The owl is often associated with wisdom and intelligence. It is also linked to a sense of mystery and the afterlife. It is for these reasons, as well as the visual appeal of the majestic creature, that make it an incredibly popular subject to get inked. The wide variety of designs means that there is something for everyone, whether that be a realistic portrayal of the animal or a more abstract version. The nocturnal bird can look good in both small and straightforward options, or larger, more detailed pieces which come to life on a man’s body. It is a design that is bound to turn heads. If you’re looking to be inspired, then check out these symbolic tattoos.
Owl Tattoo Meaning
An owl tattoo can symbolize many things, including wisdom, mystery, and magic. In Native American cultures, owls are often associated with the afterlife and are considered spiritual guides. Because they can turn their heads almost 360 degrees and see in the dark, owls often also symbolize observation, thoughtfulness, and intuition.
Owl Tattoo Designs
1. Small Owl Tattoo
Small tattoos are a great way to get inked because you don’t need to spend loads of time or money. Just because these pieces are little doesn’t make them any less meaningful. Many men and women are opting to get their favorite designs in tiny, discreet options. The appealing thing about these tats is that you are not limited in terms of placement and can get them anywhere. An owl looks just as cool if it’s taking up half your back or making a statement on your finger.
2. Simple Owl Tattoo
If you are someone who favors minimalist designs over highly detailed ones, then a simple tattoo will appeal to you. The beauty of this piece is that it focuses on the essential elements, giving an overall classic and modern feel to the ink of your choosing. The option to have a design that is stripped back, with simple black lines and a lack of shading, can be incredibly impactful without trying too hard. It is an excellent choice for a laidback man.
3. Realistic Owl Tattoo
Do you want your ink to stand out on your skin? Well, then it’s a great idea to choose a realistic owl tattoo. This style of inking is gaining popularity among individuals who want their chosen design to resemble the real thing closely. The result is a piece that is awe-inspiring but also intimidating, especially when it is of an animal. Finding the right tattoo artist is important because you will want someone who specializes in this style so that it can be completed professionally.
4. Great Horned Owl Tattoo
There are many different species of owls, all with their unique features and needs, and the great horned owl will make for a fantastic tattoo. Not only is this nocturnal bird visually attractive, thanks to its earlike tufts, but it also has meaningful symbolism. Owls are associated with wisdom and intelligence, but this particular bird, because it is one of the larger species, also represents power and is seen as a protector.
5. Ovo Owl Tattoo
Fans of the rapper Drake will be familiar with his OVO brand, and it makes for a great tattoo option! The name stands for October’s Very Own, and it uses the logo for the musician’s clothing line, as well as his musical festival, which is held annually in his hometown of Toronto, Canada. The design itself is pretty basic, focusing on the outline of an owl and forgoing detailing or shading. Still, it is an attractive symbol with pop-culture appeal and, therefore, perfect for fans of the rap world.
6. Snowy Owl Tattoo
One of the most majestic owls is the snowy species, a large white bird native to the Arctic regions of North America and the Palearctic. It is truly a remarkable animal, thought to represent class and dignity. Therefore, it is best to get this tattoo as realistic as possible to display it in its full glory. Owls are also rich in symbolism and are believed to represent wisdom and knowledge, which can be appealing to an individual who values these characteristics and wants to remind themselves of the importance of these qualities.
7. Athena Owl Tattoo
Athena was the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, as well as Zeus’s favorite child, and the owl has been used to represent her. It is believed that the nocturnal bird allowed her to see the whole truth; because they can turn their heads at such impressive angles. It is for this reason that these beautiful creatures are associated with knowledge. Getting a piece like this could appeal to a man who is in touch with his masculinity but also has an understanding of female energy or for someone who favors logical thinking and reasoning.
8. Colorful Owl Tattoo
A colorful owl tattoo is a lovely way to get creative with the design. We know that in real life, these birds have very muted shades, but when it comes to getting ink on your skin, your creativity is your limit. The bold, contrasting colors make the piece stand out even more and encourage more detail. We suggest you try out larger placement options, such as the arm or leg, to make a statement.
9. Barn Owl Tattoo
Perhaps one of the most recognizable of all the owl species is the barn owl. As the name suggests, these beautiful creatures are often found nesting and roosting in barns or other buildings. This particular nocturnal bird is associated with calmness but also the mysterious. You can decide to ink an image of just the owl or choose different elements to go with it. Don’t be afraid to give yourself more freedom with the design and what you wish to say about yourself with it.
10. Owl Eyes Tattoo
An owl’s eyes are fixed in their socket, but they can turn their heads at unique angles, and therefore see in almost every direction. They are also precise hunters with a keen vision. The symbolism of these nocturnal birds being able to see everything is a powerful one; tattoos like this could be associated with a sense of observation and thoughtfulness. The overall effect of the design is very masculine, making it a popular choice for men who are drawn to not only the symbolism but also the cool imagery.
11. Traditional Tribal Owl Tattoo
The owl is rich in symbolism but also has cultural significance; for example, for some Native American tribes, the bird is seen as a symbol of protection. In contrast, others feel it represents something evil and associate it with the god of death. The nocturnal birds are also linked to the afterlife. Tribal tattoos have a very distinct style, and depending on what tribe you choose to draw inspiration from, the design can be simple or incredibly detailed. A traditional option is meaningful and can be used to honor a culture.
12. Mystic Owl Tattoo
Do you want to get inked with something that represents mystery or physic ability? This concept is what a mystic owl tattoo is all about, and it’s not hard to see why this design would be so appealing to men. The predatory bird species is rich in symbolism, including great wisdom and transition. Still, when combined with more supernatural elements, such as a moon and the darkness of the night sky, then it takes on a more secretive and alluring feel.
13. Owl Skull Tattoo
It’s not just wisdom and intelligence that individuals associate with these majestic creatures but also spirituality and death, a concept that is explored with an owl and skull tattoo. When your design combines these two elements, it can be associated with the afterlife, and the owl can represent evil spirits or the dead. It can also be seen as a symbol for something that receives messages from the departed. Although this design has a darker meaning, it would be an excellent choice for someone who contemplates their mortality.
14. Owl and Dream Catcher Tattoo
The owl has deep symbolism in Native American cultures and represents a variety of different things, so perhaps it is not surprising that it has been combined with another significant symbol, the dream catcher tattoo. The handwoven creation is used to protect individuals against bad dreams and is associated with protection. The joining of the images takes on a new meaning; it can be seen as a way to preserve the spirit of a loved one who has passed. It can also be used as a way to honor your nearest and dearest who are no longer in the land of the living.
15. Watercolour Owl Tattoo
A watercolor owl tattoo is going to get you noticed, and it is not hard to see why; this exciting style is gaining popularity because of how cool it looks. Deciding to get inked with a design like this is a fantastic choice because it seems as though someone took a paintbrush to your skin and created a beautiful painting, and that is the appeal of watercolor tattoo ink. The vibrant colors look as though they are blending into each other, creating a piece that is hard to miss. Although many people choose to forgo black outlines, if you want your design to retain its shape for longer, it is best to incorporate these.
16. Mandala Owl Tattoo
An owl mandala tattoo can be special and unique thanks to its deep meaning. The predatory bird of prey is often associated with wisdom, secrecy, and intelligence and plays an essential role in many cultures. When combined with a mandala, a geometric combination of symbols that help to focus spirituality, it takes on a powerful and positive symbolism. The design can be a way to explore the spiritual world but also focus on what truly matters in life.
17. Owl and Clock Tattoo
When we see an image of a timepiece, we automatically think about the concept of time and how it relates to the balance between life and death. An owl and clock tattoo are two symbols you will often find together. Since the nocturnal bird is often associated with the afterlife or even as an omen of death, it makes sense that they would be combined. A man who is a deep thinker may be drawn to this design. It can also be used as a way to honor the memory of a loved one, the hands on the watch indicating the moment a loved one passed away.
18. Chest Tattoo
Small designs can be appealing, but if you want a more detailed look, the chest is the perfect spot for this. A large owl tattoo can cover the whole area, using the shape to its benefit; for example, a bird with its wings outstretched and flying. In terms of location, it is also a little more discreet, allowing you to cover up whenever you want. There’s no denying the many positives of a chest tattoo, but you should also be aware that it is not for the fainthearted, and getting inked here is going to hurt because of the proximity to the bone.
