Lions are one of the most popular tattoo designs for men because they represent dominance, strength, confidence, and courage. They aren’t called the King of the Jungle for nothing. They are also instantly recognizable, meaning they are suited to lots of different art styles – from photorealistic to geometric and tribal. Read on to discover all the different types of lion tattoos and the perfect piece for you.
Lion Tattoo Meaning
The lion is one of the world’s most majestic creatures and is considered the king of the animal kingdom. The big cat is associated with strength, power, wisdom, leadership, bravery, and courage. It is often tattooed to represent family or to show that you are determined and resilient. There are also several ways to design your tattoo, and you can combine the imagery of a lion with other things, like a lioness, skull, or crown. The imagery you choose will alter the meaning of your piece and make a powerful statement about the things you value most.
1. Lion Face Tattoo
A lion face tattoo looks majestic and wise. The design is excellent if you’re an animal lover or want your ink in the photorealistic art style. While some lion tattoos can seem intimidating, a lion’s face shows the more mysterious and peaceful side of the animal. To show off all the detail in your lion face tattoo, try a forearm, chest, or back placement.
2. Lion With Crown Tattoo
The lion with a crown tattoo plays into the powerful, royal image of the lion. Men who are the protector of their family and are in charge suit this tattoo design. It shows that you are strong, independent, and in control. The tattoo can also have a Christian meaning: the Bible refers to Jesus as both a king and a lion. Singer Justin Bieber has this tattoo design on his chest.
3. Female Lion Tattoo
A female lion tattoo is a very meaningful tattoo choice because of the way lionesses behave in nature. In the wild, lionesses hunt together to provide for the family, as well as care for cubs. They are powerful predators, as well as being maternal. For those reasons, a lioness inking makes for the perfect tattoo tribute to the strong women in your life.
4. Tribal Lion Tattoo
There are several options when it comes to choosing a tribal lion tattoo. If you have tribal heritage, a lion tattoo in your culture’s traditional style would be a striking choice. African tribal art often includes bold black ink and geometric shapes. Meanwhile, the classic tribal tattoo style has more curved lines, which would give your lion design life and movement. Either way, a tribal lion tattoo is eye-catching and unusual.
5. Small Lion Tattoo
Your lion tattoo doesn’t have to be big to have an impact. Even a small lion tattoo looks striking and cool. For extra impact, ask your tattoo artist to add white ink details to the lion’s eyes. Additionally, a small lion tattoo is ideal for your fingers and hands, forearm, neck, or behind the ear.
6. Geometric Lion Tattoo
For an unusual and trendy take on a lion tattoo, try a geometric tattoo. The art style gives any tattoo a modern and futuristic touch. So if you’re a fan of more abstract and non-traditional ink, it could be perfect for you. There are lots of different options when it comes to a geometric lion tattoo. Shaded triangles will give the design depth and complexity, creating a stand out effect.
7. Lion and Lamb Tattoo
Christian men looking for a meaningful, powerful, and masculine tattoo should consider a lion and lamb design. In the Bible, both these animals symbolize Jesus Christ. He is often called the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah,’ which refers to his heritage as part of King David’s family line, and as the messiah. The lion also symbolizes his conquest of death. Meanwhile, the lamb represents Christ’s sacrifice, as in ancient times, lambs were sacrificial animals used in religious ceremonies. To add even more meaning to this inking, you could add your favorite Bible verse or three crosses.
8. Lion of Judah Tattoo
The lion of Judah tattoo is of a lion wearing a crown and holding a royal scepter. It has several different meanings. Firstly, it can be considered a Christian symbol as Jesus Christ is referred to as ‘the lion of Judah’ in the Bible. Secondly, the design features on the old Ethiopian flag, making the design very significant for those with Ethiopian heritage. For the same reason, it is also meaningful for followers of the Rastafarian religion and culture, as former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie is considered to be an incarnation of God.
9. Lion and Cub Tattoo
The lion and cub tattoo symbolizes the protection between father and child. That’s because, in the wild, lions fiercely defend their cubs. For that reason, it’s a popular tattoo choice for new dads. It’s a tattoo that shows how important family is in your life, so if you want to show your ‘pride’ how you will always keep them safe, it’s a great option.
10. Roaring Lion Tattoo
Proud and powerful, a roaring lion tattoo is all about showing your strength to others. Lions make this sound to mark their territory, and their iconic roar can be heard up to 5 miles away. A roaring lion tattoo looks intimidating because it shows off the wild side of the beast. It has a very masculine feel and also requires a lot of space, so it suits a chest, thigh, or back placement. Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has this tattoo. If you want to show off your wild side, try this inking out.
