If this gallery of 60 of the best neck tattoo ideas doesn’t convince you that tattooing is an art form, then nothing will. Neck tattoos are by far one of the most polarizing ink placements. But you’d better look before you leap to negative conclusions. The quality of tattoos is improving all the time. And that means neck tattoos are getting better, too. Gone are the days of blurry Chinese characters and badly drawn sports logos. Today’s neck tattoos are as sophisticated as anything you’d see in an art gallery.
60 of the Best Neck Tattoo Ideas for Hardcore Ink Enthusiasts
Everyone knows someone that got an unfortunate neck tattoo. Bad neck tattoos are especially bad because they are hard if not impossible to hide. But that is what makes the best neck tattoos even better. When the art is good, everyone you meet will see it. Since tattoo art is improving every day, the popularity of neck tattoos is also experiencing a resurgence. Portraits have become hyper-realistic. Mehndi tattoos are more beautiful than diamond necklaces. Dramatic florals bring a little more beauty to the world. Finally, the once-controversial neck tattoo is getting the respect it deserves.
1. A Babe with Butterfly Wings
This graphic neck tat is totally killer. The realistic black and white portrait at its center is impressive enough. Blood red roses provide a soft but sinister contrast. The end result is a tattoo design that is so elegant and evocative it looks like an album cover.
2. The King of the Jungle Goes Tribal
The lion in its natural state will always be gorgeous. But traditional lion tattoos are so overdone that even the good ones have started to feel generic. This tribal take breathes new life into everyone’s favorite big cat. Only African art can truly capture the spirit of the lion.
3. I Ram What I Ram
Ram imagery is rife with symbolism. The ram is the symbol of the astrological sign Aries. It is also an iconic make of truck, a professional football team, and is commonly associated with paganism. Symbolism aside, with its curling horns and angular face, this tattoo ram is awesome to look at.
4. How to Make a Floral Tattoo Masculine
This vibrant design clearly demonstrates that the right floral tattoo can be masculine, too. Instead of the traditional butterfly, there is a stag beetle front and center. Grayscale keeps the flowers from feeling too soft while the neon palette at the throat is anything but precious.
5. New Meaning to Spirit Animal
This unusual neck tattoo marries the popularity of the lion with the power and spiritualism of a Native American headdress. Especially impressive is how the shape of the lion’s face follows the line of the model’s throat. Likewise, the eagle feathers flair to fit the neck.
6. Pretty in Ink Neck Tattoo
Are pensive portraits the modern world’s response to pinups? While vavoom lady tats aren’t going anywhere, realistic renderings like this one are a welcome new trend. The artist’s clever placement and shaping give the girl the appearance of living inside her wearer’s neck.
7. Chris Brown’s Feathers from Behind
Questionable reputation aside, Chris Brown is one of the tattoo world’s most recognizable canvases. Here we see how two different artists merged their tattoos. Feathers from a silhouette on the side meet feathers rising from the back. The similar themes and complementary styles help to create a cohesive look.
8. Jesus, That Is a Nice Tattoo
Not all Christians are conservative about tattoos. Some choose to wear their faith front and center. This model promotes the teachings of Christ not only with the words he speaks, but with the messiah’s portrait lovingly rendered on his throat.
9. Chris Brown’s Native American Themed Werewolf
Chris Brown has said that his side neck tattoo is a Native American chief transforming into a wolf. But it’s easy to see more symbolism in the striking design. Given his infamous temper, one can appreciate why the artist favors a tattoo that speaks to his dual nature.
10. A Man Ray Inspired Neck Tattoo
Man Ray was one of the most influential mid-century American photographers. His iconic portraits played on the shadow in striking and unexpected ways. This stunning black tattoo portrait takes Man Ray’s ideas to a new level. The lines across the lady’s face bring a new level of dimension to the ink.
11. Black Panther and Red Rose
The neck is a great place to display a tattoo with old-fashioned flair. While the colors and shaping of this design are decidedly vintage, the unexpected pairing of a panther with a rose helps to differentiate it from more predictable ink.
12. Keeping an Eye on the Time
This stunning surrealist tattoo combines a variety of elements. A lady’s eye peers from the center of a realistic clock. Her lashes overlap, creating the impression of dimension. A Neoclassic flourish at the top adds height. Subtle clouds at the bottom help it blend into existing neck, chest, and shoulder pieces.
13. The Luck of the Red Bird
This lucky red bird boasts an impressive wingspan. Even better, the feathers have been flared to fit the full expanse of the model’s neck and throat. A yellow sun makes the bird’s blackhead sharper by contrast. A delicate garland adds to the feeling of noble spirituality.
