Tiger Tattoo

Tiger Tattoos: Placement, Tattoo Styles & Ideas

History and significance

What Do Tiger Tattoos Symbolize?

Tiger tattoos are suitable for any person with any background. 

A tiger tattoo can hold various meanings, often influenced by cultural, personal, and artistic contexts. Some common interpretations include:

  1. Strength and Power: Tigers are known for their strength and majestic presence. A tattoo of a tiger often symbolizes physical strength, power, and courage.
  2. Freedom and Independence: Tigers are solitary animals, representing freedom, independence, and self-reliance.
  3. Ferocity and Aggression: Given their nature as predators, tigers can symbolize ferocity, aggression, and a warrior spirit.
  4. Protection and Guardianship: In some cultures, tigers are seen as protectors. A tiger tattoo might represent a protective nature or a symbol of safeguarding something important.
  5. Passion and Sensuality: The tiger’s association with its wild nature can symbolize passion, sensuality, and primal instincts.
  6. Royalty and Nobility: In certain Asian cultures, the tiger is seen as a royal animal, symbolizing nobility, dignity, and honor.
  7. Spirituality and Divinity: In various Eastern religions and mythologies, tigers are often associated with spiritual themes and divine powers.
  8. Wealth and Prosperity: In some traditions, especially in Chinese culture, tigers are considered auspicious, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.
  9. Personal Significance: Beyond these general meanings, a tiger tattoo can hold a unique and personal significance to the individual, such as representing a life event, personal struggle, or a tribute to a loved one.

The specific style, design, and elements incorporated in a tiger tattoo can also influence its meaning.

For instance, a tiger in a peaceful pose might emphasize tranquility and calmness, while one in a more aggressive stance could highlight power and bravery.

Tiger Tattoo Meanings in Different Cultures

Across the Asian continent, the tiger stands out as an impressive force in literary history.

Its many meanings across Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai cultures represent what the tiger now means to these nations.

It’s important to be aware of this tattoo’s cultural history, which is highlighted as the following:

  • Tiger Tattoo Meaning in China

Chinese tiger tattoos have detailed backgrounds and these too are often colorful tattoos.

Chinese culture is the origin of most meanings we have today about the tiger.

For centuries, the tiger was presented with a Han character on its forehead meaning, “king”.

That is because the Chinese believe that the tiger is the king of all animals in its domain. 

The tiger became a mythological creature in Chinese culture.

Part of its legend is that after five hundred years the tiger turns to all white.

Also, there was a legend a tiger would present itself if an emperor were moral and just.

In Chinese myth, the tiger controls the element of wind and is known as the Guardian Of The West.

It is also the guardian of the dead and is often etched onto tombstones in China.

As we have discussed, the tiger is part of four Chinese constellations, meaning it is one of the four most important animals to Chinese culture.

  • Thai Tiger Tattoo Meaning

Thai tiger tattoos tend to have two tigers facing each other with Thai lettering surrounding the tigers.

They are often symmetrical in form.

Their meaning is protection, stealth, power, and speed.

Emotionally, they represent compassion.

Thai tiger tattoos can even go as far as helping in finances, business negotiations, and protection from natural disasters. 

“SakYant” means mantra tattoo in Thailand, and sakyant often include tigers.

The tiger Yant is popular with military personnel and police.

It is also popular amongst businessmen and politicians. 

Tiger Yant Tattoo
  • Japanese Tiger Tattoo Meaning

Tiger tattoos in Japan have deep meanings.

In Japanese art and Japanese tattoo culture, the tiger tattoo symbolizes strength and courage.

A Japanese tiger tattoo can also provide protection from bad luck and evil spirits.

The tiger stands for courage and long life and it is considered a sacred animal to the Japanese.

It is thought to ward off evil spirits, diseases, and bad luck.

In Japanese culture, tigers are an animal of their zodiac, and they are thought to control the wind.

Tiger Tattoo Designs

If you’ve been researching tiger tattoos for a while, you know there are common themes within the designs.

Each of these themes has its own meaning and may make your tiger tattoo more or less suitable for your personality.

Embracing the full extent of tiger tattoos, additional themes have been weaved into the design.

Focusing on color and symbols, these main themes feed off meaning and give us beautiful visuals as a result.

There are many other popular symbols that you can pair with the tiger to get a stunning and meaningful tattoo.

