For many people, tattoos are like art. They aim to make things beautiful. But most of all, they tell a story. They symbolize an individual’s strengths or weaknesses that they overcame. Some designs share that person’s life and their love. There are also personal tat designs that signify someone’s passion and goals. While some are more personalized, other are more common. These popular tattoo designs have grown over the years and now include a wide variation – each with a story and a meaning. One of these designs is the elephant tattoo.
Elephants are big land animals that could grow up to 20 feet and weigh about 5000 kilograms. These animals are among the most gentle animals even though they could trample an adult human. This is why they are known as gentle giants.
Elephant Tattoo Meaning
Generally, elephant tattoo designs signify strong people who choose to be gentle, kind and peaceful. They can dominate if they want but choose to be the pacifists and the kind souls. While they are more peace loving, they can take action when provoked just like the creature itself.
Another meaning of an elephant design is closely related to how it acts in reality. Elephants have close knit families. They tend to stay together, caring for the young and protecting everyone in their herd. Designs with elephant herds usually tend to symbolize this. It tells how a person cares for his family and will protect them from harm.
Not only are these animals big and strong, they are intelligent too. That is why they also symbolize intelligence. This is the perfect imagery if you are a big problem solver and you like to think. It is a great symbol for people who love learning and gaining wisdom.
An elephant ink design could also mean other things. This depends on the design and how they are depicted. Elephant tattoos could also mean:
- Prosperity and luck
Tribal Elephant Designs
Tribal is one of the most ancient style of tattooing. In the past, the only people who get tattoos are warriors and tribe leaders. It signifies their rank and manhood. It is also a symbol of their strength and they can only get one when they have proven themselves. While anyone could get a tattoo these days, tribal designs still have a lot of deeper meaning. Most of these meanings have been lost in time. However, they are mostly associated with nature just as how tribes long ago are linked to Mother Earth.
Getting a tribal elephant tattoo, in general, also means a link to nature. That being said, this is an amazing design that suits adventurers. This is perfect for those who love the great outdoors and spend more time with nature than the urban landscapes.
Ganesha and Hindu Reference
Ganesha is a Hindu deity that symbolizes luck and prosperity. The god is depicted with having an elephant for a head. With that, many who practice Hinduism often associate the gentle giant with luck and prosperity.
In line with that, you can choose a Ganesha tattoo that depicts success, wisdom and luck. This is great if you want to bring luck and success to your life, especially when you are venturing in business. Businessmen and entrepreneurs could have this as sort of a good luck charm. Of course, in the end all your success would be based on your own hard work and decisions. Still, it is good to have a reminder that you can become successful in the endeavor you have chosen.
Prosperity and luck tattoos does not necessarily mean you have to choose a Ganesha design. Most of the time, elephant head tattoos also symbolize the same thing. You can choose a simple elephant head design. However, designs with mandalas and geometric shapes are getting more popular. You can also decide on an elephant raising its trunk as it is also seen as a symbol of good luck and success, especially in Asian culture.
Another Indian inspired elephant ink design often includes flowers. This is usually chosen by women as it signifies femininity. It is associated with the beauty of the female body. In fact, in some cultures, elephants could symbolize fertility and raw sexual attraction between a male and a female.
Cute Designs and Cartoon Elephants
Elephants are not just strong creatures. They are also adorable. That may be why various cartoons have taken the gentle giants as adorable characters.
This is also one of the more common elephant tattoo designs. Younger ones especially get this types of tattoos since these are closely related to youth and innocence. Those who tend to get these cute and adorable design often depicts the happiness of being a child; back when you are carefree and bubbly.
Another cute designs that women usually get are two elephants forming a heart with their trunks. It is an adorable design perfect for people who are in love or love the concept of love. It is also a good couple tattoo. Those in a relationship can acquire matching designs.
Leadership and Loyalty
As mentioned before, elephants are very protective of their herd. They are close to their family and is a tightly knit group. But aside from love of family, elephants also strongly symbolize leadership.
Oftentimes, a herd chooses the strongest elephant to become their leader. It will lead them to where it is safe and where there is food and water. Once an elephant is elected as the head of the herd, the community follows it wherever it may lead them.
That is what led others to believe that an elephant tattoo can also symbolize leadership. This could be the symbol of people who are good in leading others. Many are born to become leaders, using their intelligence and strength to a good cause.
But just as there are leaders, there are also followers. And as they say, a good leader is a good follower. That being said, an elephant design can also denote someone’s loyalty. Popular designs often depict a god elephant leading younger elephants with its trunk. Usually, the god elephant would be the leader and thus, symbolizing the trait. The younger elephants, on the other hand, is for loyalty.
Placement is often one of the toughest decisions when it comes to getting a tattoo. To effectively choose a spot, you have to consider the design. If you are going for an elephant tattoo, you would want a more prominent area. This is because elephants are usually designed as larger than average. Then again, you can acquire simple elephant design and cute little ones. In the event you are doing the latter, good placements will be on the finger, wrist, or the ankles.
Average sized tattoos are best placed inside the elbow, forearm or legs. This gives enough space for the tattoo and your artist could also play around the area to create stunning designs. If you want a larger tattoo with more details and background, you would want to place it on the chest area, back or your thighs. These areas usually has more space. This is the best design for surrealistic designs that has more details than a simple tattoo design. This also goes well if you have multiple subjects.
