like these arches holding little t-shapes you can pair others with it to create even more visual interest. The swirling vortex at the knee is just a blast.
If you are wanting something a little softer with even more contrast, think of pairing something soft like a flower with a whole bunch of black. See how the flowers really pop and yet a swirl shape is twisting underneath? Not a bad idea!
Pop of Color
We bring you more chrysanthemums in this leg tattoo, but this time the person has chosen to go with a lovely orange color to stand out against the grey and black of the heavy background. This is a beautiful tattoo and the black meeting the bright golden color is truly breathtaking.
As we hinted at before, Ricky Martin’s leg tattoo looks almost like oil in water or smoke or something making its way into a heavier substance. We love these liquid tattoos that look so fresh and fun.
Ricky Martin really nailed his tattoo design and highlighted an emerging trend that we might have to go and do a whole list about! How cool and bewitching are these liquid designs? We think something similar would look fantastic on a leg.
Go Against the Grain
This person really went out on a limb, did they not? We’re sorry. We have been waiting to make a limb joke for so long now, and this leg that with a tattoo that looks like the inside of a tree is pretty remarkable.
Bolts of electricity, radio waves, mind control… We are not sure, but we are really into this design that evokes one of the continuing visual metaphors in Twin Peaks. There’s so much energy here and you always want that in a tattoo, especially a big one.
At the end of the day, you have to get yourself a tattoo that you love and that expresses your point of view and aesthetic. Get weird. Find yourself a tattoo artist you trust and play with all sorts of styles and designs. You can create some stunning works of art like this one!
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This tattoo looks like ink applied by brushstroke. It’s an evocative design that is reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy. See how the shape of the tattoo wraps around the knee and accentuates the natural shape of the leg? That’s the money!
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.
- 1 Dainty Near the Ankle
- 2 Mandala
- 3 Figurative Is Very Fine as Well
- 4 Going Jumbo
- 5 Cupping the Cap
- 6 Set the Scene
- 7 It’s All About the Shape
- 8 A Study in Contrast
- 9 A Full Leg Sleeve
- 10 Making It Micro
- 11 Spread Your Message
- 12 Get Expressive with Color
- 13 Don’t Forget About Style
- 14 Listen to Your Heart
- 15 In the Frame
- 16 Elevate Typical Designs
- 17 Sparkling
- 18 A Word of Caution
- 19 On Background
- 20 A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That
- 21 Have Some Fun
- 22 It’s All About You
- 23 Quirky
- 24 A Slice of Life
- 25 Be Bold, Be Brave
- 26 Check Out Ricky Martin’s New Leg Tattoo Below
- 27 Adam Levine’s Leg Tattoo Is All Drama and Waves
- 28 Geometric & Inspired
- 29 Mandala & More
- 30 Irezumi-Inspired
- 31 Real Blackout
- 32 Samurai
- 33 The Wrap
- 34 Enter the Void
- 35 Psychedelic
- 36 Less Busy
- 37 Polynesian-Adjacent
- 38 Dragon Fire
- 39 Black Old Sun
- 40 Creeping Snake
- 41 Another Mix of Patterns
- 42 Swirls and More
- 43 Chrysanthemum
- 44 Pop of Color
- 45 Liquid
- 46 Parallel Lines
- 47 Go Against the Grain
- 48 Radio Waves
- 49 Express Yourself
- 50 Brushstrokes
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