Leg tattoos have become more and more popular with guys all over the world. From celebrities to athletes, men are embracing lower body ink. The best part about a leg tattoo is that it stands out from the crowd, yet can be easily hidden under your clothes. For guys who want a huge, intricate design or a small and minimalist inking, leg tattoos fit the bill.

Biomechanical

The biomechanical tattoo style involves designs which represent a seamless blend of human and machine. This means combining bones and tissue with gears, pistons, and other mechanical elements in one design, creating the illusion of a cyborg-like nature.

Though biomechanical designs are sometimes done as traditional, two-dimensional tattoos, the 3D option is far more popular. In order to show the blend of muscle and metal, the muscle must be ‘exposed’ – hence including the illusion of missing skin in the design.

3d puzzle tattoo

Biomechanical tattoos don’t have any specific meanings in themselves – most of the time they’re purely a form of artistic expression and of decoration.

The biomechanical style in broader art movements originates from the 1970s and is closely associated with Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie Alien. In recent years, the steampunk style has influenced biomechanical tattoos – swapping the steel and cabling of traditional biomech for brass clockwork and gears.

3D tattoo

3D tattoo

Superheroes and other pop culture elements

A highly popular choice among ‘missing skin’ tattoos, this type is based on the idea of having a costume or a different appearance ‘under’ your skin.

Superheroes are a common theme here – you’re bound to have seen 3D tattoo pictures where it seems as if the person’s skin has been torn off to show a Spiderman or Batman costume underneath.

Characteristic, distinctive clothing/costumes, armors, and appearances of characters from movies, comic books, and games, are all great choices for this kind of tattoo.

An interesting twist is to have several tattoos with the same theme – a ‘rip’ on the chest is a classic, but you could also get matching tattoos, here and there, on other parts of your body – such as your shoulders, arms, and legs.

3D tattoo

Writing

Using the 3D technique puts a new spin on the traditional quote tattoo. This kind of design usually involves making it appear as if the writing is under your skin, rather than on it.

To achieve this effect, the tattoo artist uses shading to create the illusion of a part of your skin missing, with the letters showing underneath.

3d converse tattoo

There a couple of things to decide on when considering this kind of three-dimensional tattoo. First of all, you need to think about what the writing itself should be – you could opt for a name of a loved one, a quotation that’s important to you, or even a full page of text from a source that has personal meaning to you (e.g. your favorite book or a religious text).

Next up, the shape of the ‘cutout’ – it could look as if the skin is missing in a particular shape, such as a star, heart, or circle, or you could go for a less ordered ‘ripped’ look – as if it’s been scratched or torn off.

The fact that the writing will be ‘under’ your skin suggests that the text is not just important to you, but is a part of you. A 3D under-the-skin writing tattoo is therefore the perfect choice for writing that truly represents who you are, or who you want to be.

3D Tattoos Sleeves

Optical illusions

An optical illusion uses perspective, shapes, color, and light/shade to create images that are deceptive, confusing, or misleading to our perception. Put simply, optical illusions cause us to see something that either doesn’t exist in reality or actually looks different than what we think it does.

There are many types of optical illusions out there, but the type we’re most interested in is based mostly on an illusion of depth. Think of graffiti art that makes it seem as if an image is ‘floating’ in the air, or of murals that make it look as if there’s a tunnel – when really, it’s just a plain, solid wall.

3d illusion tattoo

Epic Leg Best Tattoos Design

1. Full Leg Tattoo

A full leg tattoo stretches from your ankle up to your calf, knee, and thigh. It looks striking and bold, making it the ideal choice for men with an unconventional and rebellious style. A tattoo of this size will take more time to complete – and may require multiple sittings as a result – but the final inking will be worth the wait.

 

Full Leg Tattoo

 

2. Tribal Leg Tattoo

Tribal tattoos combine black ink with curved lines and patterns. Because they have a more fluid appearance, your artist can adapt your tribal design so that it moves with your body. Your leg is a great place for a tribal tattoo because the curved lines create a flattering wrapped effect that highlights your calf and thigh muscles.

 

Tribal Leg Tattoo

 

3. Dragon Leg Tattoo

Dragon tattoos look powerful and masculine while still being versatile enough to adapt to suit your style. From snake-like Chinese and Japanese dragons to classic fire-breathing European dragons, these mythical creatures look great when turned into a tattoo. Your leg provides enough space for a more detailed dragon design.

