A half sleeve tattoo is one of the best types of tattoo for you to start out with. Half sleeve tattoos typically refer to the tattoos that cover the forearm area – it can be located on the upper arm, lower arm or even the entire arm!
The idea behind half sleeve tattoos is that it can replace an actual sleeve from a shirt with its designs. Since your arms can be exposed most of the time, a lot of thoughts are put into selecting the best tattoo design to fit into this location.
Popular Half Sleeve Tattoo Design Ideas
If you know what a sleeve tattoo is, it is not difficult to guess the meaning of a half sleeve tattoo. This kind of tattoo has two location options, from the shoulder to the elbow and from the elbow to the wrist.
Due to its visibility, half sleeve tattoo designs tend to be complex and detailed. Don’t be surprised to see amazing works of art among the tattoo collection below! Even if you think that a tattoo on the forearm is too obvious, there are other options for you as well.
Making a tattoo on the hand is considered to be one of the best variants for different reasons. Meanwhile, let’s take a look some of the most amazing tattoo designs that you can ink on your arm below!
1. Skeletal Half Sleeve Tattoo Design
Most guys seem to like tattoo designs that involve skeletons, skulls and other darker themes. This half sleeve tattoo design for men is no exception!
2. Bright, Cosmos Design
Some half sleeve tattoo designs for men are also very striking in color. With tattoo colors like this one, you won’t need to worry about your tattoo not being seen.
3. Horror-themed Sleeve Tattoo – Clowns & Quotes
This tattoo right here depicts a clown and what is presumed to be some popped balloons. If you have watched the movie ‘It’ by Stephen King, this will be a very familiar tattoo that might remind you of the movie!
4. Arts & Cartoon Styled Sleeve Tattoo
Half sleeve tattoos like this one will appear to be in stark contrast with the outfit of the tattoo wearer. Since the half sleeve tattoo is very shaded and dark, wearing something white and sleeveless will make the tattoo more appealing!
5. Complex Dotwork & Design
There’s quite a lot that is going on in here. There’s what seems like tattoo pieces, a geometric background, an eye and a half-skull face with a lace mask. The black ink of the tattoo has high contrast relative to the red ink.
6. Floral Half Sleeve Tattoo for Women
Have you ever seen a half sleeve tattoo that looks so well done even from some distance away? The dark intonation of the statue-like figure at the back of the arms is an awesome addition.
7. Small Tattoos Making Up a Half Sleeve Tattoo
If you aren’t sure what type of design you want to cover your entire arm, why not take it slow and tattoo one item at a time? These smaller designs will look good when they form a bigger half sleeve design overall.
8. Complete Your Whole Body Tattoo Coverage
Half sleeve tattoo designs look especially badass when the rest of a person’s body is inked up too! In scenarios like this, there are plenty of things that you can be looking at.
9. Flowers & Butterflies
Floral patterns and butterfly tattoos will never run out of style for women. After all, these are among the most popular tattoo motifs for women.
10. Monochrome Half Sleeve Tattoo
Some people decorate their half sleeve tattoo with any motifs that they can think of. This one here is mostly decorated with floral patterns amidst other random objects.
11. Of Viking Tales & Celtic Designs
This tattoo right here looks perfect as it is! The Celtic knots at the wrist ends the half sleeve tattoo perfectly. There’s a few Viking warriors, a lady warrior wielding her bow, and a battleship in the distance.
12. Colorful Half Sleeve Tattoo Design
These half sleeve tattoo for women do not get more colorful than this! Pretty much every color in the spectrum is contained within this elaborate design; We love it!
13. Roses & Pocket Watch
Some tattoo sleeves on women can give off a romantic feeling to its onlookers, such as this one – a pocket watch, a few roses and some inscriptions.
14. Flora & Fauna Half Sleeve Tattoo Designs
The only difference between a sleeve tattoo and a half-sleeve tattoo is the part of hand which it occupies. This one up here fills up everything from the shoulders to the end of the fingers. That’s a lot of dedication!
