Western America, Texas, horses, and wild ranches – all of these invoke only one image, that of a gallant cowboy!
Traditional American culture was abundant with characters, archetypes, and styles inspired by cowboys. Those styles of yore are again coming to life through tattoos.
Are you fascinated by cowboys and their rustic vibes? Do you want to get a cowboy tattoo to embrace the spirit of the Wild, Wild West? Well, I have a list of the most exquisite cowboy tattoos that will make you say, ‘Giddy up’ in excitement!
Invoke The Cowboy Spirit With These Tattoos
If you want to embrace your love for Western culture and cowboys, here are some ideas you can consider for your next ink:
1. Cowboy Boots And Hat Tattoo
Of all things cowboy, the most important ones are hats and boots. These are common everyday items, but they form an essential part of the cowboy lifestyle and even cowboy-inspired tattoos.
The leather boots and wide hat are synonymous with the American West and the cowboys at the ranches. If you want to embrace and also showcase this quintessential cowboy spirit, it’s time to get a tattoo that displays these two fashion items.
Yes, you can choose from numerous designs to commemorate these elements of the cowboy lifestyle and fashion. Go for a sleek black and gray design for these pieces to incorporate an elaborate approach for these illustrative tattoos.
2. Skeleton Cowboy Tattoo
Are you someone who likes to stand out with their choices? If yes, you might have thought of getting a skull or skeleton inked on hand to depict a rugged look, but you can elevate the same tattoo by making it a skeleton cowboy!
Skulls can be very fascinating and draw attention. In a very visceral way, skeletons symbolize a man’s mortality and also the limited time we get on the earth.
However, when it comes to cowboy skulls, it blends this morbid sentiment into a visually appealing tattoo. This intricate skeleton cowboy ink can be an exciting choice.
If you want a more detailed tattoo, you can add a ghoulish gunslinger or a bandana wrapped around his face. Want a more powerful image? You can add a ten-gallon hat and a six-shooter.
Getting a skull tattoo can symbolize bravery or even someone who is not afraid of forging one’s own path. You can opt for black and white ink or even add colors to accurately capture the Western look.
3. Cowboy Bebop Tattoo Design
The men who love anime and pride themselves on being ‘otakus’ have always been fascinated by the 90s anime series Cowboy Bebop! I have something great for you guys! This unique tattoo design effortlessly combines the Western with the Eastern culture.
Cowboy Bebop takes inspiration for its storyline from Western film noir and even science fiction. The design of anime tattoos allows you to add plenty of colors, making Cowboy Bebop a vibrant choice.
That’s not all; Space Cowboy is also a song from the same anime that went on to become a live-action series. If you want a text tattoo, you can get the words from the song inked on your body along with your favorite character.
4. Cowboy Landscape Tattoo
Many men get cowboy inked to commemorate the passing of a male figure who impacted their life, such as a grandfather, a father, or even a brother. Your inspiration might just be your favorite movie star, like Clint Eastwood from the early Spaghetti Western films.
No matter what your inspiration is, you can get an elaborate cowboy tattoo like this landscape. This gives you the opportunity to get an elaborate design.
Pro Tip: Get an artist that gives more attention to the entire scene and detailing, making your back and shoulder the optimal area for its placement.
5. Traditional Cowboy Tattoo
For the ones who like things old-school, this traditional cowboy tattoo is ideal. This tattoo can help you pay homage to the very origins of cowboy culture.
It is a highly saturated design that takes inspiration from the 2D artwork style, which uses less shading. Are you wondering where this traditional cowboy tattoo will fit best? Well, your shoulder, chest, arm, or even the calf muscles can accommodate this design with ease, although the size might vary.
6. Space Cowboy Design
How about a tattoo that blends outer space fiction and the Western world of cowboys? Well, I’m sure you’re not going to say no to that.
The great adventures and possibilities of science fiction surrounding outer space can give you a lot of freedom to play around.
A space cowboy tattoo can mean different things to everyone. It could symbolize the freedom a cowboy enjoys to move around or could just be a fun tattoo that would look amazing on your upper arm or even thigh.
