Although there’s really no such thing as a “masculine” tattoo—as tattoos aren’t gendered and you can get any design you desire—there tend to be certain designs and elements that are statistically favored by specific genders. According to tattoo artist Chang of West 4 Tattoo, the three main components that make a tattoo feel “masculine” are sizing (as “larger tends to be more ‘masculine’”), line thickness, and the actual image you’re getting inked. But while these are contributing factors, the energy that your tattoo projects is mostly based on how you want it to look and how your artist actually interprets it, not any specific elements.
“Nowadays there are tattoos for all tastes,” says Gera Palaz, an artist at Monterrey, Mexico’s Stay Fine Studio. “The artist you choose will play an extremely important role [in giving] the identity you want to your project.”
Small tattoos, in particular, tend to get a “feminine” reputation due to the thin line work and delicate look, but anyone call get this type of ink as it’s “more about fashion and trends than gender,” according to Chang. Plus, small tattoos have been rising in popularity over the past few years, says Palaz, so it’s not uncommon to see people sporting small “masculine” tattoos.
If you know you want a small tattoo with a “masculine” vibe to it, but aren’t sure exactly what that could look like, here are 30 tattoos to inspire your ink.
What makes this tattoo “masculine” isn’t the thin lines, but rather, the slash-like details. Plus, subtle shading grounds it without feeling dainty.
If you opt for an arm piece, consider having it wrap a bit to take up more space on your limb. “The arms are the kings of tattoos,” says Palaz.
Anatomical Heart Tattoo
While a heart design may typically be considered “feminine,” the anatomical correctness of this ink subverts the expectation. The additional shape and line detailing adds strong angles to the tattoo as well.
As they’re tied to sailing and traditional tattooing, anchors are generally a pretty “masculine” design choice. The sketch-like lines and sharp angles only add to it.