15. The Flow of Time
When one looks at this tattoo, one can’t help but to think of the passage of time. An angel looks on from above as hours and years pass. Death is always in the distance, waiting.
16. Space Suit; Space Arm Sleeve
Well, that is one creative way to have the entire galaxy on your arms. The features of the planets and the galaxy is very life-like. We love the image of the world reflected on the astronaut’s space suit!
17. The Fire of a Phoenix
If a man is looking for some powerful half sleeve tattoo designs for men, this is one of the themes that he can use to achieve his tattoo aims. After all, aren’t phoenix birds known to be fierce and powerful?
18. Inscriptions On Your Shoulder
While there is a huge variety of half sleeve tattoos, women tend to prefer something that has a personal meaning for their tattoos – such as meaningful quotes and inscriptions.
19. Dotwork in Half Sleeve Tattoos
This is one more nice variant for girls, but this time – a lower half sleeve. Note the dotwork behind the flowers!
The Advantages of a Half Sleeve Tattoo
Most of the time, everyone will be considering whether or not they want others to see their tattoos before inking one onto their bodies. A half sleeve tattoo’s placement is unique enough that it allows you to either hide it or show it – it can be done either way!
There are some advantages of making a half sleeve tattoo over other ones, including the possibility to choose one of two ways of its location. A half sleeve tattoo is also relatively painless during the inking session compared to tattoos inked on other parts of the body. There is also the possibility to hide a tattoo by wearing clothes with long sleeves – you can hide it or show it anytime you want!
People’s skin incurs less changes due to age or weight gain in this area, so it means that your picture is saved as it was in the beginning. You don’t have to worry too much about the tattoo going out of shape with your weight changes!
However, there is also a negative side to it. In summer, people prefer to wear clothes with short sleeves, so people intending to hide their tattoos might not be able to do so in the summer. For hiding a half sleeve tattoo, it is necessary to put on something with short sleeves at the very least.
20. Tribal Theme Half Sleeve Tattoo for Men – Red Indians
This is another popular tattoo theme for men – red Indians and other similar tribal-inspired tattoos. The clean finishing of this tattoo right above the wrist is a nice touch!
21. Colorful Skulls & Feathers
Imagine actually inking a tattoo this colorful. While they look like tattoos, this kind of fabric sleeve lets you get a glimpse of how your half sleeve tattoo might look like after it is actually linked.
22. A Scenery Over the Mountains
This tattoo can be hidden under clothing. You can vary the length of your half sleeve tattoo. It might just reach the halfway point of your forearms, or maybe it extends all the way to your elbow. A tattoo like this can be hidden under a long-sleeved shirt perfectly.
23. Feminine Half Sleeve Tattoo Designs
A very feminine half sleeve consisting of various floral tattoo. You can also see words written using lipstick, bright flowers and other patterns associated with being feminine, such as a heart shape.
24. Your Own Guardian Angel
Inking a half sleeve tattoo is relatively painless, so many people are open to intricate designs for this area. That is why some of the amazing tattoos showcased here are super detailed with shadows & shadings!
25. A Work of Art
You can even replicate unique artworks on your own arms if you like the artwork enough! Imagine carrying around a Mona Lisa portrait right on your arms. Isn’t that an amazing half sleeve tattoo idea?
26. The Idea of Sunflowers
Sunflower designs can be an excellent half sleeve tattoo choice for women and ladies. That’s because it is a flower with a happy nature, and you can definitely expect to see a happy and easygoing personality on a lady!
27. Hummingbirds on Your Half Sleeve Tattoo
Pictured on this image is a half tattoo sleeve on a female featuring lilies, hummingbirds and a praying mantis at the lower half. That’s a sweet, lively tattoo to look at, isn’t it?
