Top 47 Badass Small Tattoo Ideas For Men [2022 Inspiration Guide]
These astoundingly bold and badass tattoos save on space, but sacrifice no quality in being a lesser size.
You’ll want to immediately head over to the nearest tattoo shop after being mesmerized by these small badass tattoos.
Small tattoos are trending because they not only possess the incredible ability to convey unbelievable symbolic meanings, but are also simple and clean designs.
The bold but precise lines perfectly compliment a man’s confidence and style. These smaller minimalistic tattoos are wonderful additions alongside previous works or as subtle, standalone pieces of body art.
Check out this gallery of badass small tattoos, you’ll be unable to control your desire for a trip to your nearest top quality tattoo shop.
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1. Color Small Tattoo Ideas
These two separate small arm tattoos represent how a great geometric design creates fantastic work. While very different to look at, they both apply new wave color with the techniques of geometric patterns to pull of two lovely tattoos.
It would be interesting to know if this Cubs tattoo was done before, or after, their World Series curse was lifted, although it really doesn’t matter. The baseball is fantastically realized, looking battered and bruised from getting bounced through the infield. The logo too is well done and a quality reflection of the real one.
This piece is bad ass, like an old French master dropped in to inhabit a tattooist’s body for two or three hours. I like the use of the circle to create a fundamental border for the fully realized image within. It’s great work.
Wow. This small Warhol inspired new wave tattoo is unbelievable. It would have taken more time to do than a piece ten times the size. There is such a flawless amount of technique in the dot work – from the complementary colors through to the grayscale shading – and being so small there was so little margin for error. You would be hard pressed to ever find a more intricate, or brilliant, piece of tattooing anywhere.
2. Christian Small Tattoos Ideas
For some of the Christian faith, the tattoo of the eye inside a triangle represents God looking though the window of his trinity – the father, son, and holy spirit – to watch how humans behave. Using gray shading from a wide gauge needle gives the image a purposely rendered grainy quality emphasized by the beams coming out from the eye.
This piece represents a well-crafted 3D style technique to portray the Christain cross. The detail of the gilt on the cross combined with the shading work into the chain – done with white ink – turns a simple image into an almost decadent piece of religious jewellery.
This religious quote tattoo is very well drawn, using a stylized sharpie type font to look like the tattoo was scrawled on. Using the red color to add emphasis to Christ is an excellent touch.
3. Small Black and Gray Tattoo Art
RIP Cookie. This tattoo commemorating a pet is good. The flowing script works well with the shape of the paw print, while the gray shading fills out the image and makes it less stark.
As far as small tattoos for men go this Greek God could be adorning the top of an Athenic Pavilion somewhere. The beard and hair are deftly shaded, giving the piece a similar look to those sculptures you find carved out of marble or alabaster.
Dice are a popular source of inspiration for small tattoos for men, they often represent luck or risk-taking decision making. The gray shading on the outside of the cube gives this one extra depth.
Cocktails anyone? This fantastic tattoo is a crisply drawn shaker tattooed in the realism style. The shading of the shaker cap is of great quality, lending a shiny metallic sheen to the image.
Hahaha. This is a nifty minimalist tattoo of a pizza. Simple shading here works well to create detail for such a small piece.
4. Small Tattoo Ideas for Men Using Black Ink
This minimalistic hand tattoo using decorative lettering is crisp and clean. It would have been a quick, painless bit of work using a single needle.
This anchor tattoo is a single needle old school style tattoo in flat black. It’s a no fuss homage and head nod to traditional tattoo art themes from the start of the 20th century.
This small chest/shoulder tattoo is a well-executed written piece. The slightly different fonts are all well drawn and mesh well together, giving the piece extra detail and a stamp-like quality.
5. Small Nature Tattoo Designs
Having been a visitor to Kyoto’s Golden Pavillion and loved it, getting to see a great blackwork version of it is cool. It looks just like the famous Japanese monument, even down to the scrupulously clipped hedges and koi filled lake.
This cabin in the woods is sweet. Using different shapes and shades really gives this artwork a natural feel. It is quite impressive to have been carried out on a small sized tattoo – and it’s hard to believe that the dotwork of the sky was probably the most intense part of the tattoo carried out. The interestingly inked grass also creates an unusual ‘brushstroke,’ adding another layer of interest to the piece.
6. Small Wave Tattoo Ideas
Hokusai was a Japanese artist of great technique and clarity. His wave is one of the most well-known pieces in Japanese art, and often replicated by tattooists with an interest in Japanese culture. The black and gray of this piece is a solid representation, with the white-capped wave tops being especially well crafted.
This badass small tattoo is a great beach scene, mirroring a photo you could have taken walking along the beachfront in Waikiki. Using the depth expertly here creates a perfectly executed postcard look to the image.
7. Medieval Themed Small Tattoos
A trio of bad ass swords? Sign me up for battle. This is a great, original take on the flash style of art. It uses flawless shading to create a cool tatt. The part that stands out most is the skilled rendering of the background rune, adding depth to the rest of the image and finishing off the idea.
This crown is majestic. The fleur-de-lis of the crown are wrought with great skill. The shading here is important to give important detail and depth to the piece, while the letters are done simply, but with great care.
Okay, so this is an unusual small tattoo in that there is no shading to create the effects of a metal helmet. It’s done with effective black line work, whereas the axe uses difficult dotwork to put detail into the haft and head. Using solid, sharp black in places, such as the blood, and buckle, is also a very smart technique
8. Fine Detail Small Tattoo Ideas
This small calligraphy tattoo is cool. The line work of the ink trail is spot, while the head of the pen is drawn with deft skill.
This small realism style tattoo inked onto the forearm is bad ass. All elements of the work are linked with spot-on shading, and the use of a small board give this piece a beautifully old school vibe. Take note of how the artist uses sharp black shade work in the trucks of the wheels to give it almost photographic quality.
This is one bad ass spider that wouldn’t take kindly to being stepped on. The realism of the spider itself gets offset by the funky shadow work and the skull tattooed onto its back. The use of dot work to make shading in this piece would have at least doubled the time taken to ink it and gives the spider real intensity.
Small Tattoo FAQs
How much is a small tattoo?
Small tattoo pricing can range from the shop minimum of $50-$80 for the smallest designs – two square inches or less, to around $200 for an hour for more complex work.
Highly skilled, in demand artists can charge up to $500 per hour, while apprentices and less skilled artists are as little as $75.00 per hour.
Small tattoos placed in difficult areas such as the hands and feet can command a more expensive price. With these pieces it’s also important to make sure you have a clear understanding whether any touch up work is covered in the original cost
What does a 3 triangle tattoo mean?
The 3 triangles tattoo is most often used to represent the Christian Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. It’s most often done in a series of interlinked equilateral triangles.
A tattoo with three interconnected triangles is called the Valknut. The name was coined by the Old Norse words valr, meaning ‘slain warriors’, and knut, meaning ‘knot’. The exact meaning behind the symbol is unknown but has had a number of explanations supposed by Norse Mythology scholars.
Where do you put a small tattoo?
Small tattoos are truly the most versatile – they can literally go anywhere you have space to put some ink. However, if you’re just starting out on your tattoo journey but intend to get much bigger pieces, then it’s best to avoid prime spots like the back, shoulders, thighs, and chest.
These are often the spots where large and complex ink is placed. While individual tattoos can be incorporated into other images, having one design is preferable for a lot of subjects.