Shoulder Tattoos: A Friend for Life!

Shoulder Tattoos: Something for Everyone!

Shoulder tattoos are popular among all kinds of ink lovers.

Whether you’re more into simple, minimalist designs or are starting a sleeve with a shoulder tattoo, we’ve got some ideas to inspire you!

 

Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!

 

Shoulder Tattoos

Just like with ear tattoos, shoulder tattoos are quite easy to hide – all you have to do is throw on a jacket!

Floral shoulder tattoo from heksa.handpoke
Artist: Heksa Handpoke

 

But unlike ear tattoos, shoulder tattoos are just as easy to show off. That makes them the perfect summer accessory!

Another great thing about shoulder tattoos is they’re perfect for someone who is looking to get a larger tattoo but would prefer to start with something small. When you’re ready, just ask your artist to extend your shoulder tattoo to your collarbone or neck all the way up to your jaw, or to your shoulder blade and down your back, to your chest or all the way across to your other shoulder, or down your arm. You can even gradually extend a shoulder tattoo into a half or full sleeve over time. Talk about versatile!

So what kinds of designs look the best on a shoulder? Let’s find out!

Shoulder Tattoo Designs

Let’s start with something simple – floral designs.

These shoulder tattoos tend to be quite popular for girls – but that doesn’t mean it is limited to only one group of ink lovers!

Flowers and plant leaves are some of the best for understated designs. They look perfectly dainty on the shoulder, so if you’re in the market for a very minimal piece – we’d recommend one of these!

Floral shoulder tattoo from dareumtattoo
Artist: Dareum

 

Floral shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

Leaf shoulder tattoo from heksa.handpoke
Artist: Heksa Handpoke

 

Floral shoulder tattoo from tattooist_banul
Artist: Banul

 

Rosemary shoulder tattoo from zaya
Artist: Zaya

 

If, however, you’re looking for something with a little more of an impact, floral designs can extend a little further in to the shoulder or even down the arm for a slightly more dramatic effect.

Floral shoulder tattoo from tattooist_banul
Artist: Banul

 

Floral shoulder tattoo from picsola
Artist: Ola

 

Flower shoulder tattoo from mcapocci
Artist: Marcelo Gallucci Capocci

 

Floral shoulder tattoo from Emerald Tattoo
Artist: Richard

 

You can also extend the floral tattoo across your chest for a much larger piece.

Floral shoulder tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

Need some help selecting a tattoo size? Visit The Jhaiho Tattoo Sizing Guide

 

Flowers not really your thing? Try mandalas! While most mandalas are drawn as circles and are thus perfect for shoulders, you can definitely get creative and try something different!

Floral mandala shoulder tattoo from mcapocci
Artist: Marcelo Gallucci Capocci

 

You can also get something mandala-inspired with an ornamental shoulder tattoo.

Ornamental shoulder tattoo from shonalouisetattoo
Artist: Shona Louise

 

If ornamental patterns are not for you, you can find inspiration in anything, from the mundane – to the delicious!

Watermelon shoulder tattoo from dareumtattoo
Artist: Dareum

 

Olive wreath shoulder tattoo from picsola
Artist: Ola

 

Here’s a creative spin on the usual circle shoulder tattoos! If you had a cookie tattoo, what kind would it be?

Cookie shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

Inspiration can also come from nature – sun and moon tattoos are quite popular right now! They represent duality and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. These tattoos are also popular with couples, siblings, and best friends because they represent balance and harmony, as well as masculinity and femininity.

 

Sun shoulder tattoo by snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

Moon shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

Son moon shoulder tattoo by snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

You can also draw inspiration from other forms in the sky – such as clouds! While some think clouds represent bad omens and misfortune – what with all that thunder, lightning, and storming! – others see clouds as a symbol of balance between emotions and intellect.

Cloud shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!

 

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Try something a little less classic and a lot more abstract!

Abstract watercolour shoulder tattoo from jvtattoo
Artist: Victor Martins

 

You could also go for a traditional idea, such as feathers, and give it a very modern twist with bright colours.

Feather shoulder tattoo from picsola
Artist: Ola

 

Speaking of feathers – how about an animal shoulder tattoo! These can range from absolutely adorable to absolutely terrifying – your pick!

Guinea pig shoulder tattoo from dareumtattoo
Artist: Dareum

 

Ant shoulder tattoo from heksa.handpoke
Artist: Heksa Handpoke

 

Spider web shoulder tattoo from _miserymachine
Artist: Steven Carrera

 

You could also give your animal shoulder tattoo a quirky edge, like this alien cat tattoo!

Alien cat shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

Koi fish represent change and the overcoming of adversity. Carry this precious little reminder around on your shoulder as you brave the world together! 

Koi fish shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

Another animal that represents change is the butterfly! And butterfly shoulder tattoos are a beautiful way to remind yourself that you are always transforming and growing.

Butterfly shoulder tattoo from tattooist_banul
Artist: Banul

 

Shoulder tattoos also work beautifully with geometric patterns layered in!

Geometric fish shoulder tattoo from tattooist_banul
Artist: Banul

 

One animal that is popular as a shoulder tattoo is the bird – and which bird you choose depends all on you! It sits perched on your shoulder for life, adding beauty and wisdom to everything you do. 

Pink cardinal shoulder tattoo from tattooist_banul
Artist: Banul

 

Swallow shoulder tattoo from tattooist_yeono
Artist: Yeono

 

Bird shoulder tattoo from mcapocci
Artist: Marcelo Gallucci Capocci

 

Need some help picking a bird? Visit Animal Tattoos and Their Meanings for some ideas!

 

Another popular animal for shoulder tattoos is the dragon. Specifically, a Japanese dragon! A staple in the Irezumi style, these tattoos often extend to the chest, back, or down the arm – and make for quite an impressive sight!

Irezumi dragon shoulder tattoo from lizardsskintattoos
Artist: Niloy Das

 

Irezumi shoulder and chest tattoos, especially of animals like dragons tend to represent strength and the warrior spirit, which is probably why these shoulder tattoos are most popular among men.

 

If you’re on the hunt for more Irezumi dragon tattoo designs and ideas, check out Dragon Tattoos and Their Meanings 

 

Moving on to some hobby tattoos! Since a shoulder tattoo is both something you can keep intimate and something you can show off, it is a great place to get your interests and passions inked.

And as we said, the shoulder is a great place to start if you’re looking to get a larger tattoo later on. A lot of great sleeves start that way, especially ones inspired by pop-culture!

Witch shoulder tattoo from heksa.handpoke
Artist: Heksa Handpoke

 

Avatar Appa shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

Chess shoulder tattoo by snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

You can even get some great horror tattoos inked – if that’s your thing! Any Nosferatu fans in the house?

Nosferatu shoulder tattoo from heksa.handpoke
Artist: Heksa Handpoke

 

For more horror tattoo ideas, visit Halloween Tattoos: Demons, Zombies, Vampires, and more!

 

Greek mythology’s Medusa is a fan-favourite when it comes to blackwork tattoos, and with good reason – she looks gorgeous in them!

Medusa shoulder tattoo from Emerald Tattoo
Artist: KC

 

Love travelling? Get a wanderlust shoulder tattoo! This stunning circle tattoo was inspired by the beaches of Hawaii – anyone else feel like taking a spontaneous vacation right about now?!

Hawaii ocean shoulder tattoo from tattooist_banul
Artist: Banul

 

Since the shoulder tattoo is a more literal way to ‘carry something on your shoulder‘, it also makes a great spot for dedication tattoos.

Dedication shoulder tattoo from tattooist_banul
Artist: Banul

 

For something more understated, you can get a piece that has deeper symbolism. Black flowers, especially black roses, for example, represent grief, loss, and mourning, as well as healing and hope for the future.

Rose shoulder tattoo from _miserymachine
Artist: Steven Carrera

 

If more modern styles don’t suit your taste, you can try a more classic shoulder tattoo. To make it extra special, you can try adding a name or date to it.

Rose shoulder tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

Dedication tattoos are also popular for pet owners! Get your favourite furball inked in the most adorable fashion!

Pet dog shoulder tattoo from dareumtattoo
Artist: Dareum

 

Cat shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

Circle cat shoulder tattoo from ilginozdogan
Artist: Ilgın Özdoğan

 

For more dedication tattoo ideas, visit Dedication Tattoos: Honouring Family

 

If none of these do it for you – let’s try something FAR more dramatic!