28. Glamorous Even When You’re Old
Look at this badass grandma! Her sleeve tattoos are still just as eye-catching and wonderful. Who said that we can’t have tattoos because it will look ugly as we age? Prove them wrong, grandma!
29. Half Sleeve Tattoo on Old Men Looks So Cool!
This gentleman right here does look old, no doubt. However, he still looks so fresh because he has been keeping himself in shape! The half sleeve tattoo that he sports look just as relevant on him as it did 20 years ago – we are sure of that!
30. Día de Muertos
The candy skull design on this lady’s exquisite half sleeve tattoo will surely remind onlookers of the Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead often celebrated in Mexico.
31. Half Sleeve Tattoo Idea – Just the Forearms
If anything, we can confidently say that an extravagant & spicy half sleeve tattoo reflects the girl’s spirit. Doesn’t the girl in the picture look just as spirited as her tattoos?
The Feeling of Pain during the Tattoo Application
Fortunately, a hand does not quite belong to painful parts of your body for making tattoos. For this reason, tattoo half sleeve is popular among girls as well as boys. It is worth remembering that every person has his or her own sense of pain and pain tolerance, so it is better to do a test tattoo to get to know your own pain tolerance levels before you commit to a tattoo session.
The process of putting on a tattoo – though a bit painful – may be quite fun. Why not get to know your tattoo artist while you have your tattoo inked? You can even take a few pictures to commemorate the day when you inked your half-sleeve.
32. Getting Through the Pain
The half sleeve tattoo in progress looks like it’s going to be awesome! We can already see the classic diamond with banner and something with a pair of fancy wings. We love what we see!
The Significance of the Forearm Area
Usually, we determine which area to drawing a tattoo based on who we want to see the tattoos. Half sleeve tattoos are meant for everyone to see in the summer and only for closer friends or loved ones during winter. A person decides to whom exactly to show their half sleeve tattoo designs, and who they are more comfortable to be more open with. However, a tattoo always influences its owner despite the seasons and who they allow seeing the tattoo.
33. An Intricate Artwork as Your Half Sleeve Tattoo Design
Can you imagine just bringing this piece of artwork around wherever you go? With tattoo details this realistic, it is only understandable that people will take a second glance at you after seeing it.
33. A Mix of Textures
While the roses, cards, dices, crowns and other items in this tattoo are outlined clearly, the background is a little different. You can see a smoky texture or even something that reminds you of silk. The mix of texture in this tattoo makes the half sleeve unique.
34. Looks Japanese to Me
You can clearly see that this half sleeve tattoo design is Japanese oriented. There’s a Japanese tattoo, Sakura blossoms in the background and what we can assume to be a geisha at the bottom of the tattoo.
35. A Rainbow of Colors
Which area are you looking at? Take a look at the different colors in this tattoo – there’s red, blue, yellow and purple just from the first glance. We haven’t even looked at the details in this tattoo yet!
36. Like an Armor
A half sleeve tattoo for men like this one is going to remind many people of the gladiators or at the very least, a battle scene. It can look like a mix of Polynesian tattoos and some other culture’s tattoo for some.
37. Ready to Fight
This tattoo definitely has some influence from the Polynesian culture. The tattoo is so carefully shaded that it looks magnificent. No wonder the tattoo owner is proud to wear a sleeveless shirt!
38. In the Industry
Your half sleeve tattoo can also be related to your career. We can assume that this person is a photographer or a videographer. This guy’s tattoo has all elements of cinematography and more!
39. Just Quotes & Words Tattoo Sleeve for Girls
The girl chose a very individual half sleeve tattoo design to express herself. Quotes are also some of the easiest tattoo choices for people who are new to the art of tattooing. Which quote will you have tattooed on yourself?
Half Sleeve Tattoo Designs for Men and Women
Tattoo sleeves for men and women are not too different. However, tattoos are usually a lot brighter and more colorful for women as compared to those of men. Men’s tattoos are also usually more violent, brutal or gory. As an example, you might see a man with a half tattoo sleeve depicting the heroes of war, but not on women. You might even see a cross tattoo surrounded by colorful flowers and vines on a woman’s half sleeve tattoo, but never on a man.
