With roots that go back to the earliest examples of American tattoos for men, roses remain popular subjects for ink around the world. For good reason. There’s just something special about a rose tattoo; delicate yet masculine, you are equally as likely to find rose tattoo designs on a Harley riding biker as a Bay Area hipster.
Whether placed on the inner forearm or somewhere a bit bolder, like smack dab on the neck, rose tattoo designs look good just about anywhere you can find room for them. And in terms of creative potential, this classic subject matter is as versatile as it is appealing.
From the classic, yellow Sailor Jerry rose to a dead rose alongside daggers, skulls and snakes, the ink in this collection is sure to inspire and help you find the rose tattoo perfect for your next sessions in the chair.
1. Black Rose Tattoo
Roses are often used as signs of romantic love and passion, but when the classic colors are swapped for a darker palette, the meaning usually changes too. Whether they represent heartbreak, death, or something else, black rose tattoos just pop.
2. Small Rose Tattoo
A little bit goes a long way, and small rose tattoos show just how true this can be. There is no denying the appeal of a simple, subtle and small rose inked in just the right place.
3. Rose Tattoo With a Name
Given the near-universal understanding of roses as symbols of love and romance, adding a bit of script is a great way to make a rose design even more personal. Nothing quite says devotion to your partner like a rose with their name tattoo.
4. Money Rose Tattoo
Wu Tang said it best: Cash rules everything around me. For those folks whose true love is green paper, money rose tattoos are the perfect way to show the world where your heart lies.
5. Traditional Rose Tattoo
People have been getting rose tattoos since the first sailors voyaged east and came back with ink from their travels. These traditional rose tattoos still hold water and for someone looking for a clean design with a bit of history, it doesn’t get much better than this.
6. Simple Rose Tattoo
Sometimes just a few lines will do, with their unmistakable shape and powerful meaning, simple rose tattoos are the perfect choice for a bit of understated ink.
7. Blue Rose Tattoo
Red is the color most people think of when they hear “rose”, but these flowers come in a variety of different shades, all with their own unique meaning. Usually representing fantasy, imagination, and mystery, the blue rose tattoos are an excellent twist on this classic design.
8. Rose Tattoo Drawing
While these lovely flowers are usually inked in vibrant colors, a black and grey approach that recreates pencil on paper can make for equally compelling pieces. Rose tattoo drawings show that the perfect flower doesn’t always need color.
9. Yellow Rose Tattoo
Another alternative to red with a meaning all its own — friendship, loyalty, and joy — Sailor Jerry himself was one of the first artists to ink yellow rose tattoos and they’re as compelling now as they were back in the good old days.
10. Snake and Rose Tattoo
Powerful symbols of virile mystery, like roses, snakes have been popular tattoos designs for decades. This provides snake and rose tattoos with plenty of symbolic heft as well as massive creative potential in the hands of a talented artist.
11. Compass Rose Tattoo
Compass tattoos usually represent a way for the wearer to find their way back to their home or a loved one. When combined with these classic blossoms, compass rose tattoos often represent love being the guiding force in the wearer’s life.
12. Skull and Rose Tattoo
Eros and Thanatos: love and death. What some would argue are the two driving forces throughout life, there is no better way to commemorate the most fundamental elements of human existence than with skull and rose tattoos.
13. Rose Vine Tattoo
Sometimes one rose just isn’t enough. Using a creeping vine to extend a design and make for a more dynamic piece is just one reason why rose vine tattoos are so appealing.
14. Rose and Butterfly Tattoo
It isn’t surprising that people choose to get rose and butterfly tattoos. These two subjects go hand in hand, for the essential role they play in each other’s life cycles but also because they are both symbols of beauty.
15. Dead Rose Tattoo
Not everyone is lucky in love. And for those folks that want to commemorate romantic folly and love lost, dead roses make for the perfect memorial tattoos to a broken heart.
16. Purple Rose Tattoo
Red, yellow, blue…purple. Often used as memorials to a spouse that has passed on, purple rose tattoos are powerful symbols of eternal love and undying devotion.
17. Gypsy Rose Tattoo
Gypsy girls have been popular subjects for ink for decades, with their scarves, gold earrings, and mysterious allure making for some breathtaking designs. For anyone looking to fill some space in a traditional sleeve, gypsy rose tattoos could be the perfect fit.
18. Rose with Stem Tattoo
Most people think of the blossoms when they are considering rose ink, but the rest of the plant can be incorporated to make for more interesting compositions. If properly applied, rose with stem tattoos can make for some clean, well-balanced pieces.
19. Dagger and Rose Tattoo
Bringing seemingly disparate concepts into a single design can make for some profound and compelling work. Demonstrating the appeal of that strategy are dagger and rose tattoos that combine the aggression of a blade with the romance of a blossom.
20. Rose with Thorns
Adding to the complexity of their symbolism, roses come with their own aggressive features. Incorporating the barbs of the flowers into a rose with thorns tattoos shows that, even the most beautiful things in life often come with pain.
21. Rose and Clock Tattoo
Time keeps on tickin’ and adding a timepiece to a design can enhance the meaning and make for a unique piece. This is particularly true for rose and clock tattoos, which most often represent eternal love and everlasting devotion.
22. Tiger Rose Tattoo
Tigers are some of the most classic symbols of raw natural power, and when incorporated into flower tattoos the juxtaposition is enthralling. This makes tiger tattoos with roses a match for anyone that wants a fierce, yet delicate design.
23. Tribal Rose Tattoo
The swirling patterns and sharp edges of tribal ink are making a comeback. This style provides an interesting way to add a bit of ferocity to a piece, and tribal rose tattoos are no exception.
24. Rose Sleeve Tattoo
Nothing screams commitment to a design like a full sleeve. Roses are a great compliment to a sleeve in any style — black and grey Chicano, American traditional tattoos, even trash polka designs can all benefit from a rose or two. But dedicating your entire arm to a full rose sleeve tattoo takes this aesthetic to the next level.
25. Rose Tattoo on Hand
Getting inked on your hand is a good way to get your design a bit of extra attention and this is true of a rose tattoo on the hand. But these flowers are also particularly well suited for this bold placement. The shape of the rose, if properly designed, can match the shape and perfectly fill the space on the back of the hand.
26. Rose Forearm Tattoo
The forearm is a great place for a variety of designs, including these classic blossoms. Easily tucked away at the office, just waiting for you to roll up your sleeves and let your ink breathe after work, rose forearm tattoos are a classic design in the perfect placement.
27. Rose Shoulder Tattoo
Another great placement for a design is at the top of the arm. Rose shoulder tattoos not only give you the option of when and how to show off your ink, but the shape of roses makes them the perfect complement to the natural lines of the shoulder.
28. Rose Neck Tattoo
While certainly not for everyone, there is something undeniably exciting about rose neck tattoos. Flying the flag high for everyone to see, inking a rose on your rose is a powerful statement of style, freedom, and autonomy.
29. Rose Arm Tattoo
The arm is a unique part of the body when it comes to ink. Made up of a variety of different placements that can either hold separate designs or be incorporated into a single, stunning sleeve, rose arm tattoos are a great way to take advantage of this large canvas.
30. Rose Thigh Tattoo
Sometimes overlooked in favor of more visible placements, the thighs are large canvases that are perfect for big compelling designs, and rose thigh tattoos look great on this portion of the upper leg.
31. Rose Finger Tattoo
A bit more subtle than a full hand tattoo, rose finger tattoos are a bold way to demonstrate the power of love and devotion without the dedication required for a neck or face tattoo.
32. Rose Wrist Tattoo
Perfect for designs that don’t quite need the space of the forearm or bicep, the wrist is an increasingly popular placement for stand-alone designs. When it comes to rose wrist tattoos, there is a certain mystery evoked when a bit of ink peeks out from beneath a shirt cuff.
33. Rose Chest Tattoo
One of the largest canvases on the body, the chest is an ideal location for big, bold designs, and roses are an ideal subject matter for these types of sprawling tattoos. The bifurcated shape of the pecs also provides some interesting creative opportunities for paired rose chest tattoos.
34 Rose Foot Tattoo
Considered one of the more painful places to get inked, rose foot tattoos are not for the timid. That being said, a bit of the ink on the feet is essential for any tattoo lover working towards total coverage.
35. Rose tattoo behind ear
Not quite as jaw-dropping as a proper neck tattoo, getting inked behind the ear has become increasingly popular in recent years. A rose tattoo behind the ear can be particularly successful when incorporating a stem that follows the natural lines of the neck.
Rose Tattoo FAQ:
What does a rose tattoo mean?
Generally representing some kind of love, the full meaning behind a rose tattoo depends entirely on the color, style, design, and placement of the flower.
What is the best place for a rose tattoo?
Thankfully for anyone that wants a rose tattoo, these designs look great just about anywhere. From the forearm to the chest to the neck, it is pretty hard to go wrong when it comes to rose tattoos.
What does a black rose tattoo mean?
Black rose tattoos are typically used as symbols of death and loss, although they are not necessarily always tied to a single person. Instead, they often represent the idea of lost romance, broken hearts, and suffering for love.
Are rose tattoos for men sexy?
Some folks may think that flowers are for girls, but nothing turns this idea on its head like rose tattoos. Drawing on the undeniably badass origins of the design in the shore-leave tattoo shops of yore, rose tattoos are most certainly sexy for men.