Illusion and 3D tattoos are hugely in fashion right now. And circle shoulder tattoos are a classic. Put them together and you get something pretty wild!

3D shoulder tattoo from raphafons
Artist: Rapha Lopes

 

Ornamental circles are a classic, but you can combine these with some larger mandala designs (or make one of your own!) for a statement piece that really, well, makes a statement!

Mandala shoulder tattoo from raphafons
Artist: Rapha Lopes

 

Expand on a mandala shoulder tattoo idea by adding other spiritual elements, such as yin and yang to it.

Yin Yang shoulder tattoo from raphafons
Artist: Rapha Lopes

 

You could also try using sacred geometry in a shoulder tattoo for a stunning effect!

Sacred geometry shoulder tattoo from raphafons
Artist: Rapha Lopes

 

And if you’re looking for something even more extensive – here’s a design that combines all of the above! Mandala patterns for spirituality, floral elements for beauty, Yggdrasil from Nordic culture, and a tiny dedication in the middle to tie it all together.

 

Visit Tattoos of Europe: Norse Mythology and Symbolism for more Nordic tattoo ideas!

 

Remember – design ideas are simply inspiration.

When you combine elements that make you who you are, you can create something that is uniquely you!

 

How to Get a Shoulder Tattoo

As with all tattoos, some basic rules apply when getting a shoulder tattoo:

  1. Get consulted: Meet with your artist at least once before getting inked to discuss your tattoo design, cost, and get some tips about preparing for your session.
  2. Speak freely: Tell your artist about yourself! The more they know about you, the more uniquely they can customize your tattoo so it suits you perfectly.
  3. Stay sober: Refrain from drinking or ingesting any drugs for up to 48 hours before your appointment, as these substances can affect how the tattoo sits in your skin and how well you heal.
  4. Keep your artist informed: Inform your artist if you are on any medication, especially blood thinners. Also inform them of any health issues you deal with, especially ones like diabetes.
  5. Be on time: Try not to schedule too many other appointments around your tattoo session as it can often take longer than estimated, especially for larger tattoos or placements that are a little more difficult to ink on – like the shoulder. And never rush your artist – unless you want to get a bad tattoo!
  6. Dress appropriately: Wear loose-fitting clothing in black so your artist can access the area to be tattooed easily and the ink won’t end up staining and ruining your clothes.
  7. Don’t bargain: Discuss any price-related concerns in your consultation. After that, don’t bargain! Artists invest a lot of time and money into their craft and all art must be properly compensated. And if you like what you get, be sure to tip your artist! A standard tip in the tattoo industry is 15-20% of your total bill.
  8. Follow proper tattoo care: Tattoo care begins right after you book your appointment. Keep the area to be tattooed clean and moisturized, stay sober and limit your caffeine intake, and follow the aftercare tips recommended by your artist.

 

How to Care for a Shoulder Tattoo

Shoulder tattoos are on a spot that we use quite often – especially if you’re into sports or dancing! Caring for a shoulder tattoo, therefore, means you might need to do a little extra to make sure it heals perfectly.

  1. Keep it clean: Make sure to cleanse and moisturize twice daily!
  2. Keep it dry: You might need to refrain from activities you might usually enjoy for up to four weeks while your tattoo heals. Since tattoos should not be exposed to water bodies, sweat, or too much heat, that rules out everything from exercising to swimming, spas, and saunas.
  3. Keep it covered? Tattoos are generally kept covered while they heal, but shoulder tattoos might be difficult to keep covered since all clothing will rub up against it, which could hinder the healing process. Instead, try to stay out of the sun and keep your tattoo away from dust and dirt.

 

For a full breakdown on how to care for a tattoo, visit The Jhaiho Tattoo Care Guide

 

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After finding some design inspiration, read about how Arpita designs her own tattoos and how her tattoos change and grow – just as she does!

Have your own stories to tell? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment and get inked today!

* * *

Looking for more tattoo inspiration? Browse our site!

 

Looking for the right tattoo artist? Visit Tattoo Artists in Bangalore: Finding the Best Artists in Town

 

Be sure to follow us for a daily dose of inspiration!

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© Jhaiho Pvt Ltd, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jhaiho and jhaiho.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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