88 back tattoos that are bold, beautiful, exciting… if you’re thinking about getting a back tattoo, you better check these out first!
For large theme or mural tattoos, the best place is the back. Giving the artist a large canvas to work with allows them to add a good amount of detail. The back is also a versatile area, allowing for some mix and match art if you prefer to group together smaller pieces. It is possible, as it is in a sleeve tattoo, for back tattoos to draw many styles and themes together into one masterful piece. In short, the back is an optimal place to put almost any ink work you desire.
46. Show Me The World
As a nod to the nautical beginnings of tattoos, this piece offers up a number of different elements. There is the compass, which seems to be the centerpiece for a ships wheel. In the center of the compass is the world map, and on the left shoulder, we can see a number of stars. This wonderful piece is a beautiful reminder that not all who wander are lost, and it does not hurt to keep your head to the skies. World map tattoos make great additions to any area of the body.
45. Feather Light Back Tattoos
These lower back tattoos are commonly known as “tramp stamps” because they were generally only sported by the less than proper young ladies. However, this area of the back is really just another place to put wonderfully inked art. This piece, unlike most feather tattoos, depicts the tail feathers off a lovely peacock. The lower back still remains a predominantly feminine place to put a tattoo, but that stigma is ending one piece at a time.
44. Lord of the Rings
Using your back tattoos to showcase your love of a certain movie or book is a way to keep something you cherish with your forever. This gentleman seems to have opted for a Lord of the Rings mural on his back, featuring his depiction of some of the main characters. It is a fairly well done, interesting piece to say the least.
43. Chief Back Tattoos
Even women are able to jump into the trend of back tattoos though they are given less chance to showcase their art due to not being able to just take off their shirt. However, there are still a number of ways to showcase the art, as shown in the picture here. This First Nations headdress wearing skull is not the most feminine of tattoos but it is wonderfully done, taking up much of her back and it is wonderfully displayed in this low cut dress.
42. For the Everyday Heroes
Show your respect for our everyday heroes, whether you have family doing the dirty work or not. Back tattoos make great memorial pieces, as shown by this wonderful tribute to firefighters on this man’s back. This incredibly well-done piece shows this respect and admiration for those men who risk their lives daily for the safety and security of others.
41. Go Tribal
There are a number of different tribal designs available where tattoos are concerned. Some come from other cultures, such as Maori and Samoan, some are just dark ink designs. Whichever you choose, there is bound to be a tribal design out there that fits your needs. These tattoos are exceptionally versatile and can be placed practically anywhere, due to their abstract nature. Just be sure to leave the artist enough room to add some interesting detail to them.
40. It’s What’s Inside
An interesting take on the art of back tattoos is to bring what is on the inside out. There are a number of ‘skin ripping’ tattoos that include bio-mechanical designs, but few rarely get down to the bare bones of the matter. This piece shows a sketched version of the pelvic hip bones and a section of the lower spine. I like the idea of it, I’m just a little torn on the execution. My opinion matters not, of course, because it’s not my ink, so more power to her. Baby got BACK.
39. Abstract Bird
Some back tattoos will not cover the entire area of the back, much like the lower back tattoos preferred by females, some men will opt for higher back or shoulder tattoos. This lovely representation of a bird of prey, complete with crown and what appears to be scratches is incredibly colorful and fun to look at. It is chock full of imagination and a bit of whimsy, which I absolutely love. There is a sense of fun in a piece that can also be taken quite seriously. I love the aspect of ‘brush strokes’ in the wings.
38. Peace Offering
The traditional ink styling will never get old. This piece, with its two birds and their olive branches, shows the wonderful versatility of traditional design. Birds are fairly versatile themselves, as shown on this page. There are a number of meanings behind bird tattoos and if you are a bird enthusiast, you are sure to find a one that fits you.
If birds aren’t your flying creature of choice, you can always opt for something along these lines. This 3d dragon takes up only the right side of the back, leaving plenty of space to add more if you wish. The art of three-dimensional tattoos is a rapidly growing one with many advances, making for even more wonderful back tattoos out in the world.
Wonderful back tattoos can incorporate a number of different elements that carry meaning for the wearer. This piece has not only a beautiful dragonfly, a dolphin coming out of the water in front of a setting sun, and some wonderful abstract colored line work. The wings on this piece are spectacular and interesting.
This wonderfully done ‘skin corset’ may sound more like something out of Silence of the Lambs, but it is an amazing effect for this back tattoo. The skin, the lacing, the metallic underlay are all phenomenally done and super interesting to look at. The addition of the hibiscus flowers and the leaves give it a more feminine scrolling look that really tones down the ‘manliness’ of most bio-mechanical tattoos.
