AJ McCarron and The Art of The Chest Tattoo


Image from Every Day Should Be Saturday

Athletes have been some of the biggest proponents of tattoos for many years now. While tattoos enjoyed a notorious reputation for decades, popular athletes getting ink is often a sign for fans that it’s okay to finally get that dream tattoo.

AJ McCarron is a former University of Alabama football player turned NFL pro. While his skill on the field is undeniable, he is known for something else whenever his shirt comes off: his giant chest tattoo!

Using McCarron as our guide, it’s possible to learn what to do (and what to avoid) when you get a chest tattoo.

Go Big or Go Home


Image from Improb

The AJ McCarron chest tattoo teaches us something valuable: this is truly the “go big or go home” tattoo of the ink world.

Many tattoo lovers start small with discreet tattoos on their shoulder or back. One of the benefits to those locations is that they are easier to hide and the tattoo can be pretty small.

A chest tattoo, however, uses your entire chest as a canvas. This means you’ll want to get a big tattoo that makes the best use of available space.

Room to Expand

chest tattoo expand.jpg

Image from Bleacher Report

Another way the AJ McCarron chest tattoo is an inspiration is his willingness to expand it. He treated his chest the way others treat their arm, turning what started as a modest tattoo into something downright huge.

With a big chest tattoo, it’s worth considering what future tattoo additions would look like. You can also discuss your ideas with your tattoo artist. If you end up expanding, using the same artist can give everything a clean and uniform look.

It was easy enough with McCarron, as most of his additions focused on his combined love of football and God. As you can see, his chest tattoo was very “on brand!”

Placement for Boys and Girls


Image from Tats N Rings

Since we’re focusing on McCarron, you might think a chest tattoo is only for the boys. However, women can also rock some really awesome chest ink. However, women may want to embrace some more creative design and placement.

For example, a guy’s chest (assuming he is relatively fit) is a mostly flat canvas. You can throw just about any design on there that you want. Women however have more curves, so it’s up to you how the ink interacts with your body.

One option is to get an upper chest tattoo that helps to accentuate cleavage. Curved designs (such as a tattoo with a heart at the center of it) can draw attention to your own curves.

Other women opt for a similar tattoo beneath their breasts. This can help to accentuate abs during bikini season. Furthermore, adventurous tattoo ink lovers can turn this into a trendy underboob tattoo.

Find the Right Design

Now you know what the AJ McCarron chest tattoo has to teach us about ink. But do you know who can help you find the right design?

Come back to Tattooing 101 each week for the latest and great in inky inspiration!

Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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