The back provides a lot of space to work with, more than any other part of the body. Anywhere from small and simple images to fully detailed pieces that stretch across the entire back, neck to hips, are placed on the back, sometimes as a symbol of protection and guardianship. Many back tattoos are designed to run along the length of the spine while other designs will create shapes or images around each vertebrae, focusing on the curve of each individual bone.
Quotes and phrases are often placed along the top of the back or centered below the base of the neck, acting like a headline, revealing an aspect of the individual. Alternately, quotes can run along the spine either vertically or horizontally which provides interesting visual appeal as it highlights the body’s natural straight line. Tattoos that sit in the middle of the back are also appealing when they are situated in the center and expand outwards. Geometric tattoos are often placed here, especially images like mandalas, suns, moons, and flowers or other circular designs that can be built outwards in all directions on the back.
Back pieces that cover the entire surface area are generally large and realistic with an astounding amount of detail. Images like winding serpents and dragons work well with dark shading done in the background, Samurai or warrior pieces that include the entire figure, birds with large wingspans that stretch across the back, and endless other possibilities leave a lasting impression.
Religious themes are often done on the back as well in order to maximize the space with a concept that is significant to the individual and also includes a lot of images and iconography. The back is a common choice because to create a specific scene, especially one described in a religious text, certain details cannot be left out. Scenes from literature, history, and mythology are often placed on the back as well for this reason.