30 Stunning Shoulder Tattoo Ideas in 2023
In most cultures, shoulder tattoos are a symbol of bravery. Coupled with a sense of self-expression, tattooing the shoulder is an ancient practice that dates back to millions of years. Carrying the most important memories right on your shoulders, these pieces of ink hold utmost significance.
But before you make up your mind on a shoulder tattoo, let us help you choose. Below you will find a compilation of some of the best shoulder tattoo ideas of 2023. Allow these images to permeate your mind and choose the style that matches your personality.
Feeling ready to make an important choice? Let’s continue.
Grayscale Lionfish Tattoo on Shoulder
Lionfish are often considered symbols of protection. They are worn on the skin to protect the wearer and keep them safe through their journeys in life. This majestic creature is depicted on the skin through a black and gray color palette. This grayscale shoulder tattoo was done by Chinese Tattooist, Aki Wong. But don’t let the lack of color fool you: Aki’s portfolio is full of life-like pieces of tattoo art.
Bones Dark Jewelry Shoulder Tattoo
Also known as “epaulet” tattoos, these shoulder pieces are created to imitate the shape and placement of shoulder pads. This piece of Dark Jewelry depicts a collection of bones that serve as a guard to the shoulders. This blackwork bone tattoo is one of the most outstanding pieces done by Korean-based artist, Hoon Unco. His works are often inspired by oriental imagery, and always apply a blackwork approach to tattooing.
Woodcut Style Goddess Shoulder Tattoo
Also known as “etching” style, this tattoo technique utilizes blackwork principles and illustrative designs to create unique pieces of bold blackness. Mythical creatures can be seen wrapped around the goddess, creating a piece of art that honors her femininity. The mastermind behind this gorgeous shin tattoo is Polish tattooist, MB Beyger. Her works include pieces of black and gray realism, surrealism and blackwork.
Almond Blossoms Blackwork Tattoo on Shoulder
Hope, self-growth and wisdom are all symbolic meanings of the Almond Blossom. This spiritual flower and its twigs are usually depicted through feminine tattoos that dress the body perfectly. This blackwork shoulder tattoo is one of those pieces charged with feminine energy. These blossoms came to life thanks to Ingridi Moreia, a Brazilian-born artist who tattoos in Spain. Her blackwork tattoos are inspired in botanical imagery, and the pop of white ink is one of personal signatures.
Shaded Scenery Shoulder Tattoo
This shaded tattoo displays the rendered image of mountains tops, a forest and some sole cabins. An all-together solid piece of ink that is softly done with a black and gray approach. The facilitator of this shoulder tattoo is a Chinese artist named Chenpo, whose works include brushstroke styles, and an oriental take on neotraditional.
Neotraditional Sunflower Shoulder Tattoo
Framed by an ornament of golden arches, the sunflower rests atop the shoulder. This full-color, neotraditional piece shines with the light of the sun, channeling the essence of happiness. The colorful shoulder tattoo is a rare gem from the works of Geumtaena. The Korean-based artist is known for their blackwork styles, but they show extreme flexibility by doing pieces of full-color neotraditional like this one.
Blackwork Peony Tattoo Around Shoulder and Arm
Peony is the flower of nobility and honor. Its presence in tattooing extends beyond cultures, styles and applications. These flowers are a great subject-matter to utilize when creating blackwork pieces that cover large areas such as the shoulders. Taipei-based artist, Kubrick, is the creator of this stunning blackwork shoulder sleeve. His blackwork pieces often cover great areas, and he mainly focuses on tattooing large scale works.
Soft Blackwork Flowers Tattoo on Woman’s Shoulder
Blackwork epaulet pieces are very popular between women. These centric shoulder tattoos decorate the feminine frame and make them stand out. This shoulder piece was hand-drawn and custom-made for the client at our facilities in Panumart Thailand. Our crew member, Ahm, was the tattooist that made this blackwork tattoo come to life.
Color Realism Goat and Flowers Shoulder Tattoo
This tattoo paints a baby goat, an emerald butterfly and an assortment of flowers. These elements come together to create the most beautiful garden, inspired by botanical art. Utilizing a technique of color-realism, the tattoo is applied on top of the shoulder and the outer arm. You can find multiple color realism pieces like this one on the portfolio of Italian-based artist, Deborah Genchy. Her subject-matter is heavily inspired by botanicals, animals and nature.
Flower Arrangement Shoulder Tattoo
A beautiful flower arrangement decorates the small-framed body well. This shoulder tattoo was done utilizing blackwork styles and soft black and gray shades to make it more feminine. Tattooist Ahm, who applied this tattoo at our facilities in Panumart Thailand, did a wonderful job covering up an existing piece of script that hides well behind the flowers.
Koi Fish and Dragon Tattoo on Shoulder
The might of a Dragon and the grace of a Koi Fish come together to make this unique design. Both subject-matters that are inspired by oriental cultures are reflected in this linework shoulder tattoo. Our tattooist Aon, who is part of the team at Panumart Tattoo, executed this tattoo. Their creative design, along with their expert application, make this a great piece.
Abstract Whale Tattoo on Shoulder
A realistic whale tattoo is shimming along her skin. It fades into smoke, as it slides. The abstract whale tattoo is carefully placed on her shoulder blade. Sixten, who created this abstract piece, is an adept blackwork tattooist. He also has a strong leaning towards abstract styles, such as cyber sigilism. There are many pieces that depict smoke within the portfolio of the Korean-based Artist.
Oriental Zodiac Beasts Tattoo
The spectacular shoulder tattoo shows two Chinese Zodiac beasts: The Goat and the Dragon. Done with beautiful linework, blackwork principles and soft gray shading: this shoulder tattoo decorates the shoulder and arm very well. This blackwork tattoo is one of many blackwork-style gems in the portfolio of Australian tattooist, Goyo.