 

Dragon Leg Tattoo For Men

 

4. Hawaiian Tribal Leg Tattoo

Tattoos are traditional in Polynesian cultures, including Hawaiian. These tattoos are made using black ink with lines and shapes. They can be angular or curved to fit the body and are usually large and complex. Male warriors traditionally wore leg tattoos – but today they can simply represent your pride and your native Hawaiian heritage.

 

Hawaiian Leg Tattoo

 

5. Religious Leg Tattoo

Religious tattoos are a great way to express your faith. You have many options when it comes to choosing a spiritual inking for your leg. Popular designs include a cross, sacred heart, or angel. If you are a fan of the old-school art style, try a portrait of the Virgin Mary.

 

Religious Leg Tattoo

 

6. Japanese Leg Tattoo

The Japanese tattooing style is known as irezumi. It is popular for both men and women because it incorporates bold colors and meaningful symbols inspired by nature. For a result that stands out, create a full leg sleeve that combines different irezumi designs, like peony flowers – which represent wealth and prosperity – or koi, which symbolize perseverance.

 

Japanese Leg Sleeve Tattoo

7. Small Leg Tattoo

While your leg offers a larger canvas for big and complex tattoos, a small tattoo design also works well. Smaller tattoos suit guys who can’t have visible ink at work or have a more minimal style. They are also great if you are getting your first tattoo. A short quote, single word, or simple shape all work well as small leg tattoos. Place your inking on your calf for more impact, or your ankle or thigh for a more subtle effect.

 

Small Tattoos 49

 

8. Maori Leg Tattoo

Like Hawaiian tattoos, Maori leg tattoos are a traditional part of the Polynesian culture. Maori tattooing is known as ta moko and can reveal personal details such as a person’s tribe, status, or achievements. Thigh and calf tattoos are an excellent way for men to honor their Maori heritage.

 

Maori Tattoo

 

9. Mechanical Leg Tattoo

A cool and badass option for a leg tattoo is a biomechanical design. These tattoos create the illusion of machinery below the skin, creating an awesome ‘cyborg’ effect. It’s an excellent choice for guys who want a masculine tattoo with a sci-fi influence. However, biomechanical tattoos are complex to apply – requiring technical shading, color, and structure to create a realistic effect – so choose an experienced and skilled artist when you have yours inked.

Mechanical Leg Tattoo Men

10. Angel Leg Tattoo

Angels are a popular leg tattoo choice for religious men. The Archangel Michael – the leader of the Army of Heaven – is one of the most commonly selected as he represents both faith and a warrior’s spirit. Angel tattoos can also have a secular meaning, representing a loved one who has passed away or the concept of a ‘guardian angel’ if the wearer beat the odds, miraculously surviving a situation. Meanwhile, an angel holding a wreath represents receiving your reward after a hard-won victory.
Angel Leg Tattoo

11. Koi Fish Tattoo

One of the most important symbols in Japanese culture is the koi fish. Legend has it that a golden koi spent 100 years swimming up a magical waterfall, and was turned into a dragon by the gods when he reached the top. As a result, koi represent perseverance and determination, as well as the fulfillment of destiny. As a result, Koi fish tattoos are a great choice for men who value these qualities and have overcome the odds.

 

Koi Fish Leg Tattoo

 

12. Leg Sleeve Tattoo

Sleeve tattoos aren’t just for your arms. A leg sleeve is a design that covers your skin from ankle to knee or thigh. While not as dramatic as a full leg tattoo, a leg sleeve still has an impact. Because they are so extensive, these inkings can take multiple sittings to complete. Some popular choices for men’s leg-sleeve tattoos are geometric patterns, mandalas, and Japanese irezumi.

 

Leg Sleeve Tattoo

 

13. Celtic Leg Tattoo

If you have Celtic heritage, why not show it off with a leg tattoo? Celtic art is known for incorporating knots and circles, which look great on your legs. A Celtic cross is an excellent option for your calf as it combines the vertical lines of the cross with circular elements.

 

Celtic Leg Tattoo

 

14. Front of Leg Tattoo

The front of your leg – also known as your shin – is an increasingly popular placement for men’s tattoos. You can easily show off your ink in shorts, and both vertical and horizontal designs will look great. However, bear in mind that a front of leg tattoo can be more painful than other leg tattoos. That’s because the bone is closer to the skin and isn’t protected by a layer of fat.

