As part of my bucket list I have wanted to get a full sleeve tattoo that incorporated a lion tattoo but didn’t know where to start as finding a tattoo artist you can trust but have faith in is quite hard.

I started my journey knowing I would need to get a old tribal tattoo lasered off so the artist could cover it up.

I went to Monumental Ink in Colchester, Essex after seeing a Facebook Ad for tattoo removal. Whilst I was starting this process of removing the tattoo on my upper right arm I would browse through the artists portfolios whilst waiting.

I was instantly drawn to both Aaron and Steve’s work in black and white realism tattoos. Aaron was fully booked for a year but as Steve was a new artist at the studio he had appointments available so I booked a consultation.

All I knew was that I didn’t want to have a conventional full sleeve tattoo that linked together. All my pieces would mean something different to me but would flow once put together. I had a list of things I wanted to Steve to include, all for different reasons:

  • Lion
  • Feather
  • Roses
  • Peonies
  • My Wife
  • Las Vegas
  • Roulette Wheel
  • Rainbow
  • Stars
  • Candle


Lion Tattoo

The first sitting was of the Lion. I have always had a huge fascination with Lions. When we were on Safari in Kenya I was lucky enough to see a family of Lions take down a Gazzelle. I also like the symbolic meaning of lions, as one might imagine, primarily deals with strength.

It took 7 hours in total and vast majority did not hurt. The first part at the bottom of the wrist was sore in places presumably as it is sensitive but it was the last part that was the most painful when Steve added white ink to parts that had already been tattooed.

I am so pleased with it and can’t stop looking at it!



lion tattoo before with stencil

It took around 30 minutes to get the stencil the right size for my forearm and then to apply it.


3 Hours In

during lion tattoo part 1

This is what my lion tattoo looked like after 3 hours.


5 Hours In

during lion tatto part 2

This is what my lion tattoo looked like after 5 hours and it really started to take shape.



lion tattoo after

This is what my lion tattoo looked like after it had been finished after 7 hours. The photo makes it look quite raw but it wasn’t that bad.


Healedlion tattoo

This is what my lion tattoo looked like once it had healed and been professionally photographed by Steve.



Tattoo by Steve Toth at Monumental Ink.



You can also see more recent updates at Part 2 of my full sleeve tattoo – Feather Tattoo and Part 3 of my full sleeve tattoo – Portrait Tattoo



If you have any questions you would like to ask me about my Lion tattoo, please ask below in the comments.



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The Son Of Thom
The Son Of Thom

Daniel Steptoe-Thompson is a UK food, lifestyle and travel blogger reviewing places he has travelled, whilst writing about his lifestyle choices, combining his love of coffee and tattoos and ticking things off his bucket list.

    10 replies to "Lion Tattoo (Part 1 Of My Full Sleeve Tattoo)"

    • Steve Toth

      Thank you for your trust Dan! I’m glad I can fulfill a smart part of your bucket list! Looking forward to carry on with your unique sleeve!

      • The Son Of Thom

        Cheers Steve! Cant wait for the final piece to be completed!

    • Need for a lion tattoo

      Wow! I didn’t believe that a full sleeve lion tattoo could be so awesome in my arms. This is unbelievable!

      • The Son Of Thom


    • David Campbell

      I have long considered getting a full sleeve lion tattoo on my left arm with the inscription “pathera leo” which has been my nickname since high school, however, I always feared it may not turn out right. I am however pleased with the outcome of your full sleeve lion tattoo. I do hope I find a tattoo artist as skilled as the artist who inked your arm

      • The Son Of Thom

        There are lots of talented artists out their who can do great realism lion tattoos. Instagram is a great place to find them.

    • Dom

      That is one intricate piece of art! The patience of a saint must have been needed to get that done!

      Very impressed!

      • The Son Of Thom

        Thanks Dom! You thinking of having one done?

    • Derck

      I’ve considered getting a lion tattoo and this gives me an awesome idea for what I would want. This tattoo has such great detail and I read that it took 7 hours to complete. That does not seem to bad.

      I’m interested to see what other tattoos you get to complete your sleeve. I’m glad you got something knocked off your bucket list and the lion tattoo is a great start!

      • The Son Of Thom

        7 hour wasn’t to bad, the only bit that hurt was the last 15-30 minutes when Steve put the white ink in!

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