These are the best side tattoos for men and side tattoos for women. Check out this easy-to-use list of different side tattoo styles, artists, and ideas!
The side of the body is a nice, large canvas to work with, and can be adorned with anything you can imagine. This list has 37 side tattoos that really impressed me. I wanted to keep the floral and tribal to a minimum – unless it was spectacular – to showcase some of the more unique ink out there, and hopefully give you some amazing ideas for your side tattoos.
With no further ado…
Ladies and Gentlemen…
…Enjoy this list of our favorite side tattoos for men and women
1. Just a Giraffe Side Tattoos
A sweet tattoo for lovers of the long-necked animal. This cute guy appears to be standing in front of a sunset on the Savannah, contemplating his life.
2. Flying Elephant
How adorable is this elephant trying to ride this old timey bike into the sky? I love everything about this side tattoo, from the style to the strings running from elephant to bird. This ink seems to be saying “with a little bit of ingenuity, you can do anything!” And that makes me smile.
3. Lovely Lady Side Tattoos
I’m not sure what’s causing this classy dame to be so grumpy. She should be really pleased with the fine-lined details in her dress and handbag. Maybe her ugly step-sister is dancing with the prince and she’s jealous? Regardless, it’s a unique choice of side tattoo.
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4. Big Buck
The tooth and key dangling from this guy’s antlers have me completely confused, and I really wish he wasn’t pierced with arrows. But, aside from that, what an incredible tattoo! I am totally digging this line art style – it’s almost like he’s made of fingerprints. Very nice work, and a fine choice for any outdoorsman.
This tattoo is so gorgeous I kind of want to vomit. It was done by Czech artist Ondrash, who is well known for his incredible watercolor tattoo style. I feel like this woman should be on display in an art museum. Stunning, just absolutely stunning.
6. Phoenix Rising
A timeless symbol of rebirth, the phoenix is a mythical bird that bursts into flame upon its death, then rises, reborn, from the ashes. There are many variations on the story, but the phoenix is nearly always depicted as a gentle creature. This side tattoo is a beautiful representation of the myth. The colors here are incredible! There are very detailed side tattoos.
7. Impressive Floral
It’s difficult to find side tattoos on women that don’t involve flowers, so for this list, I really wanted to only use spectacular examples. This one is my favorite. It’s floral, yet geometric and almost abstract in its design. I love it. The ink work on those flowers is just blowing my mind. Gorgeous.
8. Gorgeous Geisha
This geisha girl side tattoo is a bit different than what you normally see. Is it just me, or is that a sword on her back? With the red across her eyes, reminiscent of a mask, she kind of looks like a badass geisha superhero. I like it.
9. That’s Quite a Headpiece Side Tattoos
Okay. I tried really hard to find out why the ship in this side tattoo has crosses on its sails, and if there was any particular meaning behind it, but I was unsuccessful. I suppose I should be focusing on the fact that this 18th century woman is wearing a ship on her head while tattooing a skull. The whole piece doesn’t make any sense to me, but that doesn’t stop me from loving it. I would imagine that this guy is the only one with it.
10. Tattooed Time
We’ve got an hourglass with eyes and wings, behind a clock face, behind crossbones and, I don’t know, blood or tears? This is another tattoo where I’m not really sure what’s happening, but again, I don’t care. It’s so cool! I love the black and red, I love the dot accents, I love it all!
11. Asian Inspired
Honestly, I couldn’t really care less about this tattoo. I’m much, much more interested in what’s underneath. You’re welcome, ladies.
12. Unique Tribal Side Tattoos
This is the only tribal tattoo on this list, and only because it’s just so darn pretty. I am very impressed with the way this took a traditionally pretty masculine subject and turned it super feminine and pretty. It all feels very Polynesian, very South Pacific, very grass skirt. It’s lovely!
13. Hope it Doesn’t Say “Hot Soup”
I am the first to admit that I have tattoos in languages that I don’t speak. On each side of my chest, I have a Japanese kanji symbol. At the time, I thought they stood for “thought” and “remembrance.” After doing some research recently, it appears that one of the symbols is either utter nonsense or “full name”, while the other means “shopping” (which is actually pretty fitting). I don’t really care though, because I know what they mean to me. So whatever this guy’s giant side tattoo says, I’m sure it means something important to him.
14. California Love
Westside is the bestside. Being a California girl, I can definitely appreciate this ink. The bear, the palm trees, the hot girl – all synonymous with the Golden State. I’m not sure why the girl’s face is done up in clown makeup, though.
15. Eye of the Tiger
Rowr! This is a super sexy side tattoo! I like that the flowers and water are the only things with color – especially how the reflection of the tiger’s leg is orange, but the tiger itself is black and white. It feels really feminine to me, even though the whole tiger thing is usually more masculine.
16. Realistic Lillies
Remember how I said flowers had to be spectacular to make good side tattoos? These are incredible. Love, Love, Love the coloring on the flower petals! I might be a tiny bit biased, because lilies are my faves, but this side tattoo is just extremely well done and totally gorgeous.
17. Speechless Side Tattoos
I don’t know if this is a tattoo, or a photoshop job. I really, really, really hope it’s a tattoo. Because OMG, shut the front door! I mean, really. I’m kind of speechless. How does this guy have a full on sculpture on his side? If you know anything about this tattoo, please, please, please tell me if it is, in fact, inked, and who is responsible for this incredible effect.