Nevertheless, there are some common themes for half sleeve tattoos, whether it’s for men or women. There is a widespread opinion that boys tend to experiment with their bodies and try new ideas. Conversely, girls choose the way or design that is already proven to work well by others. So, men’s tattoos can surprise and shock many by their unique touch.
Men also prefer to make animalistic tattoos, but unlike women, they usually take on vermin and birds. They also often choose images of people.
There is no doubt that a bird has something to do with the air and everything wonderful living amidst it, though everything depends on the exact kind of bird. There are some examples of their meanings which we will reveal as we go further down this article.
40. Each to Their Own Half Sleeve Tattoo Design
Look at this couple with curious half sleeve tattoo designs! They look adorable together simply because they both have these tattoos. It might not be a matching tattoo, but holding hands in public can never look better than this!
41. Demons Half Sleeve Tattoo Idea for Men
There are so many demonic elements in this half sleeve! The tattoo ends with an inverted pentagram right at the wrists. Demonic eyes, skulls and patterns are definitely not lacking at all in this tattoo piece either.
42. A Colorful Change for Men
This colorful tattoo instance is why we said that there isn’t much difference for tattoo designs between men and women! Men can still opt for colorful half sleeve tattoos like this one, and so can you!
43. Nature on Your Tattoo Sleeves
Autumn leaves are some of the most wonderful sights that you can ever set your eyes upon if you have had the chance to see them. The leaves are all just there in flashes of yellow and orange. This tattoo may be monochrome, but you can still imagine the beauty. That’s how amazing tattoos are!
44. A Portrait
It’s not uncommon for someone to tattoo an entire person’s portrait onto their arms. This is especially true if it’s a portrait of a loved one!
44. Oriental Sleeve Tattoo for Men
There’s no way that we can refrain from thinking about Japanese tattoos when we see this one. Look closer and you will see intricate dotwork involved in this delicate tattoo.
45. Patterns & Red Florals
Even men can get sleeve tattoos with bright-colored flowers like this one in this age. There are no right or wrong tattoo choices, so just opt for something that you know you will like!
46. A Challenging Journey
This sleeve tattoo for men can also be just as applicable to women. There’s thunder in the sky, challenging waves rolling around the sea and a map to serve as a guide. Perhaps the intention of this tattoo is to be calm like sea turtles during tough times!
47. No Need for Complication
This elegant fairy half sleeve tattoo design can be elegant for girls and women. Who said that your tattoo needs to be complex at all times?
48. Entertainment-Themed Half Sleeve Tattoo Idea for Men
The few elements in this tattoo are easily associated with entertainment. It can be juts a few masks and dice, but it is enough to tell a story.
49. Sleeve Tattoo for Women
A conservative butterfly can be exceptional in a proper half sleeve tattoo. Women often choose floral patterns, sometimes animistic, for example, cats, fish, and butterflies among other animal motifs.
This guy right here has no reservations about inking his entire arm! A little typical for guys, this sleeve tattoo contains scenes of crime and violence.
51. Old School Roses Tattoo
Many women opt for rosy tattoos for their half sleeves. It doesn’t have to be all red roses either; A black rose amidst all the pinky red roses can serve as a contrasting highlight.
52. Clean Cut at the End of the Half Sleeve Tattoo
One of the most satisfying points about half sleeve tattoos is when it cuts off cleanly at the end of the tattoo. The edges of this piece is clearly defined, which is surprisingly pleasing to the eyes!
53. An Array of Objects & Items
This is exactly how a half sleeve tattoo is intended to be! Originally, half sleeve tattoos comprise of small tattoos that cover-up at least one-half of the arms – either the top half, bottom half of the entire arm.
