A cool simple tattoo for both the eloquent and rustic man. Elegant and small or large and powerful, cool simple tattoos add a suggestive statement with a flowing, seamless design.
Be it whimsical or bold cool simple tattoos are an element of the tattooed man to be desired.
Cool Simple tattoo designs range in size from the tiniest suggestive tattoos, as comical as a computer power button placed delicately on the body, to a more fluid and bold design as a full chest or back tribal design.
The main elements that set this type of tattoo apart from those of other categories is the fluidity of breaks in the design and the use of generally black ink, though some designs may contain one or two colors such as gray shading, blue, or red.
Whether breaking into the tattoo lifestyle for the first time, or a seasoned veteran of ink, cool simple tattoos are a choice to be highly considered. Expressions of one’s masculinity through a full tribal sleeve are statements many eloquent and rustic men alike are electing to adorn.
Small meaningful tattoos such as anchors, keys, and symbols for life, love, and happiness have made their way into the most popular forms of cool simple tattoo art; generally worn by men honoring a life altering event, such as a birth, and loved ones both living and past.
1. Small Animal Tattoos
In this interesting piece, the artist uses bold, black lines, and a loose illustrative approach to create a bear trap and the leaping creature that appears to be some sort of bear dog hybrid, or perhaps a Chupacabra.
This is a clean piece that uses black lines and an illustrative approach to create this wolf, howling at the moon, and perfectly places the tattoo at the center of the top of the foot, allowing the wearer to show off this lupine design whenever he hits the beach.
Here, the artist takes a simplified polar design that is reminiscent of the Klondike Bear, and creates depth with an informed use of black ink for the shadows cast on the far limbs and completes this simple wrist tattoo by giving the bear a friendly smile.
This is an excellent black, line work tattoo that stands out for the stylistic contrast between the perfectly straight and symmetrical shape of the buildings and the loose, illustrative approach that is taken with the application of the howling wolf at the bottom of the piece.
This is a simple design that uses fully saturated black ink in the top of the buck’s head as well as in the triangle and incorporates clean whip shading that adds depth to the piece and helps to create a more interesting an dynamic tattoo.
These two complimentary swallows are created using bold black ink, while the stylized sun uses negative space at its center with stipple shading at its edge to improve composition without drawing attention from the focal point of the piece.
Tattoos are a deeply personal way for people to show the world some of the things that are important in their life, and for many people, animals play a big role in their day to day existence. When over 60% of Americans own pets it is no surprise that people choose tattoos as a way to memorialize these beloved companions; however it is not just domestic animals that people choose to get inked on their bodies.
Many people identify with different animals from the natural world and use tattoos as a way to create a deeper connection with these majestic animals. Some choose a tiger to represent their fierce loyalty to friends and family, while others decide that adorning themselves with a peacock is a great opportunity to add vibrant colors to their body art. Whatever the reason for getting an animal tattoo, the variety and significance of these creatures make them great subjects for simple tattoos.
2. Cool Minimalist Tattoos
This is a cool simple tattoo that takes the unmistakable image of a mountain range fading in the distance and uses limited line work and a clean application of whip shading and stipple work to capture these majestic peaks in a tiny tattoo.
Here is an interesting piece that uses expertly applied black lines to create the image of two hands making the “gun” that everyone used as a kid, helping to make this a simple tattoo with meaning.
This small, simple tattoo uses fully saturated black ink and a clever design to create a flame—or perhaps a feather—with the absolute bare minimum of ink.
In this unique design, the artist uses a geometric pattern and limited line work to recreate the unmistakable image of six of the seven continents that everyone has seen on maps and globes since grade school.
Some people like chocolate, some people like vanilla, while some people prefer rocky-road. Just like flavors of ice cream, there are enough different tattoo styles that everyone is sure to find something they like. For some people the only choice when it comes to tattoo work is to go big, choosing large vibrant pieces that are impossible to miss.
While there is certainly an appeal to these pieces, some people prefer a more subdued approach and a minimalist aesthetic. Luckily for these folks a talented artist is able to create a design that can still turn heads without the need for intricate details or large swaths of color.
These simpler designs are great, often utilizing limited line work and shading in favor of an approach that values the whole composition and significance of the piece over off the wall technicality. In the case of these minimalist pieces, less truly is more.
3. Small Food/Drink Tattoo Designs
This is an excellent color tattoo that perfectly captures the gradations in tone that give the impression of ice floating in liquid; the artist even accurately depicts the light refraction altering the angle of the straws in this tropical drink that evokes images of Tiki bars in tropical climes.
This tattoo uses bold lines and a creative application of ink—the overlap of ink beyond the outline is an interesting touch—to create this ode to the soft pretzels that are a favorite at state fairs and Oktoberfest celebrations.
Two frothy mugs of beer clank together in a toast in this excellent American traditional tattoo that uses bold lines and clean application to create this classic piece of flash.
This is a unique piece that uses vibrant colors and a perfectly applied gradation of tones to create a radioactive slice of pizza that is reminiscent of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons.
Fine line work and precise application complete this ouroboros tattoo that is impressive for the level detail achieved in the tiny bones of this snake skeleton.
Humanity has a long and complex relationship with our food. In many ways what we eat and how we eat it are some of the most significant cultural markers for different ethnic groups around the world, and food is inextricably tied to the events and traditions that shape our world view.
The food and drinks that we enjoy so much on special occasions and in our daily lives make for great tattoo ideas for a few reasons. Some people choose to get a dish that means something to them, while others use these edible items as symbols for personality traits: nothing say sweet like a piece of pie or an ice-cream sundae, while if someone has a beer or cocktail inked on their body it is a safe bet to say they like to party.
Whatever the reasoning behind these delicious designs, they make for great tattoos thanks to the opportunity for individual expression they offer.
4. Bad Ass Line and Black Fill Tattoos
Bold, fully saturated black ink is used in this piece to accurately create a Super 8 camera and a VHS copy of everyone’s favorite movie about post-apocalyptic marauders laying waste to the Australian outback in monster V8’s.
An interesting composition and three panel design are used in this unique black ink tattoo that depicts scenes from some sort of party, complete with DJ, turntables and people milling about.
This piece uses bold lines and black ink to create a simple tattoo that is reminiscent of both American traditional designs as well hand cut lithographs thanks to the limited hatch shading.
This cool, simple tattoo is impressive for perfect application and the bold, fully saturated black ink that is used to create these classic vampire teeth, complete with dripping blood.
In this piece the artist takes a familiar design concept—a skeleton juggling skulls—and uses bold black ink to incorporate a motorcycle and barb wire to create a more unique piece while the placement at the center of the back is reminiscent of motorcycle gangs and their distinctive club emblems.
Through the use of fully saturated black ink and negative space the artist creates the stark contrast that defines this interesting piece that perfectly conveys the wearer’s attitude towards police, and most likely authority in general.
Thanks to an interesting composition and a consistent application of bold, black ink this artist is able to incorporate these disparate images into a cohesive design that draws the eye up and down the entire tattoo.
This simple thigh tattoo uses black line work and densely packed black ink to create this stylized scene of a haunted castle that is aesthetically pleasing and maintains a playful feel.
Here the artist uses fully saturated black ink and limited line work to create the iconic super-villain Skeletor from the He-Man cartoon along with some other, lesser known three-eyed character from the realm of Saturday morning animation.
In this piece, a limited use of line work is used create a pup tent, although it is the funny, small details, like the crescent moon and empty beer cans that improve the overall appeal of this quirky, camping tattoo.
This black ink tattoo uses bold lines and two contrasting typefaces to create this slightly macabre motivational piece that reminds the wearer of their responsibility to their dreams and aspirations.
