Tattoo sleeves are badass and totally eye-catching -- no one can deny that. Turning an entire arm or leg into a work of art requires some serious commitment and love for ink. In fact, we'd go so far as to argue that our arms or legs are the perfect canvas to be transformed into a piece of art. Our limbs are incredibly easy to hide, but also super easy to show off, arguably making tattoo sleeves the best spot to get inked. 
The ultimate peak of rugged style has captured in the tribal sleeve tattoo. The comprehensive designs are connected to our ancestors’ rites involving scarification rituals, and they were already around way before tattoos were even accepted by society. Plenty of historians are certain that tribal tattoos were the first form of ink-based body art ever created. A lot of aboriginal and tribal groups have glorified the use of tribal tattoos, to symbolize a boy’s maturity. These designs have often been associated to the state of reaching full adulthood. This type of symbolism is still being used up to this day.

Half-sleeves or quarter-sleeves are tattoos that cover only part of an arm, usually above the elbow, but can also be found below the elbow. A sleeve implies complete tattoo coverage of a particular area, so a half sleeve is a tattoo that covers the entire upper or lower arm. A "quarter sleeve" usually covers the area of skin from the shoulder midway to the elbow.[1]

Many of the inspirations of great numbers of people who are going for these tattoos are famous celebrities. Well, there is no question about that since people tend to do what their idols are doing. They want to look like their celebrity idols, which is why they allowed themselves to get tattooed. In relation to this, here are some of the world-renowned celebrities nowadays who are proudly displaying their tattoos on their arms:
Perhaps even then this was a fashion statement, a badge of belonging. Or just what you did after too much rum. Later, the aristocracy flirted with body art. According to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (they know a lot about tattoos), Edward VII had a Jerusalem cross on his arm while both his sons, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York (later George V), had dragon tattoos. Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston’s mum, had a snake on her wrist.
A lot of us have imagined ourselves with those same kinds of full-arm sleeves. For some, it could work well with our no-fucks-to-give persona. For others, it's an aesthetic decision, or an emotional one. If you’re serious about it though, then it’s worth knowing what planning is involved—from inception, to execution, to maintenance. So we spoke with Nicolas Gualteros, tattoo artist at Senaspace in NYC, to plot it all out.
The Japanese sleeve tattoo has long been accepted as a symbol of both spiritual and social status. Although after World War II, the Emperor of Japan was quick to outlaw them since he wants to improve the country’s appearance. And much like anything else that gets outlawed, people began envying what they couldn’t have – Which is what happened in the case of the Yakuza, also known as the Japanese mafia. The Yakuza weren’t the only ones to adopt the traditional art of tattooing – Foreigners did the same as well. The Japanese style sleeve tattoo has a beautiful floral design, a deep meaning, as well as a colorful motif.
When talking about badass tattoos, men often think of intimidating, sometimes morbid tattoo designs in order to project as much masculinity as possible. This includes dragon tattoos, demon tattoos, Japanese samurai tattoos, and other images usually associated with metal bands. If you need inspiration, just look up death metal or black metal album covers on Google. Don’t go for a full copy-paste, though. You might get slapped with legal issues in the future.
There is nothing like a great looking sleeve tattoo on a masculine arm to draw attention from all corners. Most well done sleeve tattoos for guys make them look more masculine and exude that charming effect especially on the women. Show off your sleeve tattoo in casual social gatherings by wearing a fitting t-shirt and you will attract all sorts of people, from the admirers and artistic souls to the openly envious ones. Work out regularly to keep the arm muscles firm and the sleeve tattoo will look appealing every day.

However, not everyone digs deep when it comes to the reasons behind tattoos. There are men who simply get tattooed because they think it looks good on them. Men who think of tattoos this way often go for the most badass tattoo designs around instead of meaningful ones. Because if they want to look good with tattoos, they might as well go big and choose the most masculine and the most impressive.

1. You’ll often see sleeve tattoos that extend all over the body. They can start on the arm and extend across the chest or start on the chest/back and extend down the arm. As you can see below, her piece extends from her arm, all the way across and down her back. The black color dramatizes the art and creates an eery look that is intensified by the pops of red.
Since the 1970s, tattoos have become a mainstream part of Western fashion, common among both genders, to all economic classes[citation needed] and to age groups from the later teen years to middle age. For many young Americans, the tattoo has taken on a decidedly different meaning than for previous generations. The tattoo has "undergone dramatic redefinition" and has shifted from a form of deviance to an acceptable form of expression.[61]
1. You’ll often see sleeve tattoos that extend all over the body. They can start on the arm and extend across the chest or start on the chest/back and extend down the arm. As you can see below, her piece extends from her arm, all the way across and down her back. The black color dramatizes the art and creates an eery look that is intensified by the pops of red.

Jump up ^ In 1969 the House of Lords debated a bill to ban the tattooing of minors, on grounds it had become "trendy" with the young in recent years but was associated with crime, 40 per cent of young criminals having tattoos. Lord Teynham and the Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair however rose to object that they had been tattooed as youngsters, with no ill effects. The Times (London), 29 April 1969, p. 4: "Saving young from embarrassing tattoos".


I am soon to be starting my half sleeve. But am worried that my ideas for it don’t match together as a theme and might make the tattoo look terrible. I am getting a koi coming up the top part of my arm with cherry blossoms, with a film negative roll coming down and with 3 panels with freddy krugers glove in one, Michael Myers mask in another and Jason voorhees mash in the other. Does anyone have thoughts on this idea? I think it would be great but wouldn’t mind additional opinions.


Choose a few symbols. Once you have the style, the theme, and the message in mind, you should pick out some symbols to add meaning to the overall design. For example, if you love the ocean and wanted to get a tribal style tattoo that represented heartbreak, you might think about incorporating symbols such as hearts, wilting roses, a shipwrecked boat, a broken anchor, waves crashing into a heart-shaped rock, etc.

The terms tattoo sleeve, full sleeve, half sleeve, etc. are generic terms given to tattoo designs covering the arm or leg in a close-knit pattern resembling that of a sleeve. The validity of this term is occasionally brought into question but has gained wider acceptance over the years, especially since the dawn of the internet age. “Full sleeve” is just a tad bit catcher and descriptive than searching the web for “full arm piece tattoos.” Most contemporary artists have accepted the term and regularly use it.
Discuss and plan with your artist. Never go into this with a permanent vision. You should talk to your tattoo artist about your likes and dislikes and tell them exactly what you want to convey. They will sit down with you and plan out several designs that will incorporate your ideas. Allow them some freedom of artistry. In the end, you will have the final say in what gets permanently inked on your body, but, before then, let the artist do what they do best: design.

As most tattoos in the U.S. were done by Polynesian and Japanese amateurs, tattoo artists were in great demand in port cities all over the world, especially by European and American sailors. The first recorded professional tattoo artist in the United States was a German immigrant, Martin Hildebrandt. He opened a shop in New York City in 1846 and quickly became popular during the American Civil War among soldiers and sailors of both Union and Confederate militaries.
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