 

Front Of Leg Tattoo

 

15. Lion Leg Tattoo

The king of the jungle remains one of the most popular options for men’s tattoos. Representing pride, leadership, loyalty, and power, the lion has a masculine appeal while being instantly recognizable. Try a lion tattoo on your calf, rather than the front of your leg, as your artist will have more space to make the design pop.

 

Lion Leg Tattoo

 

16. Quote Leg Tattoo

Quotes are one of the most versatile tattoo options as they suit any placement on your body. They are a great way to express your personality and start a conversation. You could choose your favorite line from a movie or lyric from a song, or words of wisdom. A popular choice for men is Roman emperor Julius Caesar’s famous quote: ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici,’ which means, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’

 

Quote Leg Tattoo

 

17. Simple Leg Tattoo

While many men choose large and intricate designs for their leg tattoos, a simple inking looks just as good. Banded tattoos in black ink are ideal for guys who want a masculine yet minimalist look. Plus, you can add more lines of varying thickness to create a powerful visual effect without making your ink overly fussy or complicated. Even better, these tattoos don’t take long to apply.

Simple Leg Tattoos For Guys

18. Lower Leg Tattoo

A lower leg tattoo starts below the knee and generally refers to any ink that’s placed on your calf, shin, or upper ankle. The best designs for your lower leg are vertical, rather than horizontal. They make your legs seem longer and slimmer and draw attention to your calf muscles.

 

Lower Leg Tattoo

 

19. Side Leg Tattoo

The side of your leg – whether it be your calf or your thigh – is an excellent place for a tattoo. They are easy to show off when you wear shorts, yet simple to cover by wearing jeans or trousers. Choose a side placement for a design that ‘wraps’ around your leg or is at an angle.

 

Side Leg Tattoo

 

20. Leg Tattoo for Black Men

Leg tattoos look great on both dark and light skin tones. From detailed portraits to simple geometric designs and bold color, any tattoo design can be adapted for black men. However, those with African heritage generally scar more quickly than those with a Caucasian background. As a result, it’s essential to choose an experienced tattoo artist who will use less pressure and depth when creating your tattoo, and knows which colors will look the most saturated on darker skin.

 

Leg Tattoos For Black Men

 

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What are 3D tattoos?

The term ‘ 3-dimensional tattoo’ refers to any design that looks three-dimensional, rather than two-dimensional (flat) on the skin.

The best tattoos of this nature will be realistic enough to look like photographs.

The 3D technique is used for a number of innovative and creative designs – from simply tattooing hyper-realistic looking objects to crossing into the realm of believable optical illusions.

3d stomach tattoo

3D tattoos are likely to take longer to complete than two-dimensional designs and require a huge amount of expertise from the tattoo artist.

If you’re considering getting a tattoo like this, it’s best to try to find a tattooist who specializes in this aesthetic, even if it means looking outside your area or paying a bit more than expected.

3-dimensional tattoo work only achieves its purpose – looking realistic – if the artist gets everything 100% right.

3d head tattoo

Realistic 3D tattoo design ideas

As we’ve already mentioned, creativity is key to creating the very best and most original tattoos.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, consider the following ideas – and don’t forget to check out our massive gallery of awesome three dimensional tattoos!

3d eye tattoo

Animals and objects

This type of tattoos in 3D involves simply – though let’s be honest, it’s not that simple – tattooing a photorealistic image of something on your body.

Real-looking objects and animals make for striking, eye-catching tattoos.

Some popular choices include:

  • Flowers – always a popular tattoo element, flowers look even better when tattooed in 3D. Most people opt for roses since they’re one of the more complex flowers to tattoo and ones with the most depth involved – there’s a lot of light and shadow play on and between the petals, unlike with flowers that are naturally more flat. Drops of water are sometimes added for extra realism. Both color and black options are viable, and each will result in a distinctive style – though of course, the use of color will make the image more lifelike.

3D Rose Tattoo

  • Portraits – portrait tattoos are tough to get right and a major commitment (they’re not as easy to cover up as names!), yet this doesn’t affect their popularity all that much. Plenty of people still get them, and there’s no reason not to if you have the right tattoo artist to help you and the certainty that this is the right choice for you. Portrait tattoos are usually done in black ink. If they were done in color, they’d blend in too much with the color of your own skin.

