People have been getting flowers inked on their bodies for decades and more and more people are choosing to get lily tattoos thanks to their beauty and the significance they hold. The most common association with the white lily is that of purity and chastity.
Growing popularity of interesting and colorful varieties such as the pink lily, tiger lily, stargazer lily, and purple lily mean that these lovely flowers holding rich symbolic meaning appeal to a broad cross section of tattoo lovers.
The tattoo designs on display here use numerous styles and approaches but all utilize the lily flower to create unique floral tattoos.
1. Abstract Tattoo Art
Not everyone wants a realistic tattoo of a rose or lotus flower. In fact, just as some of the most popular artists of our time used an abstract approach to their work many people choose to get tattoos that draw inspiration from the surreal. As these pieces demonstrate, a lily tattoo is the perfect choice for this abstract approach.
One of the reasons that so many people choose abstract tattoo designs is because of the freedom they provide: do you want tiger lily tattoos in a sleeve complete with a snarling tiger? No problem. A realistic portrait with a lily or lotus flower bursting from the head? It can be done.
Whether in color or black and gray, with a talented tattoo artist and creative tattoo design abstract lily tattoos are sure to turn heads.
2. The Animal Themed Lily Tattoo Idea
People have been getting animal tattoos for centuries; in fact, some of the oldest tattoos ever recorded were of animals. The variety of animals and their associated symbolism make them great additions to any tattoo design, and lily tattoos are no exception.
While many people may think of incorporating a butterfly or sparrow into a lily tattoo these pieces demonstrate that just because it is a floral tattoo doesn’t mean that it’s relegated to cute animals.
Interestingly, several of these lily design tattoos feature snakes, creating a conceptual juxtaposition that brings to mind scenes from the Garden of Eden while the appeal of a black and gray lion wearing a crown of flowers is undeniable.
3. The Beautiful Lily, Uniquely Placed
There are several aspects that must be examined when considering a beautiful lily tattoo. The placement is a key factor in creating a successful piece of body art. This is another requirement of a good tattoo artist: understanding the lines of the body – for girl or boy – and how a tattoo design will lay on the skin. This brings us to these exceptional lily tattoos applied to the back and side of the torso.
While not for the faint of heart—the spine and ribs are notoriously painful—the effect created when a floral tattoo uses these placements is excellent. This tattoo idea increasingly popular among women, demonstrating that a girl is just as tough as any guy when it comes to sitting in the chair and getting inked.
4. Black and Gray Lily Tattoo Art
While it remains a staple of the Chicano tattoo style, black and gray continues to gain broader popularity for the subdued elegance that is created by this monochromatic approach.
More than any one style, a variety of tattoo designs and concepts can be applied in black and gray, providing tattoo artists a high level of creative freedom when producing bespoke tattoos with this approach.
Characterized by precise line work and complex shading, these excellent designs demonstrate that a black and gray approach works surprisingly well when applied to lily tattoos. Thanks to the talent of each tattoo artist, these exceptional women’s tattoo designs don’t suffer from lack of color.
As one would expect, many people choose to get a popular flower like the lily applied in bright colors, to great effect. This vibrant approach is especially useful for lily tattoos given the different symbolism associated with different color flowers.
A white lily is associated with purity and innocence, which may perfectly suit the meaning behind on person’s lily tattoo, however a red lily tattoo that symbolizes passion may be more appropriate for someone else’s lily tattoo design.
The variety of colors and species of lilies is one of the main reasons so many people choose this blossom for a flower tattoo. The diversity of these beautiful flowers means that there is a lily tattoo design out there for just about anyone and vibrant colors are a great way to complete these floral tattoos.
6. Delicate Lily Design
Not every tattoo artist lives and dies by the “bold will hold” creed. In fact, more and more artists are taking advantage of modern machines and techniques to create delicate floral tattoos that are reminiscent of pencil drawings and the lily is an increasingly popular flower for this approach to tattoo design.
