Tattoos are a great way to assert individuality and at the same time decorate one’s body with interesting and beautiful designs. This form of permanent body art is an ancient tradition that has roots in cultures around the world and has become so popular in the West that almost everyone knows someone with at least one tattoo.
The lioness is a powerful animal that is perfectly suited to be the subject of tattoos. These beautiful creatures hold powerful symbolism which allows them to represent deep aspects of human nature like perseverance, loyalty and familial duty. Whether these tattoos are prominently placed and meant to be publicly displayed or are more private and intimate pieces, a lioness tattoo serves as a powerful statement of the wearer’s strength and determination.
1. Black and Gray Lioness Tattoos
While many prefer the eye-catching nature of full-color designs, the timelessness of black and gray tattoo work is better suited for those with more classic sensibilities. These tattoos use an assortment of different shading techniques and a variation in gray wash tones to create stunning pieces that are elegant and reminiscent of black and white film and photography.
The more subdued nature of this style is perfect for these odes to the lioness. The depth that can be achieved with black and gray ink is impressive and the level of detail in these pieces allows a talented artist to perfectly capture the intricacies that make these animals so unique.
This black and gray piece uses strong line work and an illustrate approach to perfectly capture the faces of a male and female lion.
The artist uses smooth black and gray shading to create texture as well as creating an oval frame to the piece with a clean, negative space border.
This black and gray piece uses stipple work and hatching to capture the intense eyes of a female lioness and incorporates leaves and flowers to create the effect of a frame.
Here, excellent gray wash is used to create the lioness’s face, while clean line work and stipple shading are utilized to produce the flowers that frame the animal.
2. Color Lioness Tattoos
Some people find black and gray tattoos to be a bit limiting and adding color to a design is a great way to help it stand out and create a tattoo that better represents their personality, style, and taste. The practically endless variety of tones and shades that can be used in these tattoos is limited only by the skill of the artist and the client’s imagination. This use of vibrant colors also allows for a greater variety in styles that can be achieved, ranging from photorealistic tattoos all the way to abstract, watercolor-inspired pieces.
Here are some great examples of how color ink can be used to create some stunning tattoos of these powerful and majestic creatures.
This design uses black and gray shading to create the lioness’s face and the artist’s use of purple ink in the flowers helps them to stand out.
This is a lovely piece that uses clean line work to create the outline of the mother and cub, while a more abstract, watercolor-inspired technique completes this vibrant tattoo.
This artist takes a more realistic approach to this tattoo with accurate colors used to create the mother lion and her cubs, while well-executed roses create a frame that improves composition.
This piece takes a more illustrative approach using consistent color gradation and clean line work to create a lioness that is reminiscent of comic book art.
3. Delicate Lioness Tattoos
Not all designs need to be big and bold to create interesting tattoos; in fact, some of the best tattoos use a more subdued aesthetic. This delicate style and application takes on a deeper meaning when the subject matter is something as inherently powerful as a lioness.
These designs use this stylistic approach to create a symbolic contrast between these fierce hunters and the delicate application of the tattoo. This juxtaposition of the subject and application is also an interesting reference to the contrasting nature of the lioness as both a mother and a killer.
Excellent black and gray shading is used to capture the intense stare of the lioness, while precise line work and consistent whip shading produce the surrounding flowers.
This piece combines excellent stipple work with clean lines and an illustrative composition to create a unique lioness tattoo.
These matching lion tattoos use clean black and gray shading to perfectly capture the contrasting shapes of a male and female lion, creating a lovely testament to the wearers’ relationship.
4. Dreamy/Surrealistic Lioness Tattoos
One of the greatest things about creative expressions is the lack of limitations on what is considered “art”. If you can dream it and realize it, then it is art, and tattoos are no different. Some of the greatest art ever created is not strictly realistic in its approach to creation, often incorporating elements from dreams to produce more interesting and meaningful works.
These pieces take cues from the surreal features that define some of the greatest works of modern art, and successfully create stunning tattoos. These pieces are great examples of how tattoos can eschew conventional forms and rules to become unique works of art.
This artist eschews some of the more traditional design elements in favor of clean line work that is reminiscent of gesture drawings to create this unique lioness tattoo.
This piece takes a more realistic approach to the lioness’s face and then incorporates gears and gauges that bring to mind steam-punk animatronics.
No color is needed in this intense piece that uses bold, but limited line work to capture the face of a glaring lioness.
This is another piece that uses precise line work and excellent cross-hatching to create the king and queen of the jungle in a powerful face-off.
This is an incredible design that uses consistent black and gray shading, clean lines and an illustrative approach to produce this fierce warrior lioness.
Here, the artist takes a looser approach to create this lioness surrounded by flowers and expertly utilizes a touch of color in the eyes to bring this stunning animal to life.
It is true that the majority of the lioness tattoos we have seen so far are worn by women, however, this does not mean that these incredible animals can’t be the subject of men’s tattoos. In fact, many men choose to get a lioness tattoo because of the way they symbolize power, grace and undying loyalty to family and friends. Here are some great examples of men that proudly wear a lioness on their body and the different styles that can be used to create these stunning tattoos.
Clean black and gray shading, along with clean line work and some interesting illustrative choices create this sentimental tribute that is completed with clean script work.
For Men & Women
This stunning piece uses clean and consistent black and gray stipple shading to create this illustrative warrior princess.
5. Geometric Lioness Tattoos
A growing trend in tattoos is the incorporation of geometric shapes into an assortment of different styles and designs. These geometric shapes and patterns are well suited for tattoo work thanks to the variety of functions they can serve in a piece. Some artists use a simple shape as a frame for another design element, helping the piece to stand out and at the same time creating a more interesting composition. Others take intricate patterns and use them as a background that can tie different portions of a larger design into a cohesive tattoo. Many shapes and patterns are also symbolic of more profound concepts known as “sacred geometry” making for perfect additions to tattoo designs.
This piece utilizes consistent black and gray shading to realistically capture the face of a lioness, which strongly contrasts with the angular lines of the triangle that frames this tattoo.
This is a great black and gray tattoo that uses excellent shading to create the lioness’s face and surrounding flowers, while clean line work and dense stipple work create the geometric patterns that complete the design.
This is an interesting design that incorporates geometric shapes and a variation in the thickness and saturation of the lines, as well as stipple shading to add contrast to this black and gray tattoo.
The gradation in tones achieved through the use of stipple work as well as whip shading set this piece apart, and the bold, precise line work completes this stunning piece.
This artist uses black and gray ink and a variety of shading techniques to realistically capture the face of a female lion, while the incorporation of asymmetric geometric shapes frame this piece and help it stand out.
These matching tattoos take an illustrative approach to lions and use bold lines and limited shading to create mandalas dedicated to these noble animals.
This is an interesting design that uses unique composition, the integration of contrasting styles and a limited amount of color to create a one of a kind tattoo.
6. Large Lioness Tattoos
Nothing quite grabs the attention the way a large, bold tattoo does, whatever the subject matter. Large tattoos provide more space for the artist to create intricacies in a design and at the same time demonstrate the wearer’s dedication as well as the importance of the subject matter in their life. The deep meaning that the lioness holds along with her striking visage make these noble creatures the perfect subject for a large design.
This large thigh piece uses expert black and gray shading as well as limited color in the eyes and some white highlights to produce an intense lioness tattoo.
These matching leg tattoos use black and gray shading and negative space highlights to create a male and female lion stalking the savannah.
7. Lioness Tattoos with Flowers
Incorporating contrasting elements is a great way to create an interesting design and is a strategy used in many different mediums, tattoos being no exception. In the case of these fierce animals, the gentle and feminine qualities of flowers make for a great stylistic and symbolic contrast. Flowers are a great choice for tattoo designs because of the thousands upon thousands of different varieties as well as the different meanings associated with different species. Flowers are also a great way to incorporate vibrant colors into a design that might otherwise lack the opportunity.
