Top 101+ Best Dragon Tattoos in 2020
The dragon is an enduring phenomenon in traditional body art design and tattoos illustrating modern pop culture of film, television, and video games.
Dragons offer fantastic variety in design types and symbolism, ranging from tribal tattoo art through to the Western and Asian mythological creature; with distinctly different character traits and symbolic meaning.
Cultures worldwide associate the mighty reptile with mystical power and the unparalleled freedom to roam and do as they please.
As part of far eastern mythology, the spiritual dragon represents freedom, balance, and good fortune. In Chinese mythology they are also associated with wisdom and protection.
The Western dragon in European folklore is more vicious, and disparate in looks. The fantasy dragon can also be etched in traditional positions but have been utilized more in contemporary dragon design offering detailed storytelling creativity within the tattoo idea.
1. Japanese Dragon Tattoo
See more about - The Best Japanese Dragon Tattoo Ideas
To some the Japanese dragon tattoo represents strength, power, masculinity, or sexual passion. For others, the dragon depicts longevity, good luck and great wisdom.
In Japanese culture the dragon are symbols of forces that use their strength for the good of others, and are held in equal parts awe and respect.
In traditional tattooing coiling dragon tattoos are popular inspiration, with these Japanese dragon tattoo, or irezumi, creating a huge impact on the development of beautiful dragon tattoo idea.
2. Chinese Dragon Tattoo
See more about - 50 Chinese Dragon Tattoos
In Chinese culture ink is maximized by creating the powerful red dragon, but these wild designs can be pulled off in any hue. In Chinese mythology a colorful tattoo of the beast is associated with primordial energies that can alter the state of reality.
Each dynasty in China imbued the mythical creature with different skills, and you can access very specific meanings by choosing variation in spiritual dragon depictions from a certain era.
Chinese dragon tattoos can also embark on a gleeful celebration of the annual festivals that are held for an incoming lunar year, and often look much the same as Japanese dragons (it’s alleged that the dragon of Japanese culture came originally from parts of China)
3. Tribal Dragon Tattoo Design
See more about - Top 60 Tribal Tattoos
Thanks to their spiky contours and jagged protrusions, tribal dragon tattoo is filled with vast significance stemming from the annals of mankind’s lore.
Several Chinese cultures tie tribal dragon tattoo to good fortune and extraordinary might. They are prestigious allies for men on a mission to flaunt their extravagant superiority.
Celtic Dragon tattoo portrays the creatures capacity to control earthly forces. The Celtic dragon is also said to carry the torch of eternal glory or form the basis for various Viking songs and Norse verses.
4. Small Dragon Tattoo
See more about - 50 Small Dragon Tattoo Ideas
While many collectors choose to have a huge dragon shoulder tattoo or on their back, small dragon tattoo design serves as a symbolic mark that doesn’t bring too much attention.
The mighty dragon symbolizes one’s subconscious and inner mediation as well as representing physical and mental strength, power, wisdom, masculinity, and the forces of nature and the universe.
For those who wish to achieve inner peace through spiritual practices, the dragon is a famous insignia for such a purpose.
5. Dragon Leg Tattoos
See more about - 50 Dragon Leg Tattoo Ideas
Nothing enhances the shape and look of the human leg more than the image of a muscular and beautiful dragon tattoo traversing its expanse.
Dragon tattoo design exists in many different contexts and spiritual planes, which lends to their universally appealing nature.
Elements of classic Celtic and Viking dragon themes such as sigils and swords interwoven into the design scheme add to the overall dramatic effect of the leg art.
Its dominant mastery of the earth and skies make the dragon brand a symbol of courage, pride and power.
6. Dragon Head Tattoos
See more about - Top 67 Best Dragon Head Tattoo Ideas
People often think of full figure designs when considering dragon tattoos, however a dragon head by itself can be an excellent stylistic and economic choice.
A dragon head tattoo can showcase detail and technical application without the often-cumbersome looking body, wings, and tail of the mythical flying beast that may not fit your vision or the positioning you desire.
A fantasy dragon head from either school can be etched in traditional positions but are often utilized more in contemporary dragon design and positions like the hand, neck, inner forearm or chest.
7. Game of Thrones Dragon Tattoos
See more about - Top 57 Game of Thrones Dragon Tattoo Ideas
Game of Thrones has spawned an amazing range of tattoo inspiration, including Western dragon tattoos.
One of the key elements to the success of Game of Thrones was main character Daenerys Targaryen, who went from naïve girl and political pawn to become a woman of intellect and a fearsome superpower.
