Top 73 Angel Tattoo Ideas 2022 Inspiration Guide

An angel tattoo drawn in the Greek classical sculpture style, you could reach out to touch it envisaging smooth marble under your fingertips. The artist has positioned it well against the center of the subject’s chest, allowing the wings to flare up pleasingly towards his shoulders.

160 Meaningful Angel Tattoos

angel tattoo on shoulder

Need some angel tattoo ideas? Check out our favorite designs in our latest tattoo guide.

Angel Back Tattoo For Women

Angel designs are powerful symbols with religious and spiritual connotations. In this article, we’re going to look at the possible meanings expressed by an angel tattoo, as well as covering some of the history of angels in culture and religion.

Don’t forget to check our gallery below, featuring pictures of angel art work to inspire and guide you as you plan your design.

Meaning of angel tattoos

Guardian Angel Tattoos

Angels, in general, are representative of the following ideas:

  • Faith – as widely known symbols for some religions – Christianity in particular – angel art might indicate a deep religious faith.
  • Goodness – angels are good, benevolent beings by default, so an angel based tattoo can symbolize the importance of being virtuous.
  • Death and afterlife – angels, in most religions, exist in the afterlife – with some stories going as far as claiming that good people become angels after death, or at least join the angels in heaven. For this reason, it might symbolize the concept of death or afterlife, or be more specific – for instance, a reference to a close friend or family member who has died.
  • A message from the gods – angels in scripture are usually featured as messengers between the divine (for instance, the Christian god) and humans, able to cross from the divine realm into our world and the other way around.

That being said, these are very general symbolic meanings of angels. The specific meaning of each angel design idea will, of course, depend on the personal intent of each person.

To better understand the meaning of angels as a symbol, it’s important to look at their significance in religion and culture.

angel and cross tattoo

Angels and religion

When most people think of angels, the first association that comes to mind is that of religion.

Angels are supernatural beings, usually represented as humans with a pair of large, white wings attached to their backs.

They appear most prominently in Abrahamic religions – with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam being the main, though not the only, faiths.

Religiously motivated angel tattoo designs sometimes include other religious symbolism or verses of scripture.

angel wings tattoo

Angels in Judaism

In simple terms, angels fulfill the role of the messengers of God in Judaism. Initially, both humans and supernatural beings could be referred to as the messengers.

In later phases of the development of the faith, angels became more personalized. Certain angels took on specific roles, with archangels fulfilling the most important duties.

For instance, Metatron serves as a scribe and Michael as a warrior and advocate for Israel.

In the context of Kabbalah, meanwhile, angels are representations of tasks – each has a task to fulfill, and ceases to exist once the task has been completed.

Angels in Christianity

In Christianity, angels are also considered to be messengers. They are also organized into a hierarchy and a system of ranks.

Angel Tattoo On Sleeve

Angels appear at pivotal moments in many of the stories included in the Bible, such as the angel Gabriel being sent by god to deliver a message to Mary.

Angels in Islam

In Islam, angels are again primarily messengers. They have other tasks, too – such as recording the actions of every person throughout their lives and collecting a departed person’s soul.

According to Islam, the prophet Muhammad encountered several angels during his journey through the heavens.

angel tattoo on back

Guardian angels

In many Abrahamic religions, there is the concept of a guardian angel – and many angel designs derive their meaning from this idea.

A guardian angel, the belief goes, is an angel assigned to each person at birth. The angel is there to spiritually guide and protect the person throughout their life, and then deliver them to heaven upon death.

An angel-themed tattoo can be a reference to the belief in supernatural, spiritual guidance. As the name suggests, the guardian angel tattoo serves as a metaphorical means of guidance and protection during a person’s time on earth.

guardian angel tattoo

Cherubs

Cherubs are among the highest-ranking angels in some Abrahamic religions – in Christianity, they represent the second most important rank. They are believed to attend directly to god, rather than acting as messengers.

Modern depictions of cherubs usually involve small, plump, winged boys. This is because the idea of cherubs became associated with putto – a figure in art, particularly painting and sculpture – and the Greco-Roman god Cupid (or Eros).

Baby Angel Tattoo Designs For Women

In Baroque art, putto became symbols of the omnipresence of god – of his being everywhere at the same time, not limited to a physical location.