3D Realistic Tattoo

  • Animals – both tattoos of pets and of wild animals are often done in 3D to add depth and heighten the aesthetic value of the design. Usually tattooed in color for maximum realism, these tattoos tend to be quite large in order to preserve all the details and make the design more believable. Tigers, wolves, and lions are common choices, as are snakes and lizards.

tattoo-3d-snake

  • Spiders – from black widows to huge tarantulas, realistic spiders make for awesome-looking tattoos in 3D. Though these insects generally cause most people to flinch and many are positively fearful of them (sometimes with good reason, after all), the symbolism of the spider is not altogether negative. They’re associated with power, mystery, and growth. Spiders also represent the concept that our choices construct our lives – likely due to the elaborate webs that spiders gradually build to catch prey.

3d button tattoo

  • Skulls – often combined with other elements, such as flowers or snakes, skulls never seem to lose popularity. In 3-dimensional tattoos they’re typically done in black ink, giving them a dark, gothic look. This fits in with the general cultural meanings of death and mortality that skulls bring to mind. Skulls also have some positive meanings, though – they’re sometimes associated with protection and wisdom.

3d crawling spider tattoo

  • Eyes – realistic-looking eyes, either single or in a pair, are another tattoo you’ll see a lot of while browsing our gallery. Eyes are symbolic of intelligence and omniscience, as well as morality and truth. In certain cultures, eyes are considered to be gateways into the soul – sometimes associated with the concept of the ‘third eye’. The third eye is supposed to be the eye of the soul – what could simply be called intuition. In Egyptian and Western occult traditions, the left eye symbolizes the moon and the North, while the right eye represents the sun and the South.

3d_tattoos_fabulousdesign_24

Landing insects

This is one of the most popular choices and one of the safest ones where it comes to achieving the desired effect.

And the effect you’re aiming for here is to make it look as if an insect, such as a butterfly or a dragonfly, has landed on your skin.

3d foot tattoo

The insect is made to look realistic through painstaking work on the tattoo artist’s part – working with several reference images of real examples of your chosen insect to make sure it looks ‘real’ on your skin.

The tattoo is not complete without adding a shadow dropped by the insect – without it, the tattoo could still look somewhat flat.

shoelace 3d tattoo

The placement of a 3D landing insect tattoo is also an important factor to consider. Especially in the case of larger designs, the area can’t be too curved (like the top of your shoulder or your elbow), since this will distort the shape of the tattoo. For lifelike insect tattoos, consider your forearm, the back of your shoulder, or somewhere along your leg – such as your thigh or calf.

The sky’s the limit on what insect you could go with for your tattoo. You could think about what critters visually appeal to you, consider whether you have any personal stories or memories you associate with any particular insect, or take a cultural meaning or value associated with an insect as a starting point.

3d strawberry tattoo

Butterflies

Butterflies are symbolic of transformation, first and foremost. This is because they start their lives as considerably less attractive caterpillars before transforming themselves into the colorful, beautiful flying insects.

They’re also associated with hope, change, and life itself. As such, they’re particularly meaningful 3D design choices if you want to celebrate an important change in your life or overcoming a difficult struggle. Butterflies are also sometimes thought to be symbolic of the passing of a loved one.

In addition to the above, a blue butterfly 3D tattoo generally symbolizes good luck. Yellow butterflies stand for joy, happiness, and positivity. White ones are associated with purity and, in the context of Christianity, salvation.

3D Tattoos Butterfly

Popular 3D Tattoo

Dragonflies

Dragonflies have many meanings which differ somewhat between cultures. In general, they symbolize change, adaptability, transformation, and self-realization.

In Japanese culture, dragonflies are symbolic of power, victory, and agility. For Native Americans, dragonflies stood for happiness and purity, as well as for protection from ill health and injury. In Buddhist cosmology, dragonflies represent the joining of Heaven and Earth.

3d leg tattoo

In tattoo art, dragonflies are often thought to represent living in the moment – letting go of the past, not worrying too much about the future, and focusing on what’s important to us here and now.

Cracked or ripped skin

These tattoo designs in 3D are way less grim than they sound. The 3D effect is achieved here by making it appear as if part of the skin is missing, to reveal something unexpected and unusual beneath.

It’s an interesting choice since this type of tattoo blends in perfectly and appears as if it really is a part of the person’s body.

Again, there are plenty of options here, limited only by your creativity and the size you want your tattoo to be.

3d compass tattoo

 

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