Daenerys was aided in growth from girl to queen and conquest by three dragons she hatched from eggs as a young woman early in the TV series.
The three dragons – called Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion – were a fire breathing, world wrecking and captivating part of the show that now are recognisable dragon designs in the world of tattooing.
8. Large Dragon Tattoo Ideas for the Back
See more about - 60 Dragon Back Tattoo Ideas
There tends not to be much space left after a collector gets a large dragon tattoo on their back. For one, the dragon’s name can be traced back to its Latin word: draconem. Draconem means huge serpent.
Full-winged dragons are usually more Gothic and associated with Western culture. These types of dragons have been depicted as evil and sometimes associated with the Devil.
A dragon tattoo of this design could signify that you have conquered a symbolic demon in your life, and now you wear it like a hunter who displays his kill.
9. Dragon Forearm Tattoos
See more about - 30 Dragon Forearm Tattoos
Depicting these ancient reptiles through the artistry of ink personifies a man’s inner struggle to master the fiery beast within. Forearm tattoos most often depict a visible fantasy dragon tied to deeply personal symbolism.
An artistically stunning dragon tattoo can transform the forearm into a statement masterpiece. Meandering throughout the length of the forearm, a dragon tattoo will prompts comments via the richly designed detail and vivid palette of colors.
The beautiful ink of a dragon forearm tattoo can serve as a constant reminder to always stay true to one’s self.
10. Dragon Skull Tattoos
See more about - 60 Dragon Tattoo Ideas
Dragon skulls are symbolic of power and the idea of wanting to have the strength of an iconic creature that has captivated and scared people in equal measure throughout history.
Ferocious, brave, and daring, there is nothing about the dragon that can be considered weak in Western culture.
The dragon has many meanings in different cultures, but it is always a meaning that leads to a symbol of strength and fearlessness, as well as wisdom and generosity.
Skulls are also used in many different societies to symbolize life, death, and certainty. A dragon skull tattoo embodies strength and being unafraid.
11. Simple Dragon Tattoos
See more about - 60 Simple Dragon Tattoos
With such a wealth of history and meaning behind it, it may seem counterproductive to depict the dragon tattoo design in a simplistic fashion. However, this style holds true to the dragon’s original ideology.
Inked as an outline or shaded with only a few colors – a singular flame or pearl in its muzzle – the dragon is a powerful totem that needs little embellishment.
12. Dragon Half Sleeve Tattoos
See more about - 30 Dragon Half Sleeve Tattoo Ideas
The sheer might and power of a dragon demands respect more tan most creatures, mythical or otherwise. They are the guardians of the sky and the seers of truth.
Dragons have a long and illustrious history that extends beyond recorded time, appearing in cultures across the globe and across time itself, spanning the centuries as they grew with the legends that surrounded them.
13. Koi Dragon Tattoo Ideas
See more about - Top 47 Koi Dragon Tattoo Ideas
The Koi Dragon tattoo is a beautiful and deeply symbolic tattoo design that you can think of. The Japanese fish ink style can been depicted in several ways.
Some tattoos have an almost human-like face with the body of the fish, while others give the fish dragon-like features.
The depiction of the fish may vary, but the meaning behind it does not usually change. For the most part, this Japanese symbol means perseverance.
The Dragon Koi fish is said to be able to swim against powerful currents. This means that the tattoo means that you have persevered or that you have had to overcome drastic obstacle that others might not have been able to handle.
14. Tiger Dragon Tattoos
See more about - 40 Tiger Dragon Tattoo Ideas
Tigers and dragons are both considered ferocious, relentless, and extraordinarily powerful opponents. Surprisingly, when these two are put together, the meaning of the imagery becomes more nuanced.
In Buddhist imagery, the tiger and the dragon are both symbols of power. When juxtaposed, the tiger and a dragon become symbolic of the sacred balance between two different personalities.
The yin and yang represents immensely powerful energy.
The tiger is seen as a “hard” power, relentless and tempestuous; the tiger does not hesitate to take what it wants, and this makes it a “hard” essence.
In contrast, the dragon represents a “soft” power, characterized by patience and wisdom to know when it is the right time to strike.
In battle, neither of these two powers can win alone, but together they are unstoppable.
15. Dragon Chest Tattoos
See more about - Top 39 Dragon Chest Tattoo Ideas
Deserving of a vast canvas, the image of the mighty dragon is resplendent spread across the chest, orlong the side and ribs.
Each artistically inked feature of this creature embodies virility, power and masculinity.
