Not for the timid, hand tattoos are a choice made by those seeking a bold tattoo. There are few ways to cover up hand tattoos, making them a commitment.
There is of course the idea of words spelled out on the hand, each letter displayed on a finger.
This is not the only hand tattoo out there, though. Some tattoos are simply extensions of sleeves. Of course, there are also some that are pieces in their own right.
The hands thin skin can make it very sensitive, but the back of the hand is not considered one of the most sensitive areas on the body. So, discomfort is usually not a main factor in deciding to tattoo the hand. The location is probably the biggest aspect with this particular type of artwork. For professionals, or anyone hoping to one day work in the professional world, this can be seen as a very bad idea. Times have definitely changed when it comes to tattoos in mainstream society, so this is not the hard and fast rule it once was.
One form of hand tattoo that has become more acceptable in recent years are wedding rings. The permanence of a tattoo is an ideal symbol of eternal love and a lifelong commitment. The small ring tattoos can also be easily covered up, just in case.
Badass Hand Tattoo Ideas
An impressive piece showing the lower section of an electric guitar. It’s an awesome take on the realist style, done in an awkward position with exceptional skill. The detail of the various elements of the guitar are done with great technique, using a nice blend of different inks with shading to create an entire hand’s image.
Roses are quite popular flowers to have tattooed on a hand because their size and shape coalesce well with the amount of skin available. This one is done and black and gray with precision, the detail and shading meshing strongly with his other ink.
There aren’t too many Trash Polka takes on the hand tattoo, but this one is legit. The black is used to create a funky take on the more traditional anchor style, with the slick red shading giving the piece it’s abstract quality the style is known for.
This piece is a hot blend of realist portraiture mixed in with geometric elements to provide a striking tattoo. The eye is done with painstaking care – subtle details such as the shadows between brow and iris really show off its excellence. The triangle and striping effects give it a sense of balance on the hand, and give the effect of looking through a complex, yet decadent mirror.
This is an interesting black work version of abstract theming. What really stands out here are the bright white bristles, they look almost like you can run your fingers along them and hear the rustle.
A hectic wolf in the realism style with a cheeky upside-down cross to really get conversation going. This is the type of bad ass tattoo where you know the owner has absolutely no care about what you think of him or his art.
This is an exceptionally interesting piece – you look at it and automatically think where is the rest? It’s a great depiction of a reptile’s eye, with the shade work providing depth to the eyeball. It’s also well framed by the lizard skin surrounding it.
Wow. New wave hand tattoos when done with this degree of skill is mesmerizing to look at. The skull is realistic, with the ink choice creating its aged look, but the use of the vivid fiery globe lends it the abstract and kicks the degree of difficulty up a notch or two.
The raven is a popular bird for those looking to get a black work piece. This art is a fantastic expression of the style, using very limited and subtle shading to create variation in the plumage around the bird’s neck. The spooky green gray shading helps to fill out the image and blend it in a little with previous work.
This is another impressive iteration of the similar theme, with black on black being layered with great skill and a variation in tattoo gun needle types to create the effects. The real standouts are twofold; the shaping of the house creates great lines and angles, while the absence of ink on the middle creates a wicked sickle of unblemished skin.
A great take on Norse mythology, with the piece representing Thor and his great hammer Mjolnir across both hands. What’s interesting in this piece is the use of white ink to create contrast, rather than just black and gray, especially on the hammer. It also uses rudimentary dot work concepts for the shading outside of the hammer.
This is a great representation of the Japanese Irezumi. It’s bold, supernatural pictures the Oni, a traditional Japanese demon done in a garish green color, with nicely done highlights on the eyes and mask in sickly yellow. The orange/yellow of the flames give the piece a little bit of realism, while the smoke shadow effect is a popular method of creating a unique flow.
The black in this tattoo makes for a different take on the realism piece. Both the compass and rose are used often in tattoo but by doing the compass as white detail on black ink it completely changes the usual concept into something unique, giving the work an interesting level of alternate detail.
This piece is a well realized head from one of those regimental soldier type toys, mixed with elements of the Japanese style to make it unique. It takes a bit to figure out, but once you do you can understand the care taken in mixing the soldier’s detail with some of the larger than life effects of the Irezumi methodology.
This tattoo melds the sketch method with realism. It’s been done to emphasize that the skin has been cast away for the eye to see out. The use of shading here is a real strength of the piece.
A David Bowie channeling pin-up model. This work is fantastic. The darkness of the face – which is clear in detail and feature – is contrasted brilliantly by the red triangle over her right eye which is shaped and shaded deftly. It also fits well with the previous ink across his fingers.
This is a pretty heavy take on a religious tattoo, although it’s well done. The clarity in her eyelashes and the bloody tears are exceptional, while the extension of the rosary down towards the cross is a nice touch.
