Tattoo Inspiration for Every Soul

24 Shoulder Tattoo Ideas For The Brave And Powerful

Tattoo Placements

A shoulder tattoo is a brave choice, and it can definitely be an amazing addition to the rest of your tattoos. Shoulder tattoos date back to ancient civilizations, which means that they have a very long history.

Since the very beginning, they were a representation of strength, power, status, and bravery. So, if you’re looking for a piece or design, it’s quite easy to tie this amazing meaning to it. You’ve been through a lot in your life, and you can commemorate your fight by tattooing this.

We have prepared 24 tattoo designs that would fit perfectly on your shoulder. They’re here to inspire you on your next quest to the salon!

Snake shoulder tattoo


Snakes are a very popular image for tattoos. It’s also a symbol of power, but the meaning behind it is mostly connected to protection. In the photo above, you can see a design that completely envelops this man’s shoulder. The tail of the snake goes down to the abdomen, but the main piece is located on the shoulder.

Source: @tattooblair

A shoulder tattoo can also incorporate big flowers, as you can see here. The lines are thick and bold, but the contrast is perfect. The darkness of the snake goes perfectly well with the shadows of the flowers. If you’re looking for a gloomy design, then this is the perfect inspiration for you.


Contrary to the previous design, here you can see much finer lines. The flowers are also very light so that the snake can be in the center of everyone’s attention. However, the leaves around the flowers are a gray color that creates the perfect balance between the different shades.

Dainty shoulder tattoo

Source: @bjmestattoo

Your shoulder tattoo can also be dainty. It doesn’t have to be big and bold, but it can be small and feminine. Here you can see a wine with flowers and leaves that spreads over the shoulder, onto the chest. The fine lines and the minimal shadows create a wonderful image.

Source: @sukza__art

There’s also a way for you to incorporate intricate details into a small design. In this example, you can even see a small mandala as the centerpiece, and it’s surrounded by lines, tots, a crescent moon, stars, and many other shapes. It’s quite dainty, but you can put a lot of meaning into a tattoo like this.

Source: @the_moderndayhippie_tattoo

Again, I’m giving you a very minimalistic shoulder tattoo. Here you can see that the lines flow down the shoulder because the composition follows the movement of the canvas. The small flowers are delicate, but the surrounding dots create a gorgeous fading effect.

Floral shoulder tattoos

Source: @samtattooer

A floral shoulder tattoo is a great option if you don’t know what to get. The flowers can be designed to fall off the shoulder like in the photo above. The fine lines will give it the perfect depth as the middle is much more shaded than the outside leaves.

Source: @song.e_tattoo

A floral shoulder tattoo can also be dainty and colorful. These small flowers remind of forget-me-not. It falls from the shoulder onto the chest and it makes a wonderful design for the girls in the world.

Source: @zeeyeart

A combination of black and gray tattoos with red flowers is going to make a wonderful design on such an obvious body part. The red roses, combined with the black leaves, create a wonderful design. Here, you can even see gray leaves that look like the shading of the tattoo.

Floral shoulder tattoo with birds

Source: @wildsoul.ink_

Adding little details to your tattoos makes them even more personal. Birds have always represented the freedom of a person and their need for independence. The bird in this photo follows the perfect shape of the shoulder and the branch behind it falls down the arm.

Source: @badmoodtattoo

A hummingbird represents the power to elegantly move over obstacles. The big flower is the centerpiece, but the little bird is the detailed artwork that draws attention in.

Japanese-style traditional dragon tattoo

Source: @khalblk

A shoulder tattoo can be more traditional. A Japanese-style tattoo almost always shows a dragon. Here you can see an outline of a wonderful dragon, that flows down the arm, but the head comes back to rest right underneath the shoulder.


It’s also important to note that Japanese tattoos are oftentimes colored in. The head of this dragon peaks out of this wonderful flower, and it looks like it’s protecting the woman.


A great design of a Japanese dragon is to just do the skeleton of one. This design sits perfectly on the shoulder, and the red flower creates a gorgeous addition to this dragon. Especially because in Japanese mythology, this flower represents the noble death of samurai and warriors.

Mandala shoulder tattoo

Source: @donniemartell

A mandala shoulder tattoo also has the composition to sit well on this body part. Mandalas represent the balance in life and the hardships that a person has gone through.

Source: @niki___niki___niki

In the photo above, you can see a very feminine design, that’s symmetrical, and it still has flowers in the middle of the design. The combination of thick and fine lines creates wonderful shadows and immaculate details.

Source: @nutsink

This dotted mandala design is unique and impressive. If you want something more detailed, then this is the way to go.

Whimsical shoulder tattoo

Source: @daniturkeysammie

Whimsical tattoos on your shoulder would be a statement piece. You can add many different little images to this design, from flowers, astrological signs, the moon and stars, and so many other things. It represents the magic of life.


For Studio Ghibli fans, there’s an even bigger possibility to get something small and whimsical. In the tattoo that you can see above, there are many little sprouts, the forest ghost, as well as many botanical images. The outlines aren’t done, so that you can get the full experience of the delicate designs.

Source: @zihong_tattoo

Do you love strawberries, then I have the perfect design for you. The small shoulder tattoo runs well with the collarbone and the rest of the arm. The colors are saturated, but the lights and shadows are immaculate in this example.

Bold and colored shoulder tattoo

Source: @isnardbarbosa

Bold tattoos are for bold people. This shark represents the strength you have within, and the colors are nothing more than a reminder of that as well. This shark disappears behind the neck and then reappears on the other shoulder. If this isn’t genius, I don’t know what is.

Source: @allisintattoos

Another tattoo without any line work. This isn’t that rare nowadays, but it’s still considered to be quite unique. The big orange rose is the centerpiece of everything and the surrounding flowers envelop the shoulder perfectly.

Anime shoulder tattoo

Source: @fantattoo531

A shoulder tattoo example for anime fans can be hard to find, but Toji Fushiguro would be an amazing addition to your tattoo collection. The line work on this tattoo is well done, and it’s still readable even with the huge patches of black ink.

Source: @almtattoo

A shoulder tattoo to commemorate your struggles can also come in the form of an anime tattoo. This Naruto tattoo design spreads over the shoulder and down the back, and it the black patches of color are well saturated.