A tattoo sleeve is what it sounds like — a large, continuous work of art that covers up the entirety of a person's leg or arm. Much like back and chest pieces, sleeves have the potential to be some of the most impressive tattoos around because the ample amount of skin allows for bigger and more elaborate illustrations. Unlike their shirt-covered cousins, however, sleeves are on some of our most visible body parts, making them the best type of tattoo for showing off. Check out this wonderful range of sleeves from artists whose skill in their respective styles is unrivaled.
As exemplified by the images above, arms are fertile terrain for sleeves done in traditional styles, like Japanese and Tibetan, which are practiced by numerous talented tattooists who bring their own nuances to these time-honored approaches to the art form.
Sleeves are also fantastic for traditional and neo-traditional Americana. The handful of artists whose work is showcased in the preceding photos demonstrate the versatility of these styles as well as how eye-catching they are when executed in large-scale across arms.
As shown in this sleeve by Guy Le, arms and legs are ideal canvases for sprawling ornate blackwork. It's interesting how this sleeve takes after Mehndi's patterned elaborateness in such bold way.
This group of black and grey tattoos demonstrates how sleeves invite an incredible amount of detail from artists who work in realist styles. Portraiture and other forms of hyperrealistic tattoos with motifs such as antiquity and horror are enthralling on the arms of their collectors.
Lastly, it is noteworthy to mention that while sleeves look stunning on arms, they can be even more impressive on legs (good thing they're not called "pant legs" by the way), simply because there is even more space for body art to occupy. Take the images above and below for instance, which show how a number of styles suit the longest parts of our bodies.
If you liked surveying these astounding sleeves, you can see more pieces that live on very prominent swaths of our skin in a previous post. Also, make sure to check out the Instagrams of the awesome artists listed in the photos' captions to see more of their mind-blowing work, and remember if you want to get a tattoo that really wows the people around you, go with a sleeve; they speak the loudest.