Using a painting or old photo as inspiration for your back tattoos is one way to really make them stand out. This piece here looks almost like an old black and white photo was just lain over the mans back. The buildings in the background are wonderfully spaced and detailed, and the shading is nothing short of phenomenal. The idea of this man about to jump to his death is a bit of a weird concept for a back tattoo, but obviously, it has some deep meaning for the wearer, given how he was willing to sit through many hours of work in order for this piece to come alive.
Back tattoos can be used to portray all different kinds of interests and religions. This one displays a bit of Egyptian hieroglyph. I am not sure who is depicted here, but the piece does look quite a bit like a hieroglyphic work from ancient times.
32. Tribal Triangles
Mixing different tattoo styles and meanings can be done in a zillion different ways. Here the back tattoos tribal design is worked into a triangle. Triangles are popular designs for tattoos because of the many different meanings associated with them and the number three. It is a fun way to make a simple design more complex, but to also keep its original meanings in place.
Back tattoos done in floral themes are simply marvelous. Flower tattoos have so many different meanings, styles, and color options that it is nearly impossible to go wrong with flowers. This is especially true for women who are looking for a bold and lovely design, but also want to keep it feminine.
30. Fairy Stories
Bring fairy tales to life in the form of back tattoos. The space provided gives ample room for the artist to incorporate a lot of details and pieces of the story. This tattoo, though unfinished, definitely shows the story of Litte Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf as her grandmother. The artistic skill in this one is amazing, even managing to capture the glass around the lantern in a new and interesting way. This is just a wonderfully done piece.
Trees make wonderful back tattoos because the back gives you enough space to really have the tree branch out (see what I did there?) across the shoulders, like the one shown here. This high detail tree has wonderfully rippling bark and branches that sway towards the left. There is also an owl and a compass in the tree, giving it a few extra elements to enjoy.
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28. Musically Inclined
Every tattoo design is an opportunity to add a musical element. This piece incorporates roses with music notes and a wonderfully tribal treble clef. The music notes in the scale banner are a nice added bit to this piece. Music notes can be found in any number of tattoos, but here are a few specifically designed for the scales.
No prayers for the wild at heart kept in cages here. These birds are free from their gilded prison and off to a life of luxury. The idea of releasing birds is a powerful one when considered. This tattoo uses wonderfully watercolored flowers and accent the cage and the birds, giving this piece a very nice, colorful background.
26. Fully Mooned
Moons are popular in tattoos lately, in fact, we have an entire page dedicated to this wonderful orb. There are many places to put a moon tattoo on the body because it’s rounded shape can work in several locations, but showing the full phase progression will require a lot of space. That is what makes this particular style perfect for back tattoos. The elongated spine allows for plenty room to show the moon from new moon to new moon in a wonderfully simple way.
25. Tribal Paisley
Paisley is a design that is growing in popularity, especially in women’s tattoos. The design is incredibly versatile, and can incorporate a lot of different elements such as mandalas and lace into it. It is almost like the women’s version of the tribal and these pieces make incredible back tattoos, as you can see here.
24. Tree of Life
This tree is depicted in its own intriguing way. In the roots, there is a heart, which makes sense because the root system is the life of the tree. It grows from there, all the way up to the branches full of budding leaves. The vibrant colors of fall also show up in the falling red leaves, trailing down the back. I love the use of the deep red colors.
23. Bionic Man
Bio-mechanical tattoos can be so cool! This one is so amazing, all the little details are just so well done. The torn skin near the top gives a glimpse of the machine underneath, then when you move lower down the back, you get to see all the cool inner working parts. The colors are cool too, very metallic looking! It is almost a realistic piece and I like it very much.
22. Feminine Beauty Back Tattoos
I’ve heard tell that the brighter, most colorful birds are often the males, so it is a bit ironic that they are used to so brightly display a feminine piece of tattoo art. I can’t be too hard on the bird though because it is a magnificent creature, done in strong blues, greens, and yellows. The layers of the tail feathers flow over each other so nicely, making this piece really stand out.
The phoenix is a bird that never dies. He catches flame and is reborn from the ash. Therefore, the phoenix is a great meaningful subject for a tattoo. The idea of rising up from the ash and conquering your troubles is well represented here in the flame orange bird curling around the back. As back tattoos go, this is one of my favorites of the group.
20. Don’t be Koi
Koi fish also have a lot of meaning, depending on the colors of the Koi. These fish are the most popular fish to be portrayed in ink and for good reason. Just look at all these great examples of Koi fish tattoos! This piece done on the back shows a red and white fish jumping out of the water and surrounded by lovely flowers.