54. Realistic Horror Icons
The demon or creature at the shoulder can bring shivers to your spine. We love this half sleeve tattoo idea! It is just a little horror-ish, but it looks absolutely amazing. Hats off to the dotwork design!
55. A Charming Sleeve Tattoo Design
Conservative parents will look at this tattoo and tell you that it is a tattoo for gangsters in Japan! However, one cannot deny that this tattoo is an amazing, artistic piece.
56. Watercolor Inspiration for Sleeve Tattoo Design
Watercolor designs are always among the top choices for both men and women because it looks beautiful and intricate at the same time. Depending on the colors chosen, a tattoo piece can appear very fierce or a lot gentler.
57. A Dragon Around Your Arm
We love the details of this tattoo piece! The dragon’s scales and features are so intricate that we can’t help but to wonder just how many hours have been put into this extraordinary piece.
58. A Sleeve Tattoo Design Idea for Gamers
If gaming is an important part of your life, you can even insert some of their elements into your tattoo design! How many characters and features can you recognize from this tattoo?
59. Koi Fishes
The colorwork in this tattoo piece is stunning, to say the least! It looks like the fishes are actually glowing. The golden dragon just adds on to how magnificent this tattoo piece is.
60. See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil
There is a well-hidden quote here in this tattoo. The portraits here seem to be more of a malicious nature, perhaps reminding the wearer that evil is everywhere. A unique take on a sleeve tattoo!
61. More Dragon Tattoo Designs for Men
Seriously, what is it with men and dragon tattoos? The last we remember, the book title was ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and not ‘That Dude with a Dragon Sleeve Tattoo’. Well, it still looks really good, so there’s that!
62. A Sleeve Tattoo of Mother Nature
This is quite a wild tattoo to look at. There’s wildlife atop the trees such as birds and squirrels. There’s also a deer and a wolf amidst the lower, deeper areas of the forest.
63. Inking the Forest
This sleeve tattoo is a little different from the one above. There’s even rivers and rocks in this one! The sunlight and the tall trees in the forest are also very well portrayed.
64. A Fierce Eagle
An eagle is an embodiment of strength, vigilance and speed. There are even tales of how eagles are strong animals capable of going through the most strenuous adventures and difficulties.
65. A Unique Take on an Eagle Tattoo
You’re looking at a half sleeve tattoo with an aggressive bald eagle. Since it has a skull in its talons, you can assume that it has achieved some form of victory against its enemies!
66. A Tiger, A Woman & An Eagle
Tigers and eagles are both seen as fierce creatures in their own realms – on land and in the sky. When portrayed with these animals, the woman is seen as a strong person as well.
67. The Wise Old Owl Sleeve Tattoo
Owls are a symbol of wisdom and fear, loneliness, supreme intelligence, sadness, and joy. This symbol is also a popular choice for millennials and hipsters.
68. The Owl has the Key
An owl may look very cute in a girl’s half sleeve tattoo. It no longer looks as fierce when it has a key, a lock and even lovely little roses decorating it!
69. As Free As the Birds
Swallow are birds symbolizing hope, youth, and freedom. It is also a symbol of returning home, which is a bittersweet experience for many individuals.
70. Seagulls & Card Games Sleeve Tattoo Design
We aren’t fully sure about what these birds are supposed to represent in a tattoo with this context. It may look a little confusing with cards and dices in the background too.
71. The Magnificent Octopus
Of course, a photo of a fish is associated with the power of water. Like birds, different kinds of fish have various meanings. What do you think an octopus represents?
72. Life at the Ocean
An ocean is often depicted as fierce, dangerous and mysterious. Even to this day, scientists have not discovered all the species of the ocean, much less explored every inch of the deep, blue waters.
73. A Gentle Koi Half Sleeve Tattoo
A half sleeve tattoo with a carp may be aimed at attracting good luck. This is especially true for the Japanese culture, where Koi fishes can be purchased at prices up to half a million dollars!