Of course, you can also choose unusual places, especially for unusual designs. Some choose to place tehir elephant tattoo on their neck. While this is a surprising placement choice, especially for average and larger designs, this actually means a good thing. Oftentimes, it symbolizes people who are not afraid of what others think of them. So, if you are confident and you have no problems regarding the placement, you can try this out.
It is 21st century and people are more open to tattoos and piercings. Still, a lot are skeptical about getting one, especially since a stigma still surround it. There are still others who can’t tolerate people with tattoos. In fact, many cases describe how people tend to judge others with tattoos and associate them with thugs.
Because of this, many workplaces are strict with tattoos. While others require no tattoos at all, many are okay with hiring those who have inked their bodies. Nonetheless, the placement is important. They should be covered when wearing the uniform and facing people at work. That being said, you would want to place a tattoo where it could be easily covered. You can try the back, your thighs, your feet or your chest area. Just make sure your uniform can cover it when you are on duty.
This is a reminder for anyone who are looking for jobs. Many are not strict but you might encounter a few places like this. So, while you are not employed or your workplace has rules, try not to get an elephant tattoo on your hands, fingers wrist.
Designing your Elephant Tattoo
You might have decided to get an elephant tattoo design. However, there are still many styles to choose from. If you are having difficulty, the meaning of the design could help you. You can also consider the placement.
However, here are the common styles you can choose:
- Tribal – As said, tribal designs is an ancient style and more connected on nature. But why choose this design? Technically, tribal designs have more geometric lines and are filled with patterns. Suffice to say, it is indeed one of the cooler designs. Polynesian and Indian styles are often under this category.
- Realistic – These designs are closer to reality and of course, looks like the creature. You can choose full-body designs or only the head. These may not be the perfect design for those who are afraid of pain. While there are no complex designs, the details are more in-depth. That means more shadowing and highlight. To create these details, the artist have to go through the same spots over and over again and can cause irritating pain.
- Simple – These are perfect for women and people who are getting tattoos for the first time. These are often simpler drawings of tattoos and closer to a minimalist style.
- Modern and Abstract – These are the more unique styles and are often more personalized. Oftentimes, it goes with another subject point. It connects to seemingly unconnected subject points to create a story or a meaning. This is more personalized as the person getting the tattoo could choose which would go with the elephant design. The point of the whole design is to look at it and think twice about what it means. This gives it a more mystical feel to it.
- Surrealistic – Surreal designs are somehow like abstract designs but are oftentimes more obscure to the point of fantasy. It takes great creativity to create a surreal work of art, especially a tattoo design. It is also more personalized. If you want a surrealistic ink design, you would need a closer communication with your artist.
Finding your Tattoo Artist
To get the best tattoo, you would need to find the perfect tattoo artist. Now, it could be different from person to person. One artist may be best suited for you but may not be the best for your friend. This all goes down to the style you have chosen.
Just like any other artist, most tattoo experts have their own style and forte. While others excel in abstract tattoo designs, other might be more known for their surrealist and realistic designs. You would be able to know which artist is best suited to work with you by talking to them. If you can, bring a picture or a drawing of the design you want. If you can’t find any, you should talk to them about your design. More often, they would let you know whether they can do it or not.
Apart from their skills, you would also need to find a pro you can trust. Of course, they should be professionals and have gone through apprenticeship with another pro. Most importantly, they should be using new and unused needles for the tattoo gun. This is to avoid any unnecessary health risks you can get when an artist recycles the needles. As much as possible, they should unpack the needle in front of you and throw it away after use.
The best way to find a trustworthy tattoo artist is to ask your family or friends. Personally knowing a past client will help you know whether their work is good. You can also ask your friends about their experience working with the artist.
After finding the tattoo artist, you usually have to talk to them for the design. If you are unsure of the design, you can always look through their portfolios and ask their opinion. However, do NOT ever get the tattoo if you don’t like the design. If they have suggested a design, it does not mean you have to go through it. You should be satisfied with the design and want it. A permanent tattoo is exactly that – permanent. It is a commitment. To avoid regretting your decision, you’d need to feel good about what you’re getting.
Once the design is approved by both you and the artist, you usually have to schedule the procedure. Most of the time, you can get the procedure right away and go home with your new tat. However, some instances may call for a reschedule. These are the following reasons:
- You are drunk or high.
- You’re going to have a surgery or just had one.
- You’re pregnant.
- You are sick and unwell.
- You have not taken a shower before the procedure.
- No ID
- You do not have the money.
The tattoo artist will likely reschedule your appointment to when you are at your best.
Will it Hurt and How Much Will It Cost?
These may be two of the most commonly asked questions regarding getting a tattoo.
First of all, yes, it will hurt. The level of pain depends where you are having it. For first timers, you should try to get a tattoo in places where it won’t hurt as much. This would include the arm, legs and back. The wrist, ankles, forearm and inner elbows will have a slightly higher level of pain but nothing that is not tolerable. You would be good especially if you want a minimalist elephant tattoo.
However, avoid places with taut skin, less muscles and fat and close to the bones such as the chest and rib area. Leave the inner biceps, thighs and sensitive areas like groins and inner knees for the more experienced tattoo enthusiasts. These areas would be the most painful.
The cost of a tattoo depends on its design and size. Average tattoos cost around $50 to $100. Usually, smaller tattoos are still under the average price but you can ask your tattoo artist. Larger and more intricate tattoos could last for a few sessions. Rounding up, you have to save at least $1000. Again, do not get a tattoo once you do not have the money to pay for it.