In general, though, cherubs have much the same meaning as angels, despite being depicted in a different way.

A cherub tattoo can therefore just be a different stylistic take on an angel tattoo.

angel on chest

Cherubs and love

That being said, however, cherubs are sometimes used in modern Western art and culture as representations of love – particularly on Valentine’s day.

This association reaches back to what we’ve already mentioned about cherubs becoming connected with Pluto and Cupid.

Cupid was the Ancient Roman god of love – known as Eros in Greek mythology – believed to have the power of making people fall in love.

flying angel on shoulder

Cupid carried a bow, and anyone struck with his arrow become enamored. Hence, these beliefs have conflated over the centuries to result in today’s Valentine’s day cupids, or cherubs.

A cherub tattoo, particularly one where the little angel is holding a bow with an arrow, can mean romance, falling in love, or having a romantic nature.

Incidentally, the popular image of a heart with an arrow piercing through it – a common symbol of love – is a reference to the Cupid’s arrow, too!

sad angel

Angels in culture

Culturally, angels appear as guardians and protectors. They are commonly associated with virtue and goodness. For this reason, particularly good, helpful, kind, patient people are sometimes referred to as ‘an angel’.

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Angel body art, therefore, can symbolize the importance of these values – of being kind and understanding to all beings. Even small angel tattoos can serve as a reminder to be good to others.

A sad angel, in this context, is an image sometimes used to represent the overwhelming evil and unpleasantness still present in our world. Though most of us try to be decent most of the time, there’s still a lot of suffering and injustice in the world.

Sad angel designs can mean a reminder that the world is not as good a place as it could be, potentially implying that we should all strive to make it a better place.

angel with sword

Angels and the afterlife

Some angel tattoos refer to the belief that after death, a person who has lived a good life will become an angel. Another version of this belief is that the person will join the angels in heaven, not necessarily as one of them.

Angel based designs in memory of a loved one are therefore a common choice. They serve as a reminder of the person’s kindness and nature. Another meaning is to express the hope that even though the person is not with us anymore, they are in a better, happier place.

Tattoos of angels that are meant to represent a loved one often feature their name, and/or their date of birth or death.

beautiful angel tattoo

Angel tattoo designs

3D angel designs

The 3D style of tattooing takes an image – usually a photograph – as a point of reference. The artist then uses careful shading to create a photo-realistic tattoo, ideally with an illusion of true depth.

Naturally, it’s impossible to use a photograph of an actual angel as a reference. The most common choice is a photo of a stone statue of an angel, resulting in a grayscale tattoo.

An image of a person can also be used, with the wings being added either from another reference point or from the artist’s imagination.

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3D tattoos usually need a fair amount of space to be rendered accurately, so it’s best to designate a large enough area of the body for this design. The back, chest, arms, stomach, or legs will work just fine.

3D angel tattoos are tough to get right – and look rather odd and distorted if gotten wrong.

For this reason, it’s particularly important to be careful when choosing the right artist for your tattoo.

If possible, choose someone with proven experience in the 3D style, particularly in rendering faces.

guardian angel on ribs

Simple angel tattoos

At the other end of the spectrum from the highly complex, intricate 3D designs there are minimalistic, simple designs.

A simple angel-themed tattoo could be just an outline of the figure of an angel, with or without fill.

A skilled artist will be able to come up with a design that’s both minimal and still immediately recognizable as an angel.

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Another option when looking for small designs is getting creative with what’s included in the tattoo.

A small pair of wings, for instance, can be enough to represent the idea of an angel without having to include a depiction of the entire figure.

Angel tattoos on the back

Something of a classic in angel-themed tattoo art, this design involves a large back piece, with the angel’s wings extending down a person’s own back and sides.

The human figure of the angel – optional in this design, as many people opt for the wings only – is placed in the middle of the back, mid-way down the spine or between the shoulder blades.

The large, white or gray wings are then tattooed symmetrically on either side, sometimes extending all the way down to the person’s waist.

This is one of the top choices of angel tattoos for men, although the design is increasingly popular with women, too.

Angel Full Back Tattoo

A heart is sometimes added to the design, in place of the angel’s figure – so the wings appear to grow out of the shape of the heart.

