1/2 Sleeve Tattoo Ideas

Written by lauren corona
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1/2 Sleeve Tattoo Ideas
A half-sleeve tattoo usually covers just the upper arm. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A half-sleeve tattoo is one that covers half of your arm, usually from your elbow to your shoulder. There are many different styles of tattoo to choose from, and what you decide to get will come down to personal taste. Before you get your tattoo done, make sure your artist is experienced in tattooing the style you've chosen.


You can tailor Japanese-style tattoos to suit your preferences. They can look masculine or feminine, depending on the design. Japanese half-sleeve tattoos have a background of waves or wind bars. This style often incorporates koi, dragons or fu dogs in the design. You will also find cherry blossom, lotus flowers and maple leaves. If your don't want creatures in your tattoo, you can just have the leaves and flowers.


Bio-mechanical tattooing displays the idea of fusing man and machine. A lot of the designs are based on the art of H.R. Giger. Ideas for this style of tattoo include a copy of a Giger drawing or something that depicts flesh and machinery intertwining. Bio-mechanical tattoos have a lot of detail, so make sure you find a talented tattoo artist whether you plan on using colour or black-and-white.


Traditional tattoos are sometimes known as sailor style or old school tattoos. They are simple, cartoon-like, brightly coloured and similar to those worn by sailors in the 1940s and '50s. Common subjects include hearts, scrolls, swallows, anchors, mermaids and daggers. With help from your tattoo artist, you can easily combine some of these elements together to form a cohesive half-sleeve tattoo.


Tribal and neo-tribal tattoos are a common choice for a half sleeve, especially for men. As the name suggests, these tattoos are based on the designs tribal people use in different ceremonies. They started to gain popularity in the 1970s. Tribal tattoos are usually inked in solid black, and consist of a design of thick lines, both straight and curved, that taper to a point at the end.

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