7. Cowboy Up Text Tattoo
You might have used or at least heard the popular saying ‘Man Up.’ Let us put a cowboy spin on it, shall we?
Cowboys are the epitome of manly perseverance and grit. The saying ‘Cowboy Up’ can be a way to embrace the American spirit. You can place this versatile phrase on almost any body part as you can easily size up or down to fit onto the area.
8. Cross & Cowboy Tattoo
A cowboy cross tattoo? I know it might sound absurd, but it can be a great representation of your faith or act as a tattoo inked in the memory of a loved one who has passed away.
It is a gorgeous tattoo design that includes a western cross inked using brown and grey ink, which adds more appeal to it. The tiny cross sign outline, along with a cowboy hat placed on it, conveys that the person not only has the qualities or quirks of a countryman but also faith in god.
This unique tattoo might appear as if your skin has been ripped apart to carve this design. Your back or chest might serve as the ideal placement for this cowboy and cross tattoo.
9. Neo Traditional Cowboy Tattoo Design
The traditional American style gave birth to the neo-traditional style of tattoo, while it still maintains a few characteristics of the older style.
Are you wondering how you can incorporate it into a cowboy tattoo? Well, the use of bright colors and bold lines of traditional American culture in modern cowboy tattoos while disregarding the strict rules of colors or even subject matter will help you achieve it.
It will give you and your tattoo artist freedom, ensuring that you both can design and ink a wild cowboy tattoo. The design might end up looking straight out of the Wild West.
10. Pop Culture Cowboy Tattoo
Pop culture has been brimming with cowboy symbols and references for decades. Did you know that it began way back around the Wild West? The bison hunter, famous soldier, and even performer William Frederick Cody, also fondly called “Buffalo Bill,” romanticized the cowboy lifestyle back in the year 1872.
The more recent films you might have seen also depict frontiersmen and gunslingers. If pop culture has given you the inspiration to get a cowboy tattoo, why not take the ink design from it too?
11. Cowboy On Horseback Tattoo
A cowboy is incomplete without a horse, don’t you think? Undoubtedly, there’s a complex relationship between a horse and a cowboy.
A horse is a powerful yet beautiful animal that also plays the role of a companion, co-worker, and valuable commodity. Be it a historical or pop culture reference, you might not find a more appropriate image for that bespoke rugged life than a cowboy sitting on a horse.
This tattoo demonstrates a cowboy in the saddle using black or gray realistic images to depict the classic, traditional American style. A clean tattoo like this is a great way to represent the quintessential American cowboy.
12. Cowboy Silhouette Tattoo
If nothing else looks fascinating to you, you can opt for a simple cowboy silhouette tattoo. It is best for someone who doesn’t want detailed or intricate tattoos.
You could get this tattoo by showing the cowboy silhouette walking away toward the horizon. This tattoo is completely black and only has a few details around it, like trees or sunset.
13. Gunslinger Cowboy Tattoo
If you don’t know it already, you might be wondering what a gunslinger is. It is a term used to describe someone who quickly draws a handgun, an archetype often used in Hollywood Western films.
This idea depicts a cowboy in perpetual solitude and drifting from a sun-baked town, only carrying a pistol with his horse. Clint Eastwood personified this trope in his classic Italian Western work, and the Dark Tower trilogy by Stephen King also brought this archetype to life.
You can use the seriousness of the trope to create an aesthetic tattoo but don’t forget to focus more on the gun. It will help you embrace the rugged and brave side of a cowboy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Your tattoo of a cowboy can represent the desire to be brave and free or it could be a great way to commemorate someone important in your life.
Cowboys had tattoos, but most of them were simple designs, often including the names of their wives or girlfriends.
Yes, tattoos were quite popular in Western America, with both men and women getting inked.
The Western sensibilities that once thrived with cowboys are trending again with references to the rugged, lone man in pop culture and tattoos. If you want to embrace the spirit of Western America, a cowboy tattoo would be the best ink for you.
From a traditional cowboy silhouette to a skull tattoo, from a Bebop design to space inspired image, and even the ‘Cowboy Up’ ink, there is no dearth of cowboy tattoo designs. You can choose one from the list I’ve shared above before you book your next tattoo appointment!