The elbow is an uncommon canvas for creativity. From small to bold, black to colored, these elbow tattoos will inspire your next ink.
Tattoos are permanent art on the skin that represents who you are. They reflect your point of view, values, and aesthetics. But in
terms of placements, some require more attention than others.
The elbow is one of them. Many tattooists have a bitter-sweet relationship with elbow tattoos. On the one hand, the elbow is a unique angular area full of possibilities. You can use the elbow as the center to form a radiating shape. Or you can create something that looks different when you bend or flex the elbow.
On the other hand, the skin makes the elbow tricky to work with. Because the skin on the elbow is usually darker, thinner, and wrinkly, tattooists must be extra careful with the coloring and after-care.
Despite all the extra attention needed, elbow tattoos are loved for a reason. They have a medium visibility which suits almost any profession. And because elbow tattoos are less common, they are perfect for those who want to showcase their unique personalities through ink.
And if you are one of them, this post is for you. From small to bold, black to colored, these elbow tattoos will inspire your next ink.
Disclaimer: This collection of elbow tattoos is for inspiration only. Please do not copy the artwork. If you love these tattoos, follow artists and show them some support.
Beautiful elbow tattoos with meaning
Table of Contents
Small elbow tattoos
The elbow is a unique tattoo placement. Tattoos in this area are mainly visible to others, not the tattoo owners. That’s why they are often considered as statement pieces, which express a point of view or an attitude.
But you don’t need to be loud in order to be heard. Small, simple tattoos have the power to impress as well. A word, a simple motif, or a phrase can all make a point. And small tattoos, in general, cause less pain on thin skin and are more affordable.
So if you want something subtle to represent yourself or are getting your first ink, these small elbow tattoos may be what you are looking for.
Meaningful small quote on the elbow
Quote tattoos are loved because each of them has a personal meaning to the owner. This one, for example, reads “nothing matters that much.” It can be a token of the owner’s core values or a tribute to a life-changing moment.
Small simple brushstroke
A small brushstroke tattoo on the elbow is a good way to show your artistic side. The choice of color also adds a sense of mystery to the ink.
Live for yourself
The phrase “burn your fire for no witness” is originally the album name of American artist Angel Olsen. But it’s also a good reminder to impress yourself, not anyone else.
Simple butterfly blackwork
Butterfly tattoos may be a girly ink element. But they also represent one’s courage to transform. For those at the crossroads of life, a simple butterfly tattoo will inspire them to embrace changes fearlessly.
Everything happens for a reason
Hydrangea around the elbow
Because the skin on the elbow can be more wrinkly, tattooing around it is a smart idea.
This floral tattoo mimics the shape of a double fish Pisces tattoo. It would be a subtle representation of the sign and also the wearer’s elegant aesthetics.
One-word tattoos are tricky because picking one word as a self-representation can be challenging. But if you believe in astrology and relate deeply to your sign, a zodiac tattoo like this would be both personal and meaningful.
Single-lined toucan tattoo
A toucan is seen as a symbol of luck, beauty, and confidence. As a sacred bird for South American tribes, toucans in tattoos often show the wearer’s pride in his root.
Olive and hydrangea branches tattoo
100% symmetrical tattoos are pleasing to the eye. But when you make the two sides slightly different, like this above-the-elbow tattoo, the results can be unexpectedly cute.
Small self-love reminder
The imagery of one hugging herself symbolizes one’s love for herself. Such a small but deep self-love tattoo will remind the wearer to prioritize and take care of herself.
Tiny bee tattoo
Bee tattoos often belong to those who want to keep a low profile. A small bee tat like this can be placed anywhere on the body.
And depending on the species and design, a bee tattoo may carry different meanings. For example, a small bumblebee represents one’s loyalty to his family, while a queen bee tattoo is a symbol of strength and girl power.
When you pick the right design, a tattoo can bring the wearer calming and soothing energy. And this simple quote tattoo above the elbow is a good example.
Matching wings elbow tattoos
Because the skin around the elbow is thin, getting a tattoo in the area is usually more painful. That’s why these simple wings can be a good idea.
These minimalist matching tattoos can be a tribute to a divine friendship. If you have someone in mind, these BFF tattoos may be your next ink.
Hand-drawn rainbow tattoo on elbow
Less than perfect is a new form of perfection. At first sight, this elbow rainbow tattoo might look like a doodle. But the scribbly lines make it ideal for a carefree soul, which is really the essence of the design.
Small mom and star elbow tattoo
This mom tattoo is simple. But it sends a powerful message. It reminds us that a mother is not a tag on women but a source of strength that makes her shine.
Bold and beautiful elbow statement tattoos
For many people, tattoos represent their identity. And a good tattoo design magnifies one’s personality. That’s why vibrant, bold tattoos never go out of style.
But big tattoos don’t have to be overwhelming. They can be beautiful, elegant, and sophisticated as well. So if you want to announce to the world who you are and make it loud and clear, the following elbow tattoos are for you.