19. Neck Tattoo
Neck tattoos are not for the fainthearted, and what we mean by this is if you are brave enough to get inked here, you can expect a lot of discomforts. The skin in this area is sensitive and thin, and without the cushioning of muscle and fat, you’re likely to wince every time the needle touches you. Still, if you can endure the pain, an owl design in this location is very eye-catching. It is also a fantastic spot to show off your artwork.
20. Forearm Tattoo
The forearm is an excellent spot for a tattoo because it is one of the least painful places to get inked. It is also a very versatile area and lends itself well to both small and more detailed designs. If you choose to go for a larger piece, we recommended getting it in black ink only, which can have more of an impact. When deciding to get a forearm tattoo, you should consider it as a place reserved for a meaningful tattoo; it can be viewed daily by both yourself and others.
21. Sleeve Tattoo
Why stop at one tattoo when you can create an entire sleeve? As the name suggests, sleeve tattoos cover the whole arm. They demand attention, making them a popular choice for men who want to stand out from the crowd. One of the best things about this option is that there are so many variations. An image of these nocturnal birds works very well with other elements; you can incorporate natural things like roses, or get more creative with the design by including detailed symbols.
22. Back Owl Tattoo
Tattoos are becoming more acceptable within society; the idea that these markings are only reserved for rebels is thankfully dying out. Still, the placement of your ink can affect your work options; that is why a back tattoo is an excellent choice for those who want or have a more formal career. You can cover up your ink whenever you want, making it personal and unique for you. As far as pain goes, it’s not considered to be among the most painful places because the skin in the area is thick and has few nerve endings.
23. Arm Owl Tattoo
If you want a large enough area to get a detailed design, but without the discomfort of having getting inked on your ribs or shoulder blade, then why not consider an arm tattoo? It is a popular spot for men because it is a place that is shown off so frequently. The appeal is that you can ink something meaningful to you, that you will be able to view it often, serving as a reminder of why you chose the design in the first place.
24. Hand Owl Tattoo
In general, hand tattoos suit simple designs, but your creativity is your limit. What we mean by this is that detailed owl pieces in this placement can be incredibly eye-catching and meaningful. The main thing to remember when inking this area is that it tends to fade faster than other spots on the body. The reason is due to how often we use our hands and exposure to the elements. Plus, it is considered one of the more painful placement options because of the thin skin and sensitivity in the area.
25. Knee Owl Tattoo
An unusual and sore location for a tattoo is on the knee. That said, it is an excellent choice for a man who can endure the discomfort. It is also a place that is rising in popularity; it looks super cool and is one of the most prominent spots to show off a tattoo that is meaningful to you. The kneecap is considered the most painful part of the body to get inked. A man who chooses to have his design here wants to show the world just how tough he is. As for why it hurts so much? This is because the skin surrounding the bone is sensitive and thin. It will take around 2 to 3 weeks for a piece to heal here, but it will be worth it.
Owl Tattoo FAQs
Is it good to have an owl tattoo?
An owl tattoo is a great tattoo option. Not only is it meaningful, but an owl tattoo is also versatile. From a small perched owl design on your finger to a realistic flying owl back piece or even a neck tattoo, there’s an option to suit every guy.
What does an owl and skull tattoo mean?
An owl and skull tattoo is packed with symbolic meaning. Because owls are nocturnal, they are often associated with the underworld and periods of transition. Meanwhile, skulls are associated with death and mortality. For those reasons, and owl and skull tattoo can be a great tribute to a loved one who has passed on, representing their spirit being guided to the afterlife. Alternatively, the design could be a symbol of change, marking the end of a period in your life.
Are owl tattoos bad luck?
In some cultures, owls are considered unlucky or a bad omen because they are silent, nocturnal hunters. However, they are equally revered by others as spiritual messengers and guides, as well as protectors and wise counsellors who can bring knowledge and wealth. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether an owl tattoo is bad luck or not.
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