Back tattoos are nothing new, but as tattoo artists continue to get better, people have a lot more options available to them. What’s great about back tattoos is that you can get anything you want in that area, but that also means that you need to take a bit more time to make sure you get it right. On this page we will take a look at why back tattoos continue to be so popular and what types of back tattoos you might want to get for yourself.
The back provides a lot of space to work with, more than any other part of the body. This means that no matter how much space you need for a large tattoo design, the space on your back should be enough to handle it. In fact, many people start out with a large tattoo in their backs and then add in even more elements later on. It’s the largest canvas that your tattooist can work with, so if you want a huge, detailed tat, you simply can’t do any better than your back.
Anywhere from small and simple images to fully detailed pieces that stretch across the entire back, neck to hips, are placed on the back. This is exactly why you need to take your time when designing a back tattoo. Even though it is a great place to put an extremely large tat, that might not be what’s best for you. Smaller designs going across your back might be the look that you’re going for, or you might prefer a skinny design that goes straight down your spine. The point is that you have a lot of options for back tattoos, and you should be happy with the design regardless of the size.
Back tattoos are sometimes used as a symbol of protection and guardianship. Examples of these types of back tattoos include angels and wings. While both of these types of designs can be placed anywhere on the body, owners of the back tattoo versions feel like they are getting more out of the protection and guardianship meanings since they can use so much of their skin. Plus, these images are usually quite striking and will turn some heads.
Many back tattoos are designed to run along the length of the spine while other designs will create shapes or images around each vertebra, focusing on the curve of each individual bone. Like most tattoos that work with the natural lines of the body, these back tattoos usually have a 3D effect even if the design itself isn’t three dimensional.
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. One of the most popular text back tattoos is the owner’s last name, though you really can put any text that you want if it’s meaningful to you. Often back tattoos start out as just horizontal text and more designs are later added in to make a more complete and personal design. The key to choosing what text to get on your back is knowing the font and color(s) you’ll want to use ahead of time in case you come up with any other designs that you want above, below, or around it.
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. Your main decision here is whether you want the text to go straight down your spine or curving with those natural lines. Again, keep in mind that you might want to get other back tattoos with this text so get fonts and colors that work with those other designs.
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. What’s great is that these tattoos look fantastic regardless of how big they end up being. Even a small sun in the middle of your back looks great and “makes sense” to the eye.
The center of the back is also where you want to put your most important design if you decide to get a large back tattoo with multiple elements. For example, if you were to get a huge family tattoo, put the most important image (perhaps a portrait of your mother) directly in the middle. This way people who see the tattoo will be directed right at that image before moving on to the other important elements of your back tattoo.
Back pieces that cover the entire surface area are generally large and realistic with an astounding amount of detail. If you know that you want a heavily detailed tat and are unsure where to get it placed, then chances are you will want to get it on your back. Since it will end up being a very heavily detailed design, you will want to work with an artist who has experience with these types of back tattoos. Top tattoo artists know how to make a huge back tattoo pop off of the skin and they will make sure that they give as much attention to detail on the “least important” details as they do to the parts that draw the eye.
Images like winding serpents and dragons work well as back tattoos with dark shading done in the background. What’s great about these types of designs is that artists can work with your natural lines to make the creatures fit perfectly. You might decide that you want the creature to look like it’s flying out of your back, or you could go with a more simple design with the creature looking to the side. Either way, a great tattoo artist will be sure to shade the serpent or dragon to make it seem more alive.
Samurai or warrior pieces that include the entire figure are also hugely popular back tattoos. There are plenty of great warrior tattoos out there, but the ones that are placed on the back seem to have a bit more impact than others. Think about it: You have a warrior on your back! Again, these designs have much more of an impact if you come up with a design that works with the lines of your back.
Another popular back tattoo design is one that has birds with large wingspans that stretch across the back. Just like with those guardianship back tattoos we mentioned earlier, these big back tattoos usually pop a bit more because they just make sense on the back. In most cases people get these birds designed so the wings line up with their shoulders, making it seem like they have the wings as well.
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 the same reasons mentioned above for religious tattoos. What’s great about these back tattoo designs is that they have multiple meanings to the owner. The texts have their own meanings and the owners are showing that they also have had an impact in their lives.
As you can see, you have a lot to think about when it comes to back tattoos. After you’ve taken the time to come up with a great design for yourself, be sure to take you time before committing to an artist to work with. Back tattoos are usually big jobs and you’ll want it to be perfect!