Here is an interesting piece that uses bold lines and an interesting composition to create the backpack and woman’s legs that help make this suggestive piece all the more impressive.
Color tattoos are not for everyone. In fact, many people prefer the effect that can be achieved through the application of dense, fully saturated black ink. The stark images that can be created with this technique are bold and can use any number of elements from the outside world as inspiration.
Sure, there are the American traditional flash pieces that people commonly associate with the style, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. A talented artist with a good eye can use this approach on any number of different concepts and designs, creating tattoos that range from lithographic-styled pieces all the way to work that is reminiscent of old black and white comic book art.
These tattoos deal in high contrast, using black ink and negative space with little to no shading to create bold images that are sure to turns heads.
5. Small Red and Black Tattoos
A classic ray-gun, reminiscent of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century using clean line work, black and red ink as well as a limited, but precise use of stipple work in the handle of this classic sci-fi weapon.
Here the artist uses black and red ink to create this stylized skull that is reminiscent of the Sugar Skulls of the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, but incorporates less traditional designs, like the radio tower and third eye.
An abstract concept is brought to life using vibrant red and fully saturated black ink, creating this intergalactic scepter with meteors and a twinkling star completing this one of a kind tattoo.
For some people strictly black ink can be a bit limiting, although full color is not a style they feel properly conveys their attitude and sensibilities. For these people an incorporation of a limited color palette can add just enough flair to set their tattoo apart without resorting to large swaths of vibrant colors, and red ink is a great place to start. Black and red working together create a sense of power and authority that is not achieved with other color combinations; perhaps that’s why these colors are featured on the national flags of so many countries around the world.
In the tattoo world a strict red and black color scheme is often associated with trash-polka designs, although that is just one style that uses this powerful color combination. A retro-futurist vibe is also achievable with this interesting palette, while incorporating red and black into American traditional designs is a successful strategy as well. There is just something about these two colors that work well together.
6. Cool Technical Tattoos
A clean application of black lines and stipple work, as well as smooth shading all work together to create this interesting geometric shape that achieves a subtle impression of depth thanks to a talented artist.
Here is another simple tattoo that takes the toy vampire teeth that were popular for trick-or-treaters and uses bold line work and a limited amount of color to create this classic Halloween image.
This is an incredible piece that uses clean line work and a stunning application of gray wash shading to create this stylized mountain top, while a bold triangle is used to create a border and improve the overall composition of this excellent black and gray tattoo.
This simple black tattoo is impressive for the level of precision that is required to apply layers of lines that create the shape in this piece that is reminiscent of grocery store bar codes.
Fully saturated black ink as well as expert whip shading and limited, but precise stipple shading are all used to create this stunning tattoo that brings to mind the slasher films of the 1980s.
This playful design uses bold lines and an interesting composition to create this memorial to the paper airplanes that gave us so many hours of fun and entertainment as children.
A more realistic approach is taken with this piece that uses fully saturated black ink and negative space to create the links in a bicycle chain in this simple tattoo with meaning.
This is an incredible and interactive piece that uses two off-center applications of the same image in layered blue and red ink to create the effect of three dimensions when the special red/blue 3d glasses are worn.
The original tattoo designs in the Western tradition were the simple stylized pieces of flash that grew out of the American traditional school. These designs, inspired by the rough and tumble existence of sailors, were made of bold lines and a limited color scheme, and while they are appealing, they are lacking some of the more technical methods of today.
Since those early days of Western tattoos, the technical proficiency and level of creativity have sky rocketed, to the point that modern tattoo artists are able to create a stunning list of visual effects in tattoos. From photo-realistic work that looks real enough to give the impression of being able to reach into the tattoo itself, all the way to a layered scheme of blue and red ink that can create the old-school 3D effect from the drive-in theaters of the 1950’s.
The modern tattoo is truly limited only by the creator’s imagination and the skill level of the artist, with the ability to create tattoos that would blow the minds of the early innovators of the art, if they were around to see them.
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