38 Popular and Meaningful Shark Tattoo Design Ideas (2021 Updated)

Photo Disclaimer – Images used in this article are owned by the respective individuals, artists, or other parties who post on their private social media accounts. These images only serve for inspiration and cannot be copied (images or the designs) for personal use.

The Meaning Of Sharks In Different Cultures

The Meaning Of Sharks In Different Cultures
Credit: Instagram

Sharks are marvelous creatures from the deep. Humans have been fascinated by its different abilities to survive. Although it is mainly perceived as dangerous and evil, the shark is a sacred animal in some cultures

A shark is considered the king of water animals in many cultures, much like the lion is for the land animals. According to Fiji, a shark God protects fishers at sea. In other cultures, like Māori, the shark is a symbol of superior power and victory.

Considering Sharks are always alert and active, it represents excellent stamina, focus, and survival.

Sharks are always alert and active, even when asleep, which represents focus and alertness. They symbolize hard work.

Many cultures carve shark totems to commemorate its’ ability to adapt and survive.

Shark Tattoo Meaning

Shark tattoos have a symbolic meaning in Polynesian cultures specifically. In particular, traditional shark tattoos have been representing protection, courage, guidance, etc. Shark tattoos represented protection against enemies in Polynesian cultures. They also represented protection for seamen and the dangers of the deep waters.

Hammerhead shark is mainly known to be the protector of people, so it’s not rare that this shark was commemorated a lot in tattoo designs. They are believed to protect man from man-eating sharks, which the West will commonly accept later on.

There are many types of shark tattoos, like traditional shark tattoo, tribe shark tattoo, fin shark tattoo, etc. The great white shark is the most common in shark tattoo designs. They can be tattooed anywhere on the body but mainly on the legs, arms, and back. It’s famous for all we think sharks are: The ingenuity, the aggressiveness, the efficiency, and the majestic.

Shark tattoos are used mainly by men, but some women have them. There are no rules when it comes to tattoos.

Shark Tattoo Importance

Besides being the greatest predator in the water and being feared by all other creatures, sharks have a lot of other vital characteristics.

Curiosity: Sharks have extraordinary senses that help them not only roam the waters and kill everything in sight but also making sure it’s a safe environment.

Fearlessness: Sharks will not shy away from a fight. Even when chances of survival are slim, they will fight until the end.

Intelligence: Since they spend so much time scoping their surroundings, they are very calculative and will rarely find themselves in an endangering situation.

Authority: Sharks are the most feared predators, which is known even when they swim peacefully, no one would dare attack them

Spirituality: Tribal shark tattoos, in particular, are known as a great way to connect with spirituality.

38 Most Popular Shark Tattoo Design Ideas

1. Hammerhead Shark Tattoo Design

Hammerhead Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @dark.tattz

This tattoo design is great for describing a specific life event and illustrating how you can make out something positive from a seemingly negative experience. The tattoo has a lot of details and is very personalized for the customer. It’s an exciting tattoo design.

2. Small Realistic Shark Tattoo Design

Small Realistic Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @littleinkliv

This tattoo is a very realistic black and white shark tattoo. Although it’s small, it’s pretty detailed and still simple. Seeing that it’s on the inner arm, you won’t have to show it off constantly, but it will be noteworthy when you do.

3. Great White Shark Tattoo Design

Great White Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @oscarmedinatattoo

This is an excellent shark tattoo design. It shows the “angry” side of the shark in its preparation to kill prey or an enemy. It’s a very active-styled shark tattoo with enough details to point out everything vital that the shark illustrates.

4. Colorful Shak Tattoo Design

Colorful Shak Tattoo Design
Credit: @hilde_neunteufel

This design is an exciting way of presenting sharks and everything related to big aquariums and water zoos they are often kept in. The rope and the lifeguard flote can mean sharks that are doing tricks and being captured. It’s a fascinating and somewhat different tattoo.

5. Open Jaw Shark Knee Tattoo Design

Open Jaw Shark Knee Tattoo Design
Credit: @lyndzee_

This tattoo shows why the place of the tattoo is always as important as the tattoo itself. Sharks sharp teeth, and an open jaw can represent aggression and pain. It makes a lot of sense tattooing the jaw on the knee or the elbow. The jaw has a lot of details, but it’s not overwhelming, just powerful enough.