When the tiger tattoo is in an aggressive position and it is paired with a wave or a cherry blossom tattoo, it is not only a stunning visual for a tattoo, but it signifies that the wearer has a warrior mentality.

Browse some dynamic tiger tattoo designs and their meanings below, and you’re sure to find your perfect match.

Wolf & Tiger Tattoos

The idea of a battle royale is popular in the tattoo world.

The design includes different predatory animals going head to head in an epic battle.

Tiger tattoos and wolf tattoos are both bad-asses in their own way, and this tattoo design may just be a swaggering display of power.

Wolf and Tiger Tattoo

It can also be a kind of yin/yang tattoo design, as these two come from two commonly opposed animal groups: feline and canine.

Snake & Tiger Tattoos

With the example above, it’s pack animal versus solitary creature.

In a snake & tiger tattoo design, we have two independent creatures duking it out.

Tiger tattoos and snake tattoos represent male sexuality.

Snake and Tiger Tattoo

This tattoo may be a symbol of the wearer’s virility and passion.

Because a tiger represents bravery and snake temptation, this can also be symbolic of overcoming toxic habits in your life.

Korean Tiger Tattoos

The white tiger in Korean is called the Baekho and is also referred to as an animal of the west and of autumn.

Korean tiger tattoos are more cartoonish looking than others but also are very interesting tattoos to have.

Korean tiger tattoo symbolism comes from the Dangun myth, where a tiger and a bear compete to become human beings.

Korean Tiger Tattoo

The catch is they had to eat only mugwort and garlic in a cave for one hundred days without seeing sunlight.

The bear, following instructions, was eventually turned into a patient woman, while the tiger ran away.

They both became humans and their child, Dangun, founded the first-ever kingdom in the history of Korea.

This tale means that Korean tiger tattoos symbolize Korean heritage and masculinity.

They are also seen as trickster characters, possibly due to their dual nature.

Korean tiger tattoos can represent protection, but also messages from the divine.

Tiger Head Tattoos

As established, the tiger head holds the vital senses needed to protect itself and its family.

Tiger head tattoos often catch the animal mid-motion, roaring or snarling against threats. 

Tiger Head Tattoo

The contrast of dark eyes and white teeth, alongside the multi-colored fur, gives gorgeous gradients and dynamics to your tiger tattoo.

A tiger tattoo focused around the head homes in on the meaning of protection.

Roaring Tiger Tattoos

The tiger makes its presence known.

A roaring tiger tattoo is incredibly dynamic and a great choice if you want your ink to turn heads.

Roaring Tiger Tattoo

Someone with a bold personality may wear this tattoo design, but it could also work well for someone mild-mannered who wants to cultivate a take-charge attitude.

Tiger and Panther Tattoos

Like the tiger, panther tattoos are timeless and well-loved.

Tiger and Panther Tattoo

Thus, the tiger and panther tattoo signifies two of the most admired creatures, doubling meanings of strength and wisdom.

Dragon and Tiger Tattoos

Dragons are considered wise mythological beings in China.

Therefore, the dragon and tiger tattoo means that cunning strength is not enough— one requires wisdom to move through life even with intense courageousness.

Without wisdom, all of that hard work someone puts into a project is meaningless.

Dragon and Tiger Tattoo

The dragon and tiger tattoos symbolize the mixture of the two ideas.

Essentially, this tattoo means if you are a hard-working person who is wise in your decision-making, you will be successful.

This tattoo is excellent for businessmen and women.

Tiger and dragon imagery is often seen throughout the home in China for their protective properties and the balance they bring to each other.

An old Chinese proverb states that dragons will conjure clouds while tigers call forth the wind.

Though this is turbulent imagery, rain can be a blessing.

The tiger and dragon team are seen as the ultimate rulers of the skies.

Their opposing nature means together, they bring harmony between opposites.

Dragon tattoos symbolize power, just like tiger tattoos, but a tiger paired with a dragon tattoo can symbolize a balance between two different personalities.

Tiger and Koi Fish Tattoos

For as much symbolism there is surrounding the tiger tattoo, the Koi fish tattoo has just as much.

Koi fish are celebrated widely in Japan, particularly for their masculine qualities.

It is said that koi fish, who are brave in nature, are not unlike a warrior facing a sword.

Japanese Tiger and Koi Fish Tattoo

In tattoo imagery, especially in combination with flowing water, it symbolizes courage, control, and the ability to achieve goals with an understanding of life’s trials.

Black koi fish are a common Yakuza tattoo that generally relates to good luck and fortune.

