Dragon Tattoo Ideas

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Published on May 24, 2022

In the world of mythical creatures, is there really one that stands out at the top more than the Dragon? The Dragon is probably the most iconic and well-known beast throughout the world that never actually existed.

From ancient tales of wise, all-knowing Gods or Brave Heros who vanquish deadly beasts to blockbuster action and animated films to some of the most iconic designs in gaming history, the Dragon transcends all mediums, and in the world of tattoos, it’s no different, the dragon tattoo stands out as one of the most tattooed imagery there is. 

So if you’re in the market for a dragon tattoo, you’re in the right place. It is the year of the Dragon as I write this, after all, and what better time could there be to finally have a tattoo artist sink the teeth of his tattoo gun into your arm and leave you permanently scared in the shaped of the most legendary of Beasts.

What Is so Special About the Dragon

Dragons are a symbol that goes as far back as 4500 BCE when the earliest known depiction of one was found in Inner Mongolia in the form of Jade sculptures made by the Hongshan culture. 

The Dragon’s symbolism has changed over the centuries but it is most associated with images of knowledge, luck, wisdom, and power and are often depicted as life-bringers as they carry with them rain to farmers in Asian culture. 

However, in European mythology, Dragons are more ferocious and deadly. Fire-breathing, treasure hoarding, and even holding Princesses captive, these beasts are symbolic of obstacles of a seemingly insurmountable challenge that must be overcome in order for you to be rewarded through a noble or courageous quest. 

The rich symbolism associated with the Dragon spanning centuries is what makes it such a popular design for those who want to ink themselves with something that has a deep meaning. 

Related post: What Does A Dragon Tattoo Mean

16 Best Dragon Tattoo Design Ideas

So now that you know a little bit about the history of Dragons, perhaps you’re considering getting a Dragon tattoo of your own, but what exactly should you go for?

With so many options available, we’ve got a collection of some of our favorite Dragon Mythological Tattoo ideas. Let’s hope we can bestow some wisdom upon you with these great designs.

1. Chinese Dragon Tattoo Designs

chinese dragon tattoo ideas

Photo credit: Cuded

Where better to start than with a version of the earliest known depiction of a Dragon. The Chinese Dragon is a long and sleek creature, and while it can look intimidating, it also has so much elegance in its design.

This Chinese Dragon Tattoo design is no exception; it’s beautifully positioned on the left side of the back, and the artistry is phenomenal with highly detailed scales and back spikes as well as the 3-dimensional coiling effect making this Dragon look like it’s in motion.

The florals on the sides also give off a feminine grace to this Dragon Flower Tattoo

2. European Dragon Tattoo

European Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: TattooMySkin.com

Popularised in TV and film, the European-style Dragon is a truly ferocious beast not to be messed with.

The oldest European depictions of Dragons vary greatly, but this is the design that is most beloved in the modern era.

From Shrek to Game of Thrones, this is the style mostly associated when people think Dragons.

Unlike its Asian counterpart, the European-style Dragon hoasts massive bat-like wings with jagged scales and is usually a malevolent rather than benevolent being. 

However, despite its less-than-friendly association, the European-style Dragon makes for an impressive tattoo design. The torn  and veiny wings on this design make this Dragon an impressive sight, as if it’s been alive for centuries and seen countless battles. 

3. Celtic Dragon Tattoo

Celtic Dragon Tattoo ideas

Photo credit: Next Luxury

If you have a love for Celtic design or even have Celtic heritage within you, then this is the perfect choice for you.

Celtic Dragons are believed to exist in a parallel realm to our own, and wherever the Dragon flew, that land would become more powerful than that surrounding it.

Unlike its European Kin, the Celtic Dragon is a benevolent creature like its Asian counterpart and was a protector of the Earth and all living things.

The Celtic Dragon Tattoo boasts the typical Celtic art form of intricated knots and loops, which can't be found in any other design. 

4. Watercolor Dragon Tattoo

Watercolor Dragon Tattoo ideas

Photo credit: Pinterest

Asian Dragons have been depicted in a variety of colors, and because they are also known for bringing rain, what could be more appropriate than a watercolor design.

This design is mesmerizing and perfect for those keen on astrology. It takes the Draco constellation and surrounds it with vibrant watercolors in the form of space particles and stars.

Of course, your watercolor design doesn’t have to integrate astrology or a Chinese-style Dragon. Art is subjective, so the choice is entirely up to you.

5. Tribal Dragon Tattoo

Tribal Dragon Tattoo ideas

Photo credit: Next Luxury

If tribal tattoos are more your thing then check this design out. Tribal tattoos are associated mostly with tribal membership, social status, or family lineage.

The Tribal Dragon Tattoo is really impressive with its deep black color, rough and pointed protrusions around the face and claws, and repeating circular patterns around the body.

From a glance, it looks as if the Dragon is riding on clouds, which is typical of Japanese Dragon depictions. 

6. Minimalist Dragon Tattoo

minimalist dragon tattoo ankle

Photo credit: Pinterest

For those who love the Dragon imagery but don’t want to go all out, try a Minimalist dragon tattoo.

Minimalist tattoos are always great for those who prefer to keep things discrete and on the down low, and this design is no different.

Simple yet elegant you can bring your little baby dragon with you wherever you go, safely tucked away on your ankle and who takes flight every time you take a step. 

7. Skeleton Dragon Tattoo

Skeleton Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: Facebook

Dragon Tattoos themselves are cool, but you know whats even more cool than Dragon Tattoos? Skeleton Dragon Tattoos!

Dragons are sometimes fearsome beasts that need to be vanquished at any cost and killing them doesn’t come easy.

So, after a long and grueling battle, what could be worse than seeing that very same Dragon come back to life as nothing more than tattered wings and bone?

This Skeleton Dragon Tattoo is insane, its deep blacks give it a real horror vibe, and the detail, particularly on the tattered wings, looks sensational. Let’s hope this thing still can’t breathe fire! 

8. Disney Dragon Tattoo

Disney Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: Pinterest

Are you a big fan of both Dragons and Disney? Perhaps Disney is what got you interested in Dragons in the first place.

After all, Disney has produced many Dragon designs in its long history from Elliot of Pete’s Dragon, Maleficents transformation into a fire-breathing black beast in her battle against Prince Philip or Sisu from Raya and the Last Dragon.

But keeping in the Chinese New Year motif, I’ve chosen the beloved guardian spirit Mushu the Red Dragon from Mulan. Despite his diminutive stature, Mushu has a tone of sass and humor to make up for what he lacks in size.

This tattoo shows off Mushus's sassy side perfectly as he butts heads with his side-kick Cri-Kee. But if Disney isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other Red Dragon Tattoos to choose from.

9. Toothless Tattoo Ideas

Toothless Tattoo ideas

Photo credit: Facebook

Not a fan of Disney's Dragons?, then what about Dreamworks? Dreamworks was a smash hit when it first came out, grossing nearly 500 million dollars at the box office, and was nominated for best-animated feature in the same year.

Hiccup's best friend, Toothless the Jet Black Dragon, looks stunning in this watercolor design. The deep colors in this Black Dragon Tattoo are amazing, but I particularly love how the wings become transparent near the end of its tips is masterfully done, and the watercolor bleeds are a nice touch.

10. Legend of Zelda Dragon Tattoo

Legend of Zelda Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: @kenziecooperart

Following the massive success of the Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, perhaps you’ve thought about blending your love of the franchise with your love of ink.

There’s a surprising amount of Legend of Zelda tattoos to be found on the internet, and this Light Dragon and Master sword tattoo combo is the latest in super cool designs to be found.

It will be a constant reminder of the time you pulled the Master sword from the Dragon's head, and if Link said anything for once, I’m sure he’d approve of this design. 

11. Pokemon Tattoo

Pokemon Tattoo

Photo credit: Pinterest

Fans of the Pokemon series will love this. While Gyarados isn’t a Dragon-type Pokemon and looks more like a Hydra (Create a Hydra Tattoo Article), he is based on the story of the Koi that battled against the currents and was rewarded by the Gods by being turned into a Mythical Dragon.

This shiny Gyarados is done in a style similar to a lot of Asian Dragon tattoos by running up the arm, going across the shoulder, and finishing on the chest.

The waves in the tattoo pay homage to ‘Under the Wave off Kanagawa’ by Katsushika Hokusai. If the story of the Koi that turned into a Dragon inspires you, why not check out Koi Fish Tattoo or Koi Dragon Fish Tattoo designs?

12. Game of Thrones Dragon Tattoo

Game of Thrones Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: People

Nothing has brought Dragons to the forefront of attention in recent years quite like Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon have.

And it’s no surprise as Dragons play a pivotal role in both series, with the main cast of the Targaryen families having a deep connection with the mythical beasts.

With 3 Dragons in the main series and 16 Dragons shown or mentioned in the House of the Dragon, there is no shortage of Dragons available to choose from. 

While you could opt for any of the 19 Dragons mentioned or go for the sigil of the Targaryen family, why not honor both the show and the real-life actress who brought Daenerys to life by getting the same tattoo Emiliya Clark did to commemorate her time as the Queen of the Dragons.

13. Dark Souls Dragon Tattoo

Dark Souls Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: @lord_lexan_tattoos

If you’re a video game aficionado, then you probably dive in with glee to the Souls games for another round of absolute endless torture.

So, commemorate the hours of frustration spent and relive the glory of your perseverance by adorning yourself in the image of your vanquished foe forever and letting them know who’s boss.

Lurking in the depths is the Gaping Dragon, a monstrous malformation whose existence is nothing more than that of gluttony and depravity. Hiroshi Nakamura designed this Dragon to represent greed and insatiable hunger. 

14. Spyro the Dragon Tattoo

Spyro the Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: Tattoodo

Switching gears from the oppressive darkness that is the Dark Souls series to the uplifting joy that is the Spyro franchise.

If you’re like me and born around the late eighties to the nineties, you probably grew up playing either the eccentric Crash Bandicoot or his feisty contemporary Spyro the Dragon.

For those young yet old enough to be playing video games around then, there probably was no Dragon more in the public zeitgeist at the time.

Spyro was so popular in fact, that there have been stories about grandparents taking their grandchildren's controllers just so they could control the purple boi.

Spyro is an integral part of video game history, and if you have a love of the purple dragon that's deeper than the fall from the Tree Tops level, then get yourself a Spyro the Dragon Tattoo so that the adventure can continue. 

15. Crystal Dragon Tattoo

Crystal Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: Pinterest

Ok, ok, I get it, keep your horns on. It’s unprofessional of me to include two tattoos from the same series, but Spyro is my personal childhood and one of my all-time favorite characters so I just couldn’t resist.

This Crystal Dragon Tattoo from the first Spyro game is absolutely gorgeous. The detail is phenomenal, and the shimmering effects make my ears believe I can hear the iconic rattling of the Elder Dragons trying to break free.

And yes, before you say it, I did hear rumblings from a Certain Canadian Guy that a potential Spyro 4 is in the works, so rather than just hoping for the best, “You gotta believe.” 

16. Dragonball Dragon Tattoo

Dragonball Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: Pinterest

With the sad and untimely passing of one of the greatest Mangakas ever to exist in Akira Toriyama, now couldn’t be a more grander time than ever to honor the legacy of such an inspiration than by immortalizing his legacy with one of his most iconic creations.

Shenron was the culmination of all the hard work it took Goku and the gang to acquire each of the 7 Dragonballs, and the image of Shenron stands as a testament to Akira Toriyama’s timeless work.

We hope that Akira Toriyama continues to inspire for generations to come and wish that he may rest in peace. 

Where To Get Your Dragon Tattoo

Dragons can come in all different shapes and sizes, so based on the tattoo designs, strategic placement can really draw out more of the Dragon's characteristics and make them pop. 

For instance, while you could get a winged dragon as a wrist tattoo, what happens if the wings are too large and wrap around your wrist so that you can't see the artistry in one glance? 

You might say that you should just make the Dragon smaller, but that could lead to the details of the body needing to be compromised to fit your wrist.

So, let's take a look at some ideas for where your new dragon tattoo might fit. 

1. Dragon Tattoo On the Arm and Leg

Arm and Leg dragon tattoo ideas

Photo credit: Pinterest

For Chinese and Japanese Mythical Dragon tattoos the arm and leg are the best places to get your Dragon tattoo.

The Asian Dragon's long and sleek body has ample room to stretch all the way down or up the arm and leg and still has plenty of space to twist and coil for added effect, like this Blue Dragon Tattoo.