6. A Shark In Pain Tattoo Design

A Shark In Pain Tattoo Design
Credit: @chrisstriktattoo

This design is a marvelous artistic piece that can represent so much. The shark is stabbed through and is obviously in pain. However, it shows its fearlessness, its ability to fight even when the chances of survival are slim. The tattoo has many details about the shark and water. It’s an exciting tattoo design.

7. Hammerhead Sleeve Shark Tattoo Design

Hammerhead Sleeve Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @codyadavistattoos

This is a tattoo of a hammerhead shark. The rope wrapped around the shark shows the shark’s ability to fight till the end and how it can be challenging to tame and capture it. There are not that many details on this tattoo, but it’s a massive one.

8. Colorful Shark Outline Tattoo Design

Colorful Shark Outline Tattoo Design
Credit: @manny_rubio_tattoo

This is a fascinating shark tattoo. Only the outlines of the shark’s body are tattooed and with a lovely colorful twist. Those colors added fun and light perspective on mostly rough shark descriptions.

9. Cartoon Wicked Shark Tattoo Design

Cartoon Wicked Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @23pallas

This is a more cartoony shark design than a realistic one. It’s goofy and exciting. It can be a straightforward task for the tattoo master and an amusing story about the tattoo itself.

10. Submarine Shark Tattoo Design

Submarine Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @hades_grave

This is a fantastic illustration of a submarine. It shows how humanity used knowledge about water animals and came up with something so brilliant. It can also represent how a man can try and control all beings on the planet, but in the end, the shark is so powerful it can eat any man.

11. Anchor Shark Tattoo Design

Anchor Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @_runar_

This is an exciting tattoo for marine lovers. It represents both stillness and dangers of the sea and the life of seamen. The anchor being the one that slows down and stabilizes the pace through a deep and powerful ocean. At the same time, a shark represents the dangers of the sea.

12. Shark Against The Whale Tattoo Design

Shark Against The Whale Tattoo Design
Credit: @tattooist_jaeo

Although sharks are big predators in the water, they still have enemies. Whales, especially killer whales are known to be sharks’ enemies since the beginning of time. This tattoo shows perfectly how they are passing by each other without killing but still keeping their guard up. It’s a great representation of rightful enemies. The shark won’t attack unless the whale attacks.

13. Sea Full Of Sharks Tattoo Design

Sea Full Of Sharks Tattoo Design
Credit: @bugs210

This is a great artwork piece. The sharks are somewhat realistic, and there are many of them. The pop of blue adds more color to the whole design. Besides sharks, we also see jellyfish. It’s a great representation of powerful and magnificent sea animals.

14. Angry Cartoon Shark Tattoo Design

Angry Cartoon Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @useemtattoo

This shark tattoo design is not realistic, it’s more like a cartoon. There are not a lot of details, but we can see that the shark is angry. With some colors added to the mix, it’s a great tattoo and a simple art piece.

15. Very Realistic Shark Tattoo Design

Very Realistic Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @hobotattoo

This tattoo is designed in a very detailed and meticulous way. We can see the shark’s angry expression and an open jaw signaling the attack. We also see a ship in the background. With so many details and dark shades of grey and black, the whole tattoo seems rather aggressive and dangerous.

16. Hammerhead Shark In Water Tattoo Design

Hammerhead Shark In Water Tattoo Design
Credit: @garethmillertattoo

This is a somewhat realistic hammerhead shark tattoo design. Some people say that hammerhead sharks look less frightening, but that’s far from reality. With some pop of blue, the whole tattoo design looks a bit lighter and softer.

17. Outline Of The Shark Foot Tattoo Design

Outline Of The Shark Foot Tattoo Design
Credit: @tats.by.caroline

This is a fascinating but also typical shark tattoo design. While most common shark tattoo designs look frightening and scary, this design is quite the opposite. Tattooing just the outline of the shark will make it a quick and easy tattoo.

18. Rib Shark Tattoo Design

Rib Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @eliasdrorbaugh.ink

People often tattoo sharks on their ribs as a sign of fearlessness and power. However, this shark looks different; its body appears to be falling apart or like it’s transforming. It’s an exciting design that can signify transformation or the ability to adapt.

19. A Girl With A Shark Tattoo Design

A Girl With A Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @geeinks

This is a unique tattoo. It looks like a photo of a girl standing in front of the shark aquarium. The shark seems peaceful, and the girl seems to love the shark. This combination is rather innocent and gentle.

