36 Awesome Rib Tattoo Ideas for Men & Women in 2023
The rib cage has become a more popular placement for tattoo art, with unlimited concepts for ink lovers of all types to explore. From minimalist line art to simple script and realistic or neo-traditional pieces, any combination of techniques can help make exciting rib tattoos for men and women. The best rib body art requires skill, creativity, smart placement, and good execution to succeed, but the results can be astounding.
But before you go and get your rib tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the most interesting, innovative, and creative rib tattoos in 2023. You’ll surely be inspired with the perfect idea of which tattoo style to get, as well as the size, and exact rib placement on your body.
With that said, let’s begin.
The Best Rib Tattoo Ideas: A Watercolor Flowers and Realistic Elephant Tattoo
This piece uses a variety of technical applications to make a fantastic rib tattoo. I love the combination of vibrant watercolor flowers and the grayscale-shaded elephant. The shading builds on realistic tattoo fundamentals to give it a pop of creativity. Black ink splatters and almost circular framing lines create balance for the art – helping the elephant maintain the center of the image.
Thai Script Rib Tattoo
A simple yet elegant black ink Thai script tattoo. The piece displays solid artistic technique and spacing. I love the word placement flowing upwards from beside the chest because it’s unique from most other tattoos of this kind.
Mandala and Flowers Tattoo
A complex and delicate combination tattoo featuring a highly detailed Mandala surrounded by a bunch of Neo-traditional flowers. I like the client’s decision to use sparing colors in the flowers in contrast to the detailed patterns radiating outward from the mandala’s center. The artist demonstrates their full array of technical skills in application – the gradient shading, line work, geometric patterns, and looping lacework of the jewelry are all top quality.
Line Art Dancer Tattoo on Woman’s Rib
This dancer is a beautiful example of black line art. I love the artist’s choice to create different line thicknesses, as the flowing lines suggest the dancer’s graceful movement and flowing costume. It’s a brilliantly executed piece that is made to look easy.
Blackwork Flowers and Vase Tattoo on Man’s Ribs
A tremendous black ink vase and flower tattoo. It uses principles found in American traditional tattooing – thick lines and solid pattern – but also depicts heavy black shading. The geometric patterns in the flower petals and vase features contrast well against the darker leaf markings.
Line Art Running Woman Tattoo
This running woman is another example of a highly-skilled line art tattooing. The artist achieved the difficult feat of producing the illusion of movement, and I love the abstract essence of this piece – especially the woman’s hair trailing behind her, and the one long flowing line at the center of the tattoo.
Watercolor Snake Ribs Tattoo
A beautifully drawn, elegant snake tattoo across the ribs, boldly deploying a variety of watercolors to help bring the serpent to life. I like the bright colors in combination with the delicate black ink lines forming the snake’s scales and skin, offset by the circular patterns in the stylized flowers and black leaves.
Fall of Icarus Blackwork Tattoo
This is a great depiction of the Fall of Icarus (the guy who flew too close to the sun). The decision to use strictly black linework rather than more traditional grayscale shading gives this body art added intensity. The artist demonstrates quality skills by using different angles and thicknesses to create feathers, cloth, and Icarus’ musculature.
Abstract Eye Tattoo on Woman’s Rib Cage
This is a smartly drawn black ink abstract eye, which uses exceptional shading techniques to contrast the human eye and the heart shape framing it. The tribal heart is unique, and the white highlights of the dripping tear and pupil help finish off the piece.
Illustrative Tiger and Cherry Blossom Rib Cage Tattoo
I love this illustrative tiger and cherry blossom tattoo. The fine etching is elegant, particularly within the subtly colored cherry blossoms. The black ink tiger stripes are crisp and well-patterned. The introduction of a third color ( the orange sun) is an excellent choice for contrasting the main image without taking over.
Delicate Flower Rib Tattoo
This delicate flower tattoo gracefully runs from the pelvis, over the hip, and up the ribcage. The excellent placement utilizes the client’s natural contours beautifully in tandem with the tattoo’s length. The delicate leaf shading provides depth against the elegant lines of the flowers and petals.
Neo-Realism Grayscale Shark Tattoo on Man’s Ribs
This grayscale shark tattoo balances a realistic approach (the skin shading is excellent) to the Great White’s design with over-the-top supporting elements. Using banners in the mouth and around the shark are surprise framing choices.
Photo-Realistic Color Flowers Tattoo
The trio of yellow daffodils makes an almost perfect photo-realistic flower tattoo. The artist displays exceptional technique in all aspects, with the delicate variation in the yellow petals and green stalks of the flowers as good as you would find anywhere. I love this amazing piece of body art!
Single Needle Roman Numerals Tattoo
Simple is beautiful. I love the crispness of lines in this Roman numeral rib tattoo. My only concern is how this extremely fine-line tattoo will age – it will likely need retouching or upgrading.
Oriental Pattern Flower Tattoo
The clarity and pattern complexity are highlights of this Oriental-themed flower tattoo. The geometric layout in the petals balances brilliantly against the traditional shading of the central flower. The leaves and stem demonstrate beautifully flowing line skills, well supported by the smaller framing shapes.
Illustrative X-Ray Flower Tattoo Under Woman’s Rib Cage
I like the combination of realism and abstract artistic concepts within this long-stemmed iris tattoo. The flower is quite realistic in its application, whereas the stem and leaves are more elaborate patterns. I love the artist’s decision to vary the petal depth and shading, making them look see-through.
