Whether you’re in search of your first tattoo or just need a new one to add to the collection, this compilation of cool tattoo ideas is bound to give you some inspiration!
When selecting a tattoo that works for you, it’s important to not only love how it looks but what it means.
Ramon Kubicek, an Art and Literature professor out of Vancouver Canada stated quite succinctly “Beauty that simply honors surfaces, becomes superficial.” Plainly put, anything you have on your body forever needs to continue to mean something to avoid becoming familiar and potentially contemptuous to its wearer.
Origins of tattoos have been traced by anthropologists to be closely linked to war. Historically, they were functional objects for identification purposes of some type. Now, people use tattoos to express beliefs, allegiances, and love or passions.
To take a tattoo to another level and have it truly be art, however, you need a talented tattoo artist to love and care about what’s important to you and to work with the shape and movement of your body to bring the artwork to life. Look for artists with a good eye for balance, shape, symmetry, and color or shading. A tattoo that is well drawn, colored, and shaded will work well in whatever place you’ve decided to put it.
Below are some cool tattoo ideas to get you thinking!
This is an amazing way to combine meaning with incredible skill to create some awesome body art! Inspired by the Mayan culture and incorporating some of their tribal symbols as might have once adorned an ancient temple, this tattoo has the look of being carved into stone.
The artist added lines in and around the cool tattoo ideas to give the appearance of a cracked, hard surface as opposed to just being skin, and blended it well so there is no hard line between where the tattoo begins and ends.
Deciding on a tattoo that will be part of your body for as long as you have your body, is a big decision. When your tattoo is your whole body, you really want to make sure it’s done right!
This is an incredible example of whole-body artwork that even incorporates the head and ears. Using just black, gray, and shading there is an amazingly intricate story of death and the underworld being depicted. Some may recognize him as “Zombie Boy” but Rick Genest has become well known for his body art.
After being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Rick underwent a successful surgery, but was forever impacted by the concept of his death that he was forced to come to terms with. His tattoos tell his story and incorporate much of the symbolism and folklore associated with death and dying.
Instead of using the face of the wearer, this one has another face tattooed on their head depicting a Samurai, Japan’s most elite category of warrior. Beyond the face, the rest of the piece is loaded with other designs and decoration from Japanese culture.
The color palate highlights the colorful images and creates a stark contrast between the delicate and beautiful, and the fierce strength of the Samurai. Many men and tattoo artists that opt for these designs are drawn to the essence of the Samurai warrior. Known for their unwavering courage, honor, and discipline, there is much to be said for a person that chooses this type of image, especially one so grand.
Incorporating symbolism into your tattoo doesn’t require bringing in designs from ancient cultures or mythology. This incredibly symbolic tattoo shows an oil rig pumping the last remaining bit of blood from his heart. This can be interpreted as having the love or life once sucked out either by an individual or just through living life itself.
The fact that there is still some blood remaining gives an essence of hope to this passion-filled piece of artwork. A great twist on a heart tattoo.
Another awesome example of 3D art, this image has the appearance of the elephant growing up off the wearer’s back. An amazing use of color and technique to give life to the trunk and tusks. This is bound to be an eye-catching piece.
Elephants, while tied very closely to only two different regions, one being Africa, can signify prosperity and good luck but also due to their size and lifespan are often associated with strength, power, dignity, and longevity. There is no better way to pay tribute to an animal, culture, or symbol than to make it stand out in such a lifelike way.
If you love the idea of elephants and incorporating life like qualities, but are looking for inspiration on a smaller scale, this is a small piece done in a big way! Great detail and texture to the lines bring this elephant to life with much less real estate.
Optical illusions, combined with 3D technique are an awesome idea to incorporate with cool tattoo ideas. A great way to give the impression that there is more to you under the surface, these tattoos help illustrate the idea of not judging a book by its cover.
Whether you’re battling inner demons, want to show your strength but also potential lack of humanity and therefore weakness, or expose scripture that guides you, these are expertly executed ideas that will make anyone take a second look!
If you love the idea of 3D but want a more discrete way to show it off, here are some creative locations and cool tattoo ideas to think about for your next tattoo. The shading and color helps make these images leap off the skin without taking up too much space. The area they use may be small, but the impact is still large!
Erotic or humor-based tattoos can be a creative way to share your spirit and personality. The unique placement of this one also allows it to be hidden when necessary. Not a bad party trick. It will definitely create a memorable impression!
“Tattoos are an outward expression of your inner being” as summarized by Vyvyn Lazonga, a female tattoo artist of many years. Regardless of your taste, style, or interest in art and expression, hopefully you found cool tattoo ideas here that helped spark your imagination and spoke to your inner being!