You don't have to be wearing a stitch of clothing to don a divine sleeve. The most gorgeous sleeve pieces these days defy the tired stereotype that sleeves are reserved for biker babes. Indeed, sleeves can be dreamy and even dainty, depending on the detail that an artist puts into a design. Unlike smaller tattoos, sleeves give artists a chance to explore the canvas of the body.
But a sleeve is not for the feint of heart; it's a huge commitment. Why? Well for starters, it's not one that you can easily cover up or remove later on in life. Also, you have to pick a design as well as a theme or concept behind your sleeve. It stands to reason that a sleeve incorporates elements of your chosen aesthetic—be that whimsical, macabre, or pin-up, just to name a few.
Sleeves can't help but have a narrative component to them. It conveys a message central to who you are or tells a story of your hopes and dreams. And sleeves are likely to leave an impression. As Lena Dunham told The Guardian, "my tattoos are the main way people recognize me if I'm out,"
So if you're thinking about getting a sleeve, or adding a little verve to your arm piece, get inspired by the works of body art below.
1. Enchanted Forrest
In this grove of redwoods, a coyote dances under a starry sky. Trippy!
2. Edgar Allen Poe
The perfect way to pay tribute to the legendary poet.
With their brilliant yellow petals, sunflowers are also known as "rays."
4. Vampire Elvis
For the ultimate Elvis fan, this sleeve lets people know that you're "all shook up."
5. Humpback Whale
Reminder to take good care of your copies of National Geographic, as animals provide excellent sleeve inspiration.
6. Magical Lilles Of The Amazon
Amazon Lilies, labradorite, smokey quartz, and a little moth... j'adore!
7. Mountain Range
Aspen leaf, indigo plant, and the pinecones of the Douglas fir are only part of what makes this mountain range sleeve gorgeous.
8. Mystical Fox
Goliath beetle with crescent moon, quartz, morning glory, fern, and two twig wands show nature in its glory.
10. Burlesque Baker
Talk about a cherry on top! This sexy burlesque baker whets my appetite as she whips up that cupcake.
11. Fruit Bat
Parallel symmetry makes this design especially eye catching.
12. Weathervane & Roses
A sleeve that's itching for more, this black and white weathervane incorporates roses and clouds. File under inspiration for a gorgeous sleeve.