Ed Sheeran's Many Tattoos Explained

Ed Sheeran is one of the most recognizable names in the music business. The English singer-songwriter first rose to fame in 2011 after his single "The A Team" shot to the top of the charts in the U.K. Shortly thereafter, the song took over the airwaves in several countries, ranging from New Zealand to Germany, before eventually being introduced to the U.S. in 2012.

Since then, Sheeran has gone on to produce a series of successful albums for himself in addition to penning songs for other artists like Taylor Swift and One Direction (via Grammy.com). The "Shape of You" singer even earned himself four Grammy awards between 2015 and 2017 and is slated to release his newest album in October 2021.

On top of these accomplishments, Sheeran became Spotify's most-streamed artist of the decade in 2019 (via BBC), and he married childhood friend Cherry Seaborn in 2018. The two welcomed their daughter, Lyra Antarctica, in 2020 (via ABC News). 

While Sheeran was celebrating these personal and professional accomplishments, he was also inking himself up with an array of brightly colored tattoos. According to Body Art Guru, Sheeran currently has over 60 unique tattoos, and we're going to take a closer look at them here. Keep reading to see the "Thinking Out Loud" singer's impressive display of body art.

Ed Sheeran's massive chest tattoo has a secret meaning

When Ed Sheeran first revealed his massive chest tattoo of a majestic lion, he received immediate attention on social media, most of which was negative. Speaking with Ellen DeGeneres about the new ink in 2015, Sheeran had this to say about the unkind responses. "I feel like this is every part of my career put into one, and I think it looks cool and I don't really care if anyone else does," he said (via YouTube).

Sheeran revealed to DeGeneres what inspired him to get the tattoo in the first place and why the lion design means so much to him. "The one that means the most to me is this lion -– and it's the one I got the most stick for," he said. "The reason I got the lion was for Wembley. It was the biggest achievement that I'd done. I get one every time there's something that I'm proud of or I want to remember."

Sheeran sold out Wembley Stadium in 2015 for three consecutive nights — an impressive feat for any artist. The famed stadium hosts the home matches of England's national football team and is considered hallowed ground for British performers. Since Sheeran is known for getting tattoos that are meaningful to him, it's no surprise that he chose to commemorate this important moment by inking a tribute onto his skin.

Ed Sheeran's left arm is inked with various unique designs

Ed Sheeran has approximately 62 different tattoos, many of which are visible on his arms. Since he has assorted designs clustered together, it's often difficult to pinpoint where one ends and another begins. Many of these tattoos have been inked by artist Kevin Paul, who has tattooed other notable musicians, like Rihanna and Harry Styles (via GQ). Paul provided insight into some of Sheeran's most noticeable designs, like the jigsaw tattoo located across his left forearm. "The jigsaw tattoo was something he and everybody close to him had as a sign of their friendship," Paul said. 

Sheeran has been open about the fact that each of his tattoos has a significant meaning, many of which represent the places he's visited on tour. On his upper arm, he has a detailed koala tattoo in celebration of his time touring in Australia, and located next to that is a small kiwi bird inked to show appreciation for his New Zealand fans (via Body Art Guru).

Sheeran has many other tattoos across his left arm, including a teacup, blue angel wings, a paw print, green leaves, a snowflake, stereo buttons, a Lego man, the Heinz ketchup logo, and song lyrics. He also has a maple leaf, a Rolling Stones tribute, singer Damien Rice's autograph, Puss in Boots from "Shrek," the Earth, and the cartoon character Pingu. Body Art Guru notes that Sheeran's left arm is essentially covered in ink and features other tattoos like a portion of Van Gogh's "Starry Night," the Gingerbread man from "Shrek," the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" logo, a plus sign, and many, many more. Phew!

Ed Sheeran's right arm features several notable tattoos

Ed Sheeran's right arm is tattooed as well but significantly less so than his left. One of the most notable and visible designs is located on his right forearm. Sheeran had a sketch by French artist Henri Matisse, depicting a mother embracing her child, tattooed in tribute to his own mum (via The Sun). "It was the first thing I bought with a paycheck for my mom," he said (via Body Art Guru). "I bought her a drawing of mother and child." 

Sheeran also has a red heart, a green gecko, a pair of glasses, the words "Kool Guy," a phoenix, the word "mug," and a three-leaf clover featuring the colors of the Irish flag as a tribute to his grandfather. Sheeran inked three boxing gloves on his right forearm to represent the three nights he sold out Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the arm is also home to a giant family tree and a teddy bear, which is a nod to his nickname, "Teddy" (via PopSugar). Still keeping up with everything?

Ed Sheeran has numerous tattoos across his entire body

Rounding out Ed Sheeran's collection of tattoos are a few additional pieces located on his stomach, shoulder blade, and lower abdomen. On his stomach, he has a tattoo of the Sagrada Família church and a shark, among several others. On his left shoulder blade, he has the words "LADZ on TOUR" (per Body Art Guru). The latter was inked during Sheeran's tour with the British band Rixton, as they were all, well, lads on tour! Pretty self-explanatory in comparison with some of Sheeran's more eclectic designs.

He has the word "Red" tattooed on his left shoulder in tribute to Taylor Swift, one of his closest friends and his former touring partner. Finally, Sheeran has a broken heart enclosed in a no entry sign on his abdomen, along with a Grammy award, a row of flowers, a tree, and a few others that are difficult to identify. 

And, if you thought the "Lego House" singer was done getting new tattoos, you'd be wrong. Sheeran recently got an orca tattoo (via Daily Star) as a tribute to his daughter, Lyra Antarctica, as well as a pair of vampire teeth to commemorate the release of his single "Bad Habits." 

We're surprised Sheeran even has any free space left!