Geometrical, tribal, sketchy, realistic or abstract; head only or full-body; attacking, staring straight forward or howling at the moon: in the world of animal-inspired tattoos, wolf tattoos are the most popular and the variations are endless. The most common design is the realistic black-and-grey head, either with or without a background. However, the watercolor tattoo trend has not left wolves behind and full color wolf tattoos with all the colors of the rainbow are also seen. Recommended places for this tattoo are the biceps, shoulders, upper back and other places without curves. A wolf’s head is best portrayed when it has the space for details. For smaller canvasses, a less detailed full-body depiction is recommended. In this case, a silhouette of a wolf howling at the moon is a popular choice.
In any case, a wolf tattoo is very strong tattoo, popular with both men and women. It symbolizes strong bonds and family, since wolves stick together in a pack. Wolves are, like dogs, very loyal animals who look after their pack mates. The alpha wolf protects its pack at all costs, which means that wolf tattoos also reflect strength and leadership. Additionally, the wolf is seen as a symbol of survival and endurance, as they encounter and survive harsh conditions in the wild. Moreover, there are the many tales of children being left in the woods and adopted by wolves, helping them survive.
Wolf designs are often combined with other symbols, to deepen their meaning. Wolves portrayed with Native American symbols, like feathers, arrows and dream catchers, emphasize a wild and liberated spirit. In Native American legends, wolves are considered closely related to humans and are one of the most common clan animals. The wolf is an animal often found as a totem. Given this fact, people interested in tribal mythology will find the wolf to be an appealing animal for tattoos. In the HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’, the wolf is the trademark symbol of house Stark, which has increased the popularity of the wolf tattoo.
Elements of nature are also often added to the wolf tattoo, in the form of trees, birds, mountains, or water. Sometimes the wolf is placed in or together with a whole forest landscape. These all show the wild surroundings of the wolf, which again emphasize its strength and ability to survive. Besides that, it also makes the tattoo aesthetically pleasing. A lot of people are drawn to nature, especially wilderness. As a tattoo, it emits a ‘back to the roots’ feeling. The wolf is a strong and determined animal who still lives in the wilderness that we left behind so long ago.
No matter what, each tattoo will have a slightly different meaning for each person. A wolf tattoo can convey multiple hidden messages. For many people, a wolf is the perfect animal when it comes to reflecting their own traits, desires or past, due to its many meanings. However, if you are thinking about having a wolf tattoo, the only message that counts is the personal meaning of the wolf to you. Base your design, with the help of your tattoo artist, on the meaning that you wish to convey.