When it comes to men’s hand tattoos there’s nothing inherently dreadful about them.
Aside from the intense initial pain (boat loads of nerve endings) and future social stigma, of course.
Quite a few men with blue-collar jobs can be seen with them.
But here’s something to think about before getting one:
Should you dream day and night to become an attorney, surgeon or clergyman, consider what they’ll say about you. Such as bold and rebellious, instead of neat and professional. The truth is even tattoo artists will wait years and years, till the anniversary arrives before putting ink upon their own hands. And there’s a good reason for it.
The hand is easily seen by everyone, unlike other areas of the body. It’s the one place other than the neck or face that can’t be covered up or concealed. It’s a big decision for any man. It requires being ready to confront society, but is growing into one of the 50+ best tattoo ideas. for 2020.
However, no matter what route you take, I’ve put together the top 50 best hand tattoos for men, featuring all sorts of cool designs, ideas and inspiration for you to take a look at. From skulls to eyes, octopuses, lions and more, they just might change the way you think about hand tattoos.
These works of art deserve to be seen, and the fist is quite a fitting place.
1. Animal Themed Hand Tattoos
This lion is a great, realistic tattoo that uses black and gray ink and an excellent use of negative space to create the depth and texture that perfectly captures the fierce expression on this big cat’s face.
Here, the artist takes a more illustrative approach to create this bear’s face that uses fully saturated black ink, negative space and a clever design concept to complete this awesome hand tattoo.
In this piece, the artist creates a stylized snake head using black and gray ink and excellent placement that enhances the flow of the piece and makes for a more dynamic tattoo.
This tattoo employs a combination of different styles—photo-realistic in the crow’s face, and more abstract in the edges of the piece—to create an interesting piece that is both precise and savage.
People have been incorporating animals into works of art for millennia: some of the earliest cave paintings that archaeologists discovered featured herds of buffalo and were dated at over ten thousand years old. Man’s fascination with the animal kingdom is no secret, and this relationship is deep, complex and the perfect subject for tattoos.
Many people associate different animals with a variety of human emotions, attitudes and characteristics: lions are noble, tigers are fierce, and ducks fly together. Because of this tendency to anthropomorphize different animals, many people choose to incorporate them into tattoos to reinforce these traits in themselves.
The profound relationships that we form with the pets that we share our homes with are also a common theme in tattoos. There are few better ways to memorialize a special dog or cat than with a bespoke tattoo on the chest, arm or hand. Whatever the motivation behind the ink, animals are perfect subjects for tattoos and these exciting designs demonstrate just how successful they can be when applied to the hands.
2. Unique Hand Tattoos
Tattoos are often used to show common interests, or membership clubs, but perhaps their greatest function are as powerful tools for self-expression. The ink that we wear permanently on our skin can speak volumes about our tastes and sensibilities without us saying a word.
Given the power that tattoos hold in non-verbally communicating personality it isn’t surprising that people hold individuality in the highest regards: no one wants to go out and find someone else sporting the same “one of a kind” design that they got last week.
Thankfully, there are thousands of skilled tattoo artists that place a similar weight on creating unique and eye–catching tattoos and take the responsibility of permanently marking other people’s bodies seriously. These pieces are just a glimpse of the possibilities when it comes to unique hand tattoos.
3. Traditional Black and Gray Rose Hand Tattoos
Perhaps the single most commonly tattooed image, roses have been inked on untold thousands of men over the years, and they continue to remain a popular element in modern tattoos. It really is no surprise that so many people choose to tattoo flowers on their bodies; given the powerful relationship that we have with flowers and the intense meaning associated with them, it is a no brainer. One only has to look at funerals and weddings to see the powerful cultural significance they hold.
Flowers are also interesting in the way they serve as vessels for fragrance, which is so inherently linked with memory and cognitive experience: with only a whiff of a specific flower, we can be transported to a different time and place.
When applied in the subtle tones of black and gray, roses achieve a classic quality that takes these hand tattoos to the next level.
4. Geometric Hand Tattoos
This is an interesting hand tattoo, perfectly placed, that applies a symmetrical design through the use of meticulous stipple shading and precise line work to complete this unique geometric tattoo.
In this tattoo the artist uses a combination of bold and precise lines with expert dot work to produce this excellent hand tattoo that draws inspiration from Asian religion, culture and art.
This is a simple, but intriguing tattoo that uses fully saturated black ink and a precise but limited use of line work to create this modern tribal design that is an extension of a larger, existing tribal sleeve tattoo.
Designs that incorporate geometric patterns and shapes have continued to gain popularity in the tattoo world for a few reasons. First of all, they look cool. The different methods of application and the endless variety of ways that geometric elements can be incorporated into tattoos makes them excellent additions to any design. However, there is also a deeper significance to these designs than visual appeal and versatility.
Many people choose to use these patterns in tattoos for the profound truth that geometry speaks to. Geometry is a way of describing the world around us and the precision which the discipline provides us often allows man a clearer glimpse at the true nature of beauty in nature’s reality.
This is one concept in Sacred Geometry, which is—unsurprisingly—where many people draw inspiration for their geometric designs. These tattoos are great examples of what is possible when applying these fascinating designs on the hands.
5. Innovative Black and Gray Hand Tattoos
Some people hear black and gray and think of old-timey movies and monochromatic boredom, but as these stunning hand tattoos demonstrate, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Tattoos, like all artistic mediums, are constantly evolving, being shaped and reshaped by the modern trends and sensibilities that direct culture.
These swings in the collective conscious are in turn directed by the artists on the front lines. There are thousands of tattoo artists who spend countless hours honing their craft and expanding their stylistic tool kit in order to push the boundaries of the discipline.
The hand tattoos above put this innovation on full display, proving that black and gray can be just as exciting and innovative as more vibrant designs.
6. Neo Traditional Hand Tattoos
Neo-traditional was born out of the American traditional school that is generally considered the forbearer of the modern Western tattoo tradition. While the impact of the American traditional style on the world of tattooing is undeniable, many feel it is a bit stifling with its rules governing color palettes and acceptable subject matter. This is one of the reasons that neo-traditional has continued to gain popularity in the last fifteen years.
This more modern style utilizes some of the useful aspects of American traditional—notice the bold outlines and densely packed, vibrant colors—and throws other, more restrictive elements to the wayside. This means that artists have a higher level of freedom to create one of a kind tattoos, and these pieces demonstrate just how appealing this style can be when applied to the hands.
7. American Traditional Hand Tattoos
So, American traditional is where it all started, eh? Then why is this old-school approach still so popular? First of all, their lasting appeal is due to the fact that the pioneers of the style knew what they were doing. American traditional arose in a time before thousand dollar tattoo machines and upscale studios; these were artists concerned with creating designs that would stand up to the harsh conditions that their clients endured. “Bold will hold” is a maxim that got its start in this tradition, and it still rings true to this day.
The bold lines and limited color palette of the American traditional school ensured that tattoos could stand up to the test of time, while the elements commonly depicted—skulls, daggers and ships—spoke to the rough and tumble existence of the clientele. These stunning pieces demonstrate how perfectly this style still translates to hand tattoos after all these years.
Awesome Skull Hand Tattoos
There is something inherently appealing about skull tattoos. These morbid visages speak to a primal part of man’s existence that is less concerned with day to day life and more focused on the inevitability of death. Perhaps it is the commonality that we find in death that makes skulls so intriguing: we are all equal in death’s eyes, so why not celebrate this march towards mortality with a tattoo of these instantly recognizable symbols of our limited time on earth.
Skulls are also great for the way they can alter or enhance the symbolic meaning of a piece. A tattoo of a rose can represent romantic love and devotion; however, if you add a skull to the piece the meaning of the tattoo becomes dramatically different.
Besides all of this grandiose musing, skulls just look cool. They are also great subjects for tattoos thanks to the variety of styles and approaches that can be used when incorporating them into tattoos. Prefer the subtle elegance of a photo-realistic, black and gray approach? There’s a skull for that. Want a stylized, American traditional tattoo? Try a skull.
These tattoos demonstrate just how good skulls can look when applied to the hands.
Hand Tattoo FAQs
Do hand tattoos last?
Tattoos are commonly thought as being permanent, although this is not necessarily true. In reality, tattoos are simply ink injected beneath the skin, and skin is not a static material. As we all know, skin changes as it ages, growing thinner, less elastic and more prone to developing flaws and damage. As skin ages so does the ink that makes up tattoos.
It is also worth noting that all skin on the body doesn’t necessarily age in the same ways or at the same rates. Exposure to UV light, stress and use all effect the way that skin weathers over time, which brings us to hand tattoos.
Generally speaking, tattoos on the back of the hand are the most likely to age gracefully when it comes to hand tattoos, although continued exposure to the sun’s UV rays means that these pieces will still age faster and more dramatically than tattoos on parts of the body that don’t get the same amount of exposure.
Tattoos on the fingers and palms of the hand will deteriorate fastest simply because of the amount of use they get in our everyday lives. Skin is constantly regenerating and this effect occurs more rapidly in the areas that are exposed to abrasive surfaces—even skin rubbing against skin can contribute to this process. This can lead to tattoos fading and ink “falling” out.
This isn’t to say that hand tattoos won’t last. It more of a warning to stress the importance of after care in helping tattoos to maintain their luster, and to stress the fact that these utilitarian parts of the body simply put more stress on tattoos.
Can you tattoo the inside of your hand?
Yes, you can tattoo the palm of the hand; in fact, this is a trend in the tattoo world that is continuing to gain popularity. However, there are a few factors to take into account when considering inking the inside of the hand.
First, as we have discussed, the more use that a portion of skin gets, the less likely it is that the tattoo will last. Because of the constant wear that the palms of the hands are exposed to, this skin is especially thick, and in order for a tattoo to be successful an artist will have to penetrate this thicker skin. This—along with the fact that the palms are some of the most nerve-dense parts of the body—means that these tattoos hurt significantly more than other areas of the body.
The depth required to ensure that these designs will last also means that artists run the risk of blowing out lines. This means that the ink is placed to deep and bleeds out, causing blurry lines that hurt the appeal of a tattoo. To counter this common issue, artists tend to limit the intricacy of palm tattoos, favoring simple designs that utilize bold lines that will last, eschewing fine lines that won’t hold or are more likely to bleed together.
Thanks to the growing popularity of these pieces, more and more artists have the experience necessary to apply these tricky, but undeniably bad ass, tattoos to anyone willing to face the pain.
If you enjoyed these hand tattoos click on the links for more galleries featuring awesome ink inspiration:
- Side Hand Tattoo Designs
- Top 71 Simple Hand Tattoo Ideas
- Geometric Hand Tattoo Designs
- Unique Hand Tattoo Ideas