20 Black and Grey Tattoos for Men

It was believed that black and grey tattoos on an inmate represented power, control in life and reliability. The techniques used were basic and plain.


It is know that black and grey tattoos were initially used in the 70s and 80s by inmates that had no access to colored inks.

With time to time, black and grey tattoos techniques were adjusted to create a sense of depth, transforming the way they looked.

Nowadays, tattoos come in all type of designs, colors and sizes.

Tattoos are placed on any part of the body, depending on the size and its purpose. Thinking of the state of tattoos, they have evolved so much from the ancient tribal designs from which, are loved generally, but now with tattoos not being as taboo as before and evolution of tattoos, there has been a huge draw away from black and grey tattoos and more into diverse color schemes.

Black and Grey Tattoos or Colored Ones?

Well, basically you have the answer for this question. Choosing to have black and grey tattoos will more likely depend on what you really want.

These are some factors that might help you decide if a colored one will fit better on you:

  • Skin color: if you look at some other people with tattoos, you will see that pale skins will enhance black and gray tattoos as there is a good contrast between dark colors and lines, however colored tattoos will also look great. On the other hand, people with dark skin will also intensify dark inks as contrary of colored ones that can potential be lost on intensity.
  • Tattoo design: if you are looking at tattoos that require fine lines and less complexity, most likely black ink is the right one. It is easier to distinguish the design of a black ink tattoo, no matter the location of it.
  • Tattoo placement: this is not a triggering factor that can affect your decision making of a dark or colored tattoo, however body parts with more skin area such as legs (thigh), chest and back will be more suitable for black and grey tattoos.
  • Complexity of the tattoo: The more color you require the more time you will need to expend at the tattoo table. Color tattoos require more time to be completed as it usually relates to shaded tattoos.

Black and Gray Tattoos Ideas for Your Inspiration

Now that you have been engaged with some information, it is time to appreciate black and gray tattoos designs. While observing these selected but not limited designs, keep in mind what was described on the previous sections.


Black and gray tattoo world: Look at the fine lines that have been created in order to give some perspective and clarity on the design.

black and grey tattoos

Full back sick looking skull: You can see that this tattoo design required a lot of work. Also, observe that the use of dark colors help to create a more realistic tattoo as the tattoo artist can play with the shades.

black and grey tattoos

Have to appreciate how a cat is put together: fine lines and shades to create detail sections.

black and grey tattoos - cat tattoo detached

The black and gray rose: look at the spider web; fine line with shades.

black and grey tattoos

Geometric grey wolf howling at the moon: Shade moon. Great technique used by tattoo artist.

black and grey tattoos

This skull with an owl mask covers what has been explained about the variation of the shades.

black and grey tattoos


The forest ribbon. Really great technique considering that doing the tattoo around the forearm is not easy.

black and grey tattoos


Our heart has also a geometry.

black and grey tattoos


Very nice tribal design, representing the sky, water and land.

Tribal black tattoo


The great shark!. Also geometry involve to create this master piece. You can see that this designs fits perfectly on the forearm and still the tattoo artist has to play with the proportion of the shark’s fin.

black and gray geometrical shark tattoo

Abstract grey tattoo.

black boat and sea tattoo

The light brighter. Shading is very important for sized tattoos so the artist can create the perspective and movement.

Full back gray tattoo with angel connected with the sky


Thinking father time with a gray tiger. Beautiful full arm tattoo.

black and grey tattoos


Geometric blind sailor.

black and grey tattoos - Old man sailor


Loving the owl and the skull. Full on chest gray and black tattoo – Hunting Owl

Full on chest gray and black tattoo - Hunting Owl


Palm trees and the rocky hill.

black and grey tattoos


Geometric tattoo along with a beautiful tree.

Geometrical tree balck tattoo on carve


The wolf in the man. Look at he shade given by the artist. This creates movement on the tattoo.

black and gray tattoos - the real animal behind the man

If you liked these interesting black and grey tattoos and want to see more, check the below articles.


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