Among mythical creatures, dragons are one of the most common in the ancient world. In the West, the dragon is seen as a fearsome creature that warriors, knights and fighters seek out to destroy. In the East, the dragon is seen as a creature that brings luck, and protects families.
For a design that symbolizes power, respect, wealth, and good luck, a dragon tattoo is a great choice. In this article we cover a variety of designs and styles for both men and women. Find out which one is best for you.
1. Full Body Dragon Tattoo
If you decide to get a large tattoo for your torso, a full-body dragon tattoo will look amazing on it. Just be careful what design you go with. A full body dragon tattoo in the oriental style is used by both Chinese and Japanese gangsters, so maybe pass on this choice if you want to avoid becoming embroiled in far eastern gang warfare.
2. Chest to Arm Dragon Tattoo
A chest-to-arm dragon tattoo is a cool concept that looks fantastic. This style uses plenty of space, and can extend to the back and upper arm. This tattoo is amongst the most popular Asian dragon tattoos as it symbolizes strong willpower. It is best inked with black and grey colors with shading if preferable.
3. Dragon Back Tattoo
Back dragon tattoos show the dragon covering the entire back of the wearer. Chinese dragon tattoos are often shown in this manner. The design is bold enough to be masculine but feminine enough that it doesn’t appear too scary to others.
4. Dragon Sleeve Tattoo
The sleeve dragon is a bold tattoo running from the shoulder to the wrist as a full sleeve. It can also be a half-sleeve drawn from the shoulder down to the elbow, or from the elbow to the wrist. The sleeve is the perfect placement for a dragon tattoo because it allows for a long dragon drawing.
5. Small Dragon Tattoo
Small dragon tattoos can be placed anywhere on the body. They tend to be of a simpler design and can look quite cute, depending on the design you go for.
6. Classic Dragon Tattoo
Dragon tattoos are among the most popular type of tattoos because they come in so many different shapes and sizes. They also come with a range of detailed designs from classic to more modern interpretations that feature fire-breathing dragons with wings or scales that look like armor. They look best on the shoulder, arm and across the upper chest.
7. Chinese Dragon Tattoo
The Chinese dragon tattoo symbolizes power, strength, and long life. It’s believed that dragons not only control water but also the weather. It is also said that if you live your life with honor and integrity the dragon will guide you safely through life’s challenges. The best placements for a Chinese dragon tattoo are the arms, back of the neck, and legs.
8. Japanese Dragon Tattoo
The Japanese dragon tattoo design is just as popular as Chinese dragons, perhaps because the two cultures share a similar history. There are several types of dragons in Japanese culture, but the most common is Ryū which symbolizes strength and power. Japanese dragon tattoos are best placed on the upper back or arms.
9. Celtic Dragon Tattoo
Celtic dragon tattoos are often used as a design element for tribal tattoos or Celtic knotwork tattoos. This tattoo style features dragons in a variety of bright colors with twisting and turning bodies that look like they’re coming out from the skin. Since the designs are elaborate, they are best placed on the arm or back.
10. Tribal Dragon Tattoo
Tribal dragon tattoos are a common and popular tattoo design for both men and women. They symbolize different meanings across cultures, but the most common symbolism is power, strength, protection, good luck, and intelligence. For those who want to wear their beliefs on their skin or feel like they’re carrying some sort of talisman with them at all times (like a shield), tribal dragon tattoos might be the perfect choice.
11. Dragon Face Tattoo
If a whole dragon image does not appeal to you, a dragon face might. A dragon face can be rendered to look terrifying or majestic. Looks great on the bicep.
12. Dragon Eye Tattoo
Dragon-eye tattoos can look ferocious but very cool. The dragon looks like it’s peeking out from your body, which makes it a very eye-catchy and bold design.
13. Bearded Dragon Tattoo
Bearded dragons are popular as pets throughout the United States, and they are sometimes used in tattoos as a way to show affection for these reptiles. Bearded dragon tattoos can be placed just about anywhere on the body, but you’ll often find them on the hand, upper arms, and neck.
14. Dragon Scale Tattoo
Do you identify strongly with the characteristics of a dragon? Do you consider yourself powerful and fierce? Then this unusual dragon body art might be your thing. A skillful tattoo artist will be able to create the illusion of layers of scales beneath your skin. Red and black looks great if you’re going for a traditional, evil dragon look. Blue and green can give off more of a mermaid vibe.
15. Flaming Dragon Tattoo
For an image that will get a lot of attention, this flaming dragon tattoo design features a fierce fire-breathing dragon. It is all about raw power and the unstoppable forces of nature. In western culture, dragons are associated with fire and destruction, as showcased in The Hobbit and the Game of Thrones. Make the flames pop with a full-color tattoo, so it stands out! Some artists also use techniques that will make the image glow on your skin. It is a fantastic body art that you can fully commit to!
16. Colorful Dragon Tattoo
Flaming dragon tattoos feature a traditional Chinese dragon that’s been given a fiery touch. These designs are most often placed on the upper back or an arm. You can also add the flaming element to any other design for extra detail.
17. Blue Dragon Tattoo
The blue dragon tattoo is a modern take on the traditional Chinese and Japanese dragons. It features an azure-colored dragon with swirling patterns that represent movement as if in flight or swimming through water. Blue dragons represent power, strength, and wisdom. This is one of the more popular dragon tattoos because it’s simple but memorable and can be placed on any large prominent area like the shoulder, arm sleeve and thigh.
18. Yin Yang Dragon Tattoo
The Yin Yang dragon is an ancient Chinese symbol that has been used for thousands of years to represent many different things. It can stand for the balance between opposing forces, hope after despair, victory in battle, the sun and the moon, masculinity and femininity, good luck and bad luck. The important thing about this design is that it represents a duality that fits well with almost any other tattoo design or theme. Yin Yang dragon tattoos can be drawn to scale to fit any part of the body.
19. Floral Dragon Tattoo
The floral dragon tattoo is an elegant and feminine design that’s ideal for the foot, ankle, or calf. The floral dragon is a combination of both Western and Asian art styles. You’ll notice it has a traditional Chinese dragon tail with a floral-inspired head. This mix of styles feminizes this tattoo design while still retaining its ancient significance.
20. Dragon Koi Tattoo
The dragon koi represents nobility. Koi fish are also strongly connected to Japanese tradition and culture as the carp symbolizes perseverance and determination. Dragon koi tattoos represent the harmony between heaven and earth or good luck for business ventures. It is best placed on the arms, hands, or chest.
21. Dragon Tiger Tattoo
The dragon tiger tattoo is a popular design for the Chinese zodiac. It can represent a balance of yin and yang, or as an ancient symbol of power. The symbols themselves are found in Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian teachings. The dragon represents masculinity, whereas the tiger is feminine. It’s believed that when their combined energies are balanced by love, life can be harmonious and peaceful. As a complex design, the dragon tiger tattoo is best placed on a large area like the sleeve, back, the side or rib. It can also be placed on the thigh and hip.
22. Dragon and Snake Tattoo
The intertwined dragon and snake are powerful, ancient symbols of protection. The Chinese dragon is a symbol of power, healing, strength, longevity, good luck, and transformation. Snakes represent wisdom and wealth in many Asian cultures. The combination of the two creates harmony with one’s environment which brings good fortune. A dragon and snake tattoo can be displayed prominently on the chest, back, or arm.
23. Moon and Dragon Tattoo
This gorgeous moon and dragon tattoo are sexy, feminine, and powerful. The dragon’s fiery tail wraps around the crescent moon to create a dynamic balance between fire and water. It symbolizes strength, wisdom, and passion. This kind of tattoo looks great everywhere, but is best placed on the upper back or on the shoulders.
24. Dragon and Phoenix Tattoo
The dragon and phoenix are popular pairings in Asian folklore. The dragon represents masculine energy, whereas the phoenix represents feminine energy. In Chinese culture, they represent opposite but complementary forces that create balance in nature and within life. This symbol also expresses deep friendship or love between two people. If you’re looking for an empowering tattoo, consider this design as it embodies strength and elegance. The dragon and phoenix tattoo looks great drawn vertically along the thigh, or horizontally from the shoulder going to the upper back.
25. Dragon Ball Tattoo
Dragon ball tattoos are inspired by dragon balls from the popular Dragon Ball Z anime. The dragon balls are a set of seven magical orbs that contain dragon spirits within them. Dragon ball tattoos will usually feature the dragon’s face or just a yellow ball with one to seven stars. The dragon ball tattoo is usually smaller than the typical dragon tattoo and can be placed on the wrist and forearm.
Depending on the size, a complex dragon tattoo can take at four hours, to several sessions stretching over several weeks. An intricate Japanese-style dragon tattoo on the back requires detailed planning before tattooing starts.
In Western culture, the dragon is a fearsome creature and adversary, and the tattoo represents power and evil. In eastern cultures, especially Chinese and Japanese, dragon tattoos also symbolize luck, wisdom and family values.
The dragon tattoo for women echoes the concept of the “dragon lady,” a tough woman who makes decisions at par with the men. This is an apt description of the modern independent woman. The dragon tattoo for a woman embodies courage, wisdom, independence and femininity.
The dragon tattoo is a symbol of power in the West, but it is a lucky charm in Eastern cultures. Women wear a dragon tattoo with pride and honor, as they strive to live up to the symbol the dragon represents.