These gentle giants of the animal kingdom are a popular tattoo choice because of the powerful symbolism behind it. Not only are they one of the most recognizable tattoos on Earth, but these animals can also be adapted to lots of different art styles.
Elephants symbolize many things, like fertility, family, attitude, prosperity, and strength. They are respected by many cultures, making them internationally admired animals. Here are 50+ of our favorite elephant tattoo designs and the meanings behind them.
50+ Elephant Tattoo Designs
Delicate Elephant Tattoo Design
While elephants are one of the largest animals on Earth, they make ideal delicate, small tattoos. Because they have such a recognizable silhouette, small elephant tattoos can be placed on almost any part of the body. These versatile tattoos can be placed in areas like the ribs, ankle, and wrist.
Mandala Elephant Tattoo Design
Elephants and mandalas both have strong spiritual significance in Eastern culture. A mandala elephant tattoo is ideal for those on an educational and spiritual journey. A mandala (the Sanskrit word for circle) is a geometric design where shapes and patterns are formed by an arrangement of geometric symbols.
Elephants represent new beginnings and wisdom, whilst mandalas symbolize the universe and a focused mind. The elephant could be created using mandala shapes, or a mandala could be incorporated and used as the background shape.
Family of Elephant Tattoo Design
Elephants are very family-oriented animals, this makes them ideal for tattoos that celebrate your family. Elephants share unbreakable bonds with their family members and are incredibly loyal. A group of elephants can also include baby elephants and a natural scene. Elephants commonly walk in a singular line, and this is generally how families of elephants are depicted in tattoos. For this reason, elephant tattoos are usually placed on more spacious body parts like back, legs, and arms.
Elephant Outline Tattoo Design
Because elephants have such a unique and recognizable silhouette, they make perfect outline tattoos. Minimalist and modern, these tattoos don’t take long to execute as there is no shading but make a big impact. They look great on men and women, and in a variety of placements.
Elephant Tattoo Design with Flowers
Floral tattoos are equally striking when inked in black and gray, or in bold colors. Flowers symbolize life, death, and love. They are often paired with elephants, both for their meaning and for their aesthetic appeal. Not just for women, cherry blossom and rose tattoos are very popular tattoos for men. Some people add a crown of flowers to their elephant tattoo, others use flowers as a background or incorporate it into their trunk.
Indian Elephant Tattoo Design
Elephants are generally connected to and beloved by Indian culture. The country is home to thousands of native Asian elephants. Indian rulers would traditionally ride elephants that were brightly decorated with jewels, flowers and paint. Indian influenced elephant tattoos incorporate bold colors, ornate decoration and decorative patterns.
African Elephant Tattoo Design
With Africa home to the majority of the world’s elephants, tattoos featuring this animal are a fantastic way to incorporate African landscapes and colours. Popular African tattoos include depictions of the Serengeti, other African wildlife and plants found on the vast African continent.
Also Read: African Tattoos: Tattooing Tradition, Designs, and Meanings
Watercolor African Tattoo Design
Watercolor tattoos are vibrant and eye-catching. Watercolors generally use bright hues like magenta, turquoise and violet in a brushstroke pattern. Some people use a splash of color over the elephant, other use it as a background canvas to the animal.
Realistic Elephant Tattoo Design
Realistic elephant tattoos have grown in popularity in recent years. If you want to really show your love of elephants, what’s better than getting a photorealistic portrait of one. Realistic tattoos are technically difficult because they require lots of precision and can be time-consuming. Find a clear reference photo and always choose an experienced tattoo artist.
Geometric Elephant Tattoo Design
Add geometric elements to tattoos is one of the most popular tattoo trends of recent years. The angular shapes, lines and geometric patterns will make any style of inking more modern and cooler. Because elephants have such a distinctive outline, they lend themselves to these contemporary and minimalist tattoo designs.
Tribal Elephant Tattoo Design
Tribal tattoos originate from Polynesian culture. This style of tattooing consists of geometric designs, shapes, and patterns to create the elephant shape. Tribal tattoos can be abstract but are often inspired by nature. Elephants are the perfect design to pair with this style as they both represent human connection to the wild.
Elephant Lovers Tattoo Design
A couple of elephants is a commonly tattooed design for newlyweds. Many people believe getting names and dates tattooed on each other is bad luck, so instead choose elephants. Elephants symbolize fidelity and loyalty, two important aspects of a successful union. Some choose two elephants together and others create a design where the trunks form a heart shape.
War Elephant Tattoo Design
A tattoo of a war elephant is a powerful tattoo , symbolizing capability, courage and the will to fight. They are often depicted on their hind legs, wearing armor and intricate headwear. Unlike the friendly, cheerful elephants usually tattooed, they have angry faces and large tusks.
Baby Elephant Tattoo Design
Whether it’s a famous cartoon baby elephant like Dumbo or a more realistic-looking tattoo, baby elephants are very popular. Adorable and instantly recognizable, baby elephants are a great way to celebrate a new member of the family. This design suits many different tattoo styles including watercolor, geometric and Indian.
Pink Elephant Tattoo Design
The pink elephant tattoo design is popular amongst tattoo enthusiasts. This inking represents the idiom pink elephant, which was coined by the author Jack London in the 1900s. Pink elephants are traditionally seen as a hallucination by people who are drunk. Pink elephants were also seen by Dumbo the elephant in the Disney film, after drinking champagne. Pink elephants are generally tattooed onto people who are very social and are party animals.
Abstract Elephant Tattoo Design
Abstract painter Salvador Dali made one of the most famous depictions of elephant in the 1948 painting The Elephants. Because elephants are so distinctive, their shape and form can be played with in many abstract ways. Replications of Dali’s painting are also popular with fans of tattoos.
Elephant Butterfly Tattoo Design
An elephant tattoo with its ears out wide, and decorated like butterflies, represent new beginnings. These tattoos are commonly chosen by people who have overcome struggles. This tattoo design is popularly placed on the center of the back, appearing from a distance as angel wings. This design also allows you to play around with color.
Black and Gray Elephant Tattoo Design
Elephants are the ideal animal for fans of black and gray tattoos as elephants themselves are gray in color. It’s not just the elephant than has to be tattooed in gray scale, flowers and landscape can also be given the monochrome treatment. Whether you’re going for a realistic design or an intricate fantasy illustration, you can get a surprising amount of detail and impact from such a limited range of shades and tones.
Elephant Tattoo Meaning
Elephants and big and majestic creatures. They are admired around the world for their power and their strength. Although they are powerful, they are mostly considered to be gentle animals.
Many cultures believe elephants to be soul guides. It’s a common belief that elephants will guide people to the path of serenity and encourage patience. Elephants also symbolize stability, wisdom, peace, determination and loyalty in many cultures. Many cultures see elephants as assign of immense mental and physical power. There are many sayings connected to elephants having a long memory.
Elephants are family-orientated creatures, acting with an incredible gentleness towards their children, the herd, and the elders. They care compassionate, loyal and care greatly towards their kind. People often get elephant tattoos to symbolize family or a love they have for the people in their life.
One of the reasons elephants are so beloved by people is because of their patience. Elephants are naturally mellow yet will protect their family when necessary. Despite all the power they have, they rarely use it for violence or act with aggression.
In some Asian cultures, there is a belief that the world is carried on the back of a cosmic elephant (in the same way others believe the world is on the back of a tortoise. In Asian culture, elephants are revered, as they believe them to divine.
Elephants play a major role in Buddhist culture. They believe that Buddha’s mother was unable to conceive a child until she dreamed of a white elephant coming to her room. The elephants gave her a white lotus in her dream and upon waking up she knew she would be able to conceive a child.
In Buddhist culture, the color of the elephant depicted holds different importance. White animals are symbol of purity, divinity and tranquility. Whilst gray elephants are a symbol of an uncultured, uneducated and frantic mind. They believe that gray elephants wander the world with the aim to find a road to enlightenment and power.
Elephants are the symbol of the Hindu God Ganesha, who is often depicted in the animal’s form. According to common Hindu beliefs, Ganesha can remove all of life’s obstacles and bring good fortune, luck and personal safety.
Lord Indra, the god of rain, thunder, lightning and rain is often depicted as riding a white elephant. For this reason, Hindu leaders believe that elephants are loyal partners to their owners. Many ancient emperors and kings would ride around and travel on elephants. The animal would late become a Hindu symbol for royalty.
Elephants are very important to Christians. Christians believe that elephants symbolize chastity, patience and temperance. In ancient times, it was thought elephants had no knees, therefore symbolizing the fall of man. This connects elephants to chastity, as the animals show no sign of passion.
Elephants can be found in many early Christian artworks. They are thought to represent Adam and Eve in their male and female forms. The Bestiaries, which contained information and stories about almost every animal is existence, suggests that elephants hold significant symbolism to Christians and should be respected.
In Chinese culture, elephants are believed to be a symbol of good luck and happiness. In Feng Shui, elephants can also represent wisdom, protection, and fertility. If the elephant has their trunk up, it represents good luck, if the trunk is down it represents fertility.