Morning glory elbow tattoo
Morning glories flower tattoos have a unique spiritual meaning. Because the flowers bloom and die in one day, they often symbolize inevitable changes and the life-death cycle.
In this tattoo, the flowers and strings hug the elbow with an opening. The less-than-whole design also reflects imperfection. Together, this tattoo points out the truth there’s beauty in flaws and changes.
Mandala elbow tattoo
The elbow is the perfect central point of a radiating pattern. This black mandala shows how you can arrange a complicated design elegantly on the elbow.
Snake and flowers cover-up tattoo
If you want something bigger and bolder, consider going beyond the elbow. This tattoo stretches from the forearm to above the elbow, allowing more room for complicated and creative designs.
Spider web elbow tattoo
Spider webs are another radiating pattern in addition to mandalas. However, spider web tattoos are not for everyone. It takes boldness to wear a spooky design like this. But if you are not afraid to be different and are searching for a badass tattoo, you will rock this look.
Coffee tree arm tattoo
Realism tattoos don’t have to be the exact replica of a real life object. Take this tattoo, for example. Tattooist Nonlee plays with the colors by choosing an unconventional palette. It makes this tattoo on the side of the elbow look like a fantasy artwork.
Symmetrical intricate ornaments on the elbow
Ornamental or aesthetic tattoos aren’t always meaningful. But they must look good, requiring tattooists to consider pattern, colors, and composition. Oozing elegance, this piece is a success.
Ring of flowers
Small Cupid elbow tattoo
Cupid is often seen in symbolic love tattoos. It’s believed that whoever gets shot by Cupid’s arrow will fall in love head to toe. Such a small Cupid tattoo accentuates the wearer’s loving and pure side.
Blue gemstone jewelry tattoo
Elegant leaves in the elbow area
This ink may be static. But the way the leaves climb along the arm brings natural movements to the tattoo.
This fiery tattoo is designed to capture attention. This ring of flames would belong to someone that is passionate, courageous, ambitious, and is not afraid to show it.
Ouroboros snake tattoo
Ouroboros refers to a snake or dragon biting its tail, forming a close circle. It represents eternity and an endless life cycle.
Because of the shape, ouroboros tattoos are ideal for the elbow. You can wrap it around the arm or arrange it in a ring like this one.
Stunning rose bracelet tattoo
Clouds and moon cover up tattoo
Waves above the elbow
Wave tattoos have various symbolisms. Because waves have the power to sweep off the land and wash away houses, they can represent the wearer’s awe and respect for nature.
In addition, because waves continuously hit the shore and reshape the coastline, wave tattoos can be a subtle representation of new beginnings and changes.
Intertwining snakes by the elbow
Native Americans associated snakes with rainfall. They are considered sacred and can bring a harvest to a village. In the west, however, snakes symbolize greed and temptation.
Whether good or evil, snakes are skilled predators. Thus snake tattoos like this would belong to someone that is not to be messed with.
Embrace your magic
Witchy tattoos have a unique charm that appeals to a particular demographic. They usually include elements like witch hats, brooms, snakes, or potions, giving a sense of mystery. Such a bold design reminds one to embrace inner strength and magic.
Creative elbow tattoo ideas
So far, we’ve covered some of the best elbow tattoo ideas. But if you want to play with the placement and stand out from the crowd, below is a list of creative tattoos on the elbow that you don’t want to miss.
The devil butterfly
In general, butterfly tattoos are girly. However, by adding a skull pattern to the wings, the tattooist brings coolness and personality to the design.
Simple realism dove elbow tattoo
Dove may not make the loudest and most vibrant bird tattoos. But these pure white birds show the world the beauty of peace and love.
This striking tattoo mimics a bullet hole on shattered glasses. The visual impact is so strong that only the most daring people can wear this look.
Cute baby clowns
Elegant ornamental tattoo
Cute horse carousel around the elbow
This horse carousel tattoo shows that an eye-catching tattoo doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There’s nothing outrageous in this tattoo except for cute ponies. Instead, it’s the composition that makes this piece stand out.
Beautiful red floral butterfly
Moon-lit night sky
Spikes around the elbow
Bold and stunning color mandala on the elbow
If you think an intricate mandala elbow tattoo is fabulous, this one is on another level. With the bold contrasting color combos, you will not be able to look elsewhere.
Pine tree above the elbow
This pine tree tattoo has a deeper meaning attached to it. The spreading roots and the half-circle resemble the imagery of a tree of life. Therefore, it will belong to someone who sees life as a journey and is ready to prosper with every second.
Traditional eagle wing tattoo
Berry cupcake tattoo on the elbow
Want something that makes you hungry? This cute food tattoo is so perfectly illustrated that it will make you drool.
Which of these elbow tattoos is your favorite?
Leave your thoughts in the comment down below!
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