Angel and demon tattoo

A design combining both angelic and demonic elements can represent the duality of human nature. Many people believe that none of us are exclusively good or bad – rather, that we all have a bit of both worlds inside us.

Angel Devil Wings

An angel and demon tattoo, therefore, expresses acceptance for the varied nature of our personalities.

A common way to depict this combination of ideas is a design with an odd pair of wings – one of an angel, one of a demon. This might be a large back tattoo, like the wing back tattoos described above, or a smaller, more symbolic design – with the wings tattooed on both wrists, for instance, or the outsides of both ankles.

While an angel’s wings are feathered and usually white or light-grey, a demon’s wings in tattoos are usually covered in black feathers for contrast. Featherless, leathery wings, like a bat’s, are another common choice.

angel wings on back

Gothic angel tattoos

For a darker, more sinister look, consider a gothic angel tattoo. Angels have a long-standing place in the gothic aesthetic, either as sympathetic figures or as the harbingers of death.

A more gothic look is achieved through the increased use of black ink. The wings of the angels can be black, for instance, or the background can be rendered darker to change the mood of the whole design.

Gothic angels are also sometimes depicted with a scythe, a sword, dagger, or another weapon.

angel cherub

Angel warrior tattoos

Angel warriors, distinguished by their plate armor and weapons – usually a sword – can have several meanings. They might be intended as a representation of the concept of the guardian angel.

Angel And Demon Tattoos

They can also refer to the idea of the righteous warrior – of fighting for one’s values and standing ground on what we believe is the right thing to do. This can also have a religious inflection – of being an active defender of one’s faith and beliefs.

Cherub angel tattoo

Cherub designs have a more light-hearted, ‘cute’ feel than conventional depictions of angels. Cherubs, as we’ve already touched on, are usually drawn as small, chubby, friendly boys with little wings.

They may hold objects in their hands, such as harps, trumpets, and other musical instruments.

A cherub with a bow and arrow is usually supposed to represent the modern take on the Cupid – symbolizing romantic love.

another angel tattoo

Final words

No two angel ideas are the same, with so many design options and ideas available. Angel themed tattoos offer huge scope for creativity, with a whole range of ideas that can be expressed and visual effects to be achieved.

We’ve gathered a huge collection of angel tattoo designs below – let us know your favorites in the comments!

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Amazing Angel Tattoos

Amazing Sad Angel Tattoos For Women

Amazing Tattoo

Angel And Cross Tattoo

Angel And Lion Tattoo

Angel Baby Tattoos

Compelling Angel Tattoo

Angel Back Tattoo For Men

Angel Leg Tattoo

Angel Men Tattoo

Fallen Angel Side Tattoo

Angel Quotes For Tattoos

Angel Quotes Tattoos For Women

Angel Sleeve Tattoo

Angel Sleeve Tattoos

Angel Tattoo

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Angel Tattoo On Rib Side

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Angel Tattoos For Men Designs And Ideas

Angel Tattoos For Men Shoulder

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Angel Wings

Angel Wings Chest Tattoo

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Arm Angel Tattoo

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Beautiful Angel Back Tattoo

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Chest Angel Tattoo

Colored Angel Back Tattoos

Cross With Angel Wings

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Dark Angel Tattoo

Devil And Angel Tattoos

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel Tattoo

Flying Angel Tattoo

Full Back Angels Tattoos

Guardian Angel Leg Tattoo

Guardian Angels Tattoos For Men

Guardian Angel Tattoos Designs

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Hooded Angel Back Tattoo

Large Angel Wings

Neck Angel Wing Tattoo

Small Angel Wings

Shoulder Angel Tattoo

Small Angel Tattoo Designs For Women

Small Angel Tattoos

Small Guardian Angel Tattoos

Unique Angel Tattoo Ideas

Upper Back Angel Tattoos For Women

Weeping Angel Tattoo

Winged Angel Man Tattoo

Woman With Male Angel Tattoo

Women Tattoos Of Love For Men

Small Fallen Angel

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Top 73 Angel Tattoo Ideas [2022 Inspiration Guide]

Top 73 Angel Tattoo Ideas [2022 Inspiration Guide]

Angel tattoos symbolize protection for each wearer, whether from a higher power or the spirit of a loved one that has passed away. No matter what your belief system might be, angels can represent something far deeper than the religious protection a praying angel may offer.

