The subject of mermaid tattoo design has its roots firmly planted in the traditional tattoos of sailors and seamen from the past. But far from being restricted to American traditional tattoo inspiration, more people are using mermaids to express themselves in body art.
Mermaids are powerful symbols of femininity, the ocean, and transformation and change.
There’s now a variety of styles and technical application ranging from Disney versions of childhood through to macabre depictions of the mermaid that are downright scary. The meanings for each tattoo differ with their interpretation, as do their tattoo style.
The following amazing tattoos demonstrate just how exciting and versatile these mythical creatures can be for an artist to design. Read on for awesome mermaid ink inspiration for your next tattoo.
1. American/Neo Traditional Tattoo Inspiration
Applied using precise lines and exceptional shading in the mermaids’ scales and fins, this clean piece is a great example of a neo- that does not suffer from a lack of .
Another excellent neo-traditional piece, this reds and black and an interesting composition to create a that is reminiscent of Art Nouveau prints. uses a compelling scheme that is heavy on
This neo-traditional piece uses the bold lines and vibrant colors of American traditional work and applies them to a more illustrative interpretation of a that could come straight out of a childhood cartoon.
A classic American traditional piece, this brings several design elements typical of the style, including an anchor, sunset, ship rigging and “Hold Fast”, to create an interesting ode to the that is a great example of the style.
This is an interesting neo-traditional piece that incorporates several contrasting elements—an accurate depiction of Flounder from The and a sultry interpretation of Ariel—along with other nautical elements like a fully rigged ship and coral, all contained within a bottle and applied in black and gray .
Here the draws on American traditional work—notice the simple face, bold lines and flower—to create a black and gray that is reminiscent of Jerry’s hula girls.
This clean black and gray , a limited use of bold lines that is reminiscent of lithographs and a frame to improve the composition and complete this of a watching a ship sail away in the middle of a storm. utilizes
Arguably, American traditional is where it all started for Western tattooing, and for many people it is still the go to for big, bold designs. A part of the flash sheets that adorn the walls of parlors around the world. Many sailors chose the of these to represent their passion and devotion to the . has long been a
In many ways, a served as the physical embodiment of the oceans that carried sailors around the world. It was fitting to permanently apply these sultry variations on a , half on their bodies.
Drawing on the bold lines and vibrant colors of the older school, neo-traditional tattoos expand on this illustrative approach to create a more creative and free an excellent cross section of both the new school and old school approach to everything from through to , and wicked placement options such as the or neck.. These tattoos provide the
2. Black and Gray
Another tattooing application that arose out of a rudimentary approach and eventually grew into a full-fledged artistic style is the black and gray single needle work in particular—grew out of a lack of equipment, the level of detail and expertise that is on display in these and tattoos demonstrates just how far it is has come – they’re even being developed into amazing . . While black and gray—and
Typified by precise line work and an expert use of shading, many a prefers the understated elegance of black and gray over the vibrant colors of other styles. In fact, more and more people are choosing to skip entirely and dedicate their entire bodies to the of black and gray art.
From photorealistic interpretations to designs that are more illustrative or abstract, black and gray – particularly in a finely detailed like most of these examples – is a great choice for those that enjoy a more subtle .
3. Vibrant and
For some people there is simply nothing that speaks to their bright and vibrant personality like . Mermaids are a great choice for this kaleidoscopic approach, or a more subtle but equally vivid . provides artists with an added level of expression that can be utilized in a number of ways.
Some people choose to use colors to enhance hyper-realistic portrait, while others draw inspiration from — is a particularly popular approach for this . Another trend is to create a effect reminiscent of paintings, such as the variation in the and in the examples above.
Mermaids are especially well suited for thanks to the opportunity they provide to incorporate other ocean and scenes into designs. Turtles, and coral reefs can all be applied using vivid colors to create a more exciting and .
4. Delicate Mermaid Tattoos
The original American school stressed the importance of bold lines in creating a strong . “Bold will hold” is a phrase that every is familiar with. However, thanks to better equipment a talented is able to create a that stands up to the test of time.
Using fine lines to apply delicate designs to a is a growing trend whether tattooed in black and gray or full , on the , , or as a . For delicate work they provide a variety of small details, the beautiful , , and and layered help this gentle pop.
5. Innovative Tattoo Inspiration
Good art is created by artists that are not afraid to take chances, push the limits and redefine what is possible in their medium. Tattooing is no different. The level of skill that is on display in shops around the world is all the evidence anyone needs to prove that tattooing has gone from the fringes of society to a full blown artistic movement.
Like any other medium, tattooing is constantly evolving, with modern trends constantly reshaping what people consider possible: hyper-realism that elicits double takes, stunning geometric designs, baffling optical illusions that draw the eye into a piece, and mermaids are the perfect subjects for these innovative designs. The variety of textures available thanks to their scales and skin, and foam, rocks and coral, provide an near endless potential to show off their talent.
6. Linework Mermaid Tattoo Design
Linework is quite possibly the single most important element of any successful . Without strong lines even the most interesting design concept will end up a smudgy blob a few years down the line.
In fact, linework is so key in creating a successful that many people choose to skip and shading, instead letting the clean line work speak for itself. While this is a difficult feat to accomplish—sometimes these pieces can feel incomplete—when done correctly an understated appeal is created that is compelling despite a lack of .
Once again, mermaids are a great subject for this approach thanks to the variety of textures contained within a single figure. The opposing textures of scales, skin and mean that even a line work still contains enough contrast to remain interesting.
7. Dark Themed and Skeleton Mermaid Tattoos
While many people are only aware of the The —that we are familiar with from childhood, there is a much darker interpretation of these that has a much older history. In fact, some of the earliest stories told of beautiful mermaids that would lure fishermen to their deaths as a way to pay atonement for the souls of their kindred that these anglers had caught over the years. depictions of mermaids—see
More and more people to get tattoos that hark back to this earlier, more macabre interpretation of mermaids. Some people give their hollow eyes, a rotting half body corpse, and mouths full of razor sharp teeth, while others use the of these aquatic chimeras as the subject for their tattoos.
While it’s not what most people think of when they hear of a and , there is no denying the appeal of these spooky .
What do symbolize?
Mermaids are powerful symbols of femininity, the ocean, and transformation and change.
Though it is true that there are depictions of male counterparts, most stories tell of mermaids, with the upper bodies of beautiful women and the lower half of . can highlight these feminine characteristics and become interesting commemorations to the ’s respect for the feminine aspects of nature.
are a great choice for anyone with a powerful attachment and for the . They’re also powerful symbols of transformation and change thanks to the way they bring together the opposing elements of the land and the .
For this reason, many people choose to get a as a way to commemorate a significant change in their lives, or perhaps a general acceptance of the evolving nature of life.
Where does mythology come from?
While most people may think of Disney’s depiction of a princess, stories of these date back all the way to the Sumerians, with the first written account coming form 1000 BCE. With such a long history it is little surprise that the meaning and significance of mermaids is broad and varied, although some associations are consistent throughout the centuries.
Many stories also tell of mermaids as enchantresses who often lured sailors to their graves, much like the Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey. Thanks to these myths and legends mermaids remain symbols of temptation and manipulation.
Did you enjoy these Mermaid tattoo ideas? Click on the links below for more aquatic and ocean related galleries: