The lion is a popular tattoo design for men who want bold and masculine ink. Lion tattoos are popular because they symbolize strength, power, courage, dominance and family. Lions are known to be the Kings of the Jungle and some guys find this inspiring. From realistic to tribal, geometric and cool, there are many lion tattoo ideas to consider if you want this majestic animal inked on your body. Whether you want a ferocious lion roaring, winged and flying, fierce and wearing a crown, or lying within a pride, it’s important to explore different lion tattoo designs to find the right piece for you. If you’re looking for the perfect artwork for your sleeve, shoulder, leg, thigh, rib, bicep or arm, we’ve compiled a gallery of the most popular lion tattoos for men. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with a badass tattoo of a lion so explore all the coolest design ideas for guys to discover some inspiration.
Lion Tattoo Meaning
Lion tattoos have many meanings, and the definition can vary depending on the symbols used in designs. Men tend to gravitate toward lion tattoos because they represent admirable qualities, many of which are masculine and bold. Lions can represent strength, guardianship, power, courage and loyalty. As King of the Jungle and top predators in the animal kingdom, these fierce animals have also been connected to royalty and authority, and sometimes have Christian and religious connotations as well.
Lion Tattoo Design Ideas
Lion Head Tattoo
Majestic and intimidating, men love getting lion head tattoos anywhere on the body. From the chest to the back, forearm, shoulder and leg, lion head tattoo designs are popular as large, detailed pieces. While most ideas focus on realistic depictions, some ink concepts incorporate tribal styling or an artistic approach. Similarly, you can choose to have the head roaring to show off the heart of a lion or keep it simple for the more peaceful and beautiful side of this amazing animal.
Realistic Lion Tattoo
Realistic lion tattoos are a great way to honor and respect this incredible force in nature. Because lions live in groups called “prides”, real-looking lion tattoos can symbolize family, kinship and loyalty. Depending on the styling of your photorealistic design, your tattoo could signify a promise to always protect your loved ones and home.
Lion Face Tattoo
When deciding on a lion tattoo design, the face is a popular option because of the distinct and recognizable features. Depending on how you and your tattoo artist choose to depict them, the lion can showcase a range of emotions. If you want something fierce, go for a roaring, open-mouth. Alternatively, there’s the pensive and peaceful side. Either way, a lion face tattoo is best suited for an area that has plenty of space to work with, so that the details can shine through.
Lion with Crown Tattoo
Whether inspired by the hierarchy in nature or fabled stories like the Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, it’s a well-known fact that lions are the royalty of the jungle. A lion with a crown tattoo is one way to bring that energy into your own life. This design is popular among men who want to achieve that fierce reputation, especially as a protector and provider within their family structure and dynamic.
Female Lion Tattoo
If there’s anything that female lions are known for, it’s being a ferocious protector, huntress, and provider for her cubs and family. A female lion tattoo is a popular tattoo among men because of all that these creatures stand for and represent in nature, especially as a tribute to the strong and powerful women in your own life who embody these same attributes and skills. Whether it’s a wife, mother, daughter, or sister, a lioness is a symbol of appreciation for all that they do for their loved ones.
Tribal Lion Tattoo
The tribal version of a lion tattoo is ideal for men who have tribal heritage, who want to pay homage to their roots. Opt for bold lines, dark shading, and distinct cultural elements to personalize this lion-inspired ink.
Small Lion Tattoo
Even a small lion tattoo can make a roaring impact, especially if your design makes the most of its allotted space. For smaller areas, like the forearm, neck, or wrist, be sure to implement striking details and purposeful shading. Your lion can look very cool in miniature form.
Geometric Lion Tattoo
One way to add a little zest to your lion tattoo is to design the animal with geometric elements. This is a contemporary approach that highlights creativity and vision, giving your ink a modern twist. Work with your tattoo artist to create something that fits your taste, whether it’s bold shading, imaginative shape layering, 3D elements, or abstract concepts.
Lion and Lamb Tattoo
A common symbol of peace, the lion and lamb are artistic and symbolic devices that are meaningful in the written word as well as in tattoo form. This combination has biblical roots, often meant to represent the resurrection of Christ (the all-powerful lion) and his sacrifice (the sacrificial lamb). This tattoo is powerful for men who appreciate either the Christian connection or the general connotations of living in harmony.
Lion of Judah Tattoo
The Lion of Judah is a significant symbol in the Jewish culture, essentially representing the Israelite tribe of Judah. In tattoo form, this religious symbol is often depicted as a lion with a crown, pennant, a paw raised, and some kind of verse included. This design also has connections to Christianity, the Ethiopian flag, and the Rastafarian religion.
Lion and Cub Tattoo
One of the best tattoos to represent the loving and protective nature of a father and child relationship is the depiction of a lion and its cub. These feline creatures are known for being all-star parents, whose pack ideology curates a tight-knit family dynamic where lions would do anything to keep their cubs safe, happy, and healthy. If your kids are the true pride of your life, this ink is for you.
If you’re looking for a design that represents wisdom and parallels Jesus Christ in a secular character, then you’ll want to consider the Aslan tattoo. Lions have religious roots in Christianity, and The Chronicles of Narnia depicts Aslan as a strong yet gentle god.
Lion Pride Tattoo
The lion pride tattoo is particularly meaningful for guys who value family and want to demonstrate their love, devotion, and loyalty. Unlike other cats, lions stick together in cohesive family units. Lion pride tattoo designs can be sweet and sentimental with a male lion, lioness, and cubs. Alternatively, some guys may prefer a lion and his cubs playing together or lying in the grass. Tailor the artwork with the names of your kids or their birth dates.
Leo Lion Tattoo
The Leo lion tattoo symbolizes the 5th astrological sign of the zodiac, representing the constellation Leo. Characterized as strong, passionate, determined and courageous individuals, some men get Leo tattoos to subtly communicate these attributes. Whether you want a Leo lion on your sleeve, forearm, chest or back, these designs can be tailored to incorporate a number of cool ideas.
Roaring Lion Tattoo
A roaring lion tattoo is an awesome piece of art that embodies the strength and ferocity of this apex predator. Men who consider themselves masculine and proud, or who draw inspiration from the wild nature of the beast, gravitate toward this tattoo design. Though it fits nicely in numerous places on the body, this ink especially shines on the chest – you’ll feel like beating your torso to the sound of your own roar with this inspiring piece.
Lion Eyes Tattoo
The eyes of a lion are deep, calculated, and complex; because of the lion’s intellect and power, their revealing eyes make for a popular tattoo. Graphically, this ink is eye-catching and exciting, especially when the art style is realistic and detail-oriented. Work with your artist to create the gleam of a lion’s eye, and you’ll have an eerily cool and somewhat intimidating tattoo to show off.
Lion Chest Tattoo
Because lions are so magnificent and grand, you can easily take up a large portion of a chest tattoo in their likeness. The gift of space on your torso allows more detail and shading work, which can truly bring your piece of ink to life. Consider a design that moves across your chest, like a sternum-to-shoulder expansion to get an up-close look at the lion’s face and sweeping mane.
Winged Lion Tattoo
Any basketball fans might appreciate the winged lion tattoo, which spans across the chest of NBA powerhouse LeBron James. Even if you’re not necessarily inspired by hoops, a lion with wings tattoo design has a mythical vibe that’s also masculine and intriguing. It’s combining the ferocious lion with a freedom-representing bird, or angel – if you prefer the religious angle. This ink is made to stand out, which makes it a top candidate for a chest or back piece.
Lion Hand Tattoo
While it can be painful to get, a hand lion tattoo can make for a stunning placement for this type of piece. The hand is one of the most visible spots on your body, so everyone you see will know what you’re about and what animal best captures your strong, enduring, and masculine spirit. To get the most out of a smaller space, you can have your lion tattoo design work its way up to the wrist and down to the fingers, as necessary.
Lion Forearm Tattoo
While many men choose larger areas for their lion tattoos, the forearm is a viable option to mix things up. In general, this space is a hot-spot for tatted men because of its prominence, being both visible or easy-to-cover, and a low-pain zone for the inking. If these qualities are ideal, a smaller sized lion tattoo could easily wrap around the forearm or take up space on either the inner or outer sides. Use length to your advantage, and design the animal to fit the space in more of a vertical capacity.
Lion Shoulder Tattoo
The shoulder is more or less the perfect place for a lion tattoo. One variation of the design is to do a profile shot, where the feline’s roaring face is looking inward, facing the heart. That way, the lion’s mane can take up a larger part of the shoulder and extend down the arm. If you want to experiment with color or detail, this tattoo would also feed beautifully into a larger sleeve piece.
Lion Sleeve Tattoo
For a truly badass tattoo, men should consider a lion sleeve. When it comes to full arm tattoo designs, most guys choose complementary elements that are drawn together, creating a fluid and impressive piece of art.
For a lion sleeve tattoo, the King of the Jungle should be the main event, with other thematic elements blended in. For example, you can add more scenes from the African wilderness, including the savanna, trees, and other wild animals. You can also incorporate imagery from your own life for a more personal piece.
Keep in mind that sleeve tattoos are expensive and timely, meaning you’ll need to visit your artist several times to complete the ink. While it can be an investment, the results will be well worth it.
Lion Back Tattoo
The leading benefit of a lion tattoo on the back is that you’re able to give a prominent design the space to be large, commanding, and one-of-a-kind. A lion back tattoo can easily dominate, which is why it’s a popular choice for men who want to make a big and bold statement. With this placement, there’s also room for creativity and detailing to customize the look.
Lion Finger Tattoo
The lion finger tattoo may be one of the most unexpected ideas to consider. Placing a lion on your finger subverts expectations because the design condenses such a grand and large beast to fit one of the smallest areas of the body. In addition to its eye-catching properties, a lion tattoo on your finger is also unique and small enough to not be the first thing someone notices about you. If you’re interested in matching tattoos, this ink would work well with a partnership.