The red koi fish tattoo symbolizes strong fraternal bonds, and the blue koi fish tattoo symbolizes reproduction.

White Tiger Tattoos

White tiger tattoos may not be as common as the usual colored tiger, but they are no less a tiger.

Resulting from a recessive gene, the white tiger is an anomaly full of pride and strength.

There is a lot of lore that surrounds the white tiger in Japan.

In Japan, it is referred to as Byakko, a celestial tiger that has its home in the western night sky.

White Tiger Tattoo

It is also an important mythological figure in Taoism.

It represents the direction west on a compass and represents the element metal.

The white tiger tattoo was also worn by samurai as they entered the battle.

Byakko symbolizes the warriors that fought for Japan, and it is also associated with the planet Venus.

The white tiger tattoo, as we’ve discussed, carries with it a lot of Chinese symbolism representing the season of autumn.

However, a white tiger tattoo can also mean that you have wisdom or knowledge.

The color white also denotes the symbolism of a healer or protector, which the tiger certainly is.

The white tiger tattoo is perfect for someone who feels they protect those they love.

What sets the white tiger tattoo from the rest is its vivid example of individuality.

Baby Tiger Tattoos

A tiger cub represents pure potential.

They may look sweet, but they’re going to grow up to be fierce warriors.

Many of the baby tiger tattoos below are commemorative.

Baby Tiger Tattoo

Proud parents will often get baby animal tattoos for the birth of a new child.

Alternatively, these tattoo designs may represent someone who feels they’re at the beginning of their journey.

Crawling Tiger Tattoos

Zooming out to capture the whole of the body, a crawling tiger tattoo gives appreciation to the movement of a tiger.

The crawling motion indicates carefulness or steadiness, mixed with sensual undertones.

Crawling Tiger Tattoo

Full of thought, the crawling tiger holds a knowledge it aims to pursue.

They’re able to move their large bodies almost silently, stalking their prey in awe-inspiring fashion.

Crawling Tiger Tattoo

The crawling tiger tattoo design may represent a cunning personality, someone who makes all the right moves to get what they want.

Tiger & Butterfly Tattoos

Some tiger tattoos have tigers with butterflies surrounding them, while others have a tiger’s face inside of the container of a butterfly’s body.

This tattoo means freedom and independence.

Butterfly and Tiger Tattoo

Both the butterfly and the tiger are free spirits.

The butterfly flies in the wind, just as the tiger represents the wind.

Tiger and butterfly tattoos together resemble a colorful and unique tattoo that is inspirational of living free.

Samurai Tiger Tattoos

Japanese tattoos can also be associated with the Yakuza or Japanese samurai.

The Japanese samurai got tattoos in an effort to keep their identities.

Because a Samurai’s armor was quite valuable, it was often stolen from their bodies after a battle.

Samurai Tiger Tattoo

To keep themselves identifiable, the Samurai got tattoos.

This way, if they needed to be buried, their families would be able to do it properly.

Without a traditional burial, a Samurai can not ascend into the afterlife.

Samurai Tiger Tattoo

Samurai often opted for tiger tattoos and there are a couple of reasons for that.

On the battlefield, the tiger would give them strength and courage for the fight.

If they died in battle, the tiger would protect their spirit in the afterlife.

You may not be a Samurai, but having a Samurai tiger tattoo may give you a burst of confidence in your personal battles.

Samurai Tiger Tattoo

In this context, a samurai tiger tattoo symbolizes protection and guidance.

Choose an original tattoo design that speaks to you, and let it enhance your identity.

Durga Tattoos

Tigers in Hinduism are often associated with the goddess Durga, who embodies the quintessential divine feminine archetype.

Durga tattoo designs are depicting the goddess riding either a lion or a tiger.

In this context, the tiger tattoo symbolizes power beyond limits.

Durga and Tiger Tattoo

This is a power used to protect all that is pure and virtuous and conquer evil.

Durga is a maternal figure, but she is also a goddess of war.

Tiger Tattoo Styles

Many tiger tattoos are done in a traditional Japanese or American old-school style.

But why not switch it up a little?

Tigers don’t belong to one sacred tradition, so they are up for grabs with interpretation.

Talk to your tattoo artist about why you want a tiger tattoo and what they represent for you.

Tiger Tattoo

You’ll probably be able to put together something really interesting as a team.

Something you never would have thought of on your own!

Whether you’re a Bengal tiger or a Talky Tawny, there’s a tiger tattoo that will suit your stripes.

Tiger tattoo designs change meaning depending on the type of tiger used in the tattoo, as well as the symbolism behind it.

Tiger Tattoo

The white tiger and saber tooth tiger each have their own meanings; and when a dragon or a butterfly is added to the tiger tattoo, it forms a new meaning.

Still not sure? Check out our tiger tattoo gallery for some majestic inspiration.

Realistic Tiger Tattoos

Are you ready to commit to a bold, colorful design that will turn heads wherever you go?

These realistic tiger tattoos are basically like wearing a National Geographic spread on your body.

Realistic Tiger Tattoo

With their lush colors and fine details, it’s hard to tell these apart from a photograph.

Unsurprisingly, these tattoos require large amounts of skin real estate to pull off- so expect to spend a few hours (and dollars) with your tattoo artist.

Realistic Black & Grey Tattoos

These tiger tattoo designs don’t mess around.

A realistic black and grey tattoo depict every last detail of the tiger’s ferociousness.

If you are a lover of the grace and pure power of a tiger, this is the style for you.

Realistic Black and Grey Tiger Tattoo

Realistic black and grey tiger tattoos have an incredible detail level, so you’ll need a large area to properly house the design.

This kind of piece would be ideal as a chest piece, sleeve, or epic back piece.

American Traditional Tiger Tattoos

On the other side of the spectrum, American traditional tiger tattoos have a stylized aesthetic.

Old School tiger tattoos combine the noble nature of our tiger friends and the respected style of American traditional.

These pieces are characterized by their bold lines, the saturated color feels, and 2D look.

American Traditional Tiger Tattoo

They’re a classic design, something that connects you to American tattoo history.

If you’re looking to pay homage to old-school tattoos and look good doing it, this tiger design will get the job done.

The American traditional tiger tattoo is typically shown growling fiercely and may even be wearing headdresses or have a dagger in the tiger’s head.

American Traditional Tiger Tattoo

American traditional style of tiger tattoo means power, bravery, and intense determination.

Their mixture of delicacy and strength, stealth, and quickness, makes them a truly well-rounded animal to work within the American traditional tattoo style. 

The American traditional tiger tattoo invites you into the spectacular world of wild nature. 

Deemed to be the epitome of power and energy, the tiger is popular both in the striking style of American traditional tattoos and beyond. 

American Traditional Tiger Tattoo

The simple color palette of American traditional design means that the tiger transforms into a bold, block-color spectacle. 

An American traditional tiger is a brave statement of your own bright, individual essence.

Traditional Black & Grey Tiger Tattoos

Although less common in American traditional tattoos, tigers work well with a black and grey palette.

Black and Grey Traditional Tiger Tattoo

This is because tigers offer a brilliantly distinct look without the need for color if you so desire.

Traditional black and grey tiger tattoos highlight texture effectively, fluffing up the soft fur of the tiger well.

Black-work Tiger Tattoos

Black-work tattoos are so versatile.

They can look whimsical and cartoonish, or elegant and mysterious.

To qualify as a black-work tattoo, a design must have large sections of saturated black ink.

Black-work Tiger Tattoo

These inky sections are contrasted with creative use of negative space, making for a dazzling contrast.

These black-work tiger tattoos are creative and fun while maintaining the majesty of this jungle cat.

Graphic Tiger Tattoos

“Graphic” can encapsulate many things.

If you’re looking to get creative with your tiger tattoo design, this may be the category for you.

Graphic Tiger Tattoo

Graphic tiger tattoos are categorized by cutting-edge techniques with impressive visuals.

This may also include a blending of styles to create a genuinely original end result.

Single Needle Tiger Tattoos

Single needle tattoos have come a long way in terms of detail level.

These pieces are created using a single fine needle, rather than the “bundles” of needles to create different line and shading styles.

Single Needle Tiger Tattoo

This has a soft, pencil-drawn effect.

As tattoo artists in the single needle space expand their abilities, they’re beginning to create some absolutely stunning designs with impressive lining/shading.

Stick & Poke Tiger Tattoos

Stick & Poke is the OG tattoo method, though the exact tools and application may vary from place to place.

Some people ask if stick & poke tattoo designs last as long as tattoos from guns. The answer depends.

Stick & Poke Tiger Tattoo

In the hands of an experienced tattoo artist, your stick & poke tiger tattoo will look fantastic for just as long as a tattoo from a machine.

