Butterflies, with their delicate wings and vibrant hues, have captured the eyes of people for eons. These tiny creatures decorate edifices, books, and even skin. Butterfly tattoos are popular among tattooees of all personalities.
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Let’s dive into the meaning behind butterfly tattoos, and different styles you can be inspired by for your personal aesthetic.
But first, what’s the symbolism that these insects carry with them?
The Meaning Of Butterfly Tattoos
Tattoos can carry a specific, unique meaning depending on the person the ink is on. We’re all different, so we each have our own distinctive way of looking at things based on our own life experiences.
However, the butterfly has a distinctive symbolism that many people identify with: Metamorphosis and rebirth.
“Butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, and bees have complete metamorphosis. The young (called a larva instead of a nymph) is very different from the adults,”Drexel University
A butterfly has to go through the egg, larva, and pupa stage before being able to spread its colorful wings.
This transformation can be deeply meaningful to people who have had to go through challenging times to become who they are today.
Besides rebirth, a butterfly tattoo can also represent endurance, change, hope, and joy.
“In the Native American folklore, this totem animal is also symbolic of lightness of being and elevation from the heaviness of tensions bringing joy and bliss in bright colors.”Tattoo Stylist
There are many different forms a butterfly tattoo can take.
For The Minimalist: Single Line Butterfly Tattoo
If you love the look of simple tattoo designs, then you could go super simplistic with your butterfly inking by opting for just a single-line tattoo.
A butterfly is the perfect inspiration for this tattoo style, as its wings are so distinctive. So, even though your tattoo is minimal, it will still be easily recognized as a butterfly.
For an even more subtle butterfly, you could swap out traditional black ink for white ink. While white ink does tend to fade quicker than black, it can add a whimsical air to your tattoo.
- Minimalist Tattoos – the Essence of Modern Style
- White Ink Tattoos: What You Should Know Before Getting Inked
For The Playful: Multiple Butterfly Tattoos
Why just go for one butterfly tattoo? Add extra butterflies at different levels of flight for a playful design.
This design can work well behind the ear, and this placement further works into the playful aspect of this tattoo idea.
However, this placement isn’t for the faint of heart, as it can be a painful choice. While it’s not the most painful tattoo placement option, it’s the vibration that gets to most people. The tattoo machine is working right by the ear, so the sound can be jarring.
Negative emotions such as stress and fear can also play a role in your tattoo experience. To help mitigate the pain of getting tattooed, make sure you have a full night’s sleep; eat a good, nutrient-rich meal; and avoid alcohol leading up to your appointment.
For Those Who Want To Bring Luck Into Their Lives: Blue Butterfly Tattoo
In many parts of the world, blue butterflies are extremely rare to see, so actually witnessing one is known to bring good luck and happiness.
“Their colorful azure or turquoise wings represent an innocent and carefree spirit…and to have a blue butterfly tattoo on you means that you are a carefree and gentle spirit that enjoys adventure and creativity,”Tatt Mag
Color tattoos do tend to fade quickly, so it’s important to protect your ink from the sun. Slather on sunscreen when out and about to make sure your blue butterfly tattoo continues to look vibrant.
For The Nature Lovers: Flower And Butterfly Tattoo
You don’t have to go for just a butterfly – you can opt for another element within your design.
One wing can be anatomically correct with the little details, while the other wing is made up of flowers and plants. This can take your tattoo to another level of meaning, and bring more natural aspects into your design.
Plus, this can look amazing in simplistic black lines, as well as color.
For The Lovers Of The Little Details: Anatomically Correct Butterfly Tattoo
If you love the tiny details – such as the delicate veins within their wings, and mini antennae – you can go for an anatomically correct butterfly tattoo that looks realistic.
This does not mean you have to choose a larger tattoo design in order to get all the details in. You can still have a mini, delicate tattoo that is highly detailed.
When it comes to realistic mini tattoos, it is important to go to a tattoo artist who is well versed in this style. A micro realism tattoo takes planning, precision, skill, and intense training.
For The Traditionalist: Dotwork Butterfly Tattoo
Instead of creating your butterfly tattoo with solid lines, you could choose a dotwork design.
“Dotwork is a technique that requires the artist to tattoo multiple dots to create an image or visual effects. The technique is often used to create entire images, even portraits, or for the shading,”Authority Tattoo
Why this can be a style for lovers of traditional ink is because dotwork was one of the very first tattoo styles.
“What all of the ancient tattoos have in common is the dotwork design. The Iceman had various dots and patterns with dots on different parts of his body.”Authority Tattoo
Evidence of dotwork tattoos was also found in ancient Egypt.
Butterflies are one of those subject choices that combine deep meaning, beauty, and flexibility in design.
One of the best ways to start creating a unique tattoo for yourself is to find what’s meaningful to you and your life experiences. From there, you can explore different styles that appeal to your aesthetic. Then, find a tattoo artist whose work you love, and collaborate on a design that suits your lifestyle and placement choice.