Harley Quinn Tattoos
Harley Quinn is an unlikely, but highly addictive super-villain.
She exploded into the DC Universe in a way that no other character has and surprised writers when she became a standout character who fans couldn’t get enough of.
Comic books were once thought of as for kids, but have become popular references in more serious art pieces, collectibles, and tattoos.
Harley Quinn makes the perfect model for a comic book inspired piece.
She is colorful, expressive, and downright sexy.
In the great tradition of getting bad-ass lady tattoos, it would only make sense that Harley Quinn has become our latest inky muse.
Most recently, Harley Quinn has been living through ingenue Margot Robbie, who captured everyone’s attention as the quirky clown in 2016’s Suicide Squad.
Though the movie was regarded by most film fanatics as a flop, Harley Quinn jumped off the screen and into the hearts of fans old and new.
There is no shortage of cosplayers who have that pink and blue wig in their collection, and of course Harley Quinn tattoos had a resurgence in popularity.
When you get a tattoo of a character, it might just be because they look cool.
But usually, there’s more to it than that.
Maybe there’s something in the character you relate to.
If not, it’s worth considering why you’re getting the tattoo in the first place.
Let’s have a chat about Harley Quinn.
Where did she come from, what does she represent, and why would someone get a Harley Quinn tattoo?
Harley Quinn Origin Story
When speaking of a great comic book character’s origin story, there are two storylines to consider: how they came to be who they are in the universe and how they got to enter the universe in the first place.
How did Harley Quinn get Written into the DC Universe?
Harley Quinn made her debut in the Batman universe fairly unconventionally.
She was seen on screen before she ever walked onto the pages of a comic book.
Harley Quinn was first introduced in 1992 as part of Batman The Animated Series.
To the untrained eye, BTAS looks like just another piece of 90’s nostalgia. But this cartoon was enjoyed by children and adults alike.
The show didn’t shy away from darker themes and was often praised for its writing and sophisticated soundtrack.
The story of Harley Quinn goes that Paul Dini, a writer for the show, was creating a group of henchmen for The Joker.
He decided it would be fun to throw a woman into the mix, but wasn’t sure how to design the wise-cracking character he’d written.
It just so happened that Paul Dini was really good friends with Arleen Sorkin, who was starring on the soap opera Days of our Lives at the time.
Paul Dini happened upon an episode where, in a dream sequence, Arleen was outfitted as a traditional “Harlequin” clown.
Harlequins were often featured in Italian Commedia dell’Arte plays as the comic relief, and often wear two-toned outfits with jester hats.
Dini saw something in Arleen’s clown persona and modeled Harley Quinn after her, even having her voice the role.
She plays a sarcastic, unhinged sweetie with a soft spot for The Joker.
Like many great characters, Harley Quinn was only supposed to be in one episode.
She became so popular, however, she’s now appeared in countless DC Comics and at least 19 screen adaptations.
What is the Harley Quinn Backstory?
Harley Quinn’s backstory was written into the 1994 graphic novel “The Batman Adventures: Mad Love,” which explores her toxic relationship with The Joker more closely.
Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel) started out as a psychologist assigned to help The Joker with his mental health issues.
The Joker sparked something in Harley Quinn, however, and she fell in love with him.
From there, they enter an abusive relationship wherein Harley Quinn does everything she can to please The Joker, and he is cruel and manipulative to her in return.
Though their relationship is far from healthy, they can’t seem to stay away from each other.
In the 2020 offering Birds of Prey, we see a Joker-free Harley striking out on her own, claiming her corner of the franchise.
Harley Quinn Tattoo Meanings
Harley Quinn can represent different things to different people, but there are a few reasons you may want a Harley Quinn Tattoo:
Owning your Mental Illness
Harley Quinn is frequently described as attention-seeking and unhinged, but never incapable or unintelligent.
It’s refreshing to see a character with a degree in psychology who suffers from her own mental illness, as many humans do.
You may want a Harley Quinn tattoo to show that just because life gets you down sometimes, nothing’s going to stop you from kicking some ass.
Saying Goodbye to a Toxic Relationship
Like Harley, we often mistake “intense” for “good” when it comes to relationships.
Harley Quinn’s relationship with The Joker is toxic and needs to end.
It may serve as an empowering mirror to your own situation, and give you the strength to strike out into your own franchise.
An Homage to Women in a Male-Dominated World
When proposing Birds of Prey, Margot Robbie asked that it be rated R so it couldn’t be dismissed as a “chick flick.”
So many great female lead movies and TV shows get swept under the rug because people underestimate their appeal.
But Harley Quinn keeps coming back, and every time she does she gains a new army of fans.
An Homage to Mainstream Queerness
There’s always been an “in the open but not talked about” concept that Harley Quinn is bisexual and has a relationship with Poison Ivy.
As Harley gains more fans, there are more and more people who tire of Harley with The Joker and want to see what she’d be like in a relationship with Poison Ivy.
Creators are exploring that theme in the Harley Quinn tattoo, allowing us to see more of her bisexuality than what was previously hinted at before.
For bisexual people, Harley Quinn can be a badge of honor.
The Joker & Harley Quinn Tattoos
What do the Joker and Harley Quinn tattoos represent? Depends on who you ask.
There’s always going to be someone who dreams of the kind of twisted, toxic, co-dependent connections we see from characters like this.
To those people, The Joker tattoos & Harley make up two halves of a whole.
Are you looking for a partner in crime?
This could be an excellent homage to an unconventional romance in your life.
Others may see it differently. This duo could be a cautionary tale.
Maybe you want this tattoo to remind you to stay away from the toxic relationships you’ve been consumed by in the past.
Or maybe you just love the characters and they look bad-ass together.
Which, in either case, is certainly true.
Harley Quinn Diamond Tattoo
Harley Quinn’s red and black diamonds are a nod to her origins.
When we first meet Harley Quinn, she is a harlequin clown.
This clown comes from the Italian theater tradition of commedia dell’arte.
In these theatrical productions, there were “stock” characters who would behave in certain ways.
This is reflected in our modern sitcoms, when we have a ditz, a clean freak, a jock, etc.
Harlequin was a clever servant to the King, quick on his feet, and often in hot pursuit of his lady love. Sound familiar?
A Harley Quinn Diamond tattoo is a fun homage to Harley’s modern character design as well as her theatrical origins.
Harley Quinn Tattoo Designs
Harley Quinn is a colorful character and a lot of fun, so she looks great in full-color pieces.
That said, she’d look great in anything.
So if your heart says black and white, follow those dark desires where they may lead.
If you’re ready for a big commitment, some of the most striking pieces are portrait tattoos of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.
That said, portraits tend to take up a lot of skin real estate.
If you are looking for something smaller, or just want to pay homage to a different incarnation of this clownish seductive, you can opt for something cartoony from another one of the many bat universes.
Realistic Harley Quinn Tattoos
Harley Quinn is so gorgeous, why mess with a great thing?
Realistic Harley Quinn tattoos are excellent when you want an accurate portrait of a kick-ass character.
These are most often done in color because Harley’s punchy look seems to call for it.
That said, there’s something dazzling about a black and white portrait of a cool character.
And Harley is so dynamic, she sparkles in color and black and white.
Black-work Harley Quinn Tattoos
Looking for something a little different?
After all, that’s how Ms. Quinn would like it.
Black-work tattoos are shifting the way we look at black ink.
Rather than being used solely as an outliner and shader, these tattoos take saturated black to the next level.
Rather than using washes of black ink, as in a black and grey design, these tattoos use only two tones: saturated black, and your skin.
The result is something high contrast, highly visually stimulating, and fresh as hell.
Black-work Harley Quinn tattoos just make sense.
They’re a bit cartoonish, far from silly, and they pack a powerful punch.
Watercolor Harley Quinn Tattoos
Watercolor is such a versatile technique.
In a watercolor tattoo design, your artist will layer “washes” of color to create a final effect that looks just like a watercolor painting.
The cool thing about watercolor is that it is rough around the edges and refined at the same time.
The signature messiness of this style can go in many different ways.
It can look like a beautiful sunset, a deep ocean, or something much more gruesome.
In the case of watercolor Harley Quinn tattoos- that versatility is perfect.
She’s a ruthless and violent character, but there’s something so darn sweet about her.
Or maybe we’re just suckers for a pretty face.
Sketchy Harley Quinn Tattoos
The sketch tattoo style is becoming a new darling of the tattoo scene.
In these pieces, the art looks like it was ripped right from the pages of an artist’s sketchbook.
There’s something raw about these pieces, and it can evoke many different emotions as a result.
Sketchy Harley Quinn tattoos are beautiful without feeling too “pretty” or refined, making his style a perfect match for our flawed protagonist.
Woodcut Harley Quinn Tattoos
Woodcut tattoos have an interesting effect to them.
In these pieces, highlighting and shading is used to create the illusion that the piece is “etched” into the skin.
Woodcut Harley Quinn tattoos are a unique choice, so if you’re looking for something no one else has, consider this cutting edge style.
Illustrative Harley Quinn Tattoos
Illustrative is a blanket term that basically means a tattoo looks like a drawing.
While some folks opt for photo-realism in their art, others want their tattoo to look like a tattoo.
These pieces are fun because they afford the artist a lot of artistic license, and you can customize your design however you like.
In this tattoo medium, you can imagine Harley Quinn in any cartoon universe you like.
You may want to see an anime Harley, or maybe she’s joined the gang in Riverdale?
The possibilities are endless. So have fun with it!
There are so many directions that illustrative Harley Quinn tattoos can take, and you can take a peek at our favorites below.
Harley Quinn Tattoo Ideas
Harley Quinn is a bad-ass babe with some ink of her own, so an homage to the quirky clown in tattoo form seems appropriate.
Not sure if a Harley Quinn tattoo is for you?
Check out our gallery for some designs you’re bound to fall madly in love with.
Black & Grey Harley Quinn Tattoos
If you like to keep it simple & classy but aren’t a minimalist by any stretch, a black and grey Harley Quinn tattoo design may be your perfect match.
These tattoos make for amazing portraits because details tend to pop.
If you aren’t a color tattoo person, but still want to capture Ms. Quinn in all her glory, a black and grey tattoo will serve your mistress well.
Small Harley Quinn Tattoos
If you’re like Harley Quinn, you don’t want to pick just one tattoo- you want them all!
So you’d better start small and build a collection.
Or maybe you’re someone who wants a cool tattoo but also values their privacy.
For whatever reason you decide to get one, a small Harley Quinn tattoo can pack just as much punch as a big sleeve.
Simple Harley Quinn Tattoos
Keep it simple, sugar.
It may be hard to think of “simple” and “Harley Quinn” in the same sentence, but it can be cool to strip a busy character down to her essentials.
Simple Harley Quinn tattoos focus on the most defining characteristics of your favorite character, which can be a wonderful thing.