19. The Queen
I have to admit honestly that I have no idea what the inspiration for this tattoo was, but nor do I care. This is done in phenomenal layers and styles, the center of which is a woman’s face. There is little color used, but the color that is used is done strategically, highlighting certain elements of the design, such as the sky and her eyes. The more I look at it, the more little elements I see, making this an interesting tattoo to look at all around.
Are skeletal hands forming a heart? Sure, why not? It’s actually very cute. I like the details in the shading of the hands.
Not all back tattoos need to be outrageous, big, and colorful. Sometimes simplicity is what matters most. Here she has ‘but the fighter still remains’ written in cursive in the middle of her back. It is small but effective.
16. Patriot Back Tattoos
Back tattoos can be used for so many designs. This little heart is done in patriotic colors with large blue wings coming off of it. It is a simple design, but very pretty in my opinion.
15. Trail of Stars
Stars are one of the most common tattoo elements, showing up in a number of places and designs. If you have a number of tattoos, there is a good chance you have at least one that incorporates a star. A lot of stars are the nautical style, but some are even simpler. This trail of stars is made up of simple filled in and uncolored stars. It trails down the spine, ending over the tailbone in one large star.
14. Full Tribal
Keeping your designs for back tattoos abstract will allow for a lot of elements to be added without ruining an established theme. Here there are many different tribal elements in different grayscales. It all comes together to form one large piece. And look stars!!
13. Punk’s Not Dead
Those punks in the world may want to put your favorite band logo or lyric on your body. A design like the one above is perfect for back tattoos! It is round, fairly simple, and it’s the Ramones so you can’t go wrong there!
The stars are telling and you can often match a person with their zodiac sign by paying attention to their personalities. In this piece, a number of different Zodiac symbols. These telling signs can make great subjects for tattoos. Each sign can be displayed separately, much like in this post about Leo tattoos, or all together like the photo above.
11. Asian Inspired Art Back Tattoos
Asian inspired art is so beautiful and colorful. This piece shows a woman in a boat, drifting along the water. The pink lotus flower is present at the bottom of the back. There is also the cherry blossom tree and a crane. I love the bright colors especially the pinks.
Using just the center line of the back is a great way to make some really large, interesting tattoos. The flowers and butterflies crawling up the spine are done in such magnificent colors, in a fun flowing style that is incredibly striking.
9. Spine Design
Again, using just the area along the spine, this design was created to look almost like a cursive script. I kind of like it, though I have no idea what it is. I feel that even if it were nothing but an abstract design it would still go over well.
8. Legend of Zelda Back Tattoos
May the triforce be with you! Set your nerd free and let your geek flag fly with a video game inspired design like this Zelda tattoo. Who doesn’t love the Legend of Zelda? No one, that’s right. This eagle and triforce design are pretty awesome on the back and shoulder blades and this is one nerd banner I would definitely wave proudly.
7. Magical Mouse Back Tattoos
What is more wonderful that the happiest place on Earth? Taking that magic with your where ever you go! This Mickey Mouse head design is done with a couple of hearts and some scrolling lines inside it to give it a more feminine feel. The dark, thick black outline really makes this one stand out and say, “look at me!” For more wonderful Disney inspired designs, check out this page.
6. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
I love the watercolor look of this one. I can’t read the words, but they are bound to carry some meaningful message. I do like the unfinished look it has to it, how the ribbon trails off into nothing, with no clearly defined ends.
5. Anatomy of a Tattoo
If you are looking for a high detail, incredibly long process tattoo, this may be the one you want. The muscles are defined in this one, and the spine seems to be labeled. It looks like something right out of an anatomy book. I would definitely not have the patience for something like this. My inability to handle it does not make it any less awesome, though, this is a wonderful piece.
4. Beatles Fans
Here is a prime example of the power of simplicity. Let it be, tattooed on her back, small and simple. The message it conveys is something altogether different, though. Much like having the word ‘imagine’ tattooed on you. The lack of context is what gives this simple phrase it’s power.
3. Gandalf the Puppet Master
In a very Escher-like piece, this seems to show Gandalf as the master of time, the manipulator. It’s a very complex piece, but I like it very much. There is quite a bit going on and a lot to take in, but it doesn’t seem overly crowded in the least. This is the best possible way to utilize all the canvas available for back tattoos.
2. Why So Serious
Here is an unfinished project depicting the Joker terrorizing Gotham city. Clearly there is quite a long way to go on this piece yet, but I have a feeling when it is finished it will be nothing short of amazing.
1. Flutter Bird Back Tattoos
Hummingbirds are wonderful little creatures, so full of life and energy. They make brilliant, fun tattoos like this one here. I definitely love how it was done in the watercolor style, giving it a lot of colors to play with!
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