Around the world you’ll find this creature of the night lurking for its next meal. However, for some species out of the 1,240, feeding varies from fruit and fish to the more popular vampire bats who prefer to relish the taste of blood.
Yet, even though this nocturnal mammal flies under the cover of the night, it has a long be associated with many legends and ancient cultures.
For instance, witchcraft, black magic and darkness stemmed from the symbolism of bats in European cultures. While they have been called liminal beings, they have also found their way into brew as written in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In modern times, their meaning has evolved into more fictional characters with both heroes and villains, such as Batman and Dracula.
In the Apache, Creek, Cherokee tribes bats are viewed more as a trickster, or god with secret knowledge that is used by playing tricks against order and rules. However, others view them as more bizarre things like evil shape-shifting spirits. Even the Aztecs saw them as a symbol of decay and destruction.
On the bright side, Chinese lore does hold a more positive meaning, with bats representing both cheerfulness and permanence.
No matter your preference on the matter, one thing is undoubtedly certain. You’re bound to discover winged inspiration with these top 50 best bat tattoo designs for men. From spooky scenes that seem to haunt to abstract figures that evoke a sense of curiosity around their meaning.
1. Colorful bat tattoos
Tattooing is about expression and innovation. In new school designs the absurd, the cartoonish, the bold, and the imaginative are front and center Any style of tattoo can cut to the core of who you are and what you want to say but few are as eye-catching as new school with its vibrant color palette. If you’re the kind of person who likes their ink admired from across the room, these bat tattoos are the ones to do it.
Traditional bat tattoos take full advantage of the bold lines and the muted, classic color scheme of American traditional style using those reds, golds, and greens. Lots of negative space and little shading make this style pop. A colorful bat tattoo can really convey layers of meaning, like this first Neo traditional example that immediately lets everyone know you’re all about having fun.
2. Neo traditional bat tattoos
3. Black and Gray Bat Tattoos
Precise, clean black and gray tattoos offer a bold and traditional aspect unrivaled by other techniques that may seem more complex at first glance. The contrasting interplay of light and shadow is the bread and butter of this kind of tattoo, so a creature of the shadows plays perfectly to the aesthetic. Bold, solid linework and shading bring dimension and texture to the table, making this style a natural fit for depicting bats on skin.
The style may change drastically from one application to the next, but contrast is the key element in selling the technical aspect as an exceptional choice for your bat tattoos. Be warned; back and grey leaves nowhere to hide. Like the first tattoo in these examples, if your linework gets sloppy and geometric shapes lack clarity, it will be noticeable.
4. Abstract Bat Tattoos
Bats are enigmatic creatures. Why should your bat tattoos be different? An abstract design lets you shrug off the confines of realism and traditional ink to have fun with a bat tattoo that could be surreal, geometric, distorted, or dream-like. The surreal elements make them memorable regardless of the basic styles or interplay of colors. Whether you’re looking for black and grey, rich colors, or a solid mixture of each, going abstract lets you take advantage of body placement and innovation in ways other styles won’t. Abstract lends itself best to truly artistic techniques like dotwork, watercolor, geometric design, and full-on cartoon where rules are made to be broken and reality no longer applies. Check out the Batman-inspired piece for a prime example of how an effective tattoo can be constructed from dream-like, or even nightmarish, elements.
5. Realism bat tattoos
A good realism bat tattoo can play in full color or black and grey. Understanding your light source and shading is important to making this style pop and can save it from fading. The goal here is to capture life as it really is. Fine detail, proper proportion, and an eye to for ink placement which conforms to the movement of your body combats distortion. Your goal is to avoid having that realism stripped away from the finished piece and leave you with a true-to-life image, like the black and gray foot piece above .
6. Totally metal bat tattoos
Bat tattoos and the heavy metal aesthetic are like PB&J. When you’re looking for something to express darkness, mystery, power, and weirdness, you can’t go wrong here. A truly metal design can be adapted to any style from Neo Traditional to New Wave or Trash Polka. A high-quality artist can really cut loose and press the envelope with a bat design like the bat-winged skull design in the first example above. With wings spread bats have a natural symmetry, evoking a primal feeling best described as describe as metal. Some bat tattoos merely adopted the darkness, but these totally metal bat tattoos were born in it!
Bat Tattoo FAQs
What does a bat tattoo symbolize?
As the only mammal that can fly, bats symbolize uniqueness. Their nocturnal nature and association with nightmarish vampiric imagery also means they can easily symbolize horror or fear. The Mayans believed bats were guardians of the Underworld.
It’s worth remembering that bats are incredibly perceptive, their echolocation (that’s a primal bat version of GPS) means they can navigate the darkest realms with ease, discover the unseen, and they’re highly sensitive to their surroundings.
In Chinese beliefs, bats symbolize happiness and luck. The more bats you see the more blessed you may be. Pop culture has provided headline bats in the form of both Dracula and Batman. They play up the power, mystery, and even the seductive symbolism of these little creatures.
Looking for more galleries on bats or nocturnal animals? Click below for more killer tattoos examples: