When you think of tattoos, bicep tattoo images are probably what come to mind. The bicep is a relatively safe zone to get tattoos. You can hide them under sleeves, it hurts less to get a bicep tattoo than most other places on the body, and it displays tattoos very well to others. If someone in a movie is toting around tattoos, and those tattoos aren’t on their back, then they’ll be on their bicep. What makes bicep tattoos so good? What makes them effective at showing off your tattoo? Lastly, how do you pick the perfect bicep tattoo for you? Let’s talk about all of that and more in today’s bicep tattoo gallery!
Bicep Tattoo Designs
The biceps are one of your most prominent muscles, especially if you do any sort of weight lifting. When you flex, the muscles pump right up and show the world how hard you worked to sculpt your body. This is something you can take advantage of as you pick your bicep tattoo design. The designs you pick should be able to handle motion and shape change with ease. After all, the skin above your bicep will stretch every time you flex it, then return back to its normal size. If you pick a design that requires a static appearance—such as a 3D spider or something—then it won’t work very well. Those designs are best used on your neck, back, and forearm, rather than your biceps.
On that same note, there’s another thing to consider for all of your designs. Your biceps are not a flat surface. They curve, even when you’re not flexing, and even if you don’t body build. This is the same of all your limbs! While a singular 3D creature may not work well, a tattoo design that curves around your bicep will look especially form-fitting. Take advantage of this by adding perpendicular lines where you want your body shape to stand out. Vertical lines, on the other hand, make your body look longer. Even if you don’t use straight lines, any forms that flow in those directions will have the same effect. Color makes them even more effective. As you look through this gallery for inspiration on bicep tattoos, keep those effects in mind!
Simple Outer Bicep Tattoos
The outer biceps is the best place for large tattoo designs on the arm. It offers a slightly curved surface plus the largest visible surface area of any other location on your arm. That’s not bad at all for something that takes a lot less pain than usual to tattoo. For that reason, this is an excellent place to receive your first tattoo. Once again, this is also true for people who don’t body build or even work out. The skin around your arm is less likely to stretch than your hips, thighs, or waist region as you age. That means outer bicep tattoos last for ages if you take care of them! Working out may require particular methods to keep them safe, which I talk about further on.
Anyways, back on the topic of outer bicep tattoo designs! Simple bicep tattoo designs include flowers, geometric designs, clocks, skulls, and written dedications. Religious bicep tattoos make up a large chunk of the tattoos I see in this area. It easily allows for horizontal designs—such as renditions of the Last Supper or someone’s favorite bible verse—to look their best without getting cut off. Very few locations on the body offer that, and even fewer offer that in locations that are easily covered with clothing. Later down the line, you can add complex subject matters, features, or borders around the simple outer bicep tattoo. You can even turn it into a sleeve!
Front Bicep Tattoo
Getting a tattoo on the front or inner section of your bicep is a little more complicated than your outer tattoo. Visibility is a huge issue. When standing normally, your tattoos will either be barely visible or completely invisible. That’s a plus for a lot of people, but people with complex front bicep tattoo design ideas surely want to show them off. For that very reason, a wrap-around tattoo that passes across the whole arm would normally have its most simple part of the design here. How do you handing a front bicep tattoo without expanding it into other areas? Well, quite simply, you use the area to your advantage.
While outer bicep tattoos mainly show off the curves of your biceps, inner bicep tattoos show off the length of your arm. Vertical designs are ideal for this. You simply twist your arm outwards, and suddenly your friends can clearly view your whole design! This works best if your design stretches all the way down to…your elbow crotch? The place opposite of your elbow? Google says the word for it is antecubetal space, but I’ll stick with my terminology instead. Basically, use all the space available to you so that your tattoo will be clearly visible whenever you show it off!
The complexity of front bicep tattoos isn’t just because of visibility, either. If your tattoo reaches into your armpits, then plan for a painful time. As long as you stay away from the armpits, the tattoo session will be smooth sailing. When you consider the size and location of your design, this fact needs to factor into it.
Badass Bicep Tattoos
Okay, it’s time to get more specific in what makes bicep tattoos so great. I’ve been saying things like ‘even if you’re not a bodybuilder’ or ‘even if you don’t work out,’ but the truth is, if you do either of these things, then you can get some seriously badass bicep tattoos. When you flex, your tattoos will naturally expand. Anything circular, spherical, or three-dimensional in any way will grab the attention of everyone when you start showing off your guns.
If you need inspiration for badass bicep tattoos, I’ve already written a general article on how to make badassery happen. Otherwise, there are a few golden rules you should follow. First, badass tattoos are almost universally 3D. They should have a full spectrum of shading. Second, you’ll need to grab a professional tattoo artist. If the tattoo is too simple, it might look good, but it won’t hit badass levels. Third, if you decide to go with black and white designs instead of colored, you’ll want to focus on the meaning behind them. Clocks represent our precious time, skulls represent the death that unifies us all, roses represent love (or a loss of love), and doves represent eternal peace. These are all just a few examples of badass tattoos.
