Simple Butterfly Tattoos
Butterfly tattoos are a popular choice for a number of reasons, the most obvious being just how impressive the colors and patterns of the insect’s wings are.
The butterfly’s life cycle is also one of the most unique and interesting in the animal kingdom and can be ascribed a lot of meaning.
Some of our favorite butterfly tattoos are the simplest, such as tiny minimalist or geometric designs.
Simple butterfly tattoos can be a good starting point if it’s your first time being tattooed, and there are also options for veterans such as ankle tattoos or sternum tattoos.
Simple Butterfly Tattoo Meanings
Just like in nature, butterfly tattoos can be a symbol that represents change or a transformation in your life.
Every butterfly starts life as a caterpillar, and only after forming a chrysalis and breaking its body down to nothing does it reemerge as a butterfly.
Change is often difficult or painful, and emerging on the other side can make us stronger and more capable than before, just like the butterfly.
Butterflies can also represent freedom.
As a result of their metamorphosis, they go from crawling along on their bellies to growing wings and gaining the ability to fly, which perfectly symbolizes rising above difficult circumstances or spreading your own wings and moving on to bigger and better things.
In many cultures and religions, butterflies are also associated with rebirth and resurrection.
Main Themes in Simple Butterfly Tattoos
Butterflies are often incorporated into elaborate designs with ornamental patterns or other nature tattoo motifs, but we’re going to focus on simple butterfly tattoos that put the colorful insect itself in the spotlight.
Here are some of the main themes that people choose for their simple butterfly tattoo.
- Simple Monarch Butterfly Tattoos
Found all over North America, the monarch butterfly is probably the best-known species due to its easily recognizable pattern or black, orange, and white — almost like a combination of tiger’s stripes and a fallow deer’s spots.
Its iconic look is no doubt one of the reasons it’s so popular in tattoos, but there are also cultural aspects at play.
The monarch butterfly is closely linked to Dia de los Muertos, as their migration patterns mean they arrive in Mexico on the Day of the Dead.
In Mexican folklore, they are seen as the souls of the departed returning to visit relatives during the festivities.
- Simple Black & Grey Butterfly Tattoos
Butterflies are known for their vibrant colors, so it may seem strange at first that monochrome tattoos are so popular.
Black and grey versions of the insect can give your tattoo a subtler look and can make the tips of its wings seem more pronounced.
An interesting take on this idea is to include several different species of butterfly in your tattoo, drawing attention to their contrasting patterns.
- Tiny Minimalist Butterfly Tattoos
While some choose to get large butterfly tattoos across their shoulder blades or sternum, tiny butterfly tattoos are more common as they mirror the insect’s true size.
Minimalist tattoo styles tend to be especially popular with smaller tattoos as there’s less room for intricate details on the wings.
These are a good option for your first tattoo as a precursor to bigger and more complex designs.
- Simple Blue Butterfly Tattoos
Alongside monarch butterflies, blue butterflies are some of the most popular choices for a simple tattoo.
This may be due to how many species there are around the world, with different varieties spotted in places like South America, the USA, Australia, the UK, and Ireland, all with their own unique wing patterns and looks.
- Simple Red Butterfly Tattoos
Red is also a common choice for a simple butterfly tattoo.
There are many red butterflies around the world such as Australia and South-East Asia’s Red Lacewing and the South American Scarlet Peacock.
According to the myths of some Native American tribes, a red butterfly symbolizes a powerful soul or spirit.
- Simple Geometric Butterfly Tattoos
A geometric design can give your tattoo a modern look through simple outlines and shapes.
Butterflies lend themselves well to simple geometric tattoos due to the amount of connected lines on their wings.
Some other popular choices include surrounding a butterfly with geometric patterns or going for a half-realistic, half-geometric design.
Butterflies are a tattoo subject that works well just about anywhere on your body.
That being said, there are some areas that are particularly well-suited to a simple butterfly tattoo, such as the following:
- Simple Butterfly Wrist Tattoos
Your wrist is a good place to start when considering a butterfly tattoo, as they tend to be smaller than a lot of other animal-themed designs and fit nicely in the space due to their symmetrical shape.
The great thing about a wrist tattoo is that you’ll always be able to admire your design, while still being able to cover it up in certain situations like a job interview.
With that in mind, make sure you’re happy with your design before booking an appointment with your tattoo artist.
- Simple Butterfly Sternum Tattoos
The symmetry and bold patterns of a butterfly’s wings make it a popular choice for sternum tattoos, particularly among women, where the tattoo is generally applied just under your breasts and often accompanied by embellishments such as leaves and flowers or geometric lines.
While less common, butterfly sternum tattoos also look great on men, where they are normally applied in the center of the chest across the breastbone.
As with any area where ink is being applied over bone, the sternum can be a painful area to get tattooed due to your ribs and breastbone.
- Simple Butterfly Foot Tattoos
The foot is another area that’s a good choice for a small and simple tattoo, with common themes including butterflies in flight or a butterfly in a landed pose with its wings folded up.
If you’re considering an ankle tattoo, it’s worth noting that this is one of the most painful areas of the body to get done as there’s very little else between the needle and bone.
Simple Butterfly Tattoo Ideas
Wherever you choose to get your simple butterfly tattoo done, we know it will look great.
If you decide to go for a colorful butterfly tattoo, consider how well the colors will work with your skin tone.
Lighter pigments, such as light blues and whites, don’t show up very well on darker skin tones, whereas darker colors like crimson red and royal blue work best.
If you have light or medium tanned skin, you might want to go for the orange monarch butterfly or a bright blue butterfly like the blue morpho.
- In Conclusion
To make your butterfly tattoo really look the part, make sure you base its design on the wing patterns of an actual species of butterfly.
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Thomas Arthur is a writer based in London. He graduated from De Montfort University with a creative writing & English degree.