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Jellyfish Tattoos: Meaning And Tattoo Ideas

Jellyfish Arm Tattoo @yeowool_tattooer

The glow and grace of jellyfish do tend to mesmerize onlookers. As they glide through the water, you can’t help but to stop and stare. But, be careful – while they may look beautiful, they can cause quite a bit of pain. 

This juxtaposition of beauty and mystery, along with the sting when you get too close, makes jellyfish an interesting subject for a tattoo. 

Delicate Jellyfish Thigh Tattoo @comotattoo

Meaning Behind Jellyfish Tattoos

When you see a jellyfish in the water, they float along almost in complete surrender to the will of the ocean. Due to this, a jellyfish tattoo can be a symbol of tranquility and peace.

So, if you are looking for a tattoo design to depict your journey towards inner peace, a jellyfish may be the ideal symbol for you. 

Along with peace and surrender, a jellyfish tattoo can also represent survival.

“If you’re looking for a beautiful tattoo to inspire strength, the jellyfish is a wonderful symbol for adaptability and survivalism. For 500-200 million years, the jellyfish has thrived in our vast oceans, adapting to even the most inhospitable environments.”

Tattoo Do

As they are one of the oldest creatures out there, a jellyfish tattoo can represent an old soul. 

Realistic Forearm Jellyfish Tattoo @minajewart

Jellyfish are so old, they are actually immortal. Turritopsis dohrnii is a species of small jellyfish that are immortal – they do not die unless they’re eaten by a predator.

“When it starts to age it contracts, sinks to the ocean floor, becomes a polyp (basically a jellyfish embryo), and starts its life over again. Are you looking to ‘reset’ your life? Let the noble jellyfish tattoo be your guide,”

Tatt Mag

Strength is definitely seen in the tentacles of jellyfish – while this creature may look calm, make the wrong move and you will get stung.

As such, a jellyfish tattoo can be meaningful for a person who may seem calm, but gets fierce when someone steps over their boundaries when it comes to them and their families. 

Mini Jellyfish Tattoo @choiyun_tattoo

Tattoo SEO points out that jellyfish also feature in ancient Japanese mythology,

“…the jellyfish is often used as a servant of the gods. The jellyfish relies on the influence of the currents around it to transition through the water, a quality that made them ideal for use by the gods and goddesses. In this way, they are a divine creature, thriving on earth since the dawn of time.” 

When it comes to what tattoo styles to choose from for your jellyfish design, a big decision is whether you stick to black and gray, or incorporate colors into your tattoo. 

Whichever route you decide to take, there are going to be things you have got to be aware of. 

Black And Gray Jellyfish Tattoo @campohltattoos

Black And Gray Jellyfish Tattoos

You don’t need large splashes of color to bring a jellyfish tattoo to life. In fact, sticking with traditional black and gray in your design has some perks, including longevity (keeping to the theme of the jellyfish) and visibility of finer details.

“Without bright colors to distract the eye, the finer points of the jellyfish become visible,”

Tatt Mag

For highly detailed tattoos, it’s important to know that the smaller the size of your tattoo, the more likely it is that those tiny details will blur quicker.

“When you try to fit too much detail into the piece and decrease the size you run the risk of the ink closing in on itself over time and blurring the clarity. That is why it is important to work with an artist that understands the limitations of size and detail,”

Playhouse Tattoos
Fine Line Jellyfish Tattoo @aletattoo.art

Jellyfish are one of those creatures that don’t need a lot of details to distinguish it. So, jellyfish also make for great minimalist tattoos. 

With any delicate, fine line and micro tattoos, be prepared to go for touch ups sooner than you would for a larger piece. This is because less ink is used in a tiny tatt, so your body can break it down quicker. 

Blue Watercolor Jellyfish Tattoo @hwyl.tattoo

Watercolor Jellyfish Tattoos

A jellyfish tattoo is a great opportunity to go colorful, namely in the watercolor tattoo style. 

Watercolor tattoos were created as an alternative to deeply saturated designs and traditional tattoo styles. The colors look like they’ve been placed by paintbrushes, and are far less intense. 

“Watercolor tattoos don’t require special tools or ink, but a tattoo artist does need a special set of artistic skills to create tattoos with the smears and gradations which painters create with watercolors on canvas,”

Chronic Ink Tattoo

So, opt for a tattooist who is well versed in doing watercolor tattoos.

Purple Jellyfish Arm Tattoo @pokhy_tattoo

While watercolor tattoos may look amazing, there are a few cons to this style to be aware of. Lighter colors tend to fade quicker than black ink.

“Watercolor and pastel-color tattoos also generally fade much faster than others due to the fact that the technique generally requires much lighter and more delicate coloring,”

Authority Tattoo

To attempt to keep the shape of your tattoo for as long as possible, you can include black ink outlines as a base.

Watercolor Jellyfish Tattoo @whiterabbittattoostudio

However, there are many factors that play a role in how long your tattoo will last, namely: The quality of the tattoo ink, placement, the healing stage (how well you took care of your fresh ink), and how much time the tattoo spends in the sun. 

You, too, play a huge role in how your tattoo ages. Some of the best things you can do is heed your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions, go to a qualified tattoo artist, and protect your ink from the sun’s rays which break down ink particles. 

Full Jellyfish Leg Tattoo @ivoire_noir

Strength, grace, and longevity – if these are the qualities you’re looking for in a tattoo, you’ll find inspiration in the mysterious jellyfish.