Often applied using a single needle, these delicate lily tattoos show how appealing a floral tattoo can be. While many of these pieces eschew color for a black and gray approach, subdued colors are also expertly utilized to create the effect of colorized photographs taking these delicate lily tattoos to the next level.
Perfect for a woman with a love of flowers, this delicate approach allows a tattoo artist to show off their precision and attention to detail.
7. Innovative Lily Tattooing
Tattoo artists are constantly pushing the envelope within their medium, and not just in terms of technical skill: the concepts and creativity of modern tattoo design have also evolved a lot since the anchors and daggers of American traditional work where tattooing got its start in the West.
The extent of this evolution is on full display in these innovative lily tattoos. Accurate recreations of Disney princesses, vibrant watercolor designs and meticulous stipple shading all demonstrate the diversity of modern tattoo design and with such a beautiful and meaningful flower as inspiration it is little surprise that a lily tattoo design can be so successful.
8. Linework Lily Ink
Without a doubt, the single most essential element in a successful tattoo is the line work. In fact, with strong lines and an interesting concept, a tattoo artist can create a successful tattoo design without the need for vibrant colors or complex shading.
This approach has actually become a style all its own, and these unique lily tattoos demonstrate just how clean a flower tattoo can be when precise and consistent lines are used to complete the design.
It’s also worth noting that just because a tattoo design skips color in favor of a more subdued approach doesn’t mean it is boring. Quite the contrary in fact, as these excellent lily tattoos exhibit interesting composition and expert placement to make up for their monochromatic approach.
9. Neo Traditional lily tattoo
Neo-traditional tattoos arose out of the American traditional school and while this newer style maintains bold line work and vibrant colors it takes a more relaxed stance on the rules regarding subject matter and palette commonly associated with American traditional tattoos.
The lily tattoos in this gallery are great examples of what is possible when a talented tattoo artist utilizes design elements common in neo-traditional with such lovely flowers. A tiger lily sitting behind a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull, a pink lily held by a skeleton hand, and a tiger lily bursting from a skull all create an interesting juxtaposition that takes these lily tattoos to the next level.
Lily Tattoos FAQs
What do lily tattoos mean?
The most common of the lily family, the white lily has a long tradition of spiritual associations. In ancient Greece the lily flower—the name comes from the Greek word “lerion”—was sacred, believed to have sprung from the milk of Hera, the queen of the Greek gods.
Within the Christian tradition the white lily represents the Virgin Mary’s purity and this beautiful flower is said to signify Mary’s role as the Queen of the Angels.
Within Western culture at large, the white lily represents purity, hence its ubiquitous presence at funerals: the white lily represents the deceased’s soul reaching a renewed state of innocence allowing them to enter heaven.
The lily is also the 30th wedding anniversary flower which fits with the its other associations of devotion and humility.
What do different species and colored lilies represent?
When most people think of a lily flower the classic white lily is usually what comes to mind, however there are actually a wide variety of lily species that come in different colors and sport interesting patterns as well as having their own unique symbolism.
Pink lilies are usually associated with love, compassion and femininity, while the yellow lily represents lighthearted happiness and friendship. An orange lily is often used to represent honor and confidence and purple lilies have the attributes of pride, dignity and admiration that are usually associated with this regal color.
The different species of lily also come with their own symbolism. The tiger lily, with its unique spotted petals is usually associated with wealth, confidence and success, while the oriental lily—of which the stargazer is one variety—is associated with rebirth which makes them a common choice for weddings.
Calla lilies also associated with rebirth, are regularly used in Easter services as well as for funerals, symbolizing the restored purity of the deceased and their rebirth in the next life.
For all these reasons and more, for many people a lily tattoo is the perfect way to commemorate these powerful emotions.
Did you enjoy these lily flower tattoo designs? Click on the links below for ink steeped in rich symbolic meaning: