Angel tattoos shouldn’t only be reserved for the religious gentleman. The truth is, these “messengers” as the Latin word angelus defines them, can represent everything from pain and suffering to protection and positivity.
One of the most popular meanings behind this design stems from the belief that angels can travel to earth and back. As servants of God, they protect the realm between the heavens and earth as watchful guardians.
In return, they provide protect and guide us against evil and our destructive desires. Should a man happen to encounter his death, some believe angels will guide them into the afterlife.
However, no matter what you believe, with all religion aside, wings and winged angels can represent something far deeper. Take for instance fallen angels who can be seen as rebellious and thus thrown out of heaven, a family, social circle, etc.
The purpose behind this idea can stand for negativity or sorrow, such as remembrance, suffering and pain. Or on the other end of the spectrum, the ability to rise above after failures or troubles in our life. Perhaps as an accomplishment we wish to remember forever, or a person that helped guide us on our journey through life.
To help you come up with your ideas and beliefs on what an angel should symbolize, I’ve put together a collection of 75 angel tattoos for men. You’ll find some of the best artwork throughout the body, on the chest, arms, back and more. Plus full sleeves that take up some serious canvas and smaller designs that are more subtle.
A nicely executed angel tattoo where the artist uses an old school locket portraiture method to frame the image with negative space. It’s a busy tattoo with technical elements symbolizing the different natures of good and evil, as the angel is surrounded in the artwork by an effectively drawn, almost liquid malevolent spirit.
The angel wings of this half sleeve tattoo are crafted with exceptional shape and scale. They flow down the image, slotting together almost like a suit of armor. The black and gray shading changes focus with each different layer of feathers – is a skilful technical element. Using white ink highlights also add to the positive angelic qualities of these wings.
This artwork is a fantastically executed battle scene featuring the triumph of an angelic warrior over gargoyles and demons. The artist has done an epic job to skilfully fit this image into a half sleeve – it could very easily have taken up the subject’s entire back. The canny use of gray shading throughout provides the scale needed to support the focal point angel with other equally detailed figures.
An excellent angel tattoo half sleeve with masterful use of shading. Each core element of the piece – wings, roses, sword, angel – features a different degree of gray shadow work separating from the others, but in combination still work together flawlessly. This is beautiful body art.
This devilish angel chest tattoo is epic. The different technical elements – feature gold cross, splash/smoke shading technique, and geometric usage of negative space – are deployed expertly within the framework of the tattoo to create detail, space, and fill without sending the artwork over the top.
This full sleeve tattoo deploys a few different angels, from the protective, captivating messenger from god at top down to the fallen winged skeleton towards the wrist at the bottom. The piece is excellent in this transition, using excellent filler shading to bring the disparate images together into a cohesive tattoo. The nonplussed angel on the inside forearm looks like he needs a hug, or maybe a cup of coffee.
A cool image showing how angel tattoos get stencilled, outlined onto skin, and adapted with shadow as they move along. It provides insight into how artists analyze shading technique around core outline pieces of a tattoo. Looking above at the right picture, you wouldn’t think there would be the huge swathes of gray shadow employed around the angel. It’s etched in via freehand.
A cool stomach tattoo. The angel of this piece is kept simple, with precise shading – note the hair and wings – helping the image fill out with good understanding of slight color changes. Her body is a flatter shade of gray drawn to accentuate the more detailed shades of wing, hair, and halo.
This is an admirably drawn tattoo, however there is conceptual issue that can’t be bridged. This artwork should be on the subject’s back, given the aspect with which the wings protrude out from the body.
The delivery of negative space in this sleeve tattoo helps it stand out as top quality body art. The angel image and dove are greatly detailed without being tattooed – this shows a fundamental expertise of shading, shape, and scale. The black lines work in conjunction with the freed space to sharpen the shading of each section and make them focal points among an otherwise busy black and gray style tattoo.
This angel is majestic. Being down on one knee identifies this artwork as a fallen angel tattoo, which shifts it’s meaning away from the traditional ideal of protection towards suffering and pain. It’s a captivating tattoo, balancing the contoured, richly detailed gray feathers with the almost stark nakedness of the rest of the angel etched within a pall of darkness. By also showing feathers littered about the ground, the artist adds poignancy to the piece’s fundamental sadness. This is a profoundly, moving tattoo.
An angel tattoo drawn in the Greek classical sculpture style, you could reach out to touch it envisaging smooth marble under your fingertips. The artist has positioned it well against the center of the subject’s chest, allowing the wings to flare up pleasingly towards his shoulders.
This dark shaded angel tattoo is almost Gothic, like an image found guarding a mausoleum. There’s excellent sense of detail in the shading. Perhaps some more sharply lined black, or even white ink highlights on the feathered wings could make the artwork pop from the skin.
An intense, Greek classical style tattoo that’s been applied with great skill. The artist has done an excellent job detailing clothing through deft black and gray shading. The angel’s wings have been applied with an unusual but pleasing difference in technique from conventional feather expressions.The artist has incorporated this meaningful chest tattoo body art effortlessly into the subject’s pre-existing work by moving across from right to left and darkening the background shadow as it moves along. The central image is a beautiful child angel, which symbolizes protection through love.
Another child angel tattooed in the Greek classical style. It looks like a sculpture that’s stepped from a museum pedestal and is now coyly playing hide and seek on the subject’s arm. The detail in the center part of the supporting rose is crisply shaded in.
This angel tattoo is well executed. The features of the angel oppose on the left and right, giving her an ambiguous aspect. You can’t settle on the degree of good and evil within, but you can see clearly both are there in great measure. The artist’s use of simple gray shading technique to create gaunt ribs and a glimpse of hip flexor adds texture to the whole image.
Nice use of black line work on the outline to emphasize the clarity of these angel wings. There’s nothing too fancy in the technique, just clean, crisp lines supported by an accurate accumulation of light and dark shadow.
This protector angel is a bad ass tattoo. The detail of sword arm/hilt, wings, and bundled hair in combination work effortlessly together to display quality artistry of a nicely drawn figure. But, it’s the black work tattoo of ravens and heavy obsidian sky that send this piece to the next level. This section creates a unique counterpoint to the main image and gives a sense of why the angel is there – to stop the encroachment of darkness from overtaking the subject’s entire arm.
What does an angel tattoo symbolize?
Traditionally, angel tattoos symbolize protection. Angels are guardians who are literally messengers from god to humans.
There are a few different variations of angels expressed in artwork, such the angel of love Cupid, baby angels, and even the Devil himself, Lucifer.
Angels are also often linked to the passing of family and loved ones, with the lost transitioning into a guardian spirit that always protects and never leaves the subject.
Non-traditional depictions include images such as the Angel of Death and are often a direct challenge to the usual view by making the angel a much more malevolent force.
What does a fallen angel tattoo mean?
Fallen angels reflect the path Lucifer took when he was dumped from Heaven and cast down into Hell. When put into tattoo context, fallen angels most often describe references to pain, suffering, and sadness. They are deployed to remember difficult choices, memories, and challenges.