11. Lion Eyes Tattoo
One of the most popular lion-themed inkings is a lion eyes tattoo. It’s a mysterious and intriguing design that’s ideal if you like the photorealistic tattoo style. Eye tattoos are considered lucky in many cultures; they indicate that the wearer is being watched over. Eyes are also considered to be ‘the window to the soul’ and represent someone’s inner personality. So if you feel connected to the strength and power of a lion, a lion’s eye tattoo is perfect for you.
12. Lion Chest Tattoo
A chest tattoo gives the artist a larger canvas to work with, so you can have a bigger and more detailed design. It’s an excellent choice for an intricate lion tattoo that extends over your shoulder. A tattoo on the left side of your chest often symbolizes courage and bravery because it’s over your heart.
13. Lion Hand Tattoo
A hand tattoo is an excellent placement for a strong masculine design like a lion because others will see it whenever you shake their hand. For the same reason, it’s great for building confidence as it makes you feel stronger and more powerful. Hand tattoos also symbolize control. As a result, some men get a lion tattooed on their right hand when they achieve success or to show their self-control, like overcoming an addiction.
14. Winged Lion Tattoo
Not only does a winged lion look cool and powerful, but it also has a deeper meaning. This mythical take on the lion represents St Mark in Christianity, which makes it a great option if your favorite Bible passage is from Mark’s gospel. NBA star LeBron James has this tattoo on his chest, which is an ideal placement because it provides enough space to show the detail of the wings.
15. Lion Forearm Tattoo
Forearm tattoos are one of the most popular tattoo placements for men. That’s because you can see them without the help of a mirror – unlike your back. You can easily cover a forearm tattoo with a long-sleeved shirt. It’s one of the least painful places to get a tattoo, so it’s an ideal placement for your first inking. A smaller lion tattoo would look great on your inner arm, while you could show off a larger design with a quote or Bible verse on the outside of your forearm.
16. Lion Shoulder Tattoo
Another popular placement for men is a shoulder tattoo. That’s because it’s a traditional and very masculine area of the body to get inked. A shoulder tattoo usually covers your bicep and can extend further up to your collarbone or down to your chest. A lion tattoo matches perfectly with a shoulder placement because both are associated with strength.
17. Lion Sleeve Tattoo
A full sleeve tattoo stretches from your shoulder to your wrist. Usually, many different tattoos make up a sleeve to tell a story or create a specific scene. A large lion tattoo anchors a sleeve design because it’s eyecatching and dramatic, and looks great in black ink or full color. It also pairs well with lots of other symbolic tattoos, like eagles, roses, flags, crowns, crosses, and skulls.
18. Lion Back Tattoo
If you want a lion inking with maximum impact, choose a back tattoo. You’ll have enough space for a large, detailed design of either a lion head or even a full body. Lyon footballer Memphis Depay has a lion tattoo that covers his whole back. While back tattoos are bold and often chosen by extroverts, they are also symbolic – people often get their most meaningful tattoos on their back, knowing they won’t see it every day. Back tattoos show others what’s most important to you.
19. Lion Finger Tattoo
Lion finger tattoos have become trendy in recent years and have even been adopted by celebrities like boxer Anthony Joshua. The inking has all the power and majesty of a full-size lion tattoo but is still subtle. The shape of a lion’s head fits with the narrow space on your finger. Matching lion finger tattoos are also a fun choice for a couple’s tattoo.
20. Lion King Tattoo
A fantastic way to honor a memory from childhood is to get inked with one of your favorite Disney characters, and the Lion King was a favorite for many. The 1994 film has many valuable lessons and memorable moments, and if the story of Simba resonates with you, then there is no better choice for body art. Your piece can have several meanings, depending on the images you choose. A design of Simba could represent growth, strength, and maturity, while Simba and Nala could symbolize love. You could also get inked with Timon, Pumba, and Simba to celebrate friendship. There are many options for how you design your piece, too, including opting for a silhouette for those who prefer a minimalistic approach to body art or an outline tattoo. For a more detailed tattoo, you may also want to create it in colored ink.
21. Lion Head Tattoo
The lion is a mighty and fearsome creature often associated with bravery and courage. It is one of the most powerful predators and a beautiful animal, and opting for a design of its head is an excellent choice for your next tattoo. It can show that you value the qualities that the lion represents, or it could be a way to remind yourself to stay strong and resilient in challenging situations. The head can also be viewed as a trophy and symbol of prestige and excellence. A lion head can be designed in several ways, including a realistic portrayal or adding a geometric element to your tattoo for a unique finish.
22. Lion Thigh Tattoo
The lion is a beautiful and mighty creature associated with many things, including courage and bravery. Thigh tattoos are considered low on the pain scale chart because the area’s thick skin, muscle, and fat provide cushioning. It is also a versatile placement and can be easily shown off or covered with clothing, making it ideal for those who work in corporate environments or professions that frown upon visible body art. There is no better placement for a large, detailed design than the thigh. There is enough space to combine several images and get creative with your design. However, a simple and small piece will look just as great here.
23. Half Lion Half Flower Tattoo
The lion can be inked on its own or combined with other images to add to the overall meaning of the design and create a unique design. This includes creating a half lion and half flower design, which can make a statement, often about balance and duality. The lion is a powerful animal commonly associated with bravery, strength, and courage, while the flower represents life, growth, and fragility. Thus, pairing these two images can create a thought-provoking and beautiful tattoo. You can also choose which blooms you want to add to your design, letting you personalize it. These could include peonies, sunflowers, or roses, or could be a combination of several.
24. Leo Lion Tattoo
Leo is the zodiac sign for those born between Jul. 23 and Aug. 22. If you are interested in horoscopes and feel drawn to the qualities that a Leo represents, then getting a tattoo in honor of this is a great choice. Leos are considered powerful and confident individuals who are independent and self-reliant. They are also natural-born leaders, and the lion is regarded as the king of animals and is a mighty and fearsome predator. There are many reasons to be drawn to a Leo lion tattoo, and you can experiment with the design, including adding your birthdate or the image of a lion to the star constellation.
25. Lion and Lioness Tattoo
The lion is associated with strength and power and is a beautiful animal. Similarly, the lioness is also associated with strength, but also femininity, wisdom, and motherhood. The combination of a lion and lioness tattoo can make a powerful statement about family, relationships, or finding a balance in life. It can be an excellent way to honor those you love or your bond with a partner. Some individuals may also be inspired to create a lion and lioness matching tattoo; this can be a cute way to show your dedication to the relationship.
26. Lion Flower Tattoo
Flowers make a beautiful addition to any tattoo, often adding a softness to the design. They can be used as fillers for a larger piece, or incorporated into the design, for example, a half lion and half flower tattoo. In general, blooms are associated with beauty, growth, and life. There are many flowers to choose from, each with its meaning, which makes it easy to personalize your inking. A lion and flower tattoo can also be a way to celebrate the beauty of the natural world or to show the importance of balance; the lion is mighty, and the flower is fragile. When designing your piece, you may find that the design benefits from color to show the full beauty of your chosen bloom.
27. Arm Lion Tattoo
The arm is one of the most popular locations for tattoos for men and women. This is because of its versatility, and the area can easily be shown or covered up. Arm tattoos can cover the entire arm, like a sleeve, or focus on a section of it; this will depend on the size and detail of your chosen design. The arm is also low to moderate on the pain scale chart because of the thick skin, muscle, and fat, which provide cushioning. However, the closer you ink toward the shoulder bone or wrist, the more pain you will experience. The lion is an excellent choice for your next tattoo because of the beauty of the animal and the rich symbolism associated with it.
28. Lion Family Tattoo
Family is everything. These people will love and support you no matter what; this is a powerful and important bond. Lions live in a pride, and it is the females who hunt and care for the young while the male defends the territory. The big cats are often associated with family because they are social animals and live together in this familial group, and as such, getting a lion family tattoo is a great way to honor your bond with your own family. You can also create your design to reflect your family better, whether with a lion and lioness and a cub, or two lionesses, two lions, and multiple cubs.
29. Lion Leg Tattoo
Leg tattoos are a popular option for men and women. The appeal of getting tattooed on the leg is its visibility, making it easy to show off your design and letting you look at it every day. It is also a location that can be easily covered up. The leg is large enough to give you creative freedom with your design. It can cover the entire leg or be focused on a small area. Another pro is that, apart from the knee, the leg is considered low to moderate on the pain scale because of the thick skin, muscle, and fat, which provide cushioning.
30. Lion Neck Tattoo
The neck is a rebellious placement for body art and ideal for someone who wants a design that feels edgy and cool. Neck tattoos have a stigma attached to them as tough guys and criminals have long favored the placement. It is also an excruciating area to get inked, and doing so can show power and strength. It seems fitting then to get tattooed with a lion, an animal considered the leader of the animal kingdom and represents bravery and courage. The neck is a visible location which is both a pro and a con; for those who want to show off their body art, this is an excellent way to do that. However, visible tattoos can affect job opportunities.
31. Lion Cross Tattoo
Cross tattoos are often inked by the devoted and are a way to honor their religious beliefs. The lion and the cross can be tattooed together to represent royalty. God is the king, and the lion is considered the most powerful and majestic beast in the animal kingdom. This is an excellent design for someone who wants to show their faithfulness, and you can also add your favorite Bible verse to make your tattoo more personal.
