Published on May 10, 2023

Shoulder tattoos are always a great option if you are going for your first tattoo, but they are challenging. It is recommended that you start with a small shoulder tattoo before you commit to a large image.

It would help if you looked at a shoulder tattoo cost before going for one. Because of the thin skin, it needs a delicate hand and lots of time. Look at this list of options to make it easier to choose.

Find an Experienced Shoulder Tattoo Artist

It is important that you find the right tattoo artist when considering a shoulder tattoo. Not all of them have the same expertise, and you need a lot of that for a shoulder tattoo.

Many artists start with a small tattoo on the shoulder until they have ample experience with larger pieces. While many options exist, not all artists are experienced enough for a more complicated shoulder tattoo.

Getting a tattoo is quite a personal experience, so finding an artist you are comfortable with is important.

With all the great options available for shoulder tattoos, you also need to find one with the right experience.

Experienced Shoulder Tattoo Artist

Do Shoulder Tattoos Hurt?

Because of the thicker skin on the outer part, shoulder tattoos hurt less than most other parts of the body. There are also fewer nerve endings to make it a popular body part for tattoos.

The shoulder blade also has thicker skin to make it one of the less painful places to apply ink art. Shoulder tattoos are normally low to medium with regard to pain, so many peop le prefer their tattoos there.

You can derive from this that getting a shoulder tattoo is not very painful.

Types of Shoulder Tattoos

The list goes on if you want to find the perfect image to use as a shoulder tattoo. We take a look at some of them so you can find one that will apply to you.

The shoulder has forever been one of the most popular places to place a tattoo. These are just as popular as a back tattoo and can be found on different parts of the shoulder and arm.

The front shoulder is great for different design elements, and a large tattoo starts from the front to the back. This makes it the right placement for small to very large tattoos of many different shapes and designs.

The chest can also be part of a larger tattoo and is great for those who love to wear tank top shorts.

Tribal Shoulder Tattoos

Tribal Shoulder Tattoos

We start with this one because it has been a popular option for thousands of years. Tribal tattoos come in various shapes and colors and have different levels of complication.

Tribal shoulder tattoos can be found on different parts of the shoulder and even as a half-sleeve tattoo. These can also be small shoulder tattoos in different small designs.

Small tattoos fit nicely on the upper arm and come in many shapes with tribal meanings.

Dragon Shoulder Tattoos

Dragon Shoulder Tattoos

Dragon shoulder tattoos are some of the most popular images for tattoos, especially for shoulders. Dragon tattoos can be found in many different cultures and symbolize different things.

These can be found in a simple shoulder tattoo or a complicated image. Dragons are mostly associated with good luck, inner strength, and wisdom, but they also have other meanings.

These tattoo designs can be a small image on the top shoulder or cover the whole upper arm.

Floral Shoulder Tattoos

Floral Shoulder Tattoos

A floral tattoo is a great choice, and many women put this on their upper arms. Floral tattoos come in different shapes and colors and are especially popular in Eastern cultures.

A flower shoulder tattoo comes in different sizes and configurations and displays well as sleeve tattoos. A single floral design on the shoulder also may have a personal meaning.

Flower tattoos are a great choice for those who get their first tattoo.

Other Popular Designs

popular shoulder tattoo designs

There are many other popular designs of shoulder tattoos that have different meanings and symbolize many things. This can be either in a bright color or even in black ink, depending on the type of image.

  • Small butterflies are eye-catching designs, and many people love to place them on their shoulders. 
  • Sailor tattoos are either small or cover the whole upper part of the shoulder and are quite a popular body art.
  • Animal motifs are also an art style that is popular to use on the shoulder area in different sizes and colors.
  • Wings are common designs for both men and women and can be large to cover the shoulder, back, and torso. Wings can be a great option if you want to use the whole shoulder for your tattoo.
  • The common elements, water, earth, fire, and air, are also very popular and can be small or long sleeve tattoos.
  • Negative space tattoos have also been a popular piece of art to place on the shoulder or the arm and can be any shape.
  • The tree of life image is used in many different ways and fits especially nicely as a shoulder tattoo.
  • Geometric shoulder tattoos are also placed on the shoulder as meaningful ink art.

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There are so many great options for a shoulder tattoo that you may find it quite difficult to make a choice. Hopefully, this will help to make it a bit easier and get that tattoo on your shoulder.

Ryan S. Mills
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