Tribal Bicep Tattoos
Nothing shows off your biceps more than a tribal tattoo. Any tattoos around biceps will draw attention on their own, but tribal tattoos have one big advantage over other types of designs. That advantage? Lines and form. While tribal tattoos have earned a bad rap for being stereotypical, poorly thought-out, or improperly used, that doesn’t change the fact that they are amazing tattoo designs. As I mentioned in the first section, the form and flow of a tattoo can accent your body. Something made purely of geometry—such as tribal tattoos—excel in both areas. You couldn’t ask for a better fit for bicep tattoos!
On top of their visual effect, tribal tattoos actually have more meaning than people give them credit for. If you find a reputable artist, they can work with you to find a tattoo that matches your personality and lifestyle. The tribal tattoo style that we know and love originated in Polynesia. That’s a huge section of islands that were populated by sea-faring people and then had their cultures diverge a bit. Tattoo meanings vary from place to place, but one thing is true in all locations—tattoos are an integral part of society. There are very specific customs regarding who tattoos, where they tattoo it, what design they use, and how the tattoo is delivered. Pain is considered a mandatory part of the process, so put that numbing cream away if you want an authentic tribal tattoo!
You can read more about this in my Polynesian Tattoos article, but for now, let’s focus on what a tribal bicep tattoo implies. The upper arms and shoulders are areas reserved for warriors. They denote courage and strength, which is no wonder, considering they’re situated on the most prominent muscles of our body. These tattoos are specifically called kikopuku—which means swollen body. This is exactly what the tattoos appear to do to your biceps.
Bicep Tattoos: Words
Inner bicep tattoo quotes look so good because this is one of the best places to show off text without taking off your shirt. The other two good locations are your back and your chest, but you can’t exactly walk around shirtless just to show off your tattoo. Art is meant to be viewed, while messages like the ones you tattoo on yourself are meant to be received.
If you need help finding quotes for your bicep tattoos, you came to the right place. The first place to look is obviously quote-based websites, but there are a few other places you can try to find them. Grab your favorite book and flip through the pages. Which sentence was it that convinced you that this book would be your favorite? That sentence might very well be your next tattoo! Another easy way to find quotes (at least if you are religious) is to open the bible up to the very ending. Typically, bibles will list topics of interest and where it refers to them so you can find assistance in key life matters. You can use this same method to find quotes relevant to your principles.
If none of those quote-finding-methods interest you, then think about which sentences inspired you in life. Did your parents say something? A famous actor? One of your friends? Maybe even something you scrawled down in your personal writing? Bicep tattoos take words and make them immortal. If you have any kind of phrases that represent you, they should be the first thing that comes to mind when designing your bicep tattoos.
Aftercare for Bicep Tattoos
As with all tattoos, you need to care for them after you get them inked by an artist. Follow the instructions of your artist carefully. If you forgot or received limited information, I talk a little bit about the aftercare process on my article here. The moral of the story is that you need to air out the area while keeping it moisturized. It sounds contradictory, but if you read the article, it makes sense. I promise.
On top of your regular aftercare, any lifters, fitness fanatics, or gym-goers have a few things to be aware of. First, the gym is a horrible place for new tattoos, even if you make an attempt to sterilize the equipment you use. Stay home until your tattoo fully heals. Second, working out as your tattoo heals prolongs the healing process, especially if you are working out the area with the tattoo.
Wait one week to start exercising again. These exercises should be other parts of your body. You may resume your normal workout routine once your tattoo looks faded. The fading is a natural part of the tattoo healing process and indicates that your skin has fully formed over the tattoo. It will take time for the scar tissue to return to its former state—as with all wounds—but you can work out as it does that.
The last thing to keep in mind as you work out around your biceps tattoo is how much you stretch the skin. You don’t want it stretching your tattoo. You can read more about what happens to tattoos when you work out on this post. For now, just consider finding some tattoo-friendly lotion and keeping the area moisturized before and after you work out.
The Very Best Bicep Tattoos
The very best bicep tattoos take advantage of your body’s form to draw attention to both themselves and the muscles beneath them. Even for people who skip their workouts, bicep tattoos work wonderfully to convey the statement you’re making and catch the eyes of others. Being able to quickly and easily relay a design is part of the beauty of bicep tattoos. It helps a bunch that the tattoos can be easily hidden as well! A short sleeve shirt is all that’s needed to hide your art piece during work or at professional meetings—if you even need to hide it at all.
This flexibility, visibility, and the unique surface area that bicep tattoos claim truly bring out the best in tattoos. If you’re looking for your first tattoo, then an outer bicep tattoo is an excellent place to start. It gets you accustomed to wearing a design, with the option of putting on a sleeved shirt if you want to get used to it gradually. It doesn’t hurt as much compared to other tattoo locations. More than anything, bicep tattoos look spectacular and even the simple designs shine in that location. If you want a tattoo and don’t already have a bicep tattoo, consider grabbing one in the near future. See for yourself what kind of communication these tattoos open up and how excellent they look!