Neotraditional Blackwork Women Shoulder Tattoo
A show-stopping portrait of a woman’s face is tattooed on the shoulder. Neotraditional combines with blackwork to produce this stunning tattoo style. This shoulder tattoo was done by O.One, a tattooer based in the UK. Shadowy dotwork, chrome textures and sparkles of white ink make this tattoo a great piece.
Dainty Flowers Tattoo on Shoulders
This gorgeous design was applied to the skin utilizing shaded black and gray, and linework. The delicate flowers warp around the arm and into the shoulder blade, framing the feminine body perfectly. This shoulder tattoo displays the signature style of Kam, a nomad tattooist who goes around the world spreading his ink.
Snake and Mirror Realism Shoulder Tattoo
The curious snake is wrapped around a broken shard of glass. The reflective glass that is constricted by the reptile acts as a mirror. The combination of these elements are a testament to humility. Stuffie, the artist behind this shoulder tattoo, does many pieces like this one. His signature style is achieved by mixing elements of color realism and illustrative designs.
Fineline Ornamental Shoulder Tattoo
Ornamental tattoos are a great choice to decorate the shoulders. These designs are created to adapt to the body and adorn the skin with patterns. Though sometimes they are made with bold lines, fineline ornamental tattoos are a great alternative. This shoulder tattoo was produced by Sophie, an artist that specializes in these fineline pieces.
Linework Chandelier Shoulder Tattoo
“Chandelier tattoos” are designed to depict the likeness of pearls, chains and fixtures that emit light. The name “chandelier” is assigned to this very specific style, because of its inspiration. These tattoos are usually draped around large areas of skin, such as the rib cage, sternum, shoulder, chest and back. This shoulder chandelier tattoo was executed by a Korean artist that goes by the name of “Easy.” Her portfolios include many other pieces like this.
Full Color Dogwood Flowers Tattoo on Shoulder Blade
Dogwood flowers are symbols of purity and rebirth. Though absolutely beautiful, their white color makes dogwood flowers a challenging subject to tattoo. To that effect, it’s worth noting that this full-color piece was masterfully executed. It decorates the shoulder blade with an illustrative design. Tattooer Franky, the Chinese artist behind this piece, is truly a mastermind. Her colorful tattoos are simply striking. She is no stranger to full color tattoos, that’s for sure.
Baby Dragon and Flowers Shoulder Tattoo
This blackwork epaulet depicts a young Dragon, resting on a bed of flowers. This gorgeous piece of art adorns the shoulder perfectly. The blackwork style, mixed with soft shades of gray ink, give this piece a feminine touch of darkness. This shading style is the signature of American tattooist, Natalia.
Cute Solar System Tattoo on Shoulder
This tattoo is an adorable depiction of all the planets in our beloved Milky Way Galaxy. Colorful and sticker-like, these cute tattoos decorate the arm and shoulder. Each planet is tattooed on the skin utilizing an illustrative approach. This piece is an all-around playful design done by Seon, an artist from Korea.
Abstract Neotribal Wing Shoulder Tattoo
Neotribal is one of the most controversial styles in the current scene. But, whether you love it or you hate it, it is here to stay. This gorgeous neotribal tattoo has been designed to portray the abstract shape of a wing. Done by the skilled tattooist at the Sans Patrie Studio in London.
Plum Blossom Tree Tattoo on Neck and Shoulder
Plum Blossoms embody perseverance. These small flower buds are even capable of blooming during winter – truly showing their resilience. This botanical element inspires delicate tattoos that show great attention to detail. In this piece of color realism, the artist displays a great design and an artful composition. This shoulder tattoo has been done in a color realism style by Australian-based artist, MJ.
Bone Dragon and Spider Lily Shoulder Tattoo
The Spider Lily embodies the meaning of the beauty of death. The bony remains of a Dragon, cross over the flower to produce a stunning epaulet tattoo. The composition of this tattoo is superb: the blackwork approach to the Dragon, and the red pop of color of the Spider Lily, give this piece character and balance. Korean-based artist, Geumtaena, is the mastermind behind this tattoo.
Abstract Watercolor Tattoo on Shoulder
Abstraction is an art concept that creates unique pieces. Through this art principle, the artist composed this watercolor tattoo. The watercolor tattoo sits atop the feminine shoulder, in the form of an image that resembles leaves and flowers. Hong Cha, the Korean artist, who created this tattoo, draws inspiration from organic and natural elements. And to add a magical splash of perfect application: this tattoo is actually a cover-up!
Feminine Roses and Butterflies Shoulder Tattoo
This shoulder tattoo shows a beautiful combination of roses and butterflies. Add a couple of sparkles, and it’s magical now. This full-color tattoo is done with an illustrative design and some elements of realism. Nomadic tattoo artist, Peria, is the author behind this gorgeous piece of ink. Their tattoo portfolio overflows with feminine designs.
Fineline Folk Tattoo on Shoulder
Fineline tattoos like these are true pieces of art. They are designed to fit the body, and they borrow elements from folk art and tribal. Fineline Folk Tattoos are considered ornamental pieces. Though some have cultural meaning, many are applied solely for decoration. The fine line approach is a good choice to create a tattoo that decorates the shoulder. The Korean-based artist “Easy” does a lot of these ornamental pieces inspired in folk art.
Feminine Flowers Tattoo Around Shoulder and Arm
Fineline flower tattoos are the perfect choice for the feminine-presenting people that want something subtle. The combination of thin linework and botanical imagery, make this tattoo look delicate and decorative. The creator of this feminine shoulder tattoo is Handitrip, a Korean artist that specializes in fine line and micro tattoos.