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Tattoos are a permanent expression of your style, personality, and beliefs. They can say anything you want, any way you want. Sleeve tattoos are a popular option due to the sheer size of the canvas they offer, but it’s not always easy to pick the right design when there are so many options available.

So, what are the top sleeve tattoos for men? We’ve written this little primer to get your creative juices flowing and show you some of the best sleeve designs we’ve seen in a while. We know you want something unique—and we can help you fine-tune your design—this is just a wee bit of inspiration.

How Do I Choose a Tattoo Sleeve?

We’re firm believers that the best tattoos are those that have a personal significance for the customer. Tattoos for men are more than just cool art to display on the skin. They’re a unique expression of particular beliefs, or they memorialize a memory or express aspirations. Whether or not the piece is a full sleeve or a half sleeve design, artists can create a personal piece for anyone.

To get the most satisfaction from your tattoo, take an inventory of your life and think of what you need your tattoo to express. Tattoos are incredibly adaptable, and our artists are great at synthesizing concepts into fantastic artwork, so we’ll work with whatever you dream up. Of course, you’re more likely to have a great experience if you spend some time making it mean something special to you.

Our simple advice is to make it special—make it yours.

Skull Tattoo Sleeves

Skull motifs on tattoos have been a permanent staple of the art form for as long as tattoos have been around, but they don’t just look cool and make you look tough. They can have real meaning as well.

Many people use skull tattoos as a permanent reminder of the fragility of life, which they can meditate on regularly. Or, there are some awesome examples of skull sleeve tattoos that integrate pirate iconography. Whatever your reasons, they make a strong thematic concept for any sleeve tattoo for men.

skull sleeve

Fantasy Tattoo Sleeves

Fantasy in TV and movies have surged again and with them the popularity of fantasy-related sleeve tattoos. Fantasy tattoos are a great way to show your love of the genre, of course, but they also allow you thematic freedom to display motifs and symbolic meaning in a mythological setting.

You can adopt a traditional sword and sorcery theme or build in your cultural heritage’s mythology. Fantasy combines everything in the imagination like unicorns, flying lions, faeries, dragons, or any mixture of them. The possibilities are endless with this theme.

comic sleeve cartoon

Clock and Rose Tattoo sleeves

Clocks, watches, or timepieces in a sleeve design can represent many things to different people. It’s an enigmatic motif that packs a lot of meaning into a timeless symbol. Clocks, when paired with a rose, often represent the sort of eternal love you share with family.

Clock and rose tattoo sleeves are another exceptionally versatile design. You could go for a traditional style that looks colourful, vibrant, and classic. Or, you could opt for a black and grey full sleeve that looks like an intricate pen and ink drawing on your arm.

Combine this popular design with other imagery and thematic elements to build a very personal story that will have everyone commenting and asking questions.

clock rose sleeve

Irezumi Tattoo Sleeves

There are whole books available about Japanese-style tattoos, their history, and their symbolism. It’s too much to gloss over in even the tiniest way, but they’re a popular and symbolically packed method of expression for any tattoo aficionado, which provides a backdrop to many more significant thematic elements.

Irezumi tattoo sleeves give a traditional, classic, look to any full sleeve design with solid colours and intricate patterns. If you think this time-honoured look is right for your project, consult with your artist to get the most out of it. The talented artists at Chronic Ink Tattoos are terrific at combining the flowing simplicity of Irezumi with any heritage and will integrate it with any of your favourite subjects.

irezumi japanese traditional

Old School Tattoo Sleeves

America has a grand tradition of tattoo artists who’ve influenced artists all over the world. You’ve probably seen their artwork—or those inspired by them— on hundreds of prominent musicians and movie stars. Their stripped-down designs still inspire artists to this day, and we hope that never changes.

One of the best reasons to get a tattoo is to honour the past in some way, and an old school tattoo sleeve does that wonderfully. It’s another form that synthesizes with hundreds of different motifs and is characterized by vibrant colours and deceptively complex, but elegant shading. If you want a tattoo that represents your connection to the past and the heritage of preeminent American artists, old school is the way to go.

Ready to Explore Your Own Sleeve Tattoo?

At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented artists are ready to help you explore your own sleeve 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.