Dragon Tattoos – 20 Designs and Their Mystical Meanings

Dragons appear in the myths of legends of cultures around the world. From the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl to the fire-breathing medieval dragons, they come in all shapes and sizes. These mythical creatures are usually portrayed as antagonists or evil beasts, but a few stories out there choose to give the flying lizards a good side. They are a common trope in fantasy novels, and regardless of their alignment, they are always portrayed as a force to be reckoned with. Dragon tattoos are quite similar.


Despite the fact that dragons are a popular tattoo, there is an infinite variety of tattoo designs to choose from. In today’s gallery feature, we’ll be looking at the mystical dragon tattoo designs, their meaning, and their myths. Whether you want to have a tattoo that symbolizes strength, wisdom, courage, or faith, there are quite a few dragon designs for you to choose from! Grab some tattoo lotion, because you’re going to want a new tattoo after seeing all these awesome designs!

Also Read: How To Chose a Fantastic Octopus Tattoo

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Dragon Tattoos and Meanings

As I mentioned before, there are a huge amount of dragons to pick from. The fire-breathing dragon that we are familiar with originated in Europe. They have two minor variants that pop up—a giant, legless dragon called a wyrm, and the fire-breathing salamander which was a superstition about the actual creature. In the Middle Eastern area, the wyvern is more common, appearing as a two-legged dragon. Lung dragons are the official name for Chinese dragons, which are an amazing staple of the tattoo world. And, of course, there are sea dragons that appear in storms and destroy ships. These myths repeat in various parts of the world, and each instance carries a different appearance and connotation. It would take forever to list them all , and you’d probably want to apply some tattoo numbing cream to your brain! I can at least talk about the meanings of the big ones, though.

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Western Dragon Tattoos

Western dragons are probably the most villainous of these mythical creatures. They resemble demonic lizards and are famous for capturing princesses, stealing livestock, and pillaging villages for fun. They can also make an army into a barbeque cookout if they feel like it. Only the bravest of knights and devout of saints can conquer these beasts. Medieval designs represent fiery anger, vengeance, strength, independence, danger, courage, greed, wealth, and rebellion. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it?


Western dragon designs for men and women are less about the negative and more about the positive aspects of the dragon. Someone with a dragon tattoo is sending everyone that sees it a message, and that message is that they’re no pushover! They may not have walked the best path in life, but they’re not afraid to admit it and learn from it! Of course, given all of the power and independence that the dragons represent, someone may get it just because it is cool. More power to them! If you want to avoid the ‘flame’ of a stinging tattoo gun, look into lidocaine cream and see if that helps you.

Also Read: 20 Shining Angel Tattoos Sent from Heaven

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Chinese Dragon Tattoos For Men

These mythical designs go back thousands of years. Unlike Europe, Asia looked at dragons in a positive light. They are the ones who taught humans how to read and write, positive benefactors, and rulers of the heavens and the seas. They have control over storms and luck. In China, it is even a complement to call someone a dragon! Chinese dragons represent many different political aspects, and harming a dragon figurine or statue is considered a crime. A dragon tattoo is a good way to commemorate the year of the dragon, or your birth year if you were born in the year of the dragon.


They make excellent back tattoos or sleeves. Eastern dragons are traditionally considered ‘male’ because of their association with ‘yang.’ Its female counterpart is the Chinese phoenix. Some regions consider tattoos of a dragon to be associated with gangs, while others see them as a mark of integrity. Traditional Chinese dragon designs are especially impressive, although you’ll have to work hard to find an artist for the job. If you’re an artist reading this, make sure you have all the proper tools to deliver the best ink. A comfortable and adjustable tattoo chair for yourself and a stable tattoo bed for your client helps with all of the details in these scaly designs.

Related Read: The Best Ancient Art Tattoo Designs

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Tribal and Celtic Dragon Tattoos

Celtic dragons stand out from Western dragons in that they are not villainous or demonic. In fact, they called gatekeepers to all of the secrets in the universe. They are the most powerful Celtic symbol for this reason. They appear on flags, crests, armor, and clothing, going back for millennia. On top of that, they are frequently drawn with their tail in their mouths, representing the infinitely repeating cycle of life. The dragon’s body is usually drawn with many intertwining knots to show the ups and downs of life.


This symbol also carries over into Norse mythology in the form of Jormungandr the world serpent. Celtic dragons make for awesome tribal dragon tattoos for men, with their intricate loops and knots creating detail in the art. They can be large back covers, or they can entwine around a wrist, arm, or ankle as a kind of seal. Iceland, Ireland, and Wales held onto the ancient positive association of the dragon and this reflects in their modern-day view of the beasts. The Welsh flag even bears a red dragon that represents the country.

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Female Dragon Tattoo Designs

Small dragon tattoos for women look cute and even playful. Larger tattoos show off the wild side of its wearer and, if placed on a large space like the back, make for an amazing art piece. As for the opposite—feminine dragon designs—those are a little harder to find. Dragons don’t have any traditional gender dimorphisms, seeing as they are mythical creatures, so we have to rely on tattoo art styles to depict a more feminine design. Ask your artist if you are looking for this type of tattoo, and you are bound to get something unique!

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Do you think you know all there is about dragon designs? Guess again! There are amazing variations, species, styles, and meanings that we have yet to touch on. There are so many myths surrounding these dragons that you can get lost in them! Before getting your tattoo, be sure to read up on the stories behind them. You’re sure to find your own meaning for your amazing dragon tattoo!

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If you enjoyed this gallery, be sure to check out the others at InkDoneRight! You can subscribe to our email lists to grab updates, or you can follow our Twitter for updates as they happen. As always, thanks for reading!



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