What Is Biomechanical Tattoo: The Full Guide

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A few years ago, you could only dream of getting a design as intricate as this. New to tattoos and asking what is a biomechanical tattoo? Well, it is especially popular with sci-fi lovers and is a tattoo that turns a body part into half human, half machine.  

There are truly many reasons why the biomechanical tattoo style is so popular at the moment, but the most important reason is that they make you look bad to the bone, literally! 

It’s not the easiest thing to decide on a tattoo design. After all, it is a permanent piece of art on your body. With so many designs to choose from, you really have to dig deep to find something that expresses the inner you.

A biomechanical tattoo is a good fit if you love everything futuristic—nothing screams ‘I’ve been enhanced with robotics and traveled back in time to save the world’ as much as a tattoo that melds man (or woman) and machine. 

You can get any part of your body ‘mechanized’ but there are some locations that are more popular than others because a biomechanical tattoo works best in that area. I’m sure you’ve seen an elbow, shoulder, chest, or hand with the skin peeling off revealing robotic parts underneath. That being said, a professional tattoo artist can make it work wherever you want it. 

The History of Biomechanical Tattoo Style

If you’re familiar with the 1979 sci-fi hit Alien, then you’ve seen H.R Giger’s artwork. The alien or Xenomorph as it’s known in the movie was actually inspired by H.R Giger’s artwork. This artist loves merging humans with machines in a realistic manner. His style of art has been translated to tattoos for years—tattoo artists and tattoo enthusiasts use Giger’s style in their biomechanical tattoos. 

Features of Biomechanical Tattoos

Biomechanical Tattoo
Tattoo from: Twitter

A biomechanical tattoo is known for brilliant shading to make it look hyper-realistic. There are tattoo artists who specialize in doing biomechanical tattoos because it takes such skill to incorporate a mechanical design on human skin and make it look authentic. 

These tattoos are often done in black and grey but when tattoo artists use color, they use an array of inks that blend into human flesh. It’s not very often that you see flashy, bright colors as it takes away the realism that is so key to biomechanical tattoos.

Red is probably the boldest color you’ll see in biomechanical tattoos as it is used to illustrate the underside of the skin and any possible blood that’s running from the ‘tear.’

Placement of Your Biomechanical Tattoo

What are you trying to say with your tattoo? Do you want to send the message that you’re as powerful as a robot; someone with superhuman powers? Or do you want to show the world that you’ve programmed your heart to be as tough as a machine after all the hurt you’ve experienced in your life?

You’ll have to think long and hard about what a biomechanical tattoo means to you. Of course, if you just want to merge man and machine because you think it looks cool, that’s perfectly fine as well. 

Below are some popular areas where people love getting biomechanical tattoos. See if one of these areas speaks to the narrative you want the tattoo to tell. 


Mechanical tattoo
Tattoo from: Pinterest

The back is the largest flat canvas on your body. It is great for big tattoo designs that include complex tattoo techniques. When people get biomechanical tattoos on the back, it’s often done in such a way that the spine, ribs, and organs are exposed and merged with mechanical aspects.

A popular design is replacing the spine with a steel-looking pipe, much like a side shaft, directly down the backbone. You can take it further by adding connections to other parts of the body. 

Legs and arms

Biomechanical Tattoo
Tattoo from: Pinterest

Your legs and arms are other great options for a biomechanical tattoo, especially around the joint areas. If you go to a professional tattoo artist with a knack for the biomechanical tattoo style, they’ll be able to give you piston-like bones merged with muscle to make anyone seeing it do a double take to see if you’re part machine.

A full sleeve is also very popular as you can use the entirety of your arm to display your fondness of sci-fi or maybe you even have a deeper reason for getting such a visible and big biomechanical tattoo in this area. 

Hand and palm

Mechanical Tattoo
Tattoo from: Pinterest

Your hand is a great spot if you’re looking for something futuristic but small. With all the ligaments running from your fingers to your wrist, it’s a great area to incorporate some torn flesh with biomechanical parts such as tubes underneath. Another thing that is great about this area is that it gives you the freedom to expand upward and even into a full sleeve if the inspiration strikes.

You can even get a biomechanical tattoo on the palm of your hand if you’re so inclined. Just remember that finger, hand, and palm tattoos fade much faster than other tattoos due to the number of objects our hands get into contact with each day; that causes a lot of friction which means the skin in that area gets replaced often. 

The one thing to remember is that there aren’t any two biomechanical tattoos that are the same. Your anatomy is different from the next person so even if you do choose a design from an album or online, there will still be subtle differences. That being said, it’s always better to find a tattoo artist skilled enough to do his or her own thing on your body. 


Biomechanical Tattoo
Tattoo from: Pinterest

Biomechanical tattoos are very detailed. Keeping this in mind, it’s no surprise that these types of tattoos run on the expensive side. Even if it is small, you can still expect to pay quite a bit of money to get it done to an acceptable standard. As with all tattoos, there will always be someone who will do it for cheaper, but the quality and skill and ultimately the final product will most likely fall far behind the more expensive tattoo artist.

Since the biomechanical tattoo style is so complicated, you have to find yourself a great tattoo artist that has experience in doing these types of tattoos. Check out portfolios before you decide on a tattoo artist.

If the tattoo artist has an interest in how mechanics work and knows a little about human anatomy, then that should definitely count in their favor. The idea is to design mechanical parts under the skin that look like they will function as the muscles and ligaments they’re replacing. 

Final Thoughts 

There’s no doubt that biomechanical tattoos look next-level cool and are a wonderful way to express a love for sci-fi, robots, biomechanical mechanisms, and futuristic ideas of man merged with machines.

There aren’t really any limits to what you can do, but since biomechanical tattoos are meant to look realistic, using bold and bright colors isn’t really the way to go—red is the brightest color you should go for. 

I know I’ve put a big emphasis on choosing the right tattoo artist but that is because it is vitally important if you want a tattoo that looks good and will stay looking good for years to come. Not only do professional artists have the skill to do what you expect of them, they also use high-quality inks and tattoo equipment that all contribute to the final result. 

Now it is time for you to start working on your biomechanical tattoo design and prepare for your tattoo session. If you don’t feel inspired enough, look for some ideas online and ask your tattoo artist to customize it to make it your own. 

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