In tattooing, micro realism refers to a mashup of two separate tattoo techniques. Micro tattoos are teeny tiny tattoos generally are no bigger than the palm of your hand. Photorealism is an art term that’s been adopted to describe tattoos that appear as real as a photograph. They’re extremely detailed and take real skill on the part of the artist. Once you combine these two sub-genres of tattoos, you get small tattoos that look like little shrunken photographs.
Micro realistic tattoos are currently on-trend in a big way with people requesting bite-size designs that reflect our real world. There’s no shortage of inspiration here, either as the right artist will be able to pull off incredibly intricate work in a small amount of real estate. From pets to slices of cake, tattoo enthusiasts are willing to spend hours getting tattooed for their desired subject matter. You’ll see it all! Check out these 25 micro realism tattoos that are full of life. Spoiler alert: you’re going to want one once you’ve finished this list.
Ready for This Jelly
Calling all jellyfish fans! Take a look at this pastel design with its haunting tentacles. Jellyfish truly are majestic creatures that make for thrilling subject matter, no matter the size.
Look at this photorealistic portrait of everyone’s favorite basketball player, Michael Jordan. This tattoo is about the size of a quarter and looks so incredibly real. It’s almost uncanny for a tattoo to look this good at this size.
Take a Trip
Here, we find a retro RV looking completely ready for an adventure. The lines of this tattoo are so incredibly fine that we’d guess this was done by hand, meaning without a machine, utilizing the stick and poke technique.
Take a dose of cute in the form of this sweet-looking bunny rabbit. Take a look at those little whiskers! How is this even possible? Alas, we love this charming pet tattoo.
Take a look at these impeccable hands that manage to delight in simple black and grey. This is so delicate. The butterfly on the tip of the finger is an absolute insane feat. Wow!
We, here at MU, love a food tattoo so naturally we were attracted to this amazing little coconut. The little fibers give this design some vérité with a touch of whimsy.
René Magritte‘s The Lovers was completed in 1928. We love the reimagined version of the painting here, as a small tattoo. We like the addition of the circular background which almost looks like a target. Very fun!
Check out this amazing big cat in tiny form. Any time you get the opportunity, ask for your artist to create a design of the object in motion. This adds so much more interest to any work of art.
Have a Slice
You saw the word “jelly” earlier in reference to the jellyfish, and you might have wanted to see actual jelly. Here, we find the sweet spread on top of a slice of cake. Bravo!
Star Wars fans love getting tattoos that show their fandom. Here, we find a very small Boba Fett in all his Mandalorian armored glory. Even if you aren’t familiar with the character, you can still appreciate this fascinating tattoo.
You Are My Sunshine
Floral tattoos are always smart as they represent natural beauty and a love for nature. This happy sunflower has a the sharpest stalk you’ll ever see.
Ladybugs have been considered good luck for a very long time. If one lands on you, you are guaranteed months or years of good fortune. However, if you’re not superstitious, you might just find ladybugs attractive and that’s fine too!
Take a look at these ghostly leaves that are tethered together by a stem. This subtle, understated design works extremely well and we imagine we’ll still be thinking about its virtues for days.
This extremely tiny bumble bee is just over a centimeter tall. Look at the detailing inside the wings and ask yourself if you’d be able to hit those marks.
Out for Blood
We’re big fans of Dev Hynes who performs under the name Blood Orange. It’s actually the reason we were so attracted to this citrus tattoo. This little charmer is so rich in color and texture. We now want to be covered in little fruits.
Precious! This is completely precious! A baby giraffe nuzzling its parent turns out to be a wonderful idea for a design.
This absolutely marvelous tattoo is based on artwork from contemporary artist, Aykut Aydoğdu. While this is a touch larger than some others on this list, we felt obligated to share it with you.
Wow! A cute little poppy blossom sure adds a pop of color. This flower is so cute and has been tattooed very delicately. And, it looks to be the size of a penny. Impressive!
Edward Scissorhands, anyone? This wild tattoo shows your old pal with a pensive expression. If you’d like to indulge your inner goth, be sure and follow this person’s lead.
Such a Snitch
Harry Potter fans sure love their tattoos. This shiny, golden snitch is fabulous no matter if you get the reference or not. Take a look at how the artist has recreated reflection using a touch of white ink.
Botticelli Meets Van Gogh
Botticelli’s Venus meets Van Gogh’s sunflowers in this imaginative tattoo design. If you’re a fan of a couple of artists, we encourage you to share that by a tattoo inspired by their work. While this is a tattoo from paintings, it stays mostly true to the originals.
This super duper small tattoo of a puppy’s face should bring a smile to your own. Its expressive eyes and pink tongue are enough to make anyone happy.
Someone got Lil Peep‘s face tattooed in tribute to the late rapper. It’s incredibly realistic despite it being about the size of a nickel.
The tattoo artist entitled this image “In Front of the Light,” which we’d say is appropriate. The artist has employed stippling here to give the tattoo an almost granular appearance. See how the ink of the shadow transforms from black to red? What an inspired design.
This is unreal, right? Here we find a very detailed astronaut encountering some butterflies in outer space. The reflection of light on the helmet is truly beautiful.
There you go! 25 micro realism tattoos that bring the realness in a small package. We hope you enjoyed these designs and feel inspired to create your very own micro gem.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 Ready for This Jelly
- 2 MJ
- 3 Take a Trip
- 4 Bun, Hun
- 5 Buddha
- 6 Nuts
- 7 Magritte
- 8 Tiger, Tiger
- 9 Have a Slice
- 10 Boba
- 11 You Are My Sunshine
- 12 Stay Lucky
- 13 Leaves
- 14 Buzzworthy
- 15 Out for Blood
- 16 This Cuddle
- 17 Woof!
- 18 Poppy
- 19 Ed
- 20 Such a Snitch
- 21 Botticelli Meets Van Gogh
- 22 Adorable
- 23 Lil Peep
- 24 Stop
- 25 In Space
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