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18. It’s a Real Gem
This side tattoo is so freaking cool. I love this sort of graphic arts style! The coloring is awesome, and the shading, and just everything. That ruby slash heart in the middle is just so eye-catching. I can’t stop looking at it! It’s just so beautiful!
19. Royal Rumble
Is this guy the king of dirty street fighting? While I am kind of confused about the contents of this tattoo – hey! I just noticed that the top right brass knuckle finger hole is a heart! – it looks awesome. My hope is that he plans to get it colored in, to really take it to that whole classic tattoo level. I’m loving the leaves that are interspersed with the roses…the whole floral aspect of this tat seems to incongruous, but it works so well!
20. You Otter Know
Sorry, that was an extremely lame pun. Totally not worthy of this amazing ink! If you know me but at all, you know how much I adore watercolor tattoos. This adorable little guy looks more like a river otter than a sea otter, which is fortunate, because, you know, sea otters are really horrible. Google “otters are jerks” if you don’t know what I mean (but only if you’re prepared to be shocked and horrified).
21. Matching Splatters
I love the idea of matching tattoos that aren’t exactly identical. This watercolor pair appears to have matching black splats, but differing colored areas. I like how they each have their own color scheme and shape below the matching black. They’re very pretty, and a nice way to commemorate a relationship without being too relationshippy. Yeah, that’s a word.
22. Textual Healing Side Tattoos
No clue what that side tattoo says, what language it is, or, I don’t know. Whatever. I’m kinda just tired of pictures of sexy lady bodies in all these tattoo articles. Time for some beefcake, amirite?
23. Abstract Sparrows
Took me a second to realize these were sparrows. At first, I thought they were leaves or seed pods. They’re just beautiful, though, aren’t they? The swooping lines and shading are amazing. I love this.
24. Bloody Boulevard
I immediately go to serial killer when I see tattoos like this. I don’t know why. I probably need to see someone about that. But the way these buildings are closing in, and the dark and bloody (at least, I assume that’s what the red is – again, maybe I need to talk to someone) shadows, how could it not bring creepy stuff to mind? Regardless of the way this side tattoo makes me feel, I can definitely appreciate how awesome it looks.
25. C’est Magnifique
I have no idea what this tattoo is all about, and I couldn’t care less. I LOVE this style! It’s so artsy! I did run the words through the Google, and according to them, it says “here now.” There is probably some kind of profound meaning to those words for this guy. Whatever it means, it’s totally awesome.
26. Connect the Dots
Tattoos that are really unique are my absolute favorite, even if I can’t comprehend the meaning behind them. This one is a great example. There is so much going on here, where to begin? So, my guess is that the building is some kind of church (see the crosses?), and it appears to be floating on some kind of cloud-jellyfish hybrid while the top sort of dissolves into birds. Then the dots connect to form a profile. I love it. It makes no sense at all, but I love it.
27. Fly Away Side Tattoos
As far as ripped skin style tattoos go, this one blows my mind. It is extremely convincing. I love that behind the skin is the sky, and the birds have broken through the barrier to be free. The contrast between her skin and that bright blue is great. I can’t stop looking at this!
28. Japanese Chrysanthemums
I’m allowing this floral design into the list because it’s so large and bright. I don’t know why I am so into tattoos with orange ink right now, but I just adore it. I like the way the black waves in the background really make the flowers stand out. And, I gotta say, as much of a straight girl as I am, this side ink makes this chick super hot.
I wish I could read the words at the beginning of this strip of music notes – it might give a clue as to what song (if any) is being portrayed here. This tattoo is very pretty, and I think those simply-drawn butterflies are adorable.
30. Crayola Color
What a cool tattoo! It looks like someone drew on him with crayon, or maybe big, thick marker. I didn’t even notice that there was a jellyfish there for like five minutes.
31. Vintage Daisies
Okay, these daisies are just gorgeous. I LOVE the color choices here – that muted, vintagy yellow and grey is amazing. Again, I might have a bit of a bias because my second favorite flowers are daisies, but seriously, it’s beautiful.
32. Watercolor Ballet
My only complaint with this one is that the ballerina kind of looks like one you’d see in a 5 year old’s bedroom, rather than a grown-up, professional dancer. My favorite part is the blue swoop that follows the arc of her leg going up into the air – very cool. And of course, it’s watercolor, so I pretty much automatically love it.
33. Simple Silhouettes Side Tattoos
These are the simplest side tattoos on this list, and I’m not gonna lie, might just be here for the body it’s tattooed on. But still, I really like the simplicity of it.
34. Light the Way
I saw a few lighthouse side tattoos on the old interwebs, but this one was by far my favorite. It’s got an almost cartoonish vibe to it, and it’s kind of dark and mysterious. Which is sort of the opposite of what a lighthouse should be.
35. Horsing Around
I’m not normally a big fan of horse tattoos, but this one is pretty cool. It’s got movement and gorgeous details. Plus it kind of reminds me of the horse my family used to own. Overall, a lovely choice for any horse lover.
36. Stunning Garden
I just love the use of negative space for the white flowers!! This is so gorgeous, and I am super jealous. I can’t get over the style here, it’s just so unique!
Okay. I am so obsessed with this guy’s work. His name is Xoil and he’s French and he’s awesome. Google him. You won’t regret it.
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