This skull is epic. It uses great snips of detail throughout – there’s immense time gone into making the various shadings of the skull. What really makes it a quality piece though is the artists’ use of flickering yellow to make the effect of having a candle like glow come from within the gaps.
Boom. This hand grenade is as unique an image you can get on the hand. It just fits on the available skin but is done effectively to give it a comic/cartoonish quality. Again, you’ll notice that white ink is used here to good effect in the sharpening up the entire shading process – especially at the edge of the grenade towards the man’s fingers.
You look at this one, and at first notice only the stormtrooper. He’s easily recognizable and drawn skillfully. It’s after this that it gets interesting, with the bottom of his facemask using black shading to create a funky shadowy image at the bottom, that could be a Jedi, or even Darth Vader.
This is an almost photographic copy of the original seen behind. It’s a really difficult thing to achieve for an artist but here it is done with great awareness of gray scale and shadow work. The gun barrel and stock were difficult to reproduce but have been rendered with great skill, while the helmet looks very real.
This new wave animal scene is cool. The work uses bright color with great effect to create a balance in the ocean image across both hands – it would look perfectly fine even if only one hand was shown, despite the Octopus tentacles and shark’s tale being on different limbs.
Wow. This is great art. The tattoo is a classical bio-mechanical style tattoo done with a human anatomical bent. It’s unique and high-end quality. Instead of having the machine under the skin shown, for this one it’s the man’s skeleton beautifully inked all the way up his arm. The bones look like they’ve jumped off a skeleton and landed there from a textbook.
Pets are the best. This is a great portrait of man’s best friend done in the realism style. The white ink highlights in the fur and whiskers show the attention to detail you need to incorporate this kind of image into a fully realized tattoo.
This is a fierce and fiery realist tattoo reminiscent of one those TV shows pitting two apex predators together to see who would win in a fight. This could have been taken straight from a still on a Nat Geo program – the strength of this piece lies in the shading, which makes the different types of fur the animals have so realistic and great in contrast.
The strength of this part-roaring lion is the skill with which the artist has created the fur and hair. It gives the piece realism and allows the darkness of the mouth to create a focal point of the big cat’s fangs. The crevice and crease work of the face is also well drawn, and likely down with a single needle to give it clarity.
Okay, so this one is spectacular (maybe a little creepy too) The sickly green glow is exceptional, adding to the unease of just have a broken piece of skull, the nose hole, part of the top jaw and a few completely realized, busted up teeth as the entirety of the art.
Madness? This is Sparta. This is an excellent, almost movie like representation of a Spartan warrior peeking over the edge of his pocked-metal shield. It’s the detail in the work that gives it that cinematic touch.
This piece shows off the best in geometric hand tattoos. The key to this art is in the use of the non-tattooed part of the hand to create the linework needed to give this piece it’s shape.
Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. A brilliantly rendered 3-eyed black cat, tattooed with great precision on the back of this guy’s hand. It’s the epitome of a statement piece, and while ultimately freaky it’s brilliantly designed and executed.
This tiger is funky. The colors have been put in lightly throughout the image to help the hand blend in with work further along the man’s forearm. It adds to the gravitas of the snarling tiger rather than cheapening the artwork.
This stylish Chinese dragon looks bad ass drawn symmetrically across the thumb of each hand. As with many Asian style tattoos, it utilizes bright colors to enhance the vivid imagery and slightly lessen the impact of the fearsome dragon’s visage. This fellow reminds of dragons you might find in a Chinese New Year Festival.
The hand is often a good place to put tattooed reminders of what’s important to you. This one of trust and loyalty is well executed in the flowing Chicano style font.
Badass Hand Tattoo FAQs
Do hand tattoos last?
Hand tattoos can be tricky affairs to get done in perfection. As with the tops of the feet, there are occasions that the ink can drop out, as the skin is so close to the bone.
Sometimes it will be necessary for you to get a touch up which may cost extra for such a difficult area. It’s often the case with sleeves or back tattoos that touch ups are part of the original pricing, so clarify this question with your artist when getting your hand done.
Tattoos on the palm of the hand are notorious difficult, due to the toughness of the skin and epithelial cells. Some tattooists will refuse to work on the palm of the hand, either to avoid tarnishing the reputation or because of the frequent need to touch up the tattoo.
How much does a hand tattoo cost?
Hand tattoo pricing can run anywhere from the shop minimum – $50-$80 depending on the studio – for the smallest and easiest inked pieces, which can be over and done with in just a few minutes.
Pricing can go all the way up to around the $800 for complex work that takes on the entirety of the hand, running in the vicinity of 3 to 4 hours.
Remember, it’s customer to tip your artist – 15% is standard but you’ll earn plenty of appreciation tipping 20% for a job well done.