Dogs and Chrysanthemum Norigae Tattoo
Norigae is the Korean term for a combination of decorative ornaments, intricate knots, and silken tassels used to create a jewelry accessory worn by women with traditional formal attire (Hanbok). This well-crafted rib tattoo features the client’s pet dogs and three chrysanthemums representing her siblings. The realism style at the heart of the ink is contrasted perfectly by the vivid red and black ink of the ornament tassels.
Horned Cat’s Head Tattoo on Ribs
This unique Neo-traditional horned cat mixes old-school Japanese style with realism. The cat’s head is a realistic design presented in the Japanese style – I love how it stands out! the use of shading both in the gray scale and in the subtle line work of the feline’s fur and skin.
Abstract Fine Line Skeleton Tattoo on Ribs
This piece is a killer fairy skeleton tattoo. The artist has utilized a single-needle approach to create wonderful depth in the rib cage joints and gossamer wings. The decision to not use linework cracking in the background panel makes the detail and white highlights of the main image stand out further.
Fox with Antlers Rib Tattoo
This is an interesting antlered fox tattoo. It surprises me that there is so much gray ink in a Neo-Traditional tattoo such as this one, as they tend to be filled with riotous colors. The Japanese influence is obvious in the contrast of colors and lines, but I’m not sure the star and smoke effects work fully – they seem much weaker than the main image.
Cursive Script Tattoo
An elegant cursive script tattoo that reads ‘love beautifully.’ It’s a well-executed, finely detailed piece of ink that flows beautifully along the skin. I also love the client’s innovative choice of placement along the backside of her ribs.
Realistic Sunflower Rib Tattoo
This sunflower tattoo utilizes amazing depth of color, presenting the flower in a realistic reproduction. The dark green leaves offset the vibrant yellow hues, with both elements featuring quality shading and linework. I love the technical flourishes in the inner rings of the flower and the slightly aging leaves.
Abstract Watercolor Tree Tattoo
The vibrant colors of this piece are reminiscent of a children’s coloring page. The vividly scribbled warm and cool watercolors offset the detailed black ink linework of the tree.
Realism Painter Painting Rib Tattoo
I love the innovation of this realistic color tattoo. The concept of an art theme inside your body art is a fantastic thematic decision. The artist depicted the piece in a style similar to painters like Rembrandt – the opposition of light and dark encapsulated within highly detailed snapshots of life.
Neo Tribal Dragon Tattoo Design
Tribal dragon tattoos most often use solid black ink, yet I like the decision to use contemporary colors in putting this rib tattoo together. The use of blue hues and white highlighting ink gives the dragon a water theme. Melding old-school and new-school approach works exceptionally – the piece is crisply-etched and looks smooth.
Abstract Tiger Rib Tattoo
I love the pairing of realistic and abstract themes for this tiger tattoo. The front half is a beautifully executed realism piece. The tiger’s stripes and shaded pelt look excellent, while the back half of the tiger’s body is a looping swirl of ribbons.
Red Cherry Blossom and Bird Tattoo
This is a wonderfully depicted decorative flower tattoo. I love the patterns in the red and gray inks and how they contrast the small, finely detailed bird. Using sharp, fine lines underneath the watercolor adds depth and detail to this fantastic tattoo.
Two Color Panel Norigae Rib Tattoo
As mentioned above, Norigae have become increasingly popular design ideas for women’s tattoos (I love contemporary designs with cool inspiration). The black and gray moon scene panel offers fantastic framing, nestling behind the brightly red inked flowers and tassel ornaments, which gives them an enjoyable glowing aura.
Line Art Script and Flower Tattoo
This black ink line art tattoo looks effortless but takes a great deal of technical skill. The script reads ‘self worth’ in cursive, flowing lazily up the ribs before it turns into a simple, cleanly defined black ink flower.
Traditional Black and Gray Bunny Tattoo
This is a well-crafted black and gray bunny tattoo. The artist deploys great lines and shading to help the piece look like a sketch artist’s drawing. The outside lines stand out from the shading – they could have been cleaner during application – especially for the petal edges.
Abstract Disco Doorway Matching Ribs Tattoos
I love the wildly creative elements displayed in this couple’s rib tattoo design. Technical flourishes include pinpoint line work and shading, 3D framing, and a brilliant abstract ‘blood on the dance floor’ theme brought on by peeking through the door.
Heavy Black Ink Abstract Rib Tattoo
This is a well-executed optical illusion tattoo. The abstract design is created from black lines flowing across the ribs and down toward the abdomen. The ink showcases the artist’s skill in visualizing geometric patterns and applying them well to body art.
Abstract Line Art Tattoo on Ribs
This artist specializes in flowing, artistic designs, and has created this excellent abstract rib tattoo. The juxtaposition between the finely etched, sweeping linework, with the muted gray watercolor effects, gives the tattoo a sense of poise and beauty.
Men’s Rib Tattoo
This is an amazing new-school style tattoo with an old-school twist. The design is a contemporary, wildly weird scene of a frog riding a hyena into battle. Its execution however is old school, a brilliant rendering of traditional dark black and gray shading that emphasizes balance between clean lines and patterned shadows.
New-School Whale Rib Tattoo
The neo-contemporary whale tattoo takes a realistic whale and adds to its illustrative beauty with exceptional use of flowing white and gray inks. The unique color palette melds the tattoo into a whale that is both realistic and fantastic at the same time. It’s beautiful!
Women’s Rib Tattoo
A lovely rib tattoo piece matching the client’s left arm design in style and execution. The artist displays excellent framing by filling around the slim branches and leaves with spaced dotwork and crosshatches. The differing types of leaves give the tattoo tremendous freestyle shading,