For those drawn to the mastery of flight, the images of these mighty beasts soaring through the air upon the tips of their huge wings will invoke an eternal fountain of inspiration.
16. Realistic Dragon Tattoos
See more about - 50 3D Dragon Tattoo Ideas
The legendary dragon of Asian mythology is a potent symbol of strength, leadership, and good fortune, and is often applied as a powerful companion to assist those who are worthy of its gifts.
The ancient dragon represents the greatest of cosmic Chi, or energy, and is often placed in the home to herald in new beginnings and blessings.
With so many positive qualities surrounding it, it’s no wonder the dragon has surpassed standard tattoo art and made its way into 3D representation, where designs take on elements of reality and can give the appearance of resting above the skin.
17. Celtic Dragon Tattoo Design
See more about - 50 Celtic Dragon Tattoo Ideas
The Celtic dragon is meant to symbolize courage and great power despite negative connotations in Western myth and folklore.
Today many proudly show off the tattoo simply as a homage to their ancestry and heritage.
In Celtic society these demonic appearing dragons were once thought to be able to predict the future and have magical healing powers.
Dragon Tattoo FAQs
Dragons have long been some of the best subject matter for tattoos; these mythical creatures show up in the stories and legends of almost every group of people around the globe.
From China and Japan to England and even ancient Mexico, these magic reptiles hold a wide assortment of meanings as varied and diverse as the different cultures themselves.
In the world of tattoos, the significance of these mythical beasts is up to the individual and depends on:
- The style of the dragon
- The broader composition of the tattoo
- The artistic technique used
- The meanings can be attributed to a dragon. There really is a dragon for every occasion.
The dragons of China, for example, are considered noble creatures that offer their wisdom protection to people, while the dragons in European folklore are often dangerous beasts that hoard gold, steal livestock and terrorize villages.
Despite the disparate meanings that dragons hold in different parts of the world, all cultures associate them with mythical power and unparalleled freedom to roam as they please.
As part of far eastern mythology, dragons represent freedom, balance, and good fortune. They are also associated with wisdom and protection.
Asian dragon tattoo features more snakelike and sinuous dragons than their European counterparts and are considered more positive symbols of wisdom and temperance.
The Dragon image in European folklore are often scourges for brave knights to hunt down, flame belching horrors the size of buildings ,much like those belonging to Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones.
They look bulky and mean, with large heads and thick skin not dissimilar from carnivorous dinosaurs. Their physical characteristics (horns, claws, color etc) determine much of the symbolism of the tattoo.
When it comes to etching dragon image, the prices are the same as for any other design, and hourly rates for professional shops are usually between $150 and $300 USD per hour.
There are many factors that go into that final price tag for a dragon tattoo, including:
- Time taken to execute the work
- Tattoo artist’s level of experience and demand
- Your relationship with the artist (or lack thereof)
- Artist per hour or per piece pricing
- Size of the tattoo
- Style of the tattoo
- Use of colors and ink quality
When getting a tattoo the price should never be the most important factor, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we said money wasn’t an issue.
Putting aside the symbolism, the dragon naturally helps in creating fine tattoo art because of the physical characteristics that can be deployed.
Asian dragon tattoo – the most popular style – can be wound down the limbs of the arms or legs or combined with or other imagery for vivid chest and back tattoos. Their scales and wings can be etched in tight to the body, or fully unfurled as if in flight across the subject’s musculature.
The bulkier, more vicious looking Western dragon tattoo can also be etched in traditional positions but have been utilized in single needle and small tattoo designs, a popular style for women’s tattoo often deployed on the forearms, bicep or chest.
They too can be tattooed anywhere, as the smaller size and commitment to fine detail helps them flow and look sharp wherever there is space.
Both major kinds of dragons are hugely popular for back tattoos due to the subject’s willingness to have the dragon look large and be depicted in a way as to either feign flight or do battle.
Chinese and Japanese tattoos have developed in much the same fashion over a long period; they’re sinuous and snakelike with narrow heads and sharp fangs, usually portrayed without wings.
The simplest way to distinguish them from each other is Japanese dragons are most often depicted with three claws, while Chinese dragons have five.
Each dynasty in China imbued the mythological creature with different skills, and you can access very specific meanings by choosing variation in dragon depictions from a certain era.
Also, the pearl is an important motif used in complex Japanese design. Usually the Ryu (dragon) is questing to obtain the orb which is protected by other sacred animals symbols such as carp.
One argument presented is that the pearl represents the jewel of all knowledge, while others believe that much in a similar way as European dragons, the Ryu quests for wealth.