Africa has the highest population of elephants of anywhere in the world. Africans believe that elephants are wise, strong, and powerful. They are considered a chief animal who will resolve the disputes of the animal kingdom.
Elephant Tattoos: More FAQ
Which celebrities have elephant tattoos?
Elephants are a common tattoo with celebrities, although they are a variety of designs, colors, and styles.
Actress Lucy Hale got a tattoo of an elephant on her right arm during a trip Cambia to celebrate the culture. Orange is the New Black actress Jackie Cruz has a small elephant tattoo on her inside elbow. Model and actress Cara Delevingne has a half-realistic, half geometrical tattoo on her right forearm.
Singer Shawn Mendes chose an elephant tattoo because it symbolized luck, wisdom, and protection in Hindu tradition. Singer Melanie Martinez has a cartoon depiction of Elmer Elephant tattooed on her calf.
Which elephant tattoo hurts the least?
How painful your new elephant tattoo is will depend on the placement of it and your tolerance to pain. Some people find the process of getting tattooed much less painful than others.
Areas where bones are close to the surface, for example, ribcage and knees or anywhere where the skin folds, for example behind the knee or inner elbow will be more painful than fleshier areas. Tattooing an elephant over scar tissue will be more painful than tattooing healthy skin.
Read More: Tattoo Pain Chart: What Is The Most (Least) Painful Place
Does the position of the elephant matter?
Yes! Elephants with their trunks down symbolizes positive energy and pushing through obstacles. In some cultures, it is considered a potent totem for those seeking fertility, power or wisdom.
Elephants with their trunks up represent luck, positivity, happiness, health, success, prosperity and respect.
How much will an elephant tattoo cost?
Tattoo shops will generally charge by how long a tattoo takes. For a small and simple design, you should expect to pay around $70 or $80. Unless incredibly detailed, you shouldn’t pay more than $80. Bigger tattoos won’t be more expensive necessarily, it’s more about how detailed it is. Get in touch with a tattoo shop and show them your exact design to get a more accurate price.
Do elephant tattoos suit men or women?
Elephant tattoos are unisex. Men and women both commonly have elephant tattoos. Elephant tattoos can be customized to be as masculine or as feminine as you want them to be.
Elephants live in a matriarchal society. This means that the leader of the group is an older female, who guides her herd, and protects the young. Male elephants are driven out the heard once they reach adulthood, force to live independently from their family. Many women will celebrate motherhood with an elephant tattoo. For men, elephants symbolize both mental and physical strength, as well as independence and freedom.
Where should I place my elephant tattoo, and what can it mean?
There are infinite possibilities for where you can get your elephant tattooed. You could choose to get just the head, the whole body or a little family of elephants. Here are some of our favorite locations for elephant tattoos.
Fingers. Elephant designs are popular for hand tattoos because the trunk can easily be extended down the finger. Choosing this placement is fun and can look adorably lifelike. They can also make delicate little tattoos above the knuckle. Be warned, this can be a painful location and is not ideal for first inkings.
Thigh. If you want a larger, more detailed design, the thigh is the perfect canvas. The shape of men and women’s thighs make the ideal area for a front-face elephant, a whole scene or a side profile. The thigh is also one of the least painful places to be tattooed on the body.
Foot. Elephants are often tattooed on feet to remind the wearer to put their best foot forward, or to represent walking towards a goal. Elephant families are also commonly tattooed on feet as it represents family being the foundation of life.
Back. The back is the largest area of space for most people. This smooth area will allow a tattoo artist to place a large yet detailed elephant design. Because elephants symbolize strength, placing them on the back symbolizes carrying a heavy burden.
Wrist. The wrist is an excellent place to get a tattoo that’s small, but the flat area allows for detail. This is generally a more popular placement for women, but not uncommon for men.
Shoulder. Shoulders are a great place to get larger, more detailed elephant tattoos. There are many different styles of elephant tattoos that can be placed on the arm, big or small. A shoulder tattoo can become part of a large arm piece or be a delicate inking on the shoulder blade.
Arm. Arm tattoos are popular for men and women. It could be a large piece that spans the whole arm, a small inking on the upper or lower arm, or something unique on the bicep. Arms are the most popular place for tattoos as the area is visible frequently and allows gives the artist flexible room to create your dream elephant tattoo.
1 thought on “50+ Best Elephant Tattoo Design Ideas (and What They Mean)”
This is great, Thanks for sharing! These tattoo designs are so cool. They have a beautiful meaning. I recently got a jeweled elephant tattoo and it looks great. I’m checking at: https://wannabeink.com/collections/elephant-temporary-tattoos