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20+ Small Tattoo Inspiration for Men (2022 Guide)

Minimalist approach to small tattoos to elevate your style


20 Slides

Who says at all that small tattoos are women’s thing, especially lately minimalism is on the rise. And when we talk about small tattoos less is more and that’s the rule of thumb. Small tattoos are slightly deeper as they are usually symbolic of a place, element, or message.

Lately, with the rise of travel and minimalism, those icons and symbols are more depicted as a personality and statement that one wants to make in front of society. Getting these tattoos is more conceptual and needs to be thought through before getting those ink on skin.

First things first, where should one get a small tattoo?

Boat Tattoo


  • One of the most convenient and classy spots where it can be seen by many at the same time, not too bold and flashy. We have noticed that it is usually travelers who love to tattoo compasses, airplanes, and globe tattoos as they like to push the fact that they like traveling.


  • Fingers are the epitome of small tattoos as the real estate is quite low. The tattoos on fingers are usually letters or small symbols that depict ones personality quite accurately. The only bummer for having a tattoo on fingers is the getting inked part, as the fat and muscle quantity is quite low, it is all boones. That is why it is quite painful to get tattooed on fingers. But well, they say pain only makes you stronger.

Calf & Thigh

  • One of the main spots for the surfer community is calves and thighs. The common one is that small wave design tattoo that is always the favorite. Not just the wave but so many other designs such as a tiger face, a paper plane there are so many possibilities. The best part is that the space is never not enough!


One of the common spots of all, biceps enables one to have a small tattoo two ways; one, on the side, and two, on the bicep muscle itself. This spot is for those individuals who love to make a bold move as this tattoo will be easily seen. So if you are of the personality that wishes its tattoo to make noise, the bicep is the spot for you!

Chest & Back

If you feel like keeping your tattoo to yourself and not making a shouting statement about it, this is your spot to go. Mostly covered with clothing, the chest and back are the safest places to get a tattoo if one wishes to get something personal tattooed. Some people tattoo a small picture of their loved ones or special dates and many more. The best part is that the space for getting anything is quite huge.

Few things to keep in mind though is to avoid getting closer to bones if you are the one who doesn’t want to feel that pain. Usually, it is the rib cage that hurts a bit, the side of the wrist is another such spot. However, if you are someone who doesn’t care about the pain then the world is yours to conquer.

All of that being said, let’s get inspired by a spectrum of designs. Shall we?

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Live Life King Size

This tattoo is minimalistic and is not at the same time. The design is quite fancy but no use of colors makes it minimalistic. However, the quote tells it all that the guy who wears this is a leader or aspires to be one.

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Old School Gears Tattoo

Gears signify many things but the main of which are old-school inclination and hard work. Other meanings can also mean that there is work in progress which all goes to say that love the journey more than you love the destination. The minimalistic color choice is what makes this tattoo impactful.

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Warrior Wings with Angel Sword

The person who has this tattoo wants to achieve a lot and he has everything he needs for it. The warrior’s courage and an angel’s wings fly high and higher. The tattoo here is a bit special too especially since the slight use of white ink just changes the whole ball game. The shading done here is also top-notch.

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Salud Mi Familia!

Thighs have always been those spots where one wants something personal or intimate stuff tattooed. Here we see “Famiglia” written in a very roman-isq font that looks very vintage yet very deep. The key is to have each letter equally thick and the same color.

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Is That a Superhero?

Definitely a belieber but that’s not the point here. The tattoo is some sort off sign or logo that includes letter “M”. The simplistic approach is quite nice but don’t get fooled by its mysterious undertone that comes in with those long strands of letter “M”

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Blooming Rose on Hand

Roses and guys do have a connection. As we clearly see here the guy has a blossoming rose on his hand. The best part is the shading here is amazing with leaves and petals intact. Quite a delight to look at.

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Ship in a Bottle on a Bicep

A very old pirate life tattoo stuff going on in here. The ship is inside a bottle and the bottle usually ends up in the ocean where someone on one fine day finds out. Apart from that, no colors have been used but since the shading is so top-notch, no colors are needed indeed.

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Face with Signatures, Maybe?

Now this tattoo is sure up to something. The face looks like it is meditating especially with its eyes almost closed. The nose and lips look immensely calm whereas his brain is off the charts with maybe signatures or thoughts that drive him anywhere and everywhere.

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Tribe and Forearm Make a Great Tattoo

Forearm band patterns are just hard to go unnoticed. The symmetrical and uniform nature of it makes it pop like a charm. The lines that vary in thickness make it indifferently different. The shading also helps make the tattoo life and oomph.

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Tree Bearing the Fruit

The tree is growing and fruits on it go to say that progress and success go hand in hand. The fruits here signify that results come to the people who are patient enough to let the tree grow. The tattoo here is uni-shaded but slight shading from here and there adds so much more to the tattoo.

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Now That's Seriously Funny

Joker on the other hand means a smile on the lips but the pain in the heart. This tattoo is the product of intense shading techniques and detailing. The inverse “HAHAHA” is just icing on the cake with its cool shading.

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Wolf from 2070

Totally a futuristic sci-fi enthusiast here especially with the angled wolf tattoo that we have here. The lines are very vivid with the use of black and black only. The eyes are slightly filled but that small dot is just a top touch to the tattoo. Remember, less is more.

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Eye Piercing Rose Tattoo

These are the tattoos where stuff gets real deep and philosophical. The rose is piercing the eye and the eye is shedding tears with a face of a lady. Now, this is the message part but the art side of this tattoo is great too. The detailing is awesome with shading done just perfect.

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Let Everyone Know Who 22 Is

It could be a favourite number, or a lucky number or a fanboy moment. Whatever the reason might be, the tattoo here is just awesome and trendy. The numbers have a dark undertone with multi-tone shading to them. Not to mention, the uniformity of those numbers is just top-notch.

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Classic Forearm Band Tattoo

Forearm bands have always been very famous and a lot of variations have been carried out. This one is just another with quite some impeccable details. First, the design itself is very new plus the thin lines make it very neat and trendy. Lastly, the tribal, mandala-inspired theme is just a piece of art.

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Game Boy Fan Boy

This sure is a fan moment especially because the technology has evolved so much so fast that game boy now is rare to be seen. That being said, the thin lines that make up this tattoo are the effect of vintage with no use of any other colors is a smart move.

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Fly High and Higher

Birds have always been the symbols of progress and freedom. This tattoo signifies similar stuff, flying higher means to achieve better in life. The tattoo is very detailed when it comes to the shading where the main tone is still kept black.

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Your Mind is Your Universe

Righteously said that your mind is the universe of thoughts. Here the tattoo clearly shows that one can achieve a lot if the mind is used right. The guy here seems to be wandering through space which is, his mind. The use of colors for planets is a good touch and shading for the guy is just pitch-perfect.

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Muscular Rose Tattoo

Who says guys and rose tattoos aren’t a thing. This tattoo on the guy’s bicep shows pure panache and elegance. The use of thin lines is what gives it a subtle nature. Adding onto that, the rose is not colored and that is a pretty touch too.

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86 on the Ankle

This number has to have a significant value to the person wearing it. The leaves around do sign towards a sports team where 86 is a special player number. But that kept aside the clarity of this tattoo where it shines. The “86” font here makes such an impact along with leaves being uniform and neat.

Related topics Tattoos

Curator for inkedway.com and tattoo enthusiast