20. Realistic Shark Tattoo Design

Realistic Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @sdmstatuajeria

This is a great tattoo. The shark drawing is very realistic, and it’s in the water, its natural habitat. With the intriguing sentence written at the bottom, “Fear no one. Trust no one.” you can capture the fearlessness. It’s the perfect representation of sharks’ courage.

21. Tiger Shark Tattoo Design

Tiger Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @mglatattoo

White sharks are usually the go-to shark tattoo. However, this is an outline of a tiger shark tattoo. It looks more elegant and graceful. Not a lot of details but just enough to capture the main point.

22. Traditional Shark Tattoo Design

Traditional Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @traditionalkings

This is a traditional shark tattoo design. It’s known that sailors tattooed colorful sharks like the one here because it was thought to protect them from the dangers of the sea. It’s unknown why sharks specifically, but it is believed that the shark is the strongest predator of the sea. It’s always somewhat colorful.

23. Traditional Sailor Shark Tattoo Design

Traditional Sailor Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @bluehoneymoontattoo

This is another traditional sailor shark tattoo design. Like most of them, the shark is tied to or is swimming around a nautical object, like anchors, lighthouses, etc. This one, in particular, is swirled around the anchor with a name is written on it.

24. Traditional And Scary Shark Tattoo Design

Traditional And Scary Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @biancamaryann

This is another traditional sailor shark tattoo design. It has a lighthouse drawn behind it which is a navy symbol. The shark has yellow eyes, which often can signify madness. It’s colorful like most traditional shark tattoos are, but it’s a bit scarier than usual.

25. Chill Shark Tattoo Design

Chill Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @kaixchin

This is a hilarious and exciting shark tattoo design. The shark seems peaceful and chill, and it’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt with flowers on it. It still has quite a lot of details, and the tattoo is not portraying a typical dark side of sharks but rather a fun and silly one.

26. Traditional Hammerhead Shark Tattoo Design

Traditional Hammerhead Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @ghumphrey_tattoo

This is a traditional hammerhead shark tattoo. It’s colorful like most traditional shark tattoos are. Hammerhead sharks are represented as more peaceful and goofier but are believed to be protectors. This tattoo design is cute, funny, and petite. It contains quite a bit of detail and many colors, making it a bit different from usual. People with hammerhead shark tattoos are thought to be great protectors, as the hammerhead sharks themselves are.

27. Black Tribal Shark Tattoo Design

Black Tribal Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @hippiheaven

Tribal shark tattoos represent a great way to connect with the shark’s spiritual energy. People that have a strong connection with water and nature in general, tend to do tribal tattoos. Seeing as the shark is a water creature, a person with this tattoo is usually connected to water uniquely.

28. Tribal Hammerhead Shark Tattoo Design

Tribal Hammerhead Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @hugorage1

Hammerhead sharks are thought to be the protectors from the dangers of the sea. Having in mind that tribal shark tattoos usually means a person whose is it is connected to water and nature in general, this combination illustrates the excellent protection and spiritual energy.

29. Tribal Shark Tattoo With Hawaiian Hibiscus And Plumerias Flowers

Tribal Shark Tattoo With Hawaiian Hibiscus And Plumerias Flowers
Credit: @renytattoos

This is a fascinating and meaningful shark tattoo design. Tribal shark tattoos represent a great way to connect with the shark’s spiritual energy. The Hibiscus flower is so rare, its’ tattoo is known as a representation of happiness and good omens. At the same time, the plumeria flower is a symbol of creation, love, and the beauty of devotion. This tattoo is a classic Polynesian shark tattoo design.

30. Small Finger Shark Tattoo Design

Small Finger Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @misslowe13

If you want a smaller shark tattoo, the finger is the perfect place for it. This design is a small and colored tattoo with just a shark’s head. It’s a small but significant omen to everything sharks are thought to be and are.

31. Shark Fin Tattoo Design

Shark Fin Tattoo Design
Credit: @lover_boyce

Sharks are intelligent creatures, and they carefully pick their prey. Tattooing shark fin can be a great reminder to seize life opportunities. It can also represent sharks’ powerful determination while preparing to kill their prey—a small but meaningful symbol of someone’s personality.

32. Shark Skeleton Tattoo Design

Shark Skeleton Tattoo Design
Credit: @outofstepbooks

This is another exciting shark tattoo design. It’s a very sharp shark tattoo. It indicates how we’re all the same inside, but it’s the courage and determination that will decide our destiny.

