A half sleeve tattoo is exactly what it sounds like: it covers the upper area of the arm and extends all the way to the shoulder. Sometimes, it even extends to the chest area if the design calls for it. It includes the inner bicep as well, though you may opt to keep that area clean and only focus on the outer arm area.
What makes half sleeve tattoos discreet is that you can easily cover them with a long-sleeved shirt and only flaunt them whenever you feel like it. Nobody will suspect that you have a half sleeve tattoo unless your social media channels are flooded with half-naked pictures of you. So if you fancy an arm tattoo but want to be mum about it, a half sleeve tattoo is for you.
In regard to tattoo designs, half sleeve tattoos are open to a lot of creativity. You can go with pretty much any design out there. But before you commit to a design, make sure that you are 110 percent sure as it is impossible to cover up a half sleeve tattoo. There is simply no room for a cover-up tattoo, which usually requires double the space of the original tattoo.
If you want a tattoo design perfect for the upper arm area, a Japanese traditional tattoo fits the bill. Japanese traditional tattoos typically feature black-and-gray wave patterns, which look gorgeous when wrapped around the arm because the curves add more depth. For the main piece or theme, we recommend a kabuki mask, a samurai, or a geisha. You can also go with a full range of multi-colored flowers as the main attractions of the tattoo.
For a meaningful half sleeve tattoo, angel or guardian angel tattoos are the way to go. They hold a lot of meaning, which includes protection, strength, courage, and faith. However, the limited space on the upper arm makes it a bit tricky to depict them with their wings fully spread out. The same is true for eagle tattoos and other bird-related tattoo designs. Of course, a good artist will find a creative way around this limitation, but you need to be open to his or her suggestions.
Another great way to make full use of the entire upper arm area is to grace it with a mechanical tattoo, one of the best tattoo designs for men. Other tattoo designs based on machines or with metal properties also look great. This includes compass tattoos, clock tattoos, and anchor tattoos. You can also go for an armor-like sleeve similar to a samurai armor and armors worn by medieval knights.
Look, we can’t really list down all the possible half sleeve tattoo designs here. There are simply too many design ideas out there. But we can show you some of the best ones to help you come up with your own personalized half sleeve tattoo.