It would be more preferable to have your Dragon’s head near the bottom of your leg as opposed to close to the thigh for men, as you will want your Dragon's head visible while wearing shorts on a hot summer day.

Women can choose to have the head close to the thigh if they often go to the beach in a bikini, but if not, it is best to follow the initial advice if you’re keen on showing off your ink. 

2. Back and Chest 

Back and Chest dragon tattoo

Photo credit: Tattoo Artist Finder

If you’re looking to take full advantage of a dragon with a large wingspan, then the back is the place to go for your Dragon tattoo for both males and females, while the chest if more preferable for males.

For both sexes, the back offers a relatively flat surface with a lot of width that really allows the wings to spread out without compromising the detail of the main body of the Dragon.

Men can proudly boast their Dragon tattoo across the center of their chest for that bold and charismatic look, while for women they should have wings close to the clavicle, the head near the neck line and the tail running between the breasts. 

3. Having Dragon Tattoo on The Ear and Ankle

dragon tattoo on Ear

Photo credit: girlterest.com

As stated earlier, for those looking for something more discrete yet elegant, the ear and ankle are great spots for your Dragon tattoo.

It doesn’t matter which Dragon type you go for here as they’ll be minimalist by design, but you can opt for a small Asian style Dragon tucked neatly behind the ear, one that wraps over the ear, or even a neat little effect where the tail protrudes from the bottom of the ear lobe with the head emerging from the hole at the top of the ear and out to the side of the head.

But if you prefer winged Dragons, you can choose one small open-winged Dragon like here.

4. Arm Shoulder Chest Combo 

dragon tattoo on Arm Shoulder Chest Combo

Photo credit: Pinterest

As mentioned in the Gyarados design, when it comes to Asian Dragon Tattoos, the arm, shoulder, and chest combo is one of the most popular.

It gives the Dragon the length it needs down the arm, coiling around the shoulder for that 3-dimensional effect, and the chest offers a great canvas for fully showcasing the detail in the Dragon's head, just like this Yakuza Dragon Tattoo.

It has both an intimidating yet striking appearance, and it’s for those who are serious about tattoo artistry and the Dragon as their chosen deity.

If you don't want to take up space on your arm or shoulder, just think about getting only a Dragon Head Tattoo.

Frequently Asked Questions Related To Dragon Tattoo Ideas

Are Dragon Tattoos Lucky?

Dragon tattoos, especially those inspired by Chinese mythology, are often associated with luck, protection, power, and wisdom.

In ancient Chinese culture, dragons were revered as godlike beings with control over water and rain, symbols of prosperity and good fortune. 

A dragon tattoo can embody these positive attributes, making it a popular choice for those looking to imbue their body art with a deeper, auspicious meaning.

Where Should I Put My Dragon Tattoo?

The placement of a dragon tattoo can vary based on the style and design of the dragon. Serpent-like dragons, with their elongated bodies, are well-suited for large areas like the back, where they can be depicted in dynamic, winding poses.

Chinese or Japanese dragons, known for their majestic wings, can beautifully transition over the shoulder, creating a seamless flow of art.

For more focused designs like a red dragon, the upper thigh or back provides an ideal canvas for detailed work.

Why Dragon Tattoo Is Not Allowed In Korea?

In Korea, dragon tattoos have a complex history due to their association with gang affiliations in the 20th century.

Gangs would often use tattoos, including dragon motifs, to signify membership or allegiance.

As a result, there's been a cultural hesitation towards dragon tattoos, with many tattoo artists and individuals avoiding them to distance themselves from the connotations of gang culture and the potential for misinterpretation of the tattoo's intent.

Conclusion  

And there we have it. We’ve soared high into the sky of Dragon tattoo designs and pulled our greatest ideas straight out from the belly of the beast.

If you’re someone who’s thinking about getting a Dragon Tattoo, then there is no magic spell that will make your after-ink soreness disappear.

Just like a burn from a Dragon’s breath you will need to take the appropriate care to get you back on your feet as soon as possible.

So check out these great tattoo aftercareproducts to reduce pain and discomfort and keep the fire alive and your Dragon ink looking as fresh and alive for as long as possible.

We hope that this guide has given you some inspiration on your noble quest to find and conquer your perfect Dragon Tattoo, but if not, we have plenty of other designs in our tattoo gallery here. Check it out!

Paul Mulligan
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