If your tattoo fades faster, you may have been working with someone less familiar with this method.

Browse portfolios and testimonials- a beautiful stick & poke tattoo is worth the effort.

Neo-traditional Tiger Tattoos

These Neo-traditional tiger tattoos are so smooth, they look like they were meant to be on these people’s bodies.

Neo-traditional Tiger Tattoo

A Neo-traditional tattoo has all the detail and dynamism of a realistic design, but with some fantasy and cartoon elements to add that little extra something.

Watercolor Tiger Tattoos

If you’re looking to express the essence of a tiger, but don’t mind going a little abstract, consider a watercolor tattoo design.

In a watercolor tiger tattoo, your artist will use light washes of color to create a piece that has a sense of artistry and movement.

Watercolor Tiger Tattoo

Some watercolor tattoos forgo black outlines altogether, while others use them to create a sense of contrast.

New School Tiger Tattoos

Not much for realism?

Why not go buck wild with a new school tiger tattoo?

New School tattoos are just as luscious and detailed as realistic designs, but they have a sense of playfulness unparalleled by other tattoo styles.

New School Tiger Tattoo

In these tattoo designs, colors and details can be exaggerated to the Nth degree.

Artists like Jesse Smith are juggernauts in this field.

Tribal Tiger Tattoos

Tribal tiger tattoos are similar to black-work tattoos in that they use large sections of deeply saturated ink contrasting with negative space.

The difference is that these seemingly abstract shapes come from (or are inspired by) different ancient Indigenous peoples.

Tribal Tiger Tattoo

Tribal tattoos can be an excellent way to pay homage to your roots.

If you’re looking for something with less cultural meaning with the same vibe, go for a contemporary black-work design.

Tribal tattoos show the bare bones of the tiger’s body.

Tribal Tiger Tattoo

This can show anything from a tiger about the pounce on its prey to the tiger’s head on top of a tribal patterned background.

Anyone who gets a tribal tiger tattoo is instilled with the ultimate spirit of the animal.

The tribal tiger tattoo represents strength in oneself and indicates that you are a free spirit. 

Rectangular Tiger Tattoos

Sometimes the coolest tattoos lead a little to the imagination.

These rectangular tiger tattoos give you a slice of the action while leaving some details out, showing that slinky, mysterious quality of our favorite jungle cats.

Rectangular Tiger Tattoo

This approach allows you to put the focus on the details that mean the most to you.

In the case of the first rectangular tiger tattoo in our gallery below, it is inspired by a Japanese scroll piece, which is a lovely homage to traditional Japanese artwork.

Geometric Tiger Tattoos

It’s funny how, even when broken down to the basics, a tiger can be so recognizable.

Geometric tattoos are a visually appealing, stylized way to pay tribute to our favorite animals.

Geometric Tiger Tattoo

In our collection of geometric tiger tattoos below, you can see how creative an artist can be within this contemporary genre.

Japanese Tiger Tattoos

Tiger tattoos are a symbol of strength and courage in Japan.

Tattoos have become a significant part of Japanese culture.

The ink work can symbolize certain beliefs and ideas that are important to the person who wears it on their body.

Japanese Tiger Tattoo

Japanese tiger tattoos can be done in a tebori style, the traditional hand-tapping method, or normal, using a modern tattoo machine.

Tattoos are often meant to make the wearer look fierce, but the original intention is to reflect the tiger’s great power and influence.

Along with all the meanings behind tigers in Japanese culture, Japanese-style tattoos of tigers represent passion and aptitude in battle.

Japanese Tiger Tattoo

Other than that, they also represent good fortune and wealth.

This is one of the favorites of Japanese-style tattoos.

That’s probably because the tiger tattoo has a great aesthetic, often placed as a back piece or a full sleeve, and represents so many important themes.

Japanese style tattoos are often colorful: when they depict tigers, they are done with bright orange ink.

The tiger in Japanese culture is symbolic of many things: the season of autumn, the direction of the West, evil spirits, disease, as well as bad luck.

The tiger also receives some of its symbolism from Chinese culture, symbolizing the wind. 

Japanese Tiger Tattoo

You can pair your tiger tattoo with other traditional Japanese symbols to create a tattoo that is meaningful to the wearer.

The tiger is a popular tattoo for people in Japan, but there are several other designs that are popular in Japan, and they are used in conjunction with tiger tattoos to convey different meanings.

When it comes to selecting any tattoo the ideas and messages they represent are personal.

The tiger can symbolize many different things to each individual.

When it comes to designing a tattoo, it is important to think critically about the message you want to convey.

Japanese White Tiger Tattoos

Byakko is the Japanese name for the white tiger and represents one of the four Chinese constellations (Black tortoise of the North, Azure dragon of the East, and Vermillion bird of the south are the others).

There are also seven astrological symbols associated with the white tiger, related to the positions of the moon.

White tiger tattoos are as popular now as they have always been.

Japanese White Tiger Tattoo

They represent power and beauty.

They also symbolize the season of autumn. 

These tattoos have universal meanings such as power and might, pride, passion, and sensuality.

The white tiger is said to have the power known to ward off evil spirits and give good luck to those in need.

Tebori Tiger Tattoos

Tiger tattoos have been symbols of strong emotional meanings, and they have been immortalized in many different ways in Japan.

Some people get traditional tiger tattoos for symbolic reasons, respect for the creature, or personal style.

Tiger tattoos are a matter of personal preference and not public opinion.

Tebori Tiger Tattoo

You do not need to get consent from anyone to get this tattoo, as they are a symbol of perspective and style.

Tebori Rules

In order to understand the concept of traditional Japanese tattooing, it is important to have a clear idea of three important rules.

  • Rule 1: Japanese tattoos have to have unique and bright, clean colors that are rich in detail. They are usually very large, covering whole parts of the body such as the chest, back, or legs.
  • Rule 2: The tattoo has to have themes or symbols that are traditional to japanese culture.
  • Rule 3: This is perhaps the most important rule. The tattoo artist has to do the tattoo by hand. This is a technique called ‘Tebori’.

Black & Grey Japanese Tiger Tattoos

Arguably one of the most pleasing visual styles for tattooing, black and grey designs can be used to create eye-catching tattoos.

Black and Grey Japanese Tiger Tattoo

Some colorful Japanese tattoos utilize black and grey as a background or base for the tattooed piece.

This creates a tattoo that looks much more unique and suited to the owner’s skin.

Neo-Japanese Tiger Tattoos

Neo-Japanese is a contemporary style that blends ideas from Japanese artwork as well as pop culture trends and art history.

If you are from outside the Japanese culture and admire their art style, you may be asking yourself if it’s acceptable to get a Japanese tattoo.

Neo-Japanese Tiger Tattoo

Because these designs are less traditional, they feel less specific to one culture, and you can add your own spin on the design.

Neo-Japanese tiger tattoos are a fresh take on an ancient design.

Illustrative Tiger Tattoos

Illustrative tiger tattoos have a gorgeous painterly style, and there’s lots of room for play within this genre.

Illustrative Tiger Tattoo

To qualify as an illustrative tattoo, a piece just has to look “drawn” rather than all the way photo-realistic and not fit into one of the above categories.

One-Line Tiger Tattoos

Some tattoo pieces say a lot by not saying much at all.

If you’re someone who likes to keep it simple, one-line tiger tattoos are striking in their minimalism.

One-Line Tiger Tattoo

In a one-line tattoo, the entire tattoo piece is created without lifting the “pen off the page,” so to speak.

One continuous line is used to create an unforgettable work with lots of airy negative space.

Trash Polka Tiger Tattoos

Trash polka is a gutsy European style characterized by a collage effect, bold black lines, and red splashes.

It combines photo-realism with surrealism and other tattoo elements to create something with a big visual punch.

Trash Polka Tiger Tattoo

This trash polka tiger tattoo makes such a strong statement.

It really gives you an idea of the story the artist wanted to tell.

Contemporary Tiger Tattoos

Contemporary tiger tattoos can be anything you want them to be.

Find an experimental artist who’s always pushing the conventional limits of tattoo design, and you’ve found someone who can pull off the contemporary tattoo style.

Contemporary Tiger Tattoo

Like graphic pieces, a contemporary tattoo may blend ideas from different tattoo genres to create a stunning final effect.

Tiger Tattoo Ideas

Thinking about where and how you would have your tiger tattoo?

Here are some of our favorite tiger tattoo ideas.

  • Black & Grey Tiger Tattoos

The black and grey tattooing can be applied to most of the above styles if you aren’t into colored ink.

These tattoo pieces have a classic look and won’t clash with your clothing if you like to dress colorfully.

Black and Grey Tiger Tattoo

We love the level of detail that comes out in a black and grey tiger tattoo.

  • Small Tiger Tattoos

A tiger tattoo doesn’t have to take over your whole body to impress.

Small Tiger Tattoo

If you’re a more subtle type or looking to collect several pieces over time, consider a small tiger tattoo.

  • Simple Tiger Tattoos

You can say a lot with a few simple tattoo details.

Simple Tiger Tattoo

These simple tiger tattoo designs are minimalist in aesthetics but maximalist in visual effect.

  • Tiger Sleeve Tattoos

Sometimes you want your tattoo to tell a story.

With a tiger tattoo sleeve, you can take your tiger on a visual journey.

Sleeve tattoos are another great way to show off beautiful artwork, though they aren’t as easily concealed.

Sleeve Tiger Tattoo

The entire arm is often chosen as a canvas for a tiger tattoo because of the larger area to add detail.

Sleeve tattoos are not as painful as tattoos in other sensitive areas.

  • Ornamental Tiger Tattoos

Add some regal design elements to this extraordinary creature with an ornamental design.

Ornamental Tiger Tattoo

Ornamental tiger tattoos add a fantasy element to your ink.

  • Saber-toothed Tiger Tattoos

The extinct saber tooth tiger when placed in tattoos represents vengeance and passion.

The saber-tooth tiger, as one could tell by its name, was a fierce creature.

A saber-tooth tiger tattoo shows that you are a strong person and that you dare to take risks.

Saber-toothed Tiger Tattoo

If you have a saber-tooth tiger tattoo it means that you are passionate, whether it be hate or love, you use that passion with fierce actions.

This would be a great tattoo for a boxer, American football player, or rugby player.

Want to bring the saber-toothed tiger back from extinction?

Saber-toothed Tiger Tattoo

Get some inspiration with these saber-toothed tiger tattoo designs.

Are these something you’d like to sink your teeth into?

  • Large Tiger Tattoos

If you’ve got the time, budget, and space on your body, sometimes it’s best to go big.

Large Tiger Tattoo

If you want a tiger tattoo you can see from space, consider a jumbo design for maximum visual effect.

Tattoo Placement

Tiger tattoo placement is flexible, depending on what idea you have.

You can opt for a gallery-worthy exhibit on larger surface areas, such as the chest or back.

Tiger Tattoo on Chest

When it comes to choosing a placement for your tattoo, it is important to allow an area that provides as much space as possible, as tiger tattoos look best when a large amount of space is used.

This allows the tattoo artist to add the detailing necessary for the style.

Or perhaps shrink your tiger tattoo down to its head only, perfectly shaped for more circular or square areas, such as the knees or hands.

  • Tiger Arm Tattoos

The arm is considered to be one of the safest and easiest places to tattoo on the body.

Arm tattoos hurt less than other tattoos, and the arm provides a larger canvas to ink.

Tiger tattoo on the arm

Tattoos on the arm are often chosen by muscular people as a way to show off their gorgeous ink and their muscles at the same time.

  • Tiger Upper Arm Tattoos

Upper arm tattoos can be more painful than getting a tattoo on the forearm.

It provides a slightly larger area to get a tattoo.

Tiger Tattoos on the Upper Arm

When choosing a tiger tattoo, you want to keep in mind to choose an area that provides as much space as you can for a more detailed design.

The upper arm and forearm are great places to get a tattoo, but if you can, a tiger tattoo on the entire arm is a much better choice to show off the intricate detailing of this type of tattoo.

  • Tiger Hand Tattoos

Nothing is quite as bold and brave as a hand tattoo, except for maybe a tiger tattoo!

Tiger hand tattoos are ever-popular, serving a location that suitably fits the face of the animal. 

And, as you have two hands, why not tattoo a friend for them?

Tiger Hand Tattoo

This is especially great for those interested in the tiger and panther tattoo.

A tattoo on your hand doesn’t necessarily mean anything; it can just be a style choice.

However, the different hands can have significance, with the right associated with dominance, the sun, mercy, and logic, while the left symbolizes emotions, the moon, and justice.

Tiger Hand Tattoo

Hand tattoos are considered rebellious as they are tattoos that you wear out in the open and are not covered with your everyday clothing.

Though on the downside, these tattoos get the most wear and they tend to fade rather quickly.

  • Tiger Forearm Tattoos

The forearm is a spot chosen for tattooing that is not as easily hidden by your clothing but is still a commonly chosen place for a tattoo on the human body.