8. Ornamental Lioness Tattoos
Another popular trend in tattoos—especially women’s tattoos—is the use of ornamental designs, many of which are inspired by the dangling jewelry and lace-like patterns of the 1920’s. These different elements are a great way to improve a tattoo, whether it is by adding a higher level of intricacy than the other portions of the design allow, or simply creating a frame that improves the overall composition of the tattoo. These detailed and decorative design elements are a great way to personalize a common design and help create a more interesting tattoo.
9. Realistic Lioness Tattoos
The appeal of tattoos, like all art, is subjective: some people like Picasso’s early, more realistic work, while others prefer his abstract pieces later in life. Some people don’t like Picasso at all. While some of the lioness designs we have seen so far employ a more imaginative approach, there are many people who want their lioness tattoo to be as photorealistic as possible. Both color and black and gray ink can be utilized to produce these stunning designs, although many people prefer the elegance that can be achieved through the use of a black and gray palette with limited color. Here are some great examples of the style.
For Men & Women
10. Tattoos of a Lioness with a Crown
If the male lion is the “King of the Jungle”, then that would make the lioness the queen, and what queen is complete without her crown? Perhaps the most instantly recognizable symbol of royalty, crowns make for great elements in tattoos thanks to the endless variety of styles and designs used in these regal headpieces. Crowns also offer the artist an opportunity to add color and detail to a simple piece with a more limited palette through the use of jewels and other decorative elements like filigree. The following designs are examples of how this royal headgear can be incorporated to create interesting lioness tattoo.
For Men & Women
11. Tattoos of a Lioness with a Cub
A lioness can represent many different attitudes, emotions and personality traits, however, the female lion’s role as a fierce mother is probably the most powerful trope. The lioness’s maternal nature is key in her identity and designs that incorporate a lion cub are a perfect way to capture this essential aspect of these incredible creatures. Many women choose to permanently ink their body with a lioness and her cub as a way to show the world that they are as fierce a protector to their child as a lioness and anyone that might harm their family had better think twice.
12. Tattoos of a Lioness with Half its Face
A good artist is always looking for ways to improve the composition of a design and make for a more interesting tattoo, and one way to do this is to use the natural symmetry in the face as a tool to produce an eye-catching piece. Many tattoo artists do this by cutting the face in half down the middle, and then incorporating different elements—often ornamental or geometric features—to create a piece that is unique and dynamic. This is also an interesting strategy that can be used to create matching tattoos, either on one person or on two people, to commemorate a powerful relationship.
13. Traditional Lioness Tattoos
One of the first Western tattoo styles came about as a result of sailors travelling to Asia and bringing back this ancient artistic tradition. This style of tattooing is known as American traditional, and it has remained popular for a number of reasons. One aspect of this style is the use of bold, black lines, which is aesthetically pleasing, but also allows these pieces to better stand up to the test of time. The use of bold colors is also a staple of American traditional tattooing and lets these classic designs pop, while the ability to apply this style to any subject matter ensures that the original Western style is here to stay.
Lioness Tattoo FAQs
What does a lioness tattoo represent?
Along with being visually appealing, tattoos often serve as a way to assert individuality by carefully choosing designs and images that exemplify different personality traits. Often, different animals are chosen because of the characteristics that they have come to represent, and few creatures have such strong symbolism attached to them as the lion.
In the natural world, the lion perfectly represents power, ferocity and majesty; it is interesting however, the way that the male lion has been used to symbolize these traits, when the reality tells a markedly different story. It is the lionesses that do the majority of hunting, utilizing complex group behaviors that highlight the intricate nature of their social structures, while the male lion often spends most of his time sleeping and defending his territory.
Beyond the natural world, the lioness has been seen a powerful symbol in human culture. The fact that these incredible animals hunt in large groups at night has imbued them with a powerful connection to the lunar cycle and the sacred feminine as well as making for perfect symbols of female independence and sisterhood. This strength and autonomy have also led to the lioness becoming a powerful symbol of sexual independence.
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