It’s been called the “ship of light on the sea of night”. One look upwards into sky at night and you’ll spot the moon smiling right on back.
While it might be incredibly distant from our home here on Earth, the moon’s phases play an important role in the rise and fall of the ocean tides. Not to mention, for awhile many believed even wolves gravitated towards the full moon to howl, however this has been proven by science to be more of a myth than a mystery.
With science leading the way and unlocking new clues about the 4.53 billion year old natural satellite, it’s no surprise man landed the Apollo 11 back in 1969. Within time we came to discover that even things like a ten foot dunk on earth was more like a 58.9 foot dunk on the moon!
Explorations aside, the moon has held significant meaning among a wide array of cultures and generations. Sure, it’s often associated with more feminine things, however the moon can be quite masculine in meaning too.
For instance, this tattoo design takes on a male gender among particular Japanese, Maori, African and Native American tribes. In Maori, it’s known as the husband of all women, the father God. Consider that its significance often stems from its importance while hunting at night.
The Buddhist view it as a symbol of beauty, peace and serenity. Every time a new moon gleams down from the sky it offers a period of time where spiritual power is at its strongest. In early Alchemical, it takes on a similar idea to that of silver. It’s cleansing, purifying and reflective, yet still just as strong as it is supple.
With that said, grab your space helmet and suit and get ready to explore the top X best moon tattoos for men. From the phases to cool crescent moon designs, you’ll be illuminated with ideas.
This is an interesting piece, placed on the shoulder blade that takes an illustrative approach to create a lovely, moon-inspired tattoo. What immediately stands out in this piece is the extreme level of saturation in the black at the bottom of the design; it produces a creative foundation for the design that allows the lighter portions of the tattoo to really pop. The bold line work that is used in the craggy peaks is clean and deliberate while the finer line work used in the trees perfectly captures a nighttime landscape. The fine stipple shading that starts above the mountains, eventually fading to negative space, is a clever way to enhance the composition and gives the design a more open feel.
This design is inspired by a nighttime scene over a lake with the moon reflected in the surface of the water, and the artist makes a couple of different stylistic choices that are incorporated into an interesting tattoo. The landscape in the bottom half of the tattoo uses a more illustrative design concept with bold lines forming the outline of the hilltops and negative space with some white ink for highlights. The moon, on the other hand, is completed with a much more realistic approach: there are none of the bold lines used in the bottom half, instead, the artist utilizes shading and excellent use of negative space to create an almost photorealistic interpretation of our nearest celestial body. These contrasting styles work well here to create a unique tattoo.
Here is a design that uses vivid colors, large size and bold placement to create a stunning, side tattoo. The artist makes expert use of a broad color scheme, utilizing blues and purples, all the way through to reds and pale yellows, setting this piece apart from other less vibrant tattoos. The lack of bold and defining lines is made up for here with expert color gradation and a well-planned design: in the hands of a less skilled artist this tattoo could easily have turned into an amorphous blob of contrasting colors. Instead it is an exciting celestial scene, complete with planets, stars, aurora borealis inspired swirls and whorls, perfectly capturing the intense colors of the cosmos.
This is a great black and gray design that takes an image that could have been pulled from a 19th-century children’s book and turns it into an interesting tattoo. The artist makes expert use of bold line work and some limited gray wash to create a tattoo that is reminiscent of hand-etched lithographs. The use of clean line work in the face is impressive, perfectly capturing the stoic countenance on the moon man’s face, while the swirls in the clouds are perfectly applied. The composition of this piece is well thought out and balanced, further enhancing the appeal of this interesting and unique tattoo.
This tattoo uses black and gray ink to capture the different phases of the moon across this man’s stomach. The black ink is well-saturated, creating the dark tones on the edges of the moons, increasing contrast and allowing the negative space highlights to stand out. The near-perfect circle that is used to create the full moon at the center of the piece is impressive and is a testament to the skill of the artist. The composition in this piece is also excellent, and dramatically improves the tattoo’s appeal: if the placement and angles of the moon phases weren’t correct the entire design would suffer. This is a great tattoo that, no doubt, holds special significance to the wearer and their relationship with the lunar cycle.
Here is another excellent piece that eschews color for a more subdued and classy design created with excellent use of black and gray ink. Once again we have a design that utilizes expert hatching to create the effect of the ink on paper designs produced through the lithograph process. The fine line work used to give depth and create shadows in the hand is excellent and contrasts nicely with the shading used in the moon, where the artist uses a more traditional technique along with negative space to capture the pockmarked surface of the moon. This is a great example of what is possible with a talented artist and a clever design concept.
This is a lovely design that uses elements from traditional Japanese tattoos and an informed, artistic eye to create this classic, moon-inspired tattoo. The swirls and whorls of the clouds and waves here are common elements in Japanese tattoos however these patterns are most often incorporated with some other, more dominant feature, whether it is koi fish, geishas or samurai. Here, the artist takes these dynamic designs and lets them breathe, instead opting for a simple, perfectly applied negative space circle as the focal point of the design. The subdued color palette is also an interesting choice. The black, gray and sepia tones work perfectly in this tasteful piece and help it to further stand out from more flashy, vibrant tattoos.
This tattoo takes a more photorealistic approach than some of the other designs with great results. The artist uses one bold line to capture the shape of the moon, other than that the design is made up of expert black and gray shading and intelligent use of negative space. The gradation of tones in this tattoo is also excellent; the fully saturated black at the bottom of the piece gradually moves towards the almost full negative space in the crater in the top right portion of the piece. The varied use of stipple and whip shading is excellent as well, allowing the artist to create a surprising amount of depth and texture in a relatively small tattoo.
This is a beautiful piece that uses expert gradation of tones and precise line work to create a tattoo that looks to be inspired by lithograph art from a bygone era. There are several things working together to make this unique design stand out from other tattoos that attempt to recreate this artistic technique. First off, the level of saturation in the black ink at the top of the piece is excellent and creates the contrast that lets the artist use varying levels of shading and negative space so effectively. The shading throughout—from the stipple work on the side of the church to whip shading in the steeple and on in the face of the sun—is expert and is a testament to the skill of the artist.
This is a clean black and gray design that uses elements of American traditional tattoos to create a unique piece. The bold lines and simple design are common traits of this style and are used here to create an interesting tattoo that has little chance of fading over time. The balanced composition allows the artist to incorporate a number of different elements—the big dipper, the Evening Star, and antlers—and give all the features their own space to breathe without feeling bunched or cluttered. The artist also makes great use of subtle shading to add a layer of depth that increases contrast and helps the moon and snowy peaks stand out. The clean, simple Roman numerals at the top of the piece most likely signify an important date and helps makes this a more personal and meaningful tattoo.
This is an excellent black and gray piece that takes an image from the classic silent film “Voyage to the Moon” and creates an interesting tattoo. The artist uses well-saturated black to create the starry backdrop for this moon man’s grimace. The use of gray wash shading to capture the pockmarked surface of the moon is well applied and stays true to the images in the film. This piece is impressive for the way the artist perfectly captures this scene that has become famous for being one of the first science fiction films.
Moon Tattoo FAQ’s
What does a moon tattoo symbolize?
Tattoos that incorporate natural elements are a great way to display that one understands the important role that the natural world plays in life, and the moon is perhaps the most highly charged of these features. The moon is a powerful symbol that can be interpreted in many ways, which is perfect for tattoos since every piece of body art is unique to the wearer and their understanding of the components in the design. This broad significance is expanded further by the different phases the moon moves through during the month.
A half-moon is often used to represent balance, while a crescent moon can reference moving past difficult times to a moment of rebirth. Another common concept for moon inspired tattoos is an image showing all the different stages in the lunar cycle, symbolizing the endless process of life, death, and rebirth and how this cycle defines the natural world, as well human life in general.
Where do you put a moon tattoo?
Just like any tattoo, the placement of a moon tattoo is up to wearer and what their tastes and priorities are. That being said, there are some choices in placement that have become popular in recent times. Many people choose to put a moon design between their shoulder blades, letting the top of the tattoo peek out above the collar, and giving the piece a balanced feel, sitting in the center of the back. Another popular choice for a tattoo showing the different stages of the moon is running down the forearm, letting the composition of the design flow and making for a more dynamic piece.
Wherever the placement however, these lovely tattoos are full of meaning and are a great way to express powerful feelings of interconnectedness and unity with the natural world.