14. Dramatic Asian Scrollwork Dragon Tattoo
At first glance, this elaborate tattoo looks like layered scrollwork. But the longer the look, the more you see. Tucked under the model’s chin is the head of a foo dog or dragon. The ever-evolving nature of the composition makes this design a gift that keeps on giving.
15. A Portrait That Will Give You Nightmares
Not everyone wants a tattoo that is traditionally beautiful. Some horror fan is making a big impression with this sinister neck tat. A fanged and decaying baddie bares his fangs. A bruised palette keeps the feel of the piece dark and dangerous.
More neck tattoos for men on the next page…
16. Summoning the Strength of a Lion
This gorgeous grayscale side neck tattoo is the closest you’re going to get to a lion outside a safari. Look at the light in its eyes. There is an intelligence to the portrait that truly gives it life. Even the hair patterns are realistically rendered.
17. Iconic Feathered Side Neck Tattoo
The fame of this ink enthusiast has made his side neck tattoo one of the most recognizable in the world. Many people see the feathers. Still, others catch that it is a traditional Native American headdress. But few know that the full tattoo depicts a chief transforming into the spirit of the wolf.
18. A Neck Tattoo Takes Flight
Sometimes it’s nice to see how one tattoo fits with the rest on a body. Here we see a beautifully feathered side shot of what is most likely a front neck tattoo. We also see that the tattoo’s owner keeps his ink cohesive by using almost exclusively grayscale art.
19. A Multi-Part International Neck Tattoo
While the Asian floral on the side of the neck dominates this tattoo, closer inspection shows that this design actually has several components. A red lotus looks truly sacred at the throat. Pointed leaves fold into barbed scrolls. Sharp geometric shapes provide contrast at the back.
20. The Best of Surrealism in One Tattoo
Surrealism as an art style began in the 1920s. Eyes feature prominently in the style’s most iconic works. Clocks are also inextricably tied to surrealism thanks to Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory. When you add the tracery triangle, this neck tattoo is like a who’s who of surrealist symbolism.
21. Love and a Dove Tattoo
If you believe that all you need is love, then here’s the tattoo for you. The centerpiece of this pretty and peaceful ink is a dramatic dove in flight. At the front is a script, “Love.” The rays of an unseen sun highlight the literal and figurative warmth of the design.
22. A Full Coverage Floral Design
This busy front neck tattoo is proof that sometimes more is more. A bear on the chest rises into oak leaves which transition into an Asian wave motif. To the sides are both flames and flowers. Despite the disparity in influences, the overlap creates a look that’s surprisingly cohesive.
23. Blue Sets This Skull Apart
A realistic blue skull tattoo gets the Ghostrider treatment with blue flames. The skull alone is well-done. But it’s the unexpected pop of bright blue that immediately draws the eye. Considered as a whole, the blue has the feel of ectoplasm, giving the skull a more ghostly vibe.
24. The Angel vs The Devil
This tattoo offers a cool new take on the idea of a devil and an angel on your shoulders. A long-clawed devil whispers into the wearer’s ear from below. Meanwhile, a sweet-faced cherub whispers into the ear from above. It makes the viewer wonder which will win.
25. Stark Black Chevron Neck Tattoo
A lot of graphic tats set black ink against bare skin for contrast. This one creates sharper divisions by also utilizing true white ink. The end result is eye-popping saturation on a chevron design that’s so sharp it looks like it was printed by a machine.
26. An Eerie Blank Eyed Angel
Not all angels are sweet. This is especially true with tattoo angels. At first glance, this looks like one of Raphael’s cherubs. A second glass shows the eyes to be unsettlingly blank. It may be a memorial to the deceased. Or it may be an ironic reimagining of classic angel imagery.
27. Nothing Says Love Like a Dove
While the calligraphy names on this neck tattoo are nice, it is the doves that tell us the design is about love. One dove rises up front and center. Another dove spreads its wings to the side. The image is pretty enough on its own, but truly says something romantic when paired with a name.
28. A Cubist Owl Sketch Tattoo
Owl art has a tendency to look dated or cute. The creator of this impressive owl tattoo used a sketch technique to give the ink some edge. While the central image is immediately recognizable as an owl, the cubist lines and unfinished perimeter make the finished product decidedly modern.
29. Chrysanthemums Are for Men Too
Chrysanthemums are a common feature in Japanese-inspired tattoo art. More often than not, this elegant flower is inked on female enthusiasts. But this expansive orange mum proves that the right Kiku looks good on a male model, too. Scale, coloration, and placement play a big part in making the bloom look more masculine.
30. Realistic Guardian Angel Neck Tattoo
There are many ways that tattoo artists depict angels. While childlike cherubs remain common, this realistic guardian angel is undeniably cooler. Intricate feather work, accurate muscling, and skilled shading all demonstrate the artist’s skill and elevate the finished product.
More neck tattoos for women on the next page…
31. A Reverse Bib with a Mehndi Flower
This gorgeous graphic neck tattoo combines a geometric reverse bib with a mehndi style flower. The look is so unique that it is almost futuristic. With such precise execution, no one would ever want to hide this neck tattoo.
32. Neck Tattoos as Permanent Jewelry
A lot of women see neck tattoos as an easy and also more original way to accessorize. This dot-based folk art design makes a bigger statement than any diamonds. It also stays perfectly centered at all times. Imagine how striking this design must be when exposed via a coordinating black gown.
33. Life Blooming from Death Tattoo
An oversized pink rose blooms from the head of a skull. The imagery is classically gothic but also surprisingly beautiful. While the skull and rose are rendered in different palettes and styles, their contrast actually makes for a more striking pairing.
34. Kiss from a Rose on the Grave
You don’t need color to make a great graphic tattoo. This stunning gothic noir design is proof. The skull is so realistic it looks fresh from a tomb. Meanwhile, the grayscale on the rose gives the flower an unexpectedly Art Deco feel.
35. A Mind-Bending Neck Tattoo
Some of the most amazing tattoos are the ones that play with perception. At first glance, this neck tattoo is a simple geometric pattern. But closer examination gives the design both dimension and movement. Imagine the skill it took to pull off this permanent 3D eye puzzle.
36. A Tattoo that Complements Her Piercings
Here’s an unusual concept; a classic rose tattoo that’s been enhanced to coordinate with the model’s piercings. The original rose is soft and beautifully shaded. But at some point, it looks like two bugs were added. When viewed from afar, the bugs are in perfect symmetry with the model’s lip ring.
37. Neon Bug and Futuristic Hive
It’s clear this tattoo enthusiast isn’t shy. She’s matched her hair and piercings to the neon bug on her chest. She’s also taken the edgy approach of having her shoulder and neck hive tattoo extend up to the sides of her face. The overall effect is so alien it looks cinema-ready.
38. A Not So Secret Garden
Did you know that the collarbone is most women’s favorite part of their body? This sprawling floral tattoo makes full use of that elegant canvas. The artist kept it interesting by mixing sharper, more geometric flowers in at the shoulders. A butterfly holds the court front and center.
39. Dramatic Color Saturated Leaf Stencil
Here is a neck tattoo that is totally outside the box. While the model has other, more classical floral tats elsewhere on her body, here she has elected for a leaf stencil design. The unique look is further differentiated with shades of burgundy and a turquoise blue sci-fi symbol at the neck.
40. A Cameo Fit for a Tattoo Queen
A multi-faceted jewel is perfectly positioned above the cleavage of its owner. It will always look good there, no matter the neckline. A butterfly, feather, and realistic florals complete the living fantasy. It’s another awesome example of how to tattoo jewelry is better than the real thing.
41. Henna Is for Tattoo Lovers
Imagine the time and accuracy it took to create this henna inspired tattoo. While each four-dot flower may seem simple at first glance, the overall intricacy of the design is impressive. Even a little section peeking above a t-shirt collar will make a big impression.
42. Mum’s the Word and the Tattoo
Chrysanthemums are an increasingly popular tattoo choice. Less delicate than the rose, this flower is often used to represent all of Japan. The strength and spirituality of a mum make it an ideal choice for women that want to embrace and project their own power.
43. This Ink Is Coming Up Roses
Photorealism is when art is so realistic it is indistinguishable from the real thing. This rose tattoo proves that the style is alive and well in ink. Surprisingly, the geometric pattern on the model’s shoulder makes an ideal backdrop for the lifelike rose by giving it contrast and depth.
44. Get an Impressive Rack without Taxidermy
Stag antlers were once primarily the domain of hunting lodges and Viking movies. But this neck tattoo puts a pointillist twist on the traditional horns. The spread of the antlers fits the shape of the neck beautifully and looks both wintry and noble in basic black.
45. Lucky Ladybug and Luscious Succulent
The gorgeous depth of color and voluptuous lines make this expansive neck tattoo look both fearsome and feminine. As the only pop of red, the eye is immediately drawn to the ladybug. But then the tender petals of the succulent lead the eye outward to golden leaves and dangling berries.
More neck tattoos for girls on the next page…
46. Asian Is the New Tribal
While the tribal tattoos of the 90s have fallen by the wayside, their original popularity opened many new doors for culturally inspired ink. The bold lines and simple geometric forms of this neck tattoo give it a timeless look though its influences are actually ancient.
47. The Timeless Rose Neck Tattoo
No other symbol embodies love like a rose does. This red and green example might be somewhat sparse, but it immediately reads as romance. The neck placement of the tattoo also gives a nod to the age-old practice of wearing a flower in your hair.
48. Secret Lucky Red Dragon Tattoo
The genius of this lucky red dragon tattoo is how easy it is to display or to hide. With her hair up, the clean red lines of the dragon are highly visible. With her hair down, you would never know the auspicious beast is there.
49. A Butterfly in a Circle of Flowers
Butterflies and flowers are anything but rare when it comes to tattoos. But this whimsical floral neck tattoo is decidedly unique. A sketch-style keeps the pretty design from looking too precious. Meanwhile, the crescent form of the floral arrangement adds lightness to the dark palette.
50. Invisible Ink: A Carefully Placed Tattoo
Some tattoo fans are exhibitionists. Others get inked for only themselves. The wearer of this beautiful mehndi flower adds to the pale ink’s mystique by placing it somewhere it is often hidden, sharing it only when they deem their audience worthy.
51. A Modern Gothic Kind of Rose
Goth culture is as popular as ever. Emo enthusiasts are looking for new and sinister ways to reinterpret classic tattoo art. This rose design gives the typically soft bloom a deliciously wicked twist with black leaves and blood-red petals.
52. An Arcane Moon Meets Art Deco Beading
The crescent moons in this delicate neck tattoo have a decidedly arcane look to them. The artist maintains that mystique by linking them via spidery black beadwork. The finished product is one part Art Deco flapper and one part Dark Ages fantasy.
53. The Beauty of Negative Space
Negative space tattoos have been around for years. In the past, this tattoo style was primarily used to cover old tattoos. As you can see here, a well-executed negative space design can be as beautiful and striking as anything figural.
54. A Clever Fox Side Neck Tat
This fox tattoo is especially clever for the way that the fox’s face follows the line of the model’s. Viewed from the side, it makes the tattoo look almost like a shadow of its wearer. Certainly, the placement and design give a strong impression that the wise fox and its pretty flowers are the wearer’s spirit animal.
55. Feathers, Jewels, and Flowers, Oh My
This colorful neck tattoo combines a little bit of everything. High up is a vibrant hibiscus. On the collarbone is an abstract purple burst. At the center is a jeweled and feathered design that takes the tattoo from folly into fantasy.
56. A Cleverly Camouflaged Tree Frog
In their natural colors, most tree frogs are quite cute. But the clever creator of this little fellow has used carefully shaded white ink to help him blend into flesh. The effect is both pretty and ghostly and draws the eye back again and again.
57. Three Sparrows at the Hairline
Though acceptance of tattoos is rapidly growing, not everyone’s work allows for big ink. With the right design, even a small tattoo can say big things about its owner. These three delicately dipping sparrows stay close to the model’s hairline so she can display or hide them as she pleases.
58. All Tied Up Neck Ribbon Tattoo
This illustration style neck tattoo looks like something out of Alice In Wonderland. The faded red inkwork is both feminine and sinister. A meaningful French quote is calligraphed in spotty black to give the words some edge.
59. A 1950s Housewife Cries Blood
Feminist and horror tattoos are both on the rise. This dark masterpiece combines both to chilling effect. A classic beaded cameo holds the portrait of a 1950s housewife. But the owner’s opinion of that era’s sexism is apparent in the girl’s ghoulish tears.
60. A Henna Style Art Deco Chandelier Bib
Behold the incomparable glamour of this bib style neck tattoo. It layers henna inspired leaf motifs to create a shape that is somewhere between a peacock’s tail and a chandelier. The rayed interiors and black and white patterning add a layer of Art Deco elegance.
60 of the Biggest and Best Neck Tattoo Ideas in the World
Gone are the days when people shook their heads at neck tattoos. Now some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people are getting ink in visible places. Mehndi style bibs double as permanent jewelry. Flowers get modern reimaginings. Artists play with shading and depth to create hyper-realistic portraits. Every design says something distinctive about the person that wears it. If you are ready to take the leap and make a statement, let this gallery of the gorgeous front, side, and back neck tattoos be your guide. Don’t just get a good tattoo, get the art your skin deserves.