A guardian angel tattoo design associates itself with the notion that everyone has a protector watching over them and serving as a conscious reminder that we can provide ourselves with judgement for the deeds we do and the life we lead. Read on for 73 outstanding examples of angel tattoo design inspiration that could help you with your first piece of body art or be the basis of your new tattoo.

1. Angel Wing Tattoo

Angel Wings Shoulder Tattoos For Men

Angel Tattoo For Guys

This is an admirably drawn tattoo, however there is conceptual issue that can’t be bridged. This artwork should be on the subject’s back, given the aspect with which the wings protrude out from the body.

Men Angel Tattoo On Shoulder

Bicep Upper Arm Angel Tattoos For Men

Nice use of black line work on the outline to emphasize the clarity of these angel wings. There’s nothing too fancy in the technique, just clean, crisp lines supported by an accurate accumulation of light and dark shadow.

Angel Arm Half Sleeve Tattoos For Men

The angel wings of this half sleeve tattoo are crafted with exceptional shape and scale. They flow down the image, slotting together almost like a suit of armor . The black and gray shading changes focus with each different layer of feathers – is a skilful technical element. Using white ink highlights also add to the positive angelic qualities of these wings.

Men

An angel wing tattoo design associates itself with the notion that everyone has a guardian angel watching over them. Angel wing tattoos are also often linked to the passing of family and loved ones with those lost transitioning into a protective guardian angel – such as a cherub, a baby angel, or archangel – to watch over the wearer.

An angel’s wings tattoo can be commonly associated with both birds and angels. Tattoo depictions of these often look very much alike, with a specific portion of the tattoo design differentiating if it is one or the other. The angel wing tattoo style can be purely a depiction of religious faith, however symbolism that features an angel’s wings takes on new meaning with the idea of protection and guidance from loved ones that have been lost.

2. Upper Arm Angel Tattoos

Men

Men

Angel Arm Tattoos For Men

This artwork is a fantastically executed battle scene featuring the triumph of an angelic warrior over gargoyles and demons. The artist has done an epic job to skilfully fit this image into a half sleeve – it could very easily have taken up the subject’s entire back. The canny use of gray shading throughout provides the scale needed to support the focal point angel with other equally detailed figures.

Angel Guardian And Roses Tattoo For Men

An excellent angel tattoo half sleeve with masterful use of shading. Each core element of the piece – wings, roses, sword, angel – features a different degree of gray shadow work separating from the others, but in combination still work together flawlessly. This is beautiful body art.

Cross Angel Tattoos For Men

Men

Creative Men

Designs For Men Angel Tattoos

A powerful male angel or more classically demure female angel, sunlight, the holy cross and other godly creatures can be deployed numerous ways in each angel tattoo. They are bound to garner lots of attention – meaning lots of people check out your ink on a regular basis.

These upper arm depictions are interesting in that they mix angel styles tattoos with other religious icons and can be indistinguishable from types of Chicano style tattooing. Fine detail and shading, linework, and white ink highlights can often make or break one of these tattoos, so make sure to get minutiae right, when getting your new tattoo etched.

3. Angel Chest Tattoos

Men

An angel tattoo drawn in the Greek classical sculpture style, you could reach out to touch it envisaging smooth marble under your fingertips. The artist has positioned it well against the center of the subject’s chest, allowing the wings to flare up pleasingly towards his shoulders.

Angel Tattoo Designs For Men

A cool stomach tattoo. The angel of this piece is kept simple, with precise shading – note the hair and wings – helping the image fill out with good understanding of slight color changes. Her body is a flatter shade of gray drawn to accentuate the more detailed shades of wing, hair, and halo.

Angel Tattoo Chest Designs For Men

This devilish angel chest tattoo is epic. The different technical elements – feature gold cross, splash/smoke shading technique, and geometric usage of negative space – are deployed expertly within the framework of the tattoo to create detail, space, and fill without sending the artwork over the top.

Front Chest Piece Angel Tattoos For Guys

The artist has incorporated this meaningful chest tattoo body art effortlessly into the subject’s pre-existing work by moving across from right to left and darkening the background shadow as it moves along. The central image is a beautiful child angel, which symbolizes protection through love.

Chest Grey Ink Angel Tattoo For Men

Angel tattoos are often incorporated into wider chest tattoos with other religious iconography such as the Virgin Mary, crosses, and praying hands. These are popular because they lie close to the heart and soul. A holy angel tattoo is often placed over the heart for the significance of man’s faith in a tattoo idea.

4. Full Sleeve Angel Design

Angel Tattoo Design Ideas For Guys

This full sleeve tattoo deploys a few different angels, from the protective, captivating messenger from god at top down to the fallen winged skeleton towards the wrist at the bottom. The piece is excellent in this transition, using excellent filler shading to bring the disparate images together into a cohesive tattoo. The nonplussed angel on the inside forearm looks like he needs a hug, or maybe a cup of coffee.

Amazing Angel Tattoos For Men

A nicely executed angel tattoo where the artist uses an old school locket portraiture method to frame the image with negative space. It’s a busy tattoo with technical elements symbolizing the different natures of good and evil, as the angel is surrounded in the artwork by an effectively drawn, almost liquid malevolent spirit.

Angel Tattoo Designs For Men

A cool image showing how angel tattoos get stencilled, outlined onto skin, and adapted with shadow as they move along. It provides insight into how artists analyze shading technique around core outline pieces of a tattoo. Looking above at the right picture, you wouldn’t think there would be the huge swathes of gray shadow employed around the angel. It’s etched in via freehand.

Angel Tattoo Ideas For Men

The delivery of negative space in this sleeve tattoo helps it stand out as top quality body art. The angel image and dove are greatly detailed without being tattooed – this shows a fundamental expertise of shading, shape, and scale. The black lines work in conjunction with the freed space to sharpen the shading of each section and make them focal points among an otherwise busy black and gray style tattoo.

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Full Sleeve Angel Tattoos For Men

Gentlemen

Men

Angel symbolism can be extremely useful for flowing tattoo sleeve designs. The symbolic meaning behind the angel ideal can stand for negativity or sorrow, such as remembrance, suffering and pain. On the other end of the spectrum, they can be a great tattoo reflecting the ability to rise above after failures or troubles, an accomplishment, or in tribute to a person that helped guide us on our journey through life.

These examples of sleeve tattoo inspiration bring significant technical skill in application to each great tattoo. They are depicted in numerous ways – featuring everything from heaven and cupid to fairy angels, and even a devil angel or death angel – and often balanced by other imagery, canny use of negative space, or fine detail to create the looks of stone, sunlight, and darkness central to angel imagery in churches, cemeteries, books, and art.

5. Angel Back Tattoos

Angel Tattoo Ink Ideas For Men

This angel is majestic. Being down on one knee identifies this artwork as a fallen angel tattoo, which shifts it’s meaning away from the traditional ideal of protection towards suffering and pain.

It’s a captivating tattoo, balancing the contoured, richly detailed gray feathers with the almost stark nakedness of the rest of the angel etched within a pall of darkness. By also showing feathers littered about the ground, the artist adds poignancy to the piece’s fundamental sadness. This is a profoundly, moving tattoo.

Guardian Angel Tattoos On Back For Men

Full Back Angel Wings Tattoos For Men

Black And Grey Men

Men

Cool Guardian Angel Tattoos For Guys

Men

Men

Religious Men

Men

Creating a full back angel tattoo, or even just a back shoulder angel tattoo will most times will bring out the tattoo artist’s willingness to bring every piece of technical skill and style they have, to bear on the imagery.

These full back angel tattoo ideas are gorgeous to behold, sure attention-grabbers that make a real statement for each wearer. These protectors, whether a female angel, male angel, or dark angel, support a range of ideas, from protection and guidance to warrior spirits, fallen angels, and even a fairy angel design to provide guidance for each subject.

6. Gothic Angel Tattoo Designs

Guy

Angel Wings Tattoo For Men

This angel tattoo is well executed. The features of the angel oppose on the left and right, giving her an ambiguous aspect. You can’t settle on the degree of good and evil within, but you can see clearly both are there in great measure. The artist’s use of simple gray shading technique to create gaunt ribs and a glimpse of hip flexor adds texture to the whole image.

Men

Men

Angel Tattoos Arm Sleeve For Men

This dark shaded angel tattoo is almost Gothic, like an image found guarding a mausoleum. There’s excellent sense of detail in the shading. Perhaps some more sharply lined black, or even white ink highlights on the feathered wings could make the artwork pop from the skin.