Tattoo After-Care Methods
The process of recovery from a half sleeve tattoo does not differ from the repair or recovery from an ordinary one. Tattoo masters will tell you how to render it in detail by himself or herself. And yet, there are some general moments that are important to know.
The area of a newly made tattoo must be rubbed with a napkin using a special burn ointment. The pain will stay with you for several days, but when it is gone, there won’t be any need to take care of it anymore.
You will also have to be careful not to allow the tattoo to be spoiled by the sun’s rays.
74. Like A Real Portrait
This lifelike portrait could actually be based off a real human being! After all, a half sleeve tattoo with a person in the tattoo usually takes inspiration from someone close.
75. The King on a Journey
Everything in this tattoo looks very life-like! The crown, the compass and even the clock in the background gives off a realistic glow which is simply beautiful.
76. Wolf in the Forest
The symbolism of a wolf remains a consistent theme in many tattoos. This half sleeve tattoo is no exception! The fierce eyes of the wolf is bound to attract some attention.
77.One Big Tattoo
This big flower tattoo covers the lacy black and white floral motifs underneath it. It looks almost as if this is a cover up tattoo! However, you can also see this as a unique tattoo style on its own. We love this!
78. The Imagery of War
It’s subtle, but seeing a young looking girl wielding a sword against a grown man, one can’t help but to think of the war scenarios. It is possible that the portrait of the girl is based off someone the person knows personally.
79. The Girl Under a Wolf Hide
What could be the story behind this girl with a wolf’s hide? Is she pretending to be strong and cautious when she actually is not? Or is she using the disguise of an innocent girl when she is actually the wolf?
Take a look at the details in this tattoo. There’s a name ‘Anna’ is tattooed at the top of the pocket watch, and there is also a date at the bottom of it, presumably a birth date.
81. A Little Too Realistic
There’s no doubt that people will be taking a second look when they see this tattoo piece! The details in this tattoo make it look like an actual person has been put onto the arm!
82. The Gaze
Half tattoo sleeve designs of Jesus is far from uncommon. This design looks just as beautiful as the other similar designs!
83. A Girl in A Wolf’s Hold
The first gaze of this half sleeve tattoo for girls would make you wonder if the girl is alright, but the red stripe across her face tells us that this is a battle trophy and she is perfectly fine!
84. Butterflies & Roses Half Sleeve Tattoo Design
Ah, here it is! Tattoo designs like this one are common among girls and women. Butterflies and roses with in-depth shading is always optimal for tattoos on this area.
85. A Love for Wildlife
You have to admit that tattoos like this one are not common for half sleeve tattoos! However, the frogs and their bright colors is bound to catch some attention!
86. Wonder Woman Half Sleeve Tattoo Design for Women
What better, more empowering tattoo design for women than the portrait of Wonder Woman herself? Portray your strength and willpower with your favorite superhero!
Famous People with Half Sleeve Tattoos
The stars in Timidity half sleeve tattoos stand for his belonging to showbiz
Timidity has a lot of different tattoos. As you can see from the image above, Timidity has plenty of tattoos on both arms and hands. Some of them depict his dreams; others about who he is and so on. It is impossible to notice two big stars on his elbows that is said to depict the love for his profession.
Many musicians such as Eminem and 50 Cent also have tattoos which occupy a large part of their arm.
88. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp’s arms are covered with different tattoos – nearly half sleeves, but the tattoo designs are a little further apart from each other.
89. David Beckham
A few years ago David Beckham was quite satisfied with his half sleeve tattoos. Recently, however, he had them turned into full sleeve tattoos.
Eminem would never be one without a half sleeve tattoo. The best rap God in the world would definitely sport some sick tattoos!
Half sleeve tattoo designs are extremely cool and in-fashion for both men and women. The tattoos and designs can differ greatly between both genders, but when the tattoo has been completed, you will see that the designs are eye-catching just the same. All you have to do to get started is to choose a tattoo design that speaks out to you the most!