The entire forearm all the way around can be tattooed.

Forearm Tiger Tattoo

However, it does provide a smaller space to place a tattoo than the entire arm.

Some even view this spot on the arm as a more personal space to get a tattoo and will choose to ink it in a way that is more representative of themselves as a person.

  • Tiger Chest Tattoos

Chest tattoos are more commonly chosen by men, but the women that do have them are considered bold and courageous.

The chest is a spot on the body that is close to the heart.

Tiger Tattoo on Chest

Tattoos here are chosen to represent passionate belief or undying love.

When a tiger tattoo is on the chest, it symbolizes raw power and strength.

They are often chosen for their tough look and fierce symbolism.

Tiger Chest Tattoo

Chest tattoos are increasing in popularity due to the sheer space one can work with.

If you have a grand, detailed design in mind, maybe it is time to look at the tiger chest tattoo.

Traditional Tiger Chest Tattoo

Close to your heart, the placement signifies a true connection to your tattoo and its personal meaning to you.

  • Tiger Shoulder Tattoos

Shoulder tattoos are most often chosen by men.

Tattoos on this area represent strength, and religious symbols are most often chosen for this area.

Placing a tiger tattoo in this area has powerful symbolism for the wearer.

Tiger Shoulder Tattoo

Shoulder skin does not age or stretch the way that other skin does because shoulders are mostly covered.

The coloring of the tattoo will not fade as easily either for this reason.

Aftercare for tattoos on the shoulder is often easier as well.

  • Tiger Knee Tattoos

Like all joints, the knee is in a constant state of movement, much like the tiger.

Therefore, it makes sense to get a tiger knee tattoo. 

As you walk, watch your tiger tattoo come to life.

Tiger Knee Tattoo

If it has an open mouth, it will extend even more as you flex it in.

The knee is a truly exciting tattoo placement.

  • Tiger Back Tattoos

Back tattoos are a way of showing spiritual devotion, delineating character traits acquired or aspired to, and honoring a long-standing tradition in a way that is bold, masculine, and strong.

Tiger Back Tattoo

They make a statement that will garner second looks, excite admiration, inspire the adventurous ink cognoscenti, and record a journey of personal growth.

  • Tiger Leg Tattoos

Legs are a popular place for tattoos, and they are becoming almost as popular as getting arm tattoos.

Legs are well padded with fat and have fewer nerve endings, which makes the leg tattoo process less painful.

Leg Tattoo

They are a great tattoo for people who want to display beautiful artwork but want to have it in a more inconspicuous place.

Tiger Tattoos in American Pop Culture

Despite the fact that a real tiger could easily kill a man, their stripey coats make them pretty cute.

If your tiger tattoo has an American influence, you may want something more cartoonish.

Here are a few examples of tame tiger tattoos inspired by American pop culture:

  • Hobbes Tiger Tattoos

In the famous comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, a stuffed tiger comes to life in a little boy’s imagination.

To everyone else, Hobbes is a plaything.

Hobbes Tiger Tattoo

To Calvin, he is a mentor, a brother figure, someone to go on adventures with.

Hobbes is often Calvin’s voice of reason, serving as his conscience.

  • Tigger Tiger Tattoos

Another living childhood toy, Tigger is one of Christopher Robin’s toys.

Again, he comes to life only in the mind of a young Christopher Robin.

Tigger fits the Korean tiger tattoo symbolism in that he’s a bit of a trickster.

Tigger Tiger Tattoo

He is unpredictable, unreliable, but undeniably fun to have around.

Tigger bounces on his tail, acts silly, and never runs out of energy.


The tiger tattoo is popular for its majestic appearance and the vast range of meanings it has in folklore.

Those who wear a tiger tattoo show they are brave, fearless, and determined to make it in this world.

The tiger tattoo enables those feelings of bravery, by cementing the very cause on your body as a reminder. 

Its bold and complex design evokes traits of courage, respect, and power that can be used to inspire and motivate anyone.

The tiger tattoo is a powerful symbol because its imagery is stunning and its history in folklore is rich with meaning.

From China to Korea, the tiger is known for different stories that tell tales of cultural heritage and rulers seeking advice based on the tiger’s decision.

Tiger tattoo designs and styles reflect the meanings of power, strength, courage, fearlessness, determination, and freedom.

The tiger is a free spirit, representing a power over the world that few dare to seek.

The tiger tattoo is a choice for those who are brave, fearless, and determined to make it in this world.

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