Cool Angel Tattoos For Men

Guy

Lower Arm Angel Tattoo Designs For Men

Engrave yourself with a Gothic angel tattoo. Some of the most elegant examples of Gothic tattoos incorporate religious themes such as cathedrals, angels, and Christian cemeteries. or even darker symbols such as death tattoo ideas or a devil angel.

These examples of gothic Angel tattoo designs are an especially great option if you want to incorporate concepts of ambiguity and the duality of good and evil into your body art. Whether you want a small piece on your forearm or your leg, or are thinking about an expansive chest piece, look through the work of artists specializing in Gothic tattoo concepts at a tattoo shop close by you.

7. Classical Angel Tattoo Ideas

Men

Men

Nice Angel Tattoos For Men

Angel Tattoos Black And Grey For Men

Angel Tattoos With Color For Men

An intense, Greek classical style tattoo that’s been applied with great skill. The artist has done an excellent job detailing clothing through deft black and gray shading. The angel’s wings have been applied with an unusual but pleasing difference in technique from conventional feather expressions.

Another child angel tattooed in the Greek classical style. It looks like a sculpture that’s stepped from a museum pedestal and is now coyly playing hide and seek on the subject’s arm. The detail in the center part of the supporting rose is crisply shaded in.

Best Angel Tattoo For Men

Cool Angel Tattoo Inspiration For Men

Lion And Angel Tattoo Ideas For Men

Obvious religious themes feature in these classical ideas however beautiful Angel tattoo designs shouldn’t be reserved for the religious. The truth is, these “messengers” as the Latin word angelus defines them, can represent everything from pain and suffering to protection and positivity. They are also linked heavily with classical Greek Mythology and Art, and the Gods of Greek pantheon which differ great from contemporary religion.

8. Unique Archangel Designs

Portrait Angel Tattoos For Men

Birds And Angel Tattoos For Men

This protector angel is a bad ass tattoo. The detail of sword arm/hilt, wings, and bundled hair in combination work effortlessly together to display quality artistry of a nicely drawn figure.

But, it’s the black work tattoo of ravens and heavy obsidian sky that send this piece to the next level. This section creates a unique counterpoint to the main image and gives a sense of why the angel is there – to stop the encroachment of darkness from overtaking the subject’s entire arm.

Clock And Angel Tattoos For Men

Cool Men

Cool Men

Creative Guardian Angel Tattoos On Arm

Guardian Angel Wing Tattoos For Guys Holy Religious Angel Tattoos For MenManly Angel Tattoos

One of the most popular meanings behind an angel tattoo design stems from the belief that angels can travel to earth and back. As servants of God, they protect the realm between the heavens and earth as watchful guardians.

In return, they provide protect and guide us against evil and our destructive desires. Should a man happen to encounter his death, some believe angels will guide them into the afterlife. These unique angels tattoos add personal innovation to their design, often incorporating style elements, characters, or a loved one close to the wearer in defining the tattoo idea.

9. Smaller Angel Tattoos

Masculine Angel Tattoos For Men

Men

Men

Men

Men

Small tattoos are an increasing tattoo trend because they possess the incredible ability to convey unbelievable symbolic meanings in Angel tattoos but are also clean designs. A small, finely detailed angel tattoo can be displayed or hidden depending on the mood or circumstance of the wearer.

10. Warrior Angel Tattoos

Half Sleeve Angel Tattoos For Men

Men

Men

Men

Men

A warrior angel tattoo, intimidating with weapon and wings, swords and all the power of a heavenly messenger. These angels tattoos examples are a mixture in tattoo styles and body position, and are mostly black and gray composition – but are etched cleanly with shading that mixes great attention to detail with shaping the warrior angel bodies, the enemies, and angelic smiting warriors to strong effect.

11. Rib and Side Angel Tattoos

Rib Side Angel Tattoos For Men

Rib Side Grey Ink Angel Tattoo For Men

Top Angel Tattoos For Men

They are also popular for rib and side chest body art, especially in the richly detailed Chicano tattoo style of design. There are numerous chest tattoos to choose from which will fit the contour of your sternum, ribs and chest that look excellent as a tattoo design.