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One popular area to get a tattoo is the top of the shoulder. This tattoo can be shown off in the summer, or even with the proper attire, but easily hidden for work or other situations where you may not want to show off your tattoos.

Ideal for both men and women, shoulder tattoos are an excellent option for both first-timers and those looking for their next set of ink. At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented artists can help you find or conceptualize the perfect design that you’ll be proud to show off for decades.

If you’re in the Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, Kitsilano or Vancouver area drop by today or give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’d love to learn how we can help.

The Basics of a Shoulder Tattoo

Shoulder tattoo designs are popular and can vary greatly depending on style, technique and desired outcome. You may opt to choose a tattoo that has religious significance, flowers cascading downward, or an eagle, for instance. The options are endless.

The shoulder area is defined as from the flat shoulder blade on your back all the way over to your collarbone on the front. The shoulder makes for a nice, flat area perfect for tattoos providing the artist with a clean and well-defined area to work with.

Oftentimes, these tattoos are merged into sleeve tattoos to create a combination tattoo. You can choose to have a tattoo with vivid colours or one that is completely in black ink.

peonies shoulder

Advantages of Having a Shoulder Tattoo

The landscape of the shoulders offers a few benefits that other body areas do not when it comes to tattoos:

Shoulder skin does not age or stretch the way that other skin does.
Because the shoulder is covered by most shirts, tattoo colours are better preserved.
Aftercare is often easier for shoulder tattoos than as with other areas.

When you are ready for your next tattoo, consider getting one on the shoulder.

Do Shoulder Tattoos Hurt?

Tattoos are created by fast-moving needles inserting ink into the second layer of your skin. Because of this process, every tattoo holds some amount of pain or discomfort. Shoulders, though, are one of the less painful places to be tattooed because of the thick layer of fat present in this area and lower density of nerve endings in the area.

Shoulder Tattoos for Men

There are many tattoo designs for men that look great on the shoulder. Here are a few examples of tattoos that you may want to consider:

1) Rounded Tattoos

The shoulder joint is a ball, and this makes rounded tattoos look great. For men who like to work out, the muscle definition in this area makes the tattoo look sleek and sharply defined.

2) Tribal Tattoos

Tribal tattoos have been popular among indigenous people such as the Maori for centuries. These bold, black lines can be very intricate and symbolize strength and a warrior’s spirit. Sometimes, tribal tattoos contain colour shading, as well.

tribal shoulder

3) Skull Tattoos

The shoulder makes the perfect setting for a skull tattoo. The cap of the skull rests nicely on the shoulder joint, with the rest of the skull sitting on the arm. The skull can be surrounded with flowers, colours, or other decoration to make it stand out.

Skull Lion

Shoulder Tattoos for Women

For women, there are just as many wonderful shoulder tattoo ideas. The natural grace of the feminine body is enhanced when drawing attention to the shoulder with a beautiful tattoo.

1) Mandala Patterns

This is another tattoo type that looks great on the shoulder. Mandala literally means “circle”, and these circles hold deep significance in their patterns. Mandalas can also be turned into flowers, utilizing bright colours to really stand out.

Mandala peony

2) Flower Tattoos

Floral tattoos are always a great option. The head of the flower matches up nicely with the round joint of the shoulder, or you can even do a rounded pattern of flowers. Sometimes, people choose to put the flower on the shoulder with a stem going down the arm. The lotus flower is also a popular choice.

flowers floral

3) Lace Tattoos

Lace is hardly an antiquated fashion trend. Whether a few scrolls of it top the shoulder with teardrop-shaped gems, or a fake lace strap seems connected to a sleeveless shirt, lace can make a woman’s shoulder look delicate and beautiful.

More Shoulder Tattoos

Not all shoulder tattoos are gender specific, and even those mentioned above are not just for one gender. While those are a popular tattoo choice for the mentioned gender, anyone can make any tattoo choice they would like.

1) 3-D Tattoos

Maybe you want a spider with shadowing that makes it appear 3-D or the face of a favourite person on your shoulder. You can also get tattoos that look like your skin is breaking open or something is popping out. Photorealistic tattoos can be done well, but make sure you get an experienced artist, or you may end up looking like a Pinterest fail.

2) Photo Realistic Tattoos

Some tattoos can look extremely realistic. These tattoos look like a photograph was literally placed on your shoulder. Photorealistic tattoos can be done well, but make sure you get an experienced artist, or you may end up looking like a Pinterest fail.

scorpion

3) Armour Tattoos

Many people like to tattoo shoulder armour on their shoulder. This can be symbolic of your inner strength or just be something that you think looks cool. Gladiator armour may symbolize your struggle as you fight battles. From medieval armour to your favourite fantasy character’s gear, armour tattoos can be very colourful and stylish.

4) Angel Wings

While also popular as a back tattoo, placing angel wings on the shoulders looks amazing. These beautiful reminders of our desire to fly enhance the look of both men and women. Wings can be folded or slightly expanded, in black ink or with bright colours. Some even fall down the arm, creating a shoulder to sleeve effect.

Shoulder Tattoos are Flexible and Fun

There are many things you can accomplish with a tattoo on your shoulder. Circular designs can be made of fish, stars, or other symbols. Red flowers can symbolize romance. You can even keep a picture of your favourite loved one with you always.

If the shoulder is where your tattoo starts, try continuing it down your arm for a combination tattoo. You can even get matching tattoos on both shoulders for some symmetry. No matter what tattoo you choose, make sure it is one that you will enjoy for life!
In the Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, Kitsilano or Vancouver area? Drop by one of our conveniently located Chronic Ink and Tattoo Parlours today. Our talented artists can help bring your vision to reality with the perfect tattoo.

Ready to Explore Your Own Shoulder Tattoo?

At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented artists are ready to help you explore shoulder and other tattoos to make sure you find something you’ll want to show off for decades to come. If you’re in the Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, Kitsilano Vancouver area drop by our shop and check us out for yourself.

Tell us Your Idea

Tattoo Studio Locations

Downtown Toronto

378 Yonge Street,
2nd Floor,
Toronto, Ontario
M5B 1S6
Directions

Midtown Toronto

252 Eglinton Ave East,
2nd Floor,
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1K2
Directions

Markham

7381 Kennedy Road,
Unit #105,
Markham, Ontario
L3R 5B5
Directions

Mississauga

100 City Centre Dr.,
Unit #2-311,
Mississauga, Ontario
L5N 2C9
Directions

Vancouver

1804 W 4th Ave,
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6J 1M3
Directions

Looking for your next Tattoo Idea?

Browse our selection of one of a kinda tattoo designs created by our Chronic Ink artists. Each piece is individual and will only ever be tattooed once.