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60+ Dragonfly Tattoo Design Variations and the Meaning Behind Them

By Jason Hamilton / January 13, 2020
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Some might see it as a mere insect but dragonflies are also used as a design for tattoos. As a matter of fact, dragonfly tattoo designs is one of the top options that many people also love to have. This is because it’s not just cute but it also holds a lot of meaning.

Generally, dragonfly tattoos mean peace, prosperity, and positive forces. In addition to that, dragonfly tattoos also mean maturity, purity, strength, harmony, and luck. It also has other meanings based on different cultures.

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Dragonflies in Japanese Culture

For Japanese people, dragonflies are very important. In fact, they look at it as important as rice.

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Back in the ancient times in Japan, the country was known as “Akitsu Shima,” meaning “Dragonfly’s Island.” This is because back in the day, Japan has a lot of rice fields. And rice fields, which are very wet, gives a perfect environment for nymph-state dragonflies to live in. And because of that, the country had an uncommonly high number of dragonflies too. Thus, both rice and dragonflies became inseparably connected to Japan’s culture.

Aside from rice, Japanese people also associate dragonflies with samurais too. In fact, samurai kimonos often feature dragonfly prints. This is because they believe that dragonflies can also represent strength and authority, agility, power, and victory.

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Dragonflies in Native American Culture

Native Americans may have different tribes and dragonflies signify different meanings but in general, Native Americans see this insect as a symbol of happiness, speed, and purity. Dragonflies are also seen as a representation of transformation since their lives start in the water as nymphs before that change into the insect that we recognize as the dragonfly.

Southwest Indian tribes also see dragonflies as healers. This is because of one of their legends that say dragonflies would follow snakes and stitch them back together if they were injured. Because of this, dragonflies were also referred to as snake doctors.

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For the Plains Indian cultures, on the other hand, dragonflies ware seen as protectors from danger and injury. Because of this, they often design their teepees and war shirts with images of this tiny creature.

Dragonflies in European Culture

While nearly all cultures see dragonflies as a positive sign, Europeans see the opposite, especially during the Dark Ages and the Medieval Era. Back in the day, dragonflies were associated with hell and the devil. They are even named as “The Devil’s Needle” as for them, they believe that these cute and harmless little creatures were sent by Lucifer to bring chaos and evil into this world. As a result, whenever they would see a dragonfly, they would kill it immediately.

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Europeans once believed that dragonflies would grasp the soul of anyone dying in or near water. According to the myth, dragonflies are like the Egyptian god Anubis who would measure a person’s proportions of good and evil. However, the difference is that ancient Europeans believe that if the dragonfly found the soul to be mostly evil, it would report back to Lucifer in order to begin preparations for receiving the person in hell.

Dragonflies in Spirituality

Dragonflies occupy a place in spirituality too. Here, they are perceived as symbols of personal growth. Dragonflies are also associated with grace and maturity. Meaning, maturity is required to accept any change and change should be accepted with poise and grace.

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Dragonflies are also considered as one of the spirit animals. As a spirit guide, it is believed to enter your life when you start taking things too seriously. When it does, it will remind you to lighten your thought and change your perspective so you can focus more on your goal.

Dragonfly Tattoo Design Variations

Aside from its variety of meanings, most are positive ones, dragonfly tattoo designs are also well-loved because it has a lot of variations. There’s so many of them that it can fit any gender. In case you are wondering how to design your dragonfly tattoo, here are some of the things you can do.

Pair it with cherry blossoms

Again, dragonflies play a very important role in Japanese culture. And if you are one of the Japanese enthusiasts out there, lucky for you as you have plenty of dragonfly-related Japanese art to take inspiration from. But among hundreds of Japanese symbols and tattoo designs, the combination of dragonfly and cherry blossom tattoo designs are one of the most popular ones that we can recommend.

For starters, in Japanese culture, it represents beauty, as well as the fragility of life. And like dragonflies, cherry blossoms are also intricate and delicate, making them a perfect pair.

Here are some ideas on their placements and how you can pair them.

dragonfly

A tattoo of dragonflies flying over a cherry blossom

dragonfly

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Cherry blossom flowers with a single blue dragonfly

A combination of dragonfly and cherryblossom tattoo that looks like a painting

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A brown and black ink dragonfly with cherry blossoms

A watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly and a branch of cherry blossom

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A classic cherry blossom tattoo with a dragonfly

A red cherry blossom tattoo with a dragonfly placed on the back

A dragonfly and cherry blossom tattoo

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A 3D tattoo of a butterfly on the inner wrist with a few cherry blossom flowers

A dragonfly and cherry blossom tattoo on the right side of the waist

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A classic tattoo of a cherry blossom and dragonfly at the upper right side of the back

Another watercolor tattoo of a cherry blossom with an image of a dragonfly with realistic details

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A dragonfly paired with cherry blossoms and other flowers

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A big dragonfly tattoo with cherry blossoms and other symbols that nearly covers the upper part of the back

A back tattoo of a cherry blossom climbing upwards with a dragonfly

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A dragonfly connecting two branches of cherry blossoms

A dragonfly cherry blossom tattoo in black and pink ink

Add a dreamcatcher

Another symbol that you can also pair dragonfly tattoo designs with is a dreamcatcher tattoo. This is because aside from the fact that dreamcatcher tattoos are also very versatile, it also holds a nice meaning that can go well with the dragonfly tattoo designs.

Identified as a Native American-inspired symbol, the dreamcatcher is known to ward off negative and evil energies away; just as how Japanese people see dragonfly symbols. Here are some samples on how you can combine them.

Here, you can just let your dragonfly tattoo sit on top of your dreamcatcher tattoo

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A tree of life tattoo placed at the center of the dreamcatcher with dragonfly symbols flying around it

A combination of a dragonfly and dreamcatcher tattoo with beads

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You can also place your dragonfly tattoo in the middle of your dreamcatcher tattoo

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A sketch of a dreamcatcher tattoo with a colorful dragonfly sitting at the center

Play with Dimensions

It’s also nice to play with the dimensions of your tattoo. In this way, you can really catch the attention of people. Also, it kind of adds a bit of an illusion that a dragonfly is sitting on your arm, shoulder, or whatnot. You will not just get to focus on its meaning alone but playing with the dimensions of your dragonfly tattoos can also make it stand out all the more. Here are some ideas on how you can make it look real and totally eye-catching.

A blue 3D dragonfly tattoo resting on the forearm in blue ink

Another 3D forearm tattoo of a dragonfly giving an illusion of nearly transparent wings

Another realistic dragonfly inked in blue and violet

A cover-up tattoo of a dragonfly sitting on a branch

A 3D tattoo of a dragonfly with more realistic details

Another dragonfly design with realistic details placed on the inner forearm

 

A 3D tattoo of a dragonfly that looks as if a real dragonfly has landed at the back of your hand

 

Another 3D tattoo that looks as if a dragonfly is resting at your back

Another 3D tattoo of a dragonfly sitting on the left side of the neck

 

An intricately detailed tattoo of a dragonfly paired with flowers

A 3D wrist tattoo of a dragonfly with colorful wings

A newly tattooed 3D image of a dragonfly placed at the upper right corner of the back, hence the redness

Another 3D back tattoo of a dragonfly

A silvery 3D image of a dragonfly placed on the outer thigh part

Another gorgeous colorful 3D tattoo of a dragonfly placed on the upper back portion

A simpler 3D tattoo of a dragonfly

Play with style and colors

Another way that you can design your dragonfly tattoos is to play with style and colors. If you want to make it look more artsy and livelier, why not opt for a watercolor style? In this way, it would be much more unique and will definitely attract attention because of its beautiful and vast combination of colors. However, for this design, make sure that you choose a tattoo artist who is really good so you can achieve that watercolor effect perfectly. Here are some samples of dragonfly tattoos in watercolor style.

 

A simple watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly below the nape

A watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly on the upper right part of the back

 

Another back tattoo of a dragonfly in gray, blue, and green ink

A watercolor memorial tattoo of a dragonfly, perfect for when you want to commemorate a loved one who has left

A big watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly nearly covering the whole upper part of the back

A watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly in blue, pink, and violet ink placed on the right thigh

This design is much more unique because the tattoo owner opted for a closed-winged dragonfly

Another unique take on the watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly

A trash polka-inspired watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly on the right side of the torso

A big watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly that stretches from the wrist to the end of the forearm

A watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly that already looks like a real painting

Just keep it simple

If you’re not 100 percent sure of the style and you want to play safe, we recommend that you opt for a minimalist tattoo design instead. In this way, it would be much easier to add more symbols that will match your dragonfly tattoo in case you want to revamp it. Also, a simpler tattoo design would be much easier to cover up in the future, that is, in case you want a new design. And the best part of it is that a simpler tattoo design also means lesser dollars spent. Here are some ideas for a minimalist dragonfly design.

A very simple ankle tattoo of a dragonfly

This dragonfly outline will let you have more time to think about its color and other design; definitely a practical choice

Show off your feminine side with this pink-winged dragonfly tattoo

 

An intricately designed minimalist tattoo of a dragonfly on the forearm

A small but solid black ink wrist tattoo of a dragonfly

A big yet still a minimalist tattoo of a dragonfly at the back

A semicolon tattoo designed to resemble a dragonfly

A small dotwork tattoo of a dragonfly

A small dragonfly image with gradient wings on the wrist

Another small and simple wite tattoo of a dragonfly

A very simple dragonfly image on the inner forearm with a heart on top

Another small blackout tattoo of a dragonfly on the wrist

This small blackout dragonfly tattoo, on the other hand, was placed on the side of the wrist

Show your masculine side

Dragonfly tattoos aren’t for girls. You can wear them too if you’re a guy. In fact, samurai men in Japan back in the day wear this symbol in their clothes too. But in this modern time, you can add tribal pattern to your tattoo to show your masculine side. Take a look at these samples.

A tribal design under a dragonfly tattoo

Even if a woman is wearing it, it still doesn’t look too girly at all

This dragonfly has some tribal patterns on its wings

 

A much simpler tribal pattern


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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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