Leg tattoo designs are becoming more frequently utilized in contemporary tattooing. The legs offer different areas to use across any body art style and also provide a commanding opportunity for full sleeve tattoo designs.
Once on the lower range of the popularity scale for tattoo placement, the legs offer a fantastic large canvas with low pain options for your tattoo idea to be etched into life.
Thigh tattoo ideas and the back of the calf are boom areas for getting fully realized, vividly detailed leg tattoo concepts that are part of the 50+ best tattoo ideas list for 2020.
Read on for 75 brilliant best leg tattoo examples. From knee, patella, quad and ankle tattoo ideas, to astonishing full leg sleeve tattoos, there’s plenty of leg tattoo inspiration to consider for your next tattoo.
1. Beautiful Tattoo Ideas in Black and Gray
A black and gray leg tattoo idea can showcase an tattoo artist’s attention to detail as well as precision linework and shading. Devoid of color, these designs have fewer tricks to distract the eye if the drawing isn’t solid and the application isn’t well done. That means the execution of the leg tattoo needs to be perfect, but the reward is a clean, clear and exceptionally beautiful tattoo.
2. Intricate Leg Tattoos
While simple leg tattoo designs have their place, a truly intricate leg tattoo idea is a work of art. These kinds of designs are well-suited to the leg because of the size and shape of the skin available. Whether it’s a heavily detailed tribal tattoo pattern that requires precision duplication of the elements within it, or a precise illustrative upper leg or foot tattoo design requiring fine detail and realistic shading, an intricate leg tattoo is the perfect choice for a heavily detailed and exceptional design.
3. Traditional Leg Tattoo Design
American Traditional, Neo Traditional, and Japanese Traditional leg tattoo concepts all follow very distinct and precise rules if they are done properly. Their application is unmistakable, and a well-crafted design will be exceptional in its solid black outline and bold color palette.
A Traditional leg tattoo can be visually stunning with richly saturated colors and precision black linework, with Japanese tattoo in particular often flowing into full leg tattoo depictions. American Traditional tattoo concepts however offer small tattoo designs working in conjunction with smaller fill like little flower tattoo, a skull or other old school concepts for the traditional tattoo lover to enjoy.
4. Biomechanical Leg Tattoo Art
One of the most unique and exciting leg ink styles on offer at the tattoo parlor, biomechanical tattoos are an interplay of the natural shape of the flesh and muscle combined with machine inspired body art . Machine-inspired design elements that may be realistic or wholly fictitious are mixed with natural ones by a tattoo artist willing to get stuck into testing the boundaries.
The result is a stunning sci-fi application that uses depth of field, dynamic shading and a degree of realism to create a distinctive image on a thigh tattoo or lower leg.
5. Illustrative Leg Tattoos
An illustrative tattoo exists somewhere in between photorealism and the American traditional style. You don’t mistake these designs for reality, nor are they so heavily stylized as to fit into the realm of New Wave or Japanese. An illustrative tattoo makes use of solid lines and realistic shading to present a detailed, quality illustration.
An illustrative tattoo exists somewhere in between photorealism and more Traditional tattoo styles. You don’t mistake these designs for reality, nor are they so heavily stylized as to fit into the realm of New Wave or Japanese tattoo art. An illustrative leg tattoo makes use of solid lines and realistic shading to present a detailed, quality illustration.
6. Bold Leg Tattoos
Bold, vibrant designs should always be the goal of any tattoo artist so when you’re looking for your leg tattoo, consider going for the boldest image you can create.
These designs leap right from the flesh and turn heads straight away. Unlike some pieces are designed with an eye to subtlety, these leg tattoos make use of deep color saturation, heavy blacks, purposeful lines, and explicitly placed negative space and shading to ensure unforgettable imagery.
7. Animal Leg Tattoos
There are nearly 9 million animal species in the world and all of them make for impressive first tattoo designs. There’s something about making an animal come to life in ink that can be exciting and looks great as a leg tattoo. Superior animal leg tattoos can be done in realism or illustrative styles, but even Traditional and New Wave can offer up some eye-catching and dynamic pieces.
To capture the essence of your animal – whether it’s a lion tattoo or something more domesticated – you need to make sure the shading is realistic, and the negative space makes sense with the overall composition.
8. Realistic Leg Tattooing
Thigh tattoo and calf tattoo depictions offer a substantial amount of space to apply a realistic leg tattoo. Realism is one of the most complex and difficult to master styles but the rewards for a well-executed realism tattoo are outstanding. An accomplished tattoo artist can produce a photo-quality reproduction. Precise line work and next-level shading is the absolute key to getting this style correct.
9. Wild Leg Tattoos
Given how much canvas you’re giving up to a leg tattoo, going on in for a wild leg tattoo design is a great idea to make the most of it. These designs can be any style from illustrative to New Wave to Traditional and more, but the key is to make it bold and eye-catching.
These are the tattoos that make people look twice because their design choices take risks and play with not just subject matter but technique. Exceptional shading, solid linework and blasted in color when appropriate all make these designs stand out.
Leg Tattoo FAQs
How long does a leg sleeve tattoo take?
One of the most common questions people have before getting a tattoo is how long does it take? If you want a full leg sleeve, from upper thigh to ankle (or even a foot tattoo) you’re looking at a very in-depth job. Work of this size on the entire leg could take anywhere from 20 to 60 hours.
Why such a wide range? There are too many variables to nail it down with a simple answer. What style of tattoo are you having done? Is it black and gray or is it color?Is it a tribal leg tattoo, butterfly tattoo or sugar skull with a lot of fine detail work? Is your artist known for speed or do they take their time? If it’s a full sleeve, you’re in it for the long haul, so make sure to consult with your artist to get an idea for realistic timing.
Do leg tattoos hurt?
Before you hit the tattoo parlor, understand the pain and process involved with getting ink etched into your legs. Unlike other parts of the body under duress from tattoo art, gravity can really take its toll on your legs, so it’s best to be sensible in your preparation and aftercare.
Your legs will swell up, while your ankles will turn bright red. If you’re standing on your feet for over 10 hours a day, virtually anything below the knee is going to feel irritated and uncomfortable.
Even when taking it easy you’ll experience a surprise in the morning as you wake up and blood rushes down to your feet. What better way to start the day than a burst of pain from a brilliant fresh tattoo?
To help circulation drink water and keep your legs elevated. The healing process tends to take significantly more time on average than other areas, but it does vary among individuals.
If you enjoyed these best leg tattoo designs, check out our galleries below for more lower extremity ink inspiration: