The Vikings were historically Norsemen from Scandinavia who’ve existed roughly around the eighth until the 11th century. The word “Viking” comes from Old Norse which roughly translates to “a pirate raid.” Hence, they weren’t originally known for their brotherly and unified culture, but mostly for their raids and pillaging across Europe.
Odin is a well-known figure in Norse heritage and mythology and is mainly known in today’s modern popular culture as a battlefield commander and honorable leader.
Many usually get tattoos of Odin or symbols related to him because they admire his values towards prestige, honor, and nobility.
Those who want to embrace their Norse ancestry often look to Odin as a symbol of strength and power. Odin is specifically associated with the “berserker” type of warrior whose fighting style focuses on raw, frenzied and ferocious techniques.
Certain totem animals are also connected with Odin’s aggressive demeanor, such as wolves or bears, which makes sense since he was known as the master of beasts.
People that look past Odin’s war-like poise admire him for his appreciation of wisdom. Tattoos that portray Odin with an empty eye socket symbolizes that it was sacrificed for wisdom, one of his most noticeable features.
This is an excellent small, but highly detailed portrait of the God, Odin in Norse mythology. The artist perfectly recreates the image with well-applied black and gray shading as well as white ink to further define the highlights in this design. The use of gray wash to create a backdrop for the tattoo is a good choice that increases contrast and helps the top portions of the design stand out on the wearer’s pale skin tone. This piece is impressive for the amount of detail the artist is able to achieve in such a small tattoo, specifically in the face. The stern countenance of this fierce mythical figure is perfectly captured in this excellent Norse tattoo.
This is a great tattoo of Odin that takes a more illustrative approach reminiscent of classic comic book art. The level of detail in this piece is impressive: the artist’s use of shading is excellent, creating the effect of a consistent light source casting shadows across the scene with thoughtful and consistent highlights enhancing this effect. Other details, like the Nordic rune on his hammer as well as the way the artist uses expert shading to create the fur in Odin’s cloak, are impressive. The bulging muscles, harsh expression, and varying layers of texture all add to the overall composition of this excellent Nordic tattoo and demonstrate the artist’s skill as well as their attention to details.
This full-color sleeve is excellent and a great example of how well-saturated color can take a design to the next level. Here, Odin is depicted with one of the two wolves said to accompany this Norse God in his travels, and the artist is able to bring this story to life on the wearer’s arm. A broad color palette is used—from dark blues in the wolf, to the reds and yellows in the flames—creating a contrast that increases definition and creates a more striking tattoo. The level of detail in this piece is also impressive: notice the way the artist perfectly captures the flowing hair, not only in the wolf but in Odin’s beard, helping this piece to stand out from similar designs.
This black and gray leg piece uses a photorealistic approach and a collage-like composition to create a one of a kind tattoo. Here, Odin is depicted with a crow, a mythological character that brought information to the King of Asgaard in Norse legends, as well as an intricate helmet and the handle of Odin’s famous hammer. This piece is notable for the excellent black and gray shading as well as the subtle use of white ink that allows the highlights to really pop. Perhaps most impressive in this tattoo is the texture created in the beard of the Norse God: it looks so realistic that you could almost reach and grab a handful of scruffy hair. This tattoo is a testament, not only to the artist’s skill, but also an informed stance on Norse mythology.
This black and gray side-piece takes a more subdued artistic approach that uses large size and bold line work to create a striking tattoo. Once again we see Odin with his animal familiars, this time Huginn and Muninn his crows and Geri and Freki, his wolves. In this piece, the artist uses excellent hatching to create shadows and give this tattoo a sense of depth that is reminiscent of hand-etched lithographs. The level of detail in this piece is impressive: the shadows and highlights in the flowing robes are consistent and accurate, creating an expert illustrative depiction of the Norse God on his throne.
Here is another piece that uses black and gray ink to create an illustrative take on Odin that is reminiscent of comic book art. The black and gray shading in this piece is excellent, with the artist able to create a rugged texture in Odin’s face that borders on the grotesque, while the flowing hair of his beard is smooth and contrasts with the texture of his face. Skulls are incorporated with smooth shading and fade into the gray wash of the beard. Finally, the Viking ship at the bottom of the piece—as well as the perfectly executed surface of the sea—ties everything together, improving the overall composition and completing this incredible ode to Norse mythology.
This piece creates the face of Odin using an illustrative technique that evokes images of the wood carvings used to make ink stamps. The bold, fully-saturated black ink in this piece is well-applied and perfectly suits this unique design. The line work that provides texture in this piece is precise and consistent, while the negative space contrasts perfectly with the black ink and helps to define Odin’s fierce gaze. The level of detail in this piece is also interesting: Odin’s animals are here, both the wolves and the crows, and the artist even gave one of his eyes a droop, a nod to the fact that Odin sacrificed an eye in a Norse Legend. This is an excellent piece that demonstrates how bold black ink can be used to create an eye-catching tattoo without the need for vibrant colors.