Lions have been a symbol of bravery and physical power for centuries. The sheer force of a lion alone is striking, but what sets lions apart from the other animals of the savanna is their aloofness.
Lions are not just strong- they are royal. A lion denotes not just power, but a regal distance from lesser beings.
This royal authority in combination with power makes the lion the king of all animals. If you plan to get a lion tattoo, you have to commit to it and make it large. A sleeve is a good choice because it gives the tattoo artist enough space to create a detailed portrait, and it will also be highly visible.
A creature as majestic as a lion deserves a sleeve. You can build a savanna or jungle-themed backdrop that you can extend to include other figures or simply leave the lion on its own. It will be eye-catching either way.
Note that due to age and physical fitness your arm can vary in diameter and shape, so make sure you choose a qualified tattoo artist who can account for this when they work with you to design your tattoo.