32. Simple Lion Tattoo
There is a definite appeal to getting inked with a simple tattoo. As the name suggests, the beauty of this piece is in its simplicity. The design focuses on the basics, with limited shading and contrast. They also look great when inked on a smaller scale, making this a versatile choice that lends itself well to all placements. Your tattoo will be more about its meaning than the design itself and is ideal for those who prefer a minimalistic aesthetic. Lion tattoos represent many things, but most commonly, bravery, courage, wisdom, and strength.
33. Cara Delevingne Lion Tattoo
Model turned actress Cara Delevingne is one of the world’s most recognizable faces. She is also celebrated for her style and is known for her tattoos; it is believed she has around 20 tattoos. However, her first was of a lion, which she got inked onto her index finger. It symbolizes the Leo zodiac sign (she was born on Aug. 12). Leos are often believed to be confident and self-assured individuals who are strong and resilient. The finger is an excellent choice for body art you want to show off because the location is hard to miss and sometimes associated with rebellion.
34. Japanese Lion Tattoo
The Japanese lion, or Komainu, has featured heavily in Chinese and Japanese folklore and represents loyalty and protection. When choosing the perfect design, you may wish to get it done in Japanese-style tattoos, which will complement your inking. This could also be a way to honor your Japanese heritage or your love for the culture.
35. Lion Rose Tattoo
The rose is a beautiful flower but also rich in symbolism. Rose tattoos represent beauty, passion, and balance; the thorns can cause harm, but the flower is pretty. Roses are a great addition to any tattoo, including a lion design. This piece could represent masculine and feminine qualities, strength and fragility, passion and resilience, and much more. You may also wish to get inked in color as different color roses have their own symbolism. For example, yellow is a bloom associated with positivity and happiness, and pink represents friendship.
36. Lion Skull Tattoo
The lion represents courage and strength, while a skull tattoo is associated with death and protection. There are several ways to combine a skull and a lion design. This includes splitting the image of the lion in half, with one side showing its skull and the other depicting the lion with its fur. This tattoo could be about achieving balance or acknowledging the connection between life and death. Other people may opt for the image of a lion and add a human skull, which could be a comment on your mortality or to instill fear in others, showing them you are not someone who suffers fools gladly.
37. Trash Polka Lion Tattoo
If you want to make a statement with your body art, there is no better option than trash polka tattoos. The style originated in Germany and was created by tattoo artists Simone Pfaff and Volker Merschky. It is defined by the combination of realistic imagery and abstract artwork. Trash Polka is made using a limited color palette of red and black ink, which creates a brilliant contrast and demands attention. It is a style that will work well with an image of a lion, and the design will feel modern and chaotic. This makes it ideal for someone who wants to stand out from the crowd, and your body art is made to be seen — as such, choosing somewhere visible, like the forearm or calf, will have the best results.
38. Mountain Lion Tattoo
The African lion is a powerful and fearsome creature, and choosing a design around this big cat is ideal for anyone who wants body art representing courage, bravery, and strength. The lion is also a sociable animal, living in a familial unit called a pride. In contrast, mountain lions are solitary animals. This could be an excellent choice for someone who values their freedom and independence. You could get a mountain lion tattoo to remind yourself that you are the most important person in your life. Or that you are highly-skilled, adaptable, and content.
39. Realistic Lion Tattoo
When getting inked, it is not just the design to consider but also the style. Hyper-realistic tattoos are gorgeous and detailed, created to resemble a photographic image. They can be challenging to create, and you will need to go to a tattoo artist specializing in this style for the best results. The time that goes into these pieces also means that they are often more expensive and, depending on the size of your tattoo, it may take several sessions to complete. The lion is a majestic creature, and this style will complement its beauty.
Lion Tattoos FAQs
What does a tattoo of a lion mean?
Besides power and royalty, lion tattoos have other meanings. The animals are the symbol of many countries, including the UK, Norway, and Ethiopia. That makes them a patriotic choice of body art. In astrology, a lion represents the birth sign of Leo, making it ideal for those born at that time of the year. And finally, lions have a significant religious meaning for many Christians as they symbolize Jesus Christ, as well as St Mark.
How much is a lion tattoo?
The cost of a lion tattoo will depend on the size and detail. Generally, they are larger to allow intricate detail, so it will cost more. Most tattoo shops charge by the hour, and the rate might be a standard shop price, or it could vary by artist depending on their experience, exposure, and popularity. Expect to pay between $120-$200 per hour, on average. When you book in for a consultation and discuss your design with the artist, you'll be able to ask for a ballpark quote.
Where do you put a lion tattoo?
Popular placements for lion tattoos include the chest, back, arms, and legs. These areas are larger and allow bigger, more detailed designs. They're also often the most powerful parts of a guy's body, enhancing the strength and dominance meaning of the tattoo.
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