Editor choice

Which tattoo is right for me? [Your complete guide to getting inked]

If you’re sitting there thinking which tattoo is right for me, remember that your choice of tattoo design should reflect your personality, beliefs, interests, loved ones, or you could just choose one with the greatest shock-value!!!

Which tattoo is right-for me

Take your time researching the different kinds of tattoos available and pay careful consideration to the size, placement, and coloring. Then, decide on a budget and do your homework by researching the best tattoo artists in your area.

A tattoo can be the most wonderful gift to yourself but if you rush in and make a bad choice, you could be in for a lifetime of regret!!!

So before you decide on which tattoo is right for you, make yourself comfy and check out these incredible tattoo styles before taking the plunge!

Lettering / Word tattoos

There are so many inspirational tattoo quotes, it can be difficult to know where to start. You may want to remind yourself of a certain time in your life, to express your thoughts or wishes, or even to share a valuable life lesson with the people you meet. Whatever the reason, make sure to choose a quote that you want/need to see every day and one that represents you and your character.

Pay particular attention to the design elements too. Ask your tattoo artist about the color, font, design, and language. Regarding color, black makes a bold statement, but others like to opt for different colors for each word (but this is more expensive.)

back to menu ↑

Portrait tattoos

A post shared by dongkyu Lee (@q_tattoos) on

Portrait tattoos can be stunning when done correctly, but choose the wrong artist (or even a good artist that’s in a hurry) and a portrait of your favorite musician or deceased family member could make you the butt of your buddy’s’ jokes for the rest of your days!

Despite the high level of difficulty, portrait tattoos should not be feared. Take your time to pick the right artist and provide him/her with the highest resolution image that you can find, of your hero or relative.
Color tends to add realism to portrait tattoos and makes the tattoo stand out whereas a shading adds depth and makes the artwork look like the real person.

Placement of a portrait tattoos is hugely important because a person’s skin stretches and folds with their body movement. If the tattoo is placed in the wrong area, it can disfigure the image when the wearer is in certain positions and could make the tattoo look less realistic. As always, consult your tattoo artist for the perfect placement so the portrait will not be stretched or squished as the wearer moves.

back to menu ↑

Animal tattoos

Animals have been used as visual symbols since ancient times with man depicting animals through art to convey differing culturally-rooted meanings.

Go back 20,000 years and animal pictures adorned cave walls, jump forward to the 21st-century and these images can be found in comic books. Jump again to 2018 and animal design tattoos are all over social media.

Animal tattoos usually symbolize a specific meaning with each animal conveying something different. They are not gendered specific and can be placed anywhere on the body.

back to menu ↑

Blackwork tattoos

A post shared by Belle Atrix (@atrixbelle) on

Blackwork tattoos utilize one color (not hard to work out which one). They combine shading and linework. There’s a massive range of designs to choose from including skulls, mandalas, animals, and increasingly popular – just “coloring-in” parts of the body with jet black ink.

While some designs are clear, others are more abstract. The absence or presence of shading enables varying degrees of softening. With Blackwork tattoos, self-expression is the key. These kinds of tats look sharp, striking, and often have a tribal flavor.

Blackwork can be done on any part of the anatomy, with the most popular spots being the arms, legs, back, and feet. An important thing to note is that covering larger areas of the body takes time, patience, and a high tolerance for pain.

back to menu ↑

Japanese / Irezumi tattoos

Japanese tattoos began way back in the Yayoi period (c. 300 BC–300 AD). At that time, they were associated with spirituality and regarded as an important status symbol which identified the wearer as a master or a slave. Things changed during the Kofun period (300 –600 AD), as tattoos gained a negative image because they were used as marks for criminals.

Nowadays, Japanese tattoos are among the most popular styles of tattoo art, but if you are thinking of getting one, be sure to find out the meaning and purpose of your chosen design. Meanings are often linked to creatures, plants, and people and these kinds of tattoos are used to show a person’s beliefs, wishes, or character traits.

In many cases, a large piece of art (such as a full back-tattoo) can tell a famous story or myth. This kind of tattoo is called a “motif“ and is intended to have the same meaning, i.e they are not unique to the individual. The purpose of this is for others to recognize the meaning, personality traits, and character of the wearer as well as their possible affiliation with criminal organizations.

back to menu ↑

Gray wash tattoos

Grey wash tattoo ink comprises varying degrees of grey and black ink to create varying contrasts. Gray wash tattoos take a fair bit of skill to properly fill out an outline but when done right, they can create the same degree of depth as a pencil drawing.

back to menu ↑

Religious tattoos

A post shared by Lucas Camargo (@tattoolucas) on

Tattoos have played an important role in many religions for millennia. While Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have been opposed to their devotees getting tattoos, other religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism embrace the use of religious tattoos by their followers.

While most wearers just want to express their beliefs, other folks choose religious symbols without paying much attention to their meanings. Whichever group you fit into, try to be respectful of the cultural significance of this kind of imagery. If you do happen to be a religious person, bear in mind that a tattoo is for life and is a powerful display of your religious commitment.

back to menu ↑

Memorial tattoos

There are many ways to design a memorial tattoo. They include names and dates, hearts, portraits, religious imagery, ones that read “R.I.P”, and anything else you can dream up as a tribute to someone special. The most common way of honoring a deceased relative/friend/wife is to simply list his or her name and/or the dates of their birth and death.

While most memorial tattoos pay tribute to a fellow human being, there are many of us that wish to remember a departed pet with a tattoo. This can be a beautiful way to keep your pet by your side until you join them in the “great tattoo parlor in the sky!”

Another idea (if you have a copy of the signature of your loved one) is to have that as an integral part of the tattoo. Any competent artist will be able to replicate this for you.

Finally, if you associate that person with an object, for example – driving a Harley Davidson, partying like a rock star, or fishing, that can also be incorporated into your design. Bear in mind that your tattoo design doesn’t have to make sense or have meaning for anyone but you.

back to menu ↑

Haida (Native American) tattoos

If you’re on the hunt for an aboriginal tattoo design, why not get a Haida tattoo on your next visit to your local tattoo shop. Not so common, they have deeply spiritual elements to them and if done properly, are intelligently oriented on the body.

Haida is from the Native American culture which was principally located in the Alaska and British Columbia areas. Haida tattoos should be one-of-a-kind tattoos that are stunning in their details. The imagery of Haida tattoos mainly focuses on animal spirits.

Native Americans strongly believed that all animals have a spiritual essence and that they were often guided in their lives by their spirit animal. Using Haida ink, all manner of creatures can be illustrated in this cool-looking two-dimensional format.

Choose from reptiles, mammals, or birds, pretty much any animal can be represented with a Haida tattoo.
While you can choose any color you like for your tattoo, the original designs are mainly in three specific hues: red, blue, and black. These shades have been used for generations because they resonate with the auspicious background of the tribes.

back to menu ↑

Cartoon / Anime tattoos

Cartoon tattoos have been a favorite for decades. They can help wearers feel youthful and take them back to happier, carefree times.

Cartoon tattoos just make you feel good. They can take you back to your childhood days when all you thought about was Tom & Jerry or Popeye. Tattoos of cartoon characters are a great way to remind yourself that you can still be young-at-heart with a healthy dose of nostalgia thrown in.

back to menu ↑

Surrealist / Horror tattoos

One of the reasons that horror tattoos are so popular today is the enormous array of horror material to choose from.

Old-school-horror-nuts simply go with the classics and opt for Frankenstein, zombies, mummies, or even Dracula. Modern horror fans love designs featuring Michael Myers, Jason, the Saw bloke, or characters from the Walking Dead.

Lovers of horror tattoos often want to project the image of someone that isn’t afraid of anything, moreover, they seem to love the extreme reaction that a gruesome tattoo can get from others!!!

back to menu ↑

Stippling / Dot work tattoos

Stippling is the creation of a pattern simulating varying degrees of solidity or shading by using small dots. Such a pattern may occur in nature and these effects are frequently emulated by artists.

In a drawing or painting, the dots are made of a pigment of a single color, applied with a pen or brush; the denser the dots, the darker the apparent shade. This is similar to pointillism, which uses dots of different colors to simulate blended colors.

back to menu ↑

White ink tattoos

White ink tattoos look amazing when done right but they have a definite downside! They’re extremely difficult to do well and need much more care and planning. White tattoos are also on the increase because they are pretty new and interestingly “glow in the dark” when exposed to a black light.

They can damage the skin more than a conventional tattoo and leave a raised scar but If you really want one, make sure you use a top quality tattoo lotion to minimize the scarring as much as possible.

How they will look on you really depends on your skin color, the darker the skin, the more the white ink will pop. Whiter skinned dudes also love white ink tattoos because that they can give the look of having a scar appear that the tattoo is actually embossed on the skin.

back to menu ↑

Graffiti tattoos

A post shared by Pulse (@pulsoans) on

Graffiti tattoos are very easy to identify. They look just like the amazing murals/drawings/paintings that you see in most big cities in subways, the sides of buildings, and highway overpasses. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t only gang signs and have actually become a super-cool art form that has proved crazy popular with the younger generations.

One of the coolest graffiti tattoos is to have the tattoo artist draw a brick wall somewhere on the body, then actually draw graffiti on the wall. This can create an amazing 3D effect as the colors of the graffiti contrast with the red brick wall.

Another reason for the huge rise in graffiti styled tattoos is that they make great cover-ups. So if you are dumb enough to have your ex-girlfriend’s name etched on your body, a graffiti tattoo could be just what you’re looking for.

back to menu ↑

Watercolor tattoos

Watercolor tattoos have been hitting the headlines lately. Skeptics believe that tattoos should not be done in a watercolor style as they do not stand the test of time!

Watercolor tattoos are created in exactly the same way as regular tattoos and with the same tools. The only differences are the styles and techniques of shading and coloring that go into their creation.

These kinds of tattoos resemble watercolor paintings and feature subtle gradients where the merging of colors is less pronounced than in conventional tattoo styling. Nearly all watercolor tattoos do not contain solid outlines or borders. Common images range from designs of paint splatters all the way to copies of classic watercolor paintings.

Again, this kind of tattoo is highly specialized and should not be attempted by ex-cons or inexperienced artists. Whereas some of the techniques involved are straightforward, other parts of these tattoos take years to master.

back to menu ↑

Geometric tattoos

A post shared by Joby Cummings (@jobycummings) on

Geometric tattoos can look fabulous and come in many color palettes and designs. They can be totally abstract or even versions of famous images.

A common feature of geometric tattoos is that they contain lines or geometric shapes that come together to create a bigger shape. They also often include leaves, lines, stars, and many other interesting patterns. These tats are usually made with black ink only which makes them really “pop.”

They are super-popular right now because people love the versatility that comes with designs using lines and shapes. Some advocates of geometrical tattoos believe that geometry is one of the major influences on today’s tattoo art. But one thing’s for certain, they look bold, beautiful, and will be the envy of your pals for years to come.

Sorry to keep repeating this but these tattoos should only be carried out by artists with a lot of experience as it is extremely difficult to create geometric patterns on the skin.

back to menu ↑

Celtic tattoos

A post shared by Goorse Ink (@goorseink) on

The story behind Celtic tattoos is very interesting. They were often used to intimidate enemies on the battlefield or conversely to explain the meaning of life!

There were many Celtic tribal societies back in the day including Europe, England, Scandinavian Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Traditionally, these tattoos were created using dyes from the Woad plant.

Warriors would often be seen sporting knot designs on either their upper chest or arms. This symbolized their belief that there was no beginning or end in life. Other popular Celtic designs are swirls, trinities, and circles. This kind was believed to symbolize nature, motion, time and wind.

Some Celtic designs feature animals (both real & mythical). These tattoos served a purpose in that they could act as a symbol of powerful force, protection or courage.

back to menu ↑

Bio-Mechanical tattoos

Not everyone is sentimental when it comes to choosing a tattoo. There are blokes that just want to get tattooed because it looks so damn cool! Dudes that don’t really care about deeper meanings behind their tattoos often go for the trendiest designs around and one of the most popular is bio-mechanical images.

Mechanical tattoos are supposed to give the look of a cyborg or half-man / half-machine with moving mechanical parts just below the skin. There are a few different versions of biomechanical tattoos with the most popular being “ripped apart skin which reveals all manner of mechanical internal body parts. These can include cogs, wires, metal joints, and springs.

They are usually created in black and gray ink but some dudes “go the whole hog” and make the artwork more realistic by mixing in lifelike colored human body parts such as veins and muscles. Some chaps also love to incorporate a 3D effect, which can make them amazing to look at.

Bio-mechanical tattoos usually have bags of detail which can make them very costly. As they take a lot of time, only those with a high threshold for pain should embark on such a design. They look cool on just about every part of the body, but best on the arms, legs, hands, feet, and ribs. They also look amazing when done as a full sleeve.

back to menu ↑

Ambigram tattoos

Ambigram tattoos are a great choice for fans of optical illusions or more intellectual imagery and are designed to change depending on which angle they are seen from.

Some ambigram tattoos have a palindromic effect while others choose to display a different statement when viewed from differing perspectives.

These stunning calligraphy based tattoos use directional orientation to play tricks on the eye and mind. They are a favorite among more intelligent guys that can’t resist these fascinating body markings.

back to menu ↑

Tribal tattoos


Samoan tattoos

Polynesian tattoos

Tahitian tattoos

Tribal tattoos are still one of the most popular tattoo choices. This term is rather broad and some tribal tattoos do not even pertain to a tribal culture at all. Often, they are simply “inspired” from the traditional tattoo designs and patterns of these cultures.

A common feature of tribal tattoos is that they tend to feature repetitive designs/patterns, bold line images, strong black ink use, and a mythical or spiritual symbolism.

We hope that you found some inspiration from this article, but if you are still asking the question “which tattoo is right for me?”, you might want to head over to Tattoodo.com where you can find heaps more ideas.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also be interested in just how much do full sleeve tattoos cost from our men only section.