33. Shark Costume Tattoo Design

Shark Costume Tattoo Design
Credit: @ludi.ink

This is a tiny cartoon shark costume with a cat inside. It very well describes that anyone can fake it, and if you hide it well, they’ll believe you. It’s an exciting meaning and a charming small shark tattoo design.

34. Detailed Giant Shark Sleeve Tattoo Design

Detailed Giant Shark Sleeve Tattoo Design
Credit: @mdwipeoutz

This is a great artwork and masterpiece. It’s very detailed, and a lot of effort has been put into it. Blue colors negate the roughness of the shark’s nature. While the shark is represented in a very active way, coming out of stormy water, with the teeth being in the first plan, portraying its ability to kill.

35. Friendly White Shark Tattoo Design

Friendly White Shark Tattoo Design
Credit: @weston_tattooartist

This is an amiable design of a shark tattoo. It looks very realistic, and it’s black and white. However, with the mouth closed shut, we lose a sense of danger and get a friendly feeling—an exciting piece of art with many details.

36. A Shark In Action Tattoo Design

A Shark In Action Tattoo Design
Credit: @tattoosbyjaybrown

This is a medium-sized shark tattoo. It’s not black and white, and it has some blue added, which tones down the dangerous look of common shark tattoos. The water is not entirely drawn, but rather its outline that changes the way the shark swims. In a way, it shows us the influence the shark can have on water and vice versa.

37. Shark Outline Wrist Tattoo Design

Shark Outline Wrist Tattoo Design
Credit: @tatsbyfifty

Sharks are intelligent and curious creatures. Sometimes the stillness of the shark can be more dangerous than its’ attack. This is a short tattoo and perfect as a wrist tattoo.

38. A Cat In A Sharks Costume Tattoo Design

A Cat In A Sharks Costume Tattoo Design
Credit: @outofstepbooks

This is an amusing, keen and nifty tattoo design. It’s a cat dressed in a sharks’ costume. As if the cat wants to be perceived as more demanding and more dangerous than it is. A hilarious cartoon shark tattoo design.

Shark Tattoo: Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Is It Going To Cost?

It depends on the design of the tattoo you want. The giant tattoo, the more expensive it is. Tattoo costs can also vary depending on the use of color (whether the tattoo will be black, grey, a combination of black and white, or will there be colors). It’s important not to skim on the price if it’s going to affect the outlook of your tattoo or if it’s going to cause infection.

Will It Hurt?

This depends mainly on the part of the body you’re choosing to tattoo. Tattoos do hurt a bit, but since pain is relative, you will have people telling you it hurts a lot and others describing it as tingling. You can use numbing creams to help with the pain. Ribs, spine, fingers, and shin are the most painful tattoo spots in general.

Can I Get A Tattoo If I’m Sick?

It’s best to wait to get a tattoo if you’re sick. In order for your skin to heal, you will need your immunity to work. Take the time to think over the design and get it the moment you’re feeling better! Pregnant and breastfeeding women cannot get a tattoo, and people have severe allergies to the tattoo ink.

Are Tattoos Safe?

It can be dangerous if not performed under sanitary circumstances since you are puncturing your skin to get the ink through. That is why it is crucial to find a hygienic and reputable salon that will give you all the needed information.

How Do I Take Care Of My Tattoo Afterwards?

The tattoo artist will put a bandage to cover your new tattoo, be sure to wait for at least two h before you remove it unless told otherwise. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer after gently washing and pad drying the skin. Avoid tight clothes, swimming, and sun on the tattooed area for the amount of time needed for your tattoo to heal.

How Do I Maintain My Tattoo?

Keep it clean and moisturized for your skin to look the best way possible, and don’t forget to use sunscreen to avoid sunspots.

How Does It Work?

The ink will be inserted by a sterile, one-time-use needle in the second layer of the skin called the dermis. Since it’s under the outer layer of your skin, the epidermis, the body’s complex response to threat (in this case, the ink) will make your tattoo permanent.

Can I Get A Tattoo On My Scar Or Birthmark?

That depends on the depth of your scar. Ink can have a different effect on scar tissue and can often look smudgy or migrate. If you want to cover up a scar of yours, it is best to find a reputable tattoo artist who has a lot of experience covering up scars. That way, he will know how to cover up your scar the best way possible.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment