Traditional Bear Tattoos
American Traditional, or Old School, is one of the most distinct tattoo styles.
With bold, saturated colors and a clean 2D design, they stand out.
Even people without tattoos can recognize its familiarity.
Beloved since World War II, American traditional style body art comes in a variety of designs.
Every original traditional artist had their own unique set of designs.
Overall though, there were some consistent themes.
Most themes explore women, including pin-up models and imagery of females diving into the water.
Others are nautical, in respect to the American sailors who helped the style gain popularity.
Still, other themes draw inspiration from wildlife in nature.
Animal tattoos can represent the traits that people view in themselves.
One of the boldest of all the Old School animal designs is the bear.
Traditional bear tattoos were once a way of displaying a man’s primal instinct.
But nowadays, they pay homage to the history of tattoos in America.
Much of the background behind these bear tattoos is based on folklore.
Many symbols and traits are associated with this tattoo design.
Traditional Bear Tattoo Meanings
Norse and Scandinavian cultures and folklore revered bears.
These mighty creatures used to be considered similar to humans.
After all, each bear has its own individual personality.
They are intelligent too.
Researchers have even observed that they live within their own structured societies.
Folklore saw bears as bridges to the spiritual world.
They help bring balance between the realms.
In Norse mythology, bears are associated with the gods Thor and Odin.
You may recognize the name Thor from the 2011 Marvel movie by the same name.
Marvel’s Thor takes place within Norse mythology.
The film represents Thor as a superhero.
The Norse believed that Thor and Odin often took the shape of bears as disguises.
This form kept them hidden while in the mortal world.
So, they saw the creature to be a symbol of wisdom and strength.
This particular style has meaning outside of Norse culture too.
Traditional bear tattoos can represent someone as ferocious or determined.
They can also be protective symbols.
People who have weathered many storms use bears to represent their strength and courage.
Traditional Bear Tattoo Designs
Artists can design bear tattoos in many different ways.
Some styles draw bears as gentle creatures.
Geometric tattoo styles are also common.
Cartoon bears, like Care Bears and Pooh Bear, fit those who are kids at heart.
American traditional bears look like they are ready to attack.
They are fierce and strong.
Only the head of the bear gets tattooed in this style.
It has a snarl on its face, which is almost intimidating.
Black and dark brown inks are the colors of choice to draw the fur on traditional bear tattoos.
Red colors in the bear’s mouth.
Their teeth are often yellowed, and their eyes are always striking.
Shades of blue or green add extra dimension and color.
The mouth on the bear is always positioned open.
This shows off sharp fangs and what looks like a mighty roar.
The roaring bear can inspire people to get in touch with their wild side.
Some artists add flair to their bear tattoos.
Other artists prefer to keep it simple.
Flowers, skulls, and hunting bows sometimes get portrayed as part of the design.
Bear Tattoo Placement
Body placement for traditional bear tattoos varies.
Some people choose to put these tattoos over battle scars to show perseverance.
Traditional bears make great centerpieces on the chest or back.
They can be drawn quite big, so choose a spot with